“Will you drive out to help me pick up a car?”
That was Freiburger back in October or so. He’d found a ’69 Impala Custom and felt that it was perfect for the upcoming Mighty Car Mods meets Roadkill double video special. Like most of you, I can’t resist a Craigslist purchase adventure so I was happy to go along. The Imp was in pretty rough shape, but it ran, so we bought it. At the first gas stop I told DF the brake lights didn’t work. “Do the parking lights work?” he asked me as I stood behind the Chevy. “Sure do,” I answered, and he said, “Great, I’ll just pull the headlight switch for braking.” Note: he didn’t bother, so I just tried to guess when he was slowing down. Aside from the brake lights, there really wasn’t any drama on the hour drive home, although we did find out later that the owner of the car lived five minutes from my house, and we could have just picked up the car there instead of at his smog place out past Simi Valley, California. Ah, Roadkill moments.
The next time I saw the Impala, its small block was dangling in the air and the 600hp blown big block from the Crusher Camaro swap was waiting on the sidelines to go in the generous engine bay. Fitment was no problem, but accessories were. As a rare southern California rainstorm dampened shoulders and spirits, F&F tried to figure out how to fit an alternator on the engine. This is normally the sort of thing you buy a different bracket for, but time was short, and uh, Roadkill. Eventually power steering was made manual, a radiator was tie-downed in, throttle and steering wheel were ziptied in place and it was all just in time, because with a blat and a whistle, Marty and Moog came Subaroooting into the parking lot of Westech Performance. Note: I was once told that “rooting” is a really rude word in Australia. True?
Marty and Moog, if you’ve somehow missed all the other discussion of these fellas, are a pair of car geeks from down under. The buddies have been doing an online car show for almost ten years, nearly twice as long as Roadkill. Our audiences have been trying to get us together for years, and everyone was excited to finally meet. “I first heard about MCM right after Freiburger and I tested leaf blowers on the Vette Kart,” Fin told me. “I had seen a YouTube video of a guy pointing a leaf blower at the air intake of a four-cylinder Chevy S10 and allegedly making power with it on a chassis dyno. I wanted to see if it worked so we tried it out on the Vette Kart at Westech Performance. After the article came out in Hot Rod Mag, someone sent me a link to an MCM vid where Marty and Moog tried out an electric leaf blower on a car. Right then and there I knew these were our kind of people.”
Frei and Fin had been expecting a super tiny import car that would make them feel foolish and sit closer than either was comfortable with, so they were somewhat relived to see a super Subaru that had been cut into a ute, like a Subie El Camino. “We bought it sight unseen,” said Marty. “Got it about a week before we got to the states with the help of some locals. It had cut out guards, mismatched wheels, broken suspension and was pretty sad condition, but the engine and gearbox and driveline was pretty solid so it would suit our purposes.” M&M started their build on Tuesday, and met up with us on a Thursday. In that time, they modded the 2002 WRX body, stuck the turbo on the stock EJ20 2 litre flat 4 out the hood, made some custom feed and return lines, stuck a stainless dump pipe out the top of it complete with a truck flapper, installed a Haltech Platinum Pro plug in ECU, wide band oxygen sensor, converted it to run e85 ethanol and wound the boost up. Yeah, ok, but is the throttle zip-tied together?
Concerned about the noise levels in the Subie, Moog had brought two headsets for hearing protection. When they heard the big block in the Impala fire up, they decided to hold onto those. As musicians, they want to keep their hearing loss to a minimum. It’s too late for Freiburger and Fin. They’d rather not be able to hear each other anyway. Freiburger thought the Aussies might be a bit gun shy about the big American power, but Marty was all ready to make tire smoke. That’s something Australians are born knowing how to do. It’s impressive that there are so many car-dorks in Australia, since the rules there about hot rodding street cars are incredibly strict. “I can’t believe this is legal to drive on the streets,” Marty said. Oh boys, it really wasn’t.
Remember the part of the Impala build where there was no alternator? Well, that added a few (many) hours to the drive to San Diego, where the planned shootout was to take place. When they did pull in around midnight, the Impala promptly puked a huge puddle in front of the nice hotel. This is why we are rarely invited places twice. The MCM guys were impressed that Roadkill really suffers, “I thought maybe it was fake,” Marty said. “Nope, we’re really this bad,” answered Freiburger in what I hope will be our next t-shirt slogan.
If you haven’t seen the episodes yet, here they are for your viewing ease. If you have seen them, scroll on down to enjoy a giant gallery of behind the scenes photos from the build and shoot.