What is Los Angeles most famous for? You better have said “tacos,” because it is well-known that the pretty mountains, beautiful ocean, 300 days of sun each year, and enough Botox and blow to keep Mickey Rourke alive for at least 100 years are nothing compared to the numerous choices for fine tacos in the city of angels. Since it’s been a few months since we’ve taken you all to lunch in something rad and raucous, we called up the guys at Speedkore, got them to stop by with their 800hp Plymouth ‘Cuda, and headed to a taco joint at the base of Angeles Crest for our latest installment of Fuel.
Unlike Roadkill, where we kneel on at the altar of rust, Speedkore doesn’t do patina. Nor does it do the rusty, sketchy, and near deathtrap-style cars we love. The Speedkore team likes to be tidy. The interiors of its cars are unoccupied by soggy waffles, spare brake lines, and raccoon feces, and the exteriors are finished in ocean-deep paint and intricate carbon fiber rather than spray paint and moss. What we have in common is a love of all things with enough horsepower and torque to restart the planet’s core. Case in point, Speedkore’s ludicrous twin-turbo 1,650hp Tantrum Charger. If that doesn’t sell you that these are our kind of people, we don’t know what will.
With Tantrum on a time out (yuk-yuk), Speedkore graciously came by with the company’s newest build; a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda dubbed Menace. Obviously the only food option was a seafood one (get it, because it’s a Barracuda?) but we weren’t anywhere close to the ocean. Lucky for us Angelinos, good fish tacos can be found in every section of the city, even a strip mall off the 210 near Pasadena. Enter Taco Deli at the base of Angeles National Forest in La Canada.
Joining us was Speedkore co-founder Dave Salvaggio, and lead designer Sean Smith. With them, rumbling into the mini-mall, was Menace, a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with a Wegner Motorsports blueprinted 6.4-liter Hemi supplemented with a 2.9L Whipple supercharger good for 800hp under its nostriled hood. How’s it sound? Like the new Dodge Challenger Demon but you know, louder.
The noise, power, and exterior scream, “I’M A MUSCLE CAR HERE TO EAT YOUR CHILDREN.” The inside is buttoned-up and tailored with a dash of futurism thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t quite gel with the old-school exterior, but it’s as comfortable as a new car. Maybe because it’s sourced from a 2015 Camaro Z/28, then expertly bolstered and made cushy and leather-wrapped.
The ‘Cuda looked a bit out of place parked at Taco Deli, which is surrounded by a dry cleaner, a Presbyterian church, an art gallery, and a UPS Store. This is not exactly where you’d expect to get good fish tacos; yet, there we sat, devouring a host of some of the most delicious tortilla-wrapped whitefish we’ve ever had. The fish was perfectly flaky. Even the pickled onion, radishes, and corn tortillas were on point. And with a hint of lime: yum. It’s also fairly cheap, six tacos and a couple drinks was under $25.
After our cheap lunch we jumped in the pricey custom and headed up the Crest where we could open up Menace’s impressive taps and to see if this fueled-up fish could turn. Hell yeah! It can do so quite quickly as we found out railing Upper Big Tujunga Road, much to Sean’s unease. He apparently doesn’t enjoy sitting right seat next to someone with our very heavy right foot, or maybe he was worrying about the stability of his just-eaten lunch.
He needn’t have stressed though, as underneath the gorgeous Lakeshore Blue paint and carbon fiber fenders is a Roadster Shop Fast Track subframe at the front with Penske-sourced shocks at all four corners, along with Wilwood brakes, and a set of sway bars to keep Menace’s rowdiness firmly planted. With Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires shod on 245/35R19s at the front, and 345/30R20s at the back, this car hooks and cooks.
Unfortunately, we cooked a little too hard, or maybe we ate too many tacos and overstepped our weight limit. We heard a small noise coming from the suspension, and when we pulled over, we saw that the tires were rubbing on the inside fenders. Menace really needs stiffer springs (it’s running 450lb springs in the front, 250lbs in the rear) or a slightly higher ride height as every time we went near the gas in a turn, it would squat and the inside wheels would rub on the inner wheel wells. As new-build problems go, it’s easily addressed.
Content that it wasn’t something worse, we hopped back into Menace, stomped on the throttle and left the side of the road in a cloud of dust and supercharger whine.
After a few more runs through the serpentine canyon, the light faded and we all agreed that it was time to head home before our lunch story turned into dinner.
Got an idea of a place we should eat and a car we should drive there? Let us know in the comments below.