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Rat Rod Hell: Gargling Gas Heaven

Nephilim Kustoms

Nephilim Kustoms

To those not familiar with the rat look or the rat rods so popular Stateside, the imagery involved with this post might seem like a vision of automotive hell. To Gargling Gas, however, the images and video content leave me with goosebumps, a place I’d quite happily spend all eternity in the afterlife.

Rat rods are obviously massive in America, but the cars in this post were transformed into the sinister machines you see by Nephilim Kustoms, a garage in Poland. These guys totally understand what it takes to transform an American classic into something bad, mean, eerie, a form of transportation for the dead.

Nephilim Kustoms

Nephilim Kustoms

As Gargling Gas respects car cultures from all corners of the globe, it’s great witnessing a small country like Poland producing such sinister rides. The majority of people passing the garage may see the cars as junk, vehicles only good for the crusher. What most don’t understand is that a lot goes into a serious rat rod – they may look bad on the outside, but underneath they are structurally sound, a solid canvas onto which the creative “rat look” vision is lovingly painted.

Take a look at the short videos below, kick back, relax, and watch exactly what it takes to make the hairs stand up on Gargling Gas’ neck.

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Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing: The Sleeper Car

Ford Granada Sleeper ZZZ ZZZ

Ford Granada Sleeper ZZZ ZZZ

You may or may not have heard of the term “Sleeper Car” before – to some it probably sounds like a camper van vehicle or caravan – however, a Sleeper Car is the complete opposite of the meaning derived from the word “Sleeper”.

As you’ve most likely guessed from the title, this type of vehicle is a bog standard car hiding and possessing enormous amounts of power under its coat.

Example: How great would it be to embarrass a Porsche at the lights in an old Mitsubishi Galant? How is this done? Mitsubishi are primarily known for their EVO cars, the ultimate turbo tuning machines. Despite this, their Galant VR4 (pretty standard in appearance) comes with 276 bhp stock, so with some tuning and performance upgrades at a relatively low cost, they can be boosted to around 600+ bhp.

Mitsubishi Galant VR4

Mitsubishi Galant VR4

Depending on your budget, any car can be transformed into a Sleeper car. I recently watched an episode of Fast N’ Loud on Discovery where Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman took an old ’59 Rambler Wagon (pic below), treated and clear coated its weathered body for effect, but installed a massive 4.8L Chevrolet V8 with an Edelbrock Carburettor and MSD direct ignition and disk brakes. From the outside it looked like an old truck, but a blip of the gas and it could shift tectonic plates.

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One problem you face boosting horsepower is hiding the upgrades needed to cope with the extra grunt. The main two are exhausts and brake callipers. Unless you purchase black callipers, simply paint them before installation. Exhausts are pretty simple if you can get under the car – ensure they are out of sight but still manage to function properly. Sports exhausts usually offer different styles, either for sound or performance. Try and pick one that offers optimum flow as well as offering a good amount of muffle – a deep rumbling exhaust suggests upgrades.

If you have bottomless pit of money to throw at car, check this Sleeper Car out for scaring pretty much any other potential racer at the lights. This is essentially an F1 powered Alfa 164 Procar. It was built in cooperation with Brabham and possess the only Alfa Romeo V10 ever built. This disguised Alfa produces 605 bhp at 12,000 rpm! – not sure what the insurance premium would be on this one.

Alfa Sleeper F1 Car

Alfa Sleeper F1 Car

The perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Alfa Sleeper Car

Alfa Sleeper Car

My favourite and perhaps the ultimate Sleeper is “Farm Truck” from the TV show Street Outlaws – check out the video below and witness the power that old truck can lay down.

If you are thinking about creating a Sleeper Car with a small budget, aim for a small and light turbo car, something you can add a cold air intake and bigger exhaust to, also one in which an ECU tweak is viable. These three options can add as much as 60-80 bhp to a small turbo car, putting you in the same arena as the bigger sporty saloons.

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45 Minutes Of Dirty Rats

It’s Saturday afternoon, my wife is out and my dogs are asleep. This means trawling the web for cool car videos, cranking up the volume and kicking back without any requests to fix things or throw tennis balls.

If you’re a car guy, whether you like tuner imports, American muscle or the latest supercars, a part of you has to respect the Rat Rod. They are ugly, noisy and uncomfortable, but they look amazing and are usually pretty damn fast. Its rising popularity has spawned the TV show, Vegas Rat Rods (Sin City Motors in the UK), a series showing there’s a lot more than just rusted old parts that go into a build. Oh yeah, and there’s the junkyard diva, Twiggy lending a helping hand.

The Rat Rod was what you once considered a vehicle pieced (botched) together out of any parts that would make it function until the inevitability of an other component failure. If it received bumps, scratches and the exposed metal rusted, who cares? It was just a machine that carried stuff from A – B; it got the job done.

Over the past decade, these classic rust buckets have merged with the resto-mod scene, scrap-worthy vintage shells now fetching silly money so they can be kitted out with new drive trains, suspensions, and even turbo chargers. You’ll hear the word “Patina” used a lot within the Rat community, as a true Rat needs to possess a layer of corrosion. Some builders may simply coat their vehicle in matt black paint, whilst the majority leave the areas of patina on show and treat the entire shell with a clear coat, protecting it from further corrosion.

As you can imagine, the sky’s the limit with these builds – literally anything can be added for originality or personal expression. The Ford Model A is the granddaddy of the Rat Rod basis, a foundation onto which anything can happen…

…which leads seamlessly onto the video below.

Will the dogs wake up? Will my better half return? 45 minutes is all I ask… Are you with me?

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Stanced: An Introduction To Air Suspension

Stanced Lincoln Continental

Stanced Lincoln Continental

So What Exactly Is Air Suspension?

To begin with basics, air suspension replaces a car’s stock springs with air springs – not dissimilar to those of a big truck. Most modern cars have standard coil-springs, which are easy to replace with the airbags as they virtually slip right into place. Because of the boom in installing this type of suspension for enhancing a car’s stance and ride, there are companies out there offering bolt-on kits – there are even air-spring suspensions for the older leaf-springs you find on classic cars.

Air Suspension

Air Suspension

 Adjustability

The great benefit of installing an air suspension is having the ability to adjust the spring rate and load capacity. What would usually take days or even weeks of finding the perfect balance is now taken care of in minutes by the in-car controls.

Air Suspension In Car Controls

Air Suspension In Car Controls

Ride and Handling

The more an air suspension system compresses, the stiffer it gets – using this adjustment along with its progressive spring rate with the in-car adjustability allows for enormous performance gains. This means you can tune your car’s ride for changing conditions easier and faster.

Of course, it comes down to personal choice how a car should ride and handle. By adjusting the air pressure and shock valving, you can make your car either soft and comfortable for a long journey, or firm and tight for a track, or anywhere in between.

Stanced WRX

Stanced WRX

Stance

This is one of the main attractions to air suspension, as a car sitting extremely low on its wheels looks pretty cool. Some choose to lower a car or truck for aesthetic reasons without losing any drivability or function. Others, however, prefer the vehicle to sit on the ground when parked up, only to rise to the functioning ride height when the car is turned on – this is really cool to witness and can be seen in the video below.