Yes, the first thing we saw was the license plate on this thundering big-block that rattled our Nikons and swung our heads. Then we noted the humongous wheeltubs and the ultralow profile as the car glided by, nearly touching the ground. It was making laps at the Car Craft Summer Nationals, so we set up our own version of Occupy Wall Street until the owner came back and we could grill him for info. How did he get it so low and still manage to drive it? Why are the pedals upside down? Who built this thing?
"I am a stone masonry contractor," owner Rick Grundhoefer tells us, explaining the plates. He built the car himself in what he calls his shop- garage, where he also does bodywork on the side. "I found this car as a shell and built it around a 2x4 mild-steel boxed frame so I could get it low," Rick says. "The frame and the rocker panels are the same height—4 inches off the ground." He also says this is the second car he's ever built. After crawling around on the ground with camera equipment to ogle the suspension and admire the interior, we were impressed.
To us, everything points to what appears to be a race car driven on the street. Yet, to Rick, it's a cruiser compared with the '32 Bantam Comp Eliminator drag car he runs at the strip. The size of the car, the carpet, and the upholstery add up to something so luxurious to Rick that he claims it is as comfortable to drive as a new car. We wondered what new car he was referring to. A quick look around and you'd think he was crazy to drive it as a commuter, but he does. He says he's driven it from his hometown in Foley, Minnesota, to a car show in Brainerd, which is more than 100 miles away. It's something he plans on doing as often as possible. We kind of envy that.
Who: Rick Grundhoefer
What: '62 Chevy Biscayne
Where: Foley, MN
Engine: This is a 540-inch big-block but not a crate engine. Rick and his pals at Eaton Enterprises in Phoenix added a 4.25-inch crank to a 4.500 bore to a Dart iron block. The heads are 320cc Pro Toplines with 2.250-/1.880-inch intake/exhaust valves. The cam isn't small, either, with 262/272 duration at 0.050 and 0.697/0.697 lift, ground by Bullet Cams in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Using the Edelbrock Super Victor Jr. intake and 1050 Dominator carb, the 540 makes 750 hp at 6,800 rpm and 660 lb-ft of torque at 3,700. The car weighs 3,700 pounds, and Rick thinks it should run in the 10s in the quarter.
Transmission: It's a five-speed! As in push the clutch in, rev the engine, and step to the side. It doesn't blow chunks because it was built by Tremec and has a McLeod RST clutch and a Lakewood bellhousing.
Rearend: "I think it has 4.30:1s in that one," Rick says, referring to the outrageous gear ratio in his street car. Those gears are in a 9-inch housing with Mark Williams axles, so we don't have to worry about them getting into the Blown Up section of Car Craft.
Suspension: The entire car is built on a 2x4 boxed frame, so there is plenty of room for killer springs and shocks. In the front is a pair of adjustable coilovers from Strange along with a manual rack-and-pinion. In the rear is a Chris Alston ladder-bar setup with Afco coilovers. Sounds like too many adjustment holes to us.
Wheels/Tires: The 18.50x31-inch Hoosier DOT slicks are sweet
Americana. The wheels are blackout forged Weld Racing S71s. The big size is 14x15 and the little size is 15x4 with a 26x7.50-15LT M/T Sportsman tire.
Interior: Those pedals are from Rick's prewar race car roots. The brake pedal drops through the floor to a master cylinder mounted on the frame, therefore the clutch pedal has to follow, and the gas pedal is on its own. It goes up onto the firewall and to a cable, as do other gas pedals.
Blackout: Even though the firewall looks altered, it is in the stock position. There are no traditional motor mounts—the car uses an engine and mid–plate that are, as a guideline, easier to work with on a chassis car. The paint is called Global Black, and it hides the fuel cell by blending it with the body of the car.