We’ve reached the end of 2016 and that means just a few minutes to look back at our successes and failures. Especially our failures. We’re pretty good at those. You can see our least popular stories, which include some great gems that maybe got posted on the wrong day or maybe just were stinkers, right here. But for now, let’s take a look at our most popular stories this year. They include a classic drag car restoration, an awesome collaboration, the greatest LeMons cars of all time, our Roadkill Nights event, the coolest pre-war International truck, and more. Check it out.
Drag racing legend Don Garlits tells of the accident in Swamp Rat 13 that cost him all the toes on his right foot. It’s a great story that includes some old-school tales of developing new technology for racing and a glimpse at Garlits’ rivalry with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. Garlits got his classic Swamp Rat 13 back later and restored it in 2015 to running condition with many original and period-correct parts.
Hopefully by now, you’ve already seen the joint episodes of Roadkill and Might Car Mods, the fantastic Australian tuner show on YouTube, that we released for free on Christmas Day. Suffice to say, our introduction to the car Freiburger and Finnegan built, the Crusher Impala, and the car Marty and Moog built, the SubarUte, went over well with our readers. The episodes themselves didn’t go over too poorly, either; the two videos got more than a million views in just 24 hours. See some behind-the-scenes photos and watch the episodes right here, too.
Just a few short days after we teased Fred Williams’ twin-engine, off-road Cadillac Eldorado, LeMons legend Dave Morrow and his team showed up to the Decade of Disappointment race with their own twin-engine Eldorado. That’s a road-racing car with 1,000 cubic inches, 16 cylinders, and for good measure, seven horns installed. Things didn’t go quite as planned and you can read more at the link and in the forthcoming seventh issue of Roadkill Magazine.
Finnish programmer and car enthusiast Johannes Rojola has set a high bar for Roadkill-style simulation with My Summer Car. Not only does this life-consuming game—which takes place in rural Finland in the mid-1990s—require you to build your own customized Datsun Cherry, but it also requires you to live the car guy in your virtual life. The gameplay includes ordering speeds parts from a catalog, drinking beer, and working a part-time job to pay for those things.
Most junkyards in the United States feature at least one or two supercharged cars headed to the Crusher, which to LeMons teams means only one thing: Cheap power adders! Scrapped blowers have added (or in at least one case subtracted from) horsepower on a number of engines and we love the ingenuity involved in a lot of the setups. Most intense, of course, was the spectacularly failed twin-blower setup feeding a GM 454 in an Rambler Marlin. It’s worth a click-through for those photos alone.
The Northrup Fab “Trophy Rat’ pre-runner was one of our big favorites among our readers and with good reason. Keith Northrup set to work turning a $500 pile of rusty parts into a tubeframe off-road beast and it is one of the coolest things we’ve put on the site. Even if you read this one before or saw it in the magazine, this deserves another visit.
Between the reality shows about turning trash to treasure and the “I KNOW WHAT I HAVE NO LOWBALLERS” crowd on CraigsList, many people seem to think that affording an old car project is only for the well-off. That might be true for, say, a ‘67 Camaro or a ‘64 GTO, but as we showed with this list, you can score plenty of cool old cars if you think a little outside the box. Want a ‘57 but Chevy prices got you down? You can score a running ‘57 Pontiac Star Chief for much less, for example.
This one only partially counts because it was an event page instead of a “story,” per se. However, we feel like the huge crowd and incredible enthusiasm from everybody who turned up made Roadkill Nights and racing down a closed section of Woodward Avenue one of our biggest highlights of 2016. This was beyond cool and while there’s not much to read on the page above, you can check out our Roadkill Nights experience on Episode 56 above. If you missed being a part of Roadkill Nights, there’s still time to join us for the Roadkill Zip-Tie Drags in January. Sign up here.
This post actually went up just a couple days before the start of 2016, but it got lots of traction throughout the year. If you’re unfamiliar with the 24 Hours of LeMons, this is a great introduction to the special kind of garage engineering prevalent in the series. Roadkill fans will know it well and LeMons teams live it. From a road-racing Jeep Cherokee to a Toyota MR2 powered by a World War II-era airplane engine, this LeMons list captures several flavors of perfect insanity.
That just about wraps up 2016 for Roadkill. What did you guys like? What did you hate? What do you want to see more of? Be sure to get Roadkill updates on social media and on YouTube. You can also join RK Nation right here and if you can’t get enough RK life, be sure to subscribe to Roadkill Magazine.