RK Motors Charlotte has become pretty notorious for its Pro Touring models, which are ultra-high-performance versions of classic muscle and sports cars. Not only are they extremely powerful, but RKM also has the restored to a condition that is better than the factory could have ever imagined. Just recently, RKM launched an all-new Pro Touring model in the form of the 1955 Ford Thunderbird Pro Touring.
After the Corvette was a smash hit, Ford decided two years was a long enough wait to build its direct competitor to the Corvette, the Thunderbird. The T-bird and Corvette, however, went to completely different directions over the year. As expected, both vehicles became progressively larger through the `60s and `70s, but the T-bird grew to proportions that no one expected by the time it hit the 1967 model year.
After 1997, Ford decided to axe this growing monster, but released it again in the 2002 model year with styling cues taken from its first generation model. The first generation was arguably the most beautiful for the T-bird and RKM’s model promises to not take away from its classical styling, but rather add to it with modern modifications.
Did RKM hold true to its promise not to completely hack up this first rendition of the T-bird, or did it make this beautiful car just a shell of its former self?
Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.
Okay, I have worked in many repair shops in my day. During my tour as a service manager, I came across a fair share of “Mountain Man Mechanics,” which is the politically correct thing to call them. These guys love taking the strangest vehicles and creating monsters out of them.
There was one mechanic that took a 1980s Honda Civic hatchback and dropped a 1300 cc Hayabusa engine in it, thinking it would increase the Civic’s performance. He didn’t quite grasp the logic of torque-to-weight ratio and ended up with only a really cool sounding Civic .
Another monster that sticks out in my mind is when a mechanic tore apart his unwilling wife’s mid-1990s Mitsubishi Mirage and dropped its body on a self-shortened S-10 frame. He then dropped a 307 cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine in it and connected the Olds engine to the transmission and transfer case on the S-10 frame. It actually looked and sounded mean when he was done, but instead of re-welding the frame together, he used several bolts to secure it. Guess what happened...
What’s my point here? Well, a new monster has recently come to our attention, which is for sale on Craigslist. The owner has dubbed this machine a 2007 Willys Trike. This trike has a stretched Jeep CJ-2 body with a motorcycle wheel on the front. The body sits on a custom frame – hopefully it’s welded – and has the rear independent suspension from a T-bird.
Instead of having the old Jeep CJ-2 engine, this beast has a Chevy 4.3-liter Vortec engine, which is good for around 190 horsepower, if it is stock. Plus it has a four-speed transmission connecting the engine to the rear wheels.
The handle bars for the motorcycle wheel span all the way from the front of the vehicle through two slots under the windshield. We bet this thing is a scary animal to maneuver at high speeds. But anyways, this “Mountain Man” monster can be yours for “just” $11,000. We bet this thing sits on the market for a while.
Another week, another Top Gear USA episode, and we may be starting to like the show a bit. Don’t give us a hard time; we’re only human. Yes, it’s still lacking the quirks and perks of the UK version, but these guys may just be finding their way.
The funny part about the statement we just made is that this week’s show saw fewer segments than the first two, but that could be what helped it. Everything wasn’t so forced and they didn’t jump to the next topic as if they were actually in a race. Of course, the downside to this was that they did not get the opportunity to review any vehicles and they inserted a brief and odd news segment.
Overall the producers for the show are starting to find a good balance between Foust’s car knowledge, Wood’s comedic randomness, and Ferrara’s dry commentary. Hopefully it will get all worked out soon and maybe people will actually begin to give the show a chance.
Hit the jump for details on this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
The fourth generation was an expansion on that start.Unlike the third-generation "Bullet Birds" how brought style to the four-seat Thunderbird, the forth was more an evolution of style than a whole new invention. The Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off, "formal" look for 1964 . The Thunderbird’s sporty image had by that time become only an image. The standard 390 cu. in. 315 bhp engine needed nearly 11 seconds to push the heavy T-bird to 60 mph (96 (...) More