A hooked-up Volkswagen Bug with 35-inch wheels flew over hills, sped down residential streets and drove up embankments. The driver careened through neighborhoods and parking lots on a quiet morning in San Diego. Blake Wilkey claims he took all necessary precautions when he got behind the wheel. “We scanned the streets making sure there was no one out and about doing yard work or kids out,” he said. He got slapped with 26 violations including reckless driving and conspiring to commit a crime.
Story By: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography By: Johan Lee
Lowriders will always dominate the Southern California custom old-school scene, and rightfully so, as their influence and presence has kept an entire coast’s custom-car culture alive for decades. With that in mind, there’s always room for something different—in its proper dosage.
Houston, Texas, native and current San Diegoan Will Robinson purchased his 1975 Chevy Impala glasshouse Donk from a friend headed to mandatory government vacation back in 2009. “I bought it from him to give some money to his family and keep the car on the streets,” says Will. “It already had a set of 24s on it, but I wanted to make it my own.” As to why he chose the glasshouse version of the Donk—which, in some circles, is considered the ugly duckling—Will insists it was his first choice. “Down in Texas, having a glasshouse is more popular than the ’71–’73 hardtops,” explains Will. Shortly after acquiring his Donk, Will joined the Texas chapter of the world-renowned Swift Car Club, which ultimately assisted him on the build and motivated him to do his best.
Will was eventually relocated to San Diego, California, where he currently serves as a Chief Machinist’s Mate in the United States Navy. Thankfully, he was greeted upon arrival as if he were family. “Swift San Diego welcomed me with open arms, and I never looked back,” he proclaims. Once in San Diego, Will continued with his grandiose glasshouse. Reppin’ two areas known for their candy paint—Houston and SoCal—getting a glamorous glaze on his glasshouse was at the top of the list. Will entrusted his ride to Jose at SD Kustoms in San Diego for a sweet Kandy lick composed of a silver base coat with a Kandy-apple red overlay and a gold pearl mixed in as well. Will also added a custom chrome grille and Florida-style chrome header panel and fender extensions, too. For the shoes, Will went with Savini but flipped it and put two different styles of Savini’s Diamond line on each side.
For the stance, Will wanted something that paid homage to the West Coast, but instead of going all the way with hydraulics, he went with a modest air-bag suspension system. “That’s probably my favorite part of the car,” says Will. “I like to pull up, sit the ass end down and watch the reactions on people’s faces.”
As for future plans, after attending so many car shows from Cali to Texas that he can’t even provide an accurate count, he’s finally content after the last piece of the puzzle is in place. “I always said I would retire it after I got it in the magazine,” says Will. “I’m not getting rid of it, though—I just want to build a ’71 or ’73 convertible now.”
Spec the Technique
Performance: 350 small block bored .030 over; Holley 670 carburetor; electric fuel pump; Summit Racing ceramic coated headers, Flowmaster 40 series mufflers, Be Cool radiator; dual electric fans, Wilwood front disc brakes; Two VIAIR 444 air compressors, four one-gallon tanks; Firestone airbags
Exterior: House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red over a silver base coat custom mixed with a gold pearl sprayed; custom All Wired Grill; chromed header panel and fender extensions; door handles, mirrors, antenna, and all key holes were shaved and prepped
Interior: Custom chocolate brown and red leather
ICE: Custom fiberglassed dash; double-DIN Pioneer AVH-P4300DVD head unit; 7-inch Bravo View LCD monitor; fiberglassed kick panels and rear deck; four Memphis Car Audio 6.5-inch component sets; two JL Audio 6X9-inch speakers, two 12-inch W6 subwoofers, two 500/1 amplifiers, 300/4 amplifier; motorized pop trunk; Stinger battery, 240 amp alternator; Dakota Digital dash
Wheels/Tires: 26-inch by 9-inch front, 26-inch by 10-inch rear, driver’s side Savini Prali, passenger side Savini Murlo; 275/25ZR26 tires
Lamborghini has announced its first plug-in hybrid showpiece, and it’s quite beautiful. The Asterion LPI 910-4 packs in a 5.2-liter V10 with 610 horsepower, and its trio of electric motors beef up that latter figure another 300 (hence the 910 moniker). Those numbers puts the hypercar in the same neighborhood as McLaren’s P1 and the LaFerrari hybrid. In terms of speed, the blue machine can hit 0 to 60 MPH (0 to 100 km/h) in three seconds and tops out at just under 200 MPH (320 km/h). What’s more, the Asterion can reach 78 MPH (125 km/h) using only electric power, traveling around 31 miles (50km) without firing up the main engine. As this is more of a proof of concept than anything else, there’s no word on pricing and availability, or whether more than one will even be made. However, feel free to ogle the leather-wrapped cockpit after the break.
It’s nice to dream. It’s also nice when that dream finally becomes a reality. All of the hard work put in over time is finally going to pay off.
That’s the story for LS1Tech forum member, ls1blazer, who is just finishing up his dream build. Some forum members voiced their skepticism, but that didn’t stop him from building the truck of his dreams. When we saw the thread a few months ago, we took it with a grain of salt because of the paltry information and infrequent updates. The thread was started in April of 2011 and as of August 2014, the thread was finally updated with a photo of a beautiful LS9 sitting in the engine bay and also an earlier photo of the engine and trans on the frame.
On January 4th, ls1blazer updated the thread and stated that all he had left to do was install minor interior trim pieces, get a front end alignment, put a catch can on it, and road test it. This is one sweet truck, though. ZR1 Corvette seats grace the cabin, the tonneau cover has a ZR1-style spoiler molded into it, the wheels are from a ZR1 Corvette, and last but not least, the Jet Stream Blue Metallic paint completes the look.
Although the photos aren’t the best quality, this truck is a winner and was so greatly executed. It’s probably one of the faster swapped Colorados out there with an output of 547 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. We’ll have to keep an eye on the thread for more photos and hopefully some video of this monster. Props to you, ls1blazer!
Photos & Words: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
Exterior: The new Chevy SS is probably the most unassuming performance car ever with its cousin, the fourth-generation GTO coming in a close second. If you don’t know the history of the SS or Chevy in general, you’ll more than likely pass it off as a Malibu, Impala or even a Cobalt. To some, the mundane appearance could be a turn-off and doesn’t justify the price tag but the Chevy SS isn’t for the person yearning for the fanfare. However, Chevy did a respectable job in adding performance-inspired appointments with a menacing front fascia, chrome fender vents and rear deck lid spoiler. Staggered 19-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in high-performance Bridgestone tires are also a nice touch although I would love to see the wheels in a more aggressive shade such as gunmetal or black.
Interior: Inside the Chevy SS is a perfect mix of sport and class with racing-style seats similar to those in the new Z28 Camaro and leather and suede covering the dash and doors. The SS could easily seat four full-size adults comfortably and everything is properly laid out in the cabin. The only gripe I had with my six-speed manual model was that with drinks in the cupholders it was a little difficult to shift gears properly.
A/V: Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system with the eight-inch touch screen is a breeze to operate and the bluetooth streaming audio makes for easy connectivity with your smart phone. The heads-up display (an option I usually could care less about) was actually very helpful in a car such as this as I opted for the screen that displayed MPH and RPM which certainly aided in regulating my driving style with such a powerful vehicle.
Performance: Driving the 2015 Chevy SS is a visceral experience that will leave you grinning ear-to-ear after every romp of the gearbox. You truly feel that you’re driving a modern muscle car and forget that you’re behind the wheel of a sedan akin to a Chevy Malibu. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving a Camaro SS or Corvette, the feeling is virtually identical to the Chevy SS. With the 6.2L LS3 under the hood pumping out 415 horsepower and 415 ft lb of torque mated to the TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual transmission, the SS is just plain bad ass and will plant you in your seat. The LS3 also barks out a sultry exahust note that you simply never get tired of hearing. On top of it being loads of fun, the SS is also quite streetable when you want it to be which is the brilliance of a car such as this. Yes, you can actually have the best of both worlds. And the SS isn’t just great for romping down a quarter-mile, it also handles the curves effortlessly thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control and MacPherson suspension. And to make sure you get this beast to a screeching halt, massive Brembo brakes on all four corners come standard.
Floss Factor: Unless you come across a die-hard Chevy and/or Holden fan, you won’t earn any extra props on the streets with the SS. However, knowing you have a sedan that could whip the pants off most vehicles on the road while still being able to seat multiple passengers and haul luggage should be satisfaction enough to any hardcore car guy (or gal).
Power: 415 hp/ 415 ft lb torque
0-60: 4.7 sec
Gas Cash: 17 MPG (combined)
Back in 2001, the St. Lunatics dropped “Midwest Swing” and proclaimed, “It’s a Midwest thang, y’all, and they ain’t got a clue.” While back then the rest of America may not have been clued into car culture in the Midwest—and would remain in the dark for another decade—Xplizit Car Club out of Orange County, California, would eventually take note, forming their Midwest chapter in 2011.
Having made a name for themselves on the West Coast, launching in 2009, club president Juan “Diablo” Resendiz reached out to Ernesto Silva (main elite council in charge of Xplizit Midwest, East and South) about expanding to middle America. “I received a call from the car club president [Diablo],” says Ernesto. “He told me all I needed to know about the club, and from there we started the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, chapter.”
The Midwest chapter has since expanded beyond Wisconsin to Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Indiana, and it boasts more than 60 members. “Potential members inquire about membership, or a recruiting member from one of the chapters may approach them and extend an invitation to sit in on a meeting,” says Ernesto. While members certainly have to mesh with one another, you get a very different sense when it comes to the cars, as Donks rest next to imports next to old-schools next to trucks. All makes and models are welcome, “as long as they have their unique touch. The more mods the vehicle has, the better,” says Ernesto.
In just three short years, the chapter has grown into a force to be reckoned with. “We have been recognized in the custom scene as the number-one club in the Midwest for the last two years,” says Ernesto. And for those still sleeping on the Midwest, that’s no easy feat. “The custom scene in the Midwest is not easy,” adds Ernesto. “It’s getting harder every year, and more custom vehicles are coming out killing the scene.” Take, for instance, Ernesto’s T-Top Camaro, which graced the cover of RIDES back in March/April 2012.
From Cali to the Midwest, Xplizit Car Club has put the heart of America on the custom-car culture map and, with that, put the rest of the states on notice.