American Chopper March 26 "Muscle Car"

This week on American Chopper Jr. goes with four wheels instead of two and, as I’m expecting, moves closer to having his own spinoff show potentially called "American Hot Rod" or "Jr.'s Garage".

Jr. is being secretive at his shop, but Mickey and the team want answers! It turns out that all Jr. could think about during the build-off bike was how cool polished and riveted aluminum would look on a car. Jr. cut his teeth building motorcycles but wants to take his company to the next level and design a car. Maybe he's trying to get hired by GM as a designer. I happen to work for an automaker myself, and all the designers I know are experts at CAD. It takes years to go from a sketch to even a prototype, but Jr.'s going to have it done in time for Daytona Bike Week. Vinnie seems pretty excited and states, "I'll be perfectly honest, I love cars more than bikes." Me too, Vinnie, and that's one more reason why he's my favorite character on the show.

So, in a show first, Jr. visits Trans American Muscle in sunny Florida to piece together a PJD edition black Chevy Camaro. They start the design process with the obligatory parking lot burnout and end up in a street drag race with a Ferrari (boys will be boys). For all the 2 Fast 2 Furious street racers out there, now that is a drag race! Fortunately nobody is arrested or killed, and back at the shop the work begins. Vinnie gets to work installing the supercharger and intercooler, which go on with ease. These cars are built to be tuned and modified. The kits are fairly simple for most mechanically inclined. They also remove the stock exhaust with those annoying mufflers and opt for do-it-yourself pipes with a noticeably larger diameter for less back pressure, higher horsepower, and a much better sound that will definitely annoy the neighbors. The bolt-on aftermarket parts are installed quickly by Vinnie and the pros in the shop. The Florida team takes the measurements for the sheet metal to be cut by Cody and Pete back in New York. No surprise to me, they had been goofing off waiting for a call from Vinnie. Fortunately, they hadn’t burned the place down, so once measurements were received, they got off their tricycles, put down their jousting lances and cut the aluminum to size to overnight it to Florida.

Just about the time I'm thinking "How are they going to get this car to Nub so he can paint it?" Nub shows up in Florida to paint the car! Is there anything this guy can't do? So, Nub takes a perfectly good, shiny black car and paints it flat black. No flames, skulls, logos, or graphics, just flat black. Why did he fly all the way to Florida for something any body shop could have done? Did he have to rent somebody's paint booth to do it? In any case, personally, I'm not a fan of the flat paints. They look unfinished to me. Also, I have ADD, and I like shiny things. Oh look, a squirrel!

While installing the custom interior, Vinnie makes a comment that it is a pain in the neck. No sympathy from me though. Talk to the guys at GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant where they do this once every minute all day long! Better talk to your union rep, Vinnie, because after 77 custom builds you’ll end up with repetitive stress injury (RSI) and be out on medical leave. Then where will the show be?

Thankfully, they remove the stock rims and add new 22” rims with low profile tires. Paul’s definitely all about the look because that’s going to be a harsh ride and a less than ideal tire coefficient, which is going to hurt him at the track later. . . Anyway, the center of the rims have a nose cone to match the propeller wheels like on the build-off bike. How cute . . .

With the car almost finished, Jr. adds contrasting sheet metal to the side profile of the car that reminds me a lot of a 1957 Corvette. It's basically a giant side stripe swoosh made out of polished aluminum on a flat black car held on with about 2000 rivets. There’s also riveted, polished aluminum on the hood bulge, which has to be just blinding when driving into the sun. Polished aluminum is one of the most reflective surfaces known to man and can be a near perfect mirror. When Jr. pulls out of the garage for the fist time, you can see the sun’s visible reflection on the ground in bright daylight. No thanks.

They take the car to Speed World to test it out at the track instead of a residential neighborhood. Vinnie does a quarter mile run at 12.5 seconds and 113.89 mph and bests Jr. by a full second. I had to pause the DVR but it definitely read 13.91 seconds for Jr. I was surprised because a stock 2010 Chevrolet Camaro V8 will do a 13.1 in the quarter mile. The supercharger should have given them a bigger advantage.

The bike is revealed at Daytona Bike Week for some reason. Why not the New York, LA, or Detroit auto show (the NAIAS technically)? I’ve seen bigger crowd reactions before, but for the most part people were positive. I think most were hoping for a bike, but the build-off bike was there. I love all American sports cars, but it is hard for me not to be biased since I’m a Mustang guy. :-)