Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Fear Factor 1970 Hemi-Powered 'Cuda

The Fear Factor 1970 Hemi-Powered 'Cuda
Reality-Show Host Joe Rogan Commissioned Rad Rides by Troy to Build the Hemi-Powered Sick Fish 'Cuda

As the shenanigans of each episode of Fear Factor draw to a close, host Joe Rogan enlightens viewers by announcing to the winner, "Evidently fear was not a factor for you." That line has been repeated enough over the past five seasons to become a catch phrase of sorts that reflects the show's success. In the cutthroat world of reality TV, that's an awfully long time to survive, and it has no doubt imparted its host with some monetary flexibility with which to buy steel-crafted toys of hedonism.

Most Hollywood celebs opt for blinged-out Hummer H2s, Bentleys, traditional wanker exotics, and (gag!) trendy gas-electric hybrids, but Rogan did the right thing and had Rad Rides by Troy build him a '70 Barracuda. The car means more to him than the average ego-carriage, as it pays tribute to a clunker Mopar his mom gave him before he made it big. In a way, it symbolizes how far he's come since the days of touring the country as a fledgling stand-up comic.

No doubt, the car had to be truly unique to capture the sentimentality it represented. Few builders are as well known as Troy Trepanier. Being the darling of the automotive press and a fixture on the hit TV series Rides has a way of doing that, and his list of celebrity clients grows by the day.

We already broke the news that Troy's working on a drop-top '67 Lincoln Continental to sweeten that World Series trip for Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. In addition to the inherent stress of delivering a hallowed E-body that justifies the six-figures-and-then-some price tag, the crew had to work within a tight six-month timeframe to coincide with its scheduled debut on Bud Brutsman's Rides show on TLC. That was the bad part. The good part was a relatively big budget to exercise creativity, with the only criterion being "make it cool." Ah, the beauty of a double-edged sword.

A big part of making that deadline was starting out with a car in relatively good shape. Again, it was a rather laissez-faire process for Joe. He told Rad Rides what he wanted, and they went out and bought a car to start with for $13,000-one that was mostly rust-free and straight, save for a pair of dinged-up quarters. In trademark Trepanier fashion, the host of subtle visual cues aren't recognizable at first glance, but their individual elements become more prominent upon closer study and more innovative when considering the craftsmanship they required. It ultimately hits you as a brilliant artistic statement. The most obvious change is the AAR 'Cuda hood, not often seen in shiny paint, and the cotton-gauze air cleaner peeking out from its flared scoop. Further enhancing the hungry-look theme is a custom front lower valance that integrates a scoop of its own surrounded by more AAR-like winglets on both sides. Widened and mounted flush, the front bumper is from a (forgive him) '69 Camaro.

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