Two Muscle Machines made the Great 8 at the Detroit Autorama this year. The appropriately named ’55 Chevy “Brute Force” and the stunning ’69 Camaro “Burning Copper”. The over the top creativity, craftsmanship and design of these iconic rides earned them a well deserved spot in the Great 8.
The first Hot Rod has the soul of a Super Car. “Brute Force” showcases the attention to detail and extreme craftsmanship that is only usually seen in the likes of a Bentley or Bugatti. This brilliant blue Bel Air is the brain child of Bob Mantranga, the owner and lead builder of this exceptional Chevy. Bob and his talented team spent 10 years on this hand fabricated ’55. Their marriage of form and function combined with over top custom fabrication resulted in a Bel Air beyond belief.
Just about everything on this Great 8 Finalist is custom. The front clip is a complete one off. From flat metal, the team created the fenders and a reverse opening hood. The team customized nearly every inch of the body without losing the feel of the original ’55 Chevy’s design. They chopped the top and flush mounted the glass. Luc Deley leant his talents fabricating the steel dashboard. Classic Instruments created the gauges and PPG can take credit for that alarming blue hue. The muscle in Brute Force comes from a 540 Merlin block augmented with twin turbos. The mill is capable of putting out 850 hp.
“Brute Force” is a car for the 21st century. Most operations are controlled by a smartphone app. The hand fabricated nature of this street beast is ultra modern. The expert work that went into this build married the most modern technology available to one of the most quintessential American Hot Rods.
The other Muscle bound maverick also rolls in wearing a Chevy Bow tie. The modifications made by Steve Cook Creations abound on the Great 8 Finalist “Burnin’ Copper” a stunning ’69 Camaro. You have to spend a lot of time with this Camaro to recognize the extensive yet subtle changes. The Cook team sharpened the body corners, modified the drip rails and greatly “reduced” the gaps. They widened the wheel openings to accommodate the new Forgelines and carbon fiber was used generously throughout the build. The muscle machine has a complete custom interior. The dash includes backlit Dakota Digital gauges which give “Burnin’ Copper” a very modern feel.
The Power plant for the Camaro is a combination of performance and drivability. The muscle comes from a Don Hardy-built LS3 that’s capable of putting out an impressive 650hp. To achieve a race inspired look, Cook used a Nascar/dirt track style air cleaner. Air intakes replaced the front turn signals to force more air into the engine. To round out the race feel, Cook relocated the gas door to the truck.
Providing the world gets back to normal, the Camaro will be in Columbus at the Goodguys PPG Nationals this July competing for the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year. “Burnin’ Copper” will be burnin’ it up on the AutoCross and will give the rest of the field some stiff competition for the award.
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