(Photos by Charles Wickam) We’re breaking from normal protocol here. Why? Normally when a car owner tells us that he’s going to be blowing the car apart to make changes that should speed up the program we sit on our hands until that work is done and then roll with the story. In the case of Leroy Brown we thought it was only right to give a last look at the car as it sat when it ran a best of 9.10 at well over 140mph in the quarter mile before suspension upgrades and some more horsepower shoved the brown lump right into the 8-second zone. Many of you know this car through the videos that have been scattered around the internet for years like the broken shards of self esteem that this car caused when it first started terrorizing drag strips in the capable hands of Matt Happel. You may know Happel’s name as he was the dude that started “Sloppy Mechanics” and this car was one of the first that really got lots of traction on the internet a few years back. Now owned by Louisiana resident Mike Breinin, the car has morphed and changed over the years but the basic premise is still the same: loads of cheap horsepower, in a body style that has the sex appeal of a champion female competitive eater, that moonlights as an arm wrestler.
Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes straight to the bone and that’s the brilliance of this whole thing. Cars like Leroy are a big freedom rocket to the established practices of modern hot rodding, where everything is professionally crafted, overbuilt to the 10th degree, and seemingly unattainable by the average kid on the street. We live in the greatest horsepower making era per dollar ever and Leroy Brown demonstrates that every time Breinin cruises it down the street, down the strip, or makes an attempt to give his poor father a freaking heart attack in the passenger seat. More on that later.
Every era has had it’s “unwanted car” hot rodding platform. The gasser era is known for Willys, Anglias, Kaiser Henry Js, and other tiny cars. Guys didn’t use those as their starter platforms because they were cool. Just the opposite. They used them because they were horrid little cars that everyone hated and they were worthless. An iconic Willys was a rolling joke way back when, with an engine that barely made 40hp and looks that were seen as goofy. We all know how that turned out, but the same can be said for Fairmonts and their brethren these days. The Chevy Malibu was (and continues to be) hot stuff for a while but then prices rose. Leroy was one of the first Fairmonts that got everyone talking and now they are practically building themselves in shops across America. If you didn’t know that these cars are Fox-platform pieces just like the Mustangs, you do now. All the same parts bolt right onto this car as would on a Fox era Mustang, making them a double whammy of bargain pricing and easily upgradable. Of the hundreds of these cars rolling around now, about 13 of them are Ford powered. The rest, like Leroy have gotten LS swaps into them of varying ferocity. Leroy’s is pretty damned ferocious and it is only going to get more pissed.
We really enjoyed talking with Mike recently and getting his story on the car and what we took away from the conversation is that the guy rightfully loves this thing. We would too. It is street driven all the time, is a reliable combo that he has broken virtually every part and piece on, but after doing so has been upgraded to be better and better each time. Often, we talk to car owners who are almost apologizing for some aspects of their car or worried about stuff. Nothing of the sort here and that’s what makes this whole program so good. Worrying about door dings isn’t on the radar. Figuring out how to make the thing hook harder and utilize more horsepower is.
WE’RE GOING TO TELL YOU THE REST OF THE STORY THROUGH PHOTOS AND VIDEOS BELOW – LEROY IS OUR FAVORITE SHADE OF UGLY
OH! If you have made it this far than you get to hear the reason why this car is called “Leroy Brown”. Mike’s dad, a lifelong car guy used to take Mike out as a kid and scare the crap out of him on the street in muscle and sports cars. Well, in the video below you will see Mike returning the favor to his pop IN SPADES. His dad told him that it was the fastest accelerating thing he had ever been in and that when offered a second ride he refused by saying, “I have not lived for 70 years to die in that effing car.” Greatness, right? After the ride, Mike’s dad suggested the Leroy Brown name because after all, he was “the baddest man in the whole damned town.”
CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF THIS AWESOME HELL RIDE -