Aaron Beck: Badass Defined

Plymouth Cuda

Plymouth Cuda – Aaron Beck

If you read yesterday’s hearse post, you’ll have seen the image of a rather mean, stretched and black Dodge Challenger. The rendering is by a talented individual called, Aaron Beck, a guy who obviously knows and understands what makes a car badass. His twisted and sinister vision is capable of possessing a collection of nuts and bolts with the kind of presence that gives Gargling Gas goose bumps.

Take the Plymouth Barracuda above, for example, a car I could see myself cruising along Nevada back roads in, body parts in the trunk, wads of cash on the passenger seat, the throb of V8 the perfect soundtrack as I headed towards the horizon.

Rocket Bunny Cuda (Nissan S13 front end) - Aaron Beck

Rocket Bunny Cuda (Nissan S13 front end) – Aaron Beck

If someone were to ask you to imagine what the love child of a 70s Cuda and an early 90s Nissan S13 would look like, you’d assume they’d left their medication in the cabinet that morning. Ask Aaron Beck and he’d answer, “It would like a Rocket Bunny drift car, of course.”

The lines all work, as does the front end, and as far as the usual LS V8 engine swap the drifters all go for today, leave the original Hemi in it and call it perfection.

Rat Cuda - Aaron Beck

Rat Cuda – Aaron Beck

The Rat look is a phenomenon that just keeps growing, its rusty insidious tendrils reaching out past the usual fare of American iron to German soil and the VWs and Bimmers. The Rat Cuda above is a rendering done for the up and coming Mad Max: Fury Road movie. This is another reason I feel Aaron is worthy of a post, the fact he is associated with one of my favourite road movies.

Mad Max Vehicle - Aaron Beck

Mad Max Vehicle – Aaron Beck

 

Aaron Beck's Kuda

Aaron Beck’s Kuda

From his renderings to reality, Aaron’s three dimensional ride is his Kuda pictured above. His eye for detail and talent make it extremely hard to tell what is 2D and what is real, but if you take a look at beckkustoms, you can witness the Kuda’s build and the labour of love that is the car’s interior.

So I doff my cap to you, Sir Aaron Beck, for your creations are sinister and the epitome of ‘badass’ – I’ll certainly be paying extra attention when I sit down and watch Mad Max: Fury Road.

 

 

Video

Skogen Racing: Connoisseurs Of Sleeping

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Skogen Racing Cortina – Mondeo ST220 Engine

This outfit from Sweden are exactly what messing about with cars are all about. Take a 30-year-old car on the verge of being either parted out or scrapped, wrench on it, give it a major heart transplant, and then drift it or race it through forests.

My favourite of the bunch, despite being a massive BMW fan, is the Ford Cortina pictured above and below. Once Skogen Racing have finished with it, you are left with a 950-KG car boasting 306-whp, a transplant from a Ford Mondeo ST220. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than shoe-horning a bigger power plant into the car, the list of modifications more than enough to both harness the extra grunt and stabilise the little car.

306-whp Ford Cortina With A Mondeo ST220 Engine

306-whp Ford Cortina With A Mondeo ST220 Engine

I say ‘messing about with cars’, but Skogen Racing are a little more than that, regularly competing in auto events. When they aren’t injecting serious power into retro cars, they’re either sliding, racing or dragging them, the team often arranging events and meets.

770-bhp BMW Powered Ford Seirra

770-bhp BMW Powered Ford Seirra

Some of their cars do hint as to being modded, but when you consider their Ford Seirra pictured above and its turbo-charged BMW M50B25 transplant, no one would expect it to boast 770-bhp. After swapping the Ford 2.8i V6 for a BMW 2.5-L inline-6, followed by adding a Garrett GT40 turbo, intercooler, injectors and forged pistons to handle the power, I consider this a serious sleeper.

So if I were facing the crusher, this is the way I’d like to go out: smoking and screaming, sliding through the Pearly Gates so violently an immediate one-way ticket to Hell would be issued.

Check out more of Skogen Racings insane livery and the way they add massive power without making it too obvious.

The one gem they did build that can be called a pure sleeper is the MK1 Ford Fiesta featured in their video below. I remember this car as a four-year-old, two of them in my street, both owned by elderly people. Take a look what Skogen Racing did to it…

Sideways For The Price of A Smartphone

HeLLga, my E36 325i Coupe

A drift missile for the price of a smartphone? Hmm, sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but trust me on this.

When I first noticed drifting, it wasn’t through the channels of its Japanese origins; drifting made itself known in the form of Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick, and his dabbling with the pros in his yellow Supra – the one he eventually crashed and left his best friend paralysed with. After a stint in jail, Nick faded away from the scene and that was that, but for the few episodes I saw him drift, I couldn’t help but notice the seemingly large sums of cash needed to partake in the sport.

That was nearly a decade ago, and ever since that yellow and chrome monstrosity, I’ve been fascinated, studying the varying styles and cultures surrounding international drifting. The sport has made a such big impression since the States transformed the Japanese parking-lot precision driving into its FormulaDrift series, virtually every petrolhead on the planet has tried kicking out the rear of their car and holding a drift.

That’s what’s so great about the sport – with a little practice, anyone owning a relatively light RWD car with around 150+ bhp and 150+ ft-lbs of torque can drift it (on closed roads or track, of course).

This has led to the formation of drift clubs both big and small, drivers meeting up and getting their missiles sideways. Drifting has managed to knock down barriers and bring different car genres together, from German coupes to Japanese turbos to American muscle, all shredding rubber together on track.

Owning a drift missile doesn’t have to be costly either, as the title of this article suggests. For the price of a leading smartphone (£600-£999), you can pick up a solid, high-mile BMW E36 325i/323i/328i or a Mk1/2 Mazda MX-5. After ripping out the entire interior and installing a secondhand roll cage and bucket seat, you’re virtually ready for some handbrake/clutch kick action.

Although this article comes across as a poor man’s answer to drifting, it actually backs up the original Japanese theory that less is more. I wrote a piece for Motor Ward featuring the drift king himself, Keiichi Tsuchiyai, the grand master and inventor of drifting. He says drifting a car with limited power (anything under approximately 140-bhp) is far harder than sliding a more powerful car, thus throwing a cheap missile around means you’ll eventually develop uber drifting skills – it’s harder to kick out the rear of an old 130-bhp Toyota AE86 than it is  a 400-bhp Skyline.

HeLLga’s Loving Leather Embrace

If the interior is in decent condition, you could sell it and put the extra cash into a super chip or re-map for that extra 25-bhp. Give the car a full service, especially the engine and all of the fluids. Tape up the lights, fix a sports steering wheel and drift brake lever, finally spraying/wrapping your weapon matt black, and you are ready to shred.

Okay, so once you’re hooked and you get the hang of it you’ll ruin yourself spending out on power gains, superior suspension components, racing clutch kits and body panels, but how much more adrenaline do you expect to spill for the price of a phone?

iPhone or iDrift?

Easy…

 

 

 

Ken Block: My Modern Day Superhero

Now the dust has quite literally settled upon the sun-baked streets of Los Angeles, and Ken Block’s snorting ’65 Mustang is stabled and resting, I can reflect on Gymkhana 7 and how it turned back my metaphorical clock by three decades or so.

To elucidate on the actual driving that went on in L.A., I penned an article for Motorward magazine along with the video, ignoring all of the details such as driving techniques and listing reams of technical data, instead harping on about how Block and his fantastical machine took me back in time for 12 minutes, leaving me a little confused and angry at the fact I found myself back in 2014 as a 36 -year-old afterwards.

Rally purists may criticise Block and his Rally X/Drift hybrid style, but this is 2014 – if X Games dirt bike riders can get away with grabbing massive air, opening their legs and calling the move the ‘Paris Hilton’, then Block is doing the right thing here – it simply boils down to exciting and impressive viewing. Don’t get me wrong though; I’m a massive fan of the X Fighters bike format, along with all the X Games sports, and adding cars with 80’s Group B rally power to the list is obviously a recipe for success.

ken4

Big power and exciting viewing leads me neatly onto the superhero/stuntman angle I’m pushing here – for those 12 minutes I sat gawping as the Block’s Hoonicorn tore up the streets of L.A., miles of internal wiring fused inside my head, leaving me experiencing waves of nostalgia, seamless flashbacks of stars and stripes, bleating dixie horns, and a whole fleet of toys I put through a similar ordeal to the car on my computer screen.

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle

Dukes of Hazzard Wrist Racer

Dukes of Hazzard Wrist Racer

007's Underwater Lotus Esprite

007’s Underwater Lotus Esprite

The toys pictured above were my favourites, and I think it was the combination of terrific film producing, the smoking and squealing of tyres, that evil Mustang, and of course its superhuman pilot that evoked their memory.

Dressed in a retro style leather jacket and donning a glittery patriotic race helmet along with meridian goggles and skull face scarf, Ken Block was my childhood Bo Duke, my Evel Knievel, my James Bond, my Bandit, and perhaps even my Superman all wrapped up into one super-being.

So now it’s all over, do I watch it again and go back to 1982, or do I face reality and help my wife lay the table?

I Need A Big Pussy In My Life

hellcat1

Non super car manufacturers not particularly associated with producing gargantuan power figures rarely decide to let their hair down and offer up a piece of kit capable of splitting the atom, but when they do, the news spreads like wildfire, especially if the creation is worthy of all the hype.

Remember when the ‘older persons’ brand of choice, Buick, released the muscle car-eating Grand National version of their Regal? Well, times that image by 10 and you have some idea as to the hype making the rounds surrounding Dodge.

Dodge may produce the Viper, and they’ve certainly produced great muscle cars of past, even rekindling their Challenger and Charger with modern Hemi SRT tributes, but to take this platform and give it a supercharged 707-hp is just plain… genius – a Dodge with more horse power than a Lamborghini Aventador!

The atomic version of the Dodge Challenger SRT pictured above also comes with a great name, a simple yet perfectly apt title: Hellcat. Imagine being able to say: “I own a Hellcat,” safe in the knowledge your 2-tonne feline can hit 62-mph in 3.7 seconds. Even if the person asking is a Ford guy with a Shelby GT 500, you’d trump him by 45 ponies.

That collection of nuts and bolts pictured above makes up a supercharged 6.2-L Hemi V8 boasting 707-hp and 650 lb·ft of torque. Notice the headlight – or lack of – allowing RAM air induction to produce more torque? I really like that touch; in an age concerned with helping the environment, I love Dodge for creating this car. Was it irony they unleashed this powerhouse in green?

I hope so…

Watch the Hellcat with its claws bared, 707-hp drifting in anger.

Hawaii Automotive Trend Setter

Gargling Gas loves the Motor Trend YouTube channel for many reasons, chief among them the vastly diverse content they produce. Along with their spin-off channel, Roadkill, Motor Trend pretty much cover aspect of the automotive universe.

Whilst Roadkill cover the badass muscle cars, the ugly – yet beautiful – rat rods, and the on-road chaos and fireworks, Motor Trend present the sophisticated and elegant, the slipstream and sexy.

Take the video below, for example, a film stuffed with all the right ingredients. Take one V12 Ferrari, one sexy Scandinavian girl, and the wonderful backdrop of Hawaii, and you have superb visuals and a glorious soundtrack.

I selected this video, not only because it’s a great film, but because Motor Trend are holding one of their legendary shows in Hawaii for the first time next year.

For nearly six decades the Motor Trend brand has been recognised the globe over as one of the leading automotive hubs, their Auto Shows LLC, America’s biggest auto production company. I guess this is the States’ version of our UK Topgear Live, a show I have yet to attend. 

Hawaii is a place I’d love to visit, not just for the beaches, babes and surf (I can’t surf), I’ve heard news of drifting events there. The scene is pretty big in Hawaii, however, the authorities have added special grippy surfaces to many of its streets’ corners to prevent illegal drifting .

So if you head to Hawaii for drifting or to visit the Motor Trend LLC show, I’d look into Hawaii car rentals . The event will be held at the address below on March 13, 14, 15 next year.

Hawaii Convention Center

1801 Kalakaua Ave.

Honolulu, HI 96815808.943.3500

BMWs & Preparing Lithuanian Sledges

Owning a BMW E36 325i (HeLLga) and possessing a passion for sideways action, it was only a matter of time before I’d stumble across the ‘The Ugly Duckling’, the incongruously placed BMW above. Its owner hails from a part of Europe boasting scented forests and pristine lakes, a seemingly serene and peaceful place… until you look a little closer.

There are some pretty cool goings-on taking place in Lithuania at the moment, a combination of old school BMWs, mad driving skills, and a creativity and enthusiasm captured in a series of short films.

Norbertas Daunoravičius (pictured above) is the brains behind Norbe Films, a vision shared through his website and YouTube channel. Here he reveals both his love of retro Bimmers and his ability to make them slide. Referring to what is commonly known as the ‘Drift Missile’, Norbertas prefers the name ‘Sledge’, a term coined from the current Lithuanian car culture. 

Norbe Films presents useful videos on Sledge preparation, primarily involving an old BMW and wrenching on it until it will drift. The film below is the longest – and perhaps considered his feature piece – The Ugly Duckling. Although the 15 minutes of footage features hardcore Hooning and antisocial driving, Norbetas manages to convey intelligence, humour and a real passion for cars. The Ugly Duckling also captures the spirit and culture of Lithuania, its people strong-willed, inventive and industrious.

If you haven’t got 15 minutes to spare, check out the excerpt above, a little taster, a lesson in Lithuanian parking.