Bayou Bomb: Leroy Brown Is Heading For The 8s – Here’s A Last Look At One Of The Tamest Looking Deep 9-second Street Cars In America

Bayou Bomb: Leroy Brown Is Heading For The 8s – Here’s A Last Look At One Of The Tamest Looking Deep 9-second Street Cars In America

(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.

leroy brown fairmont018 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.


leroy brown fairmont014

Nope, not in the running for a Ridler Award, but it is in the running to kick the pee out of whatever shows up next to it at the track or at the uhhhhh….unsanctioned track that ends with the abbreviation ST.

leroy brown fairmont013

Original displacement? We dunno. Current stroker displacement? We dunno that either. We do know that it has a K1 crank, Callies Compstar Rods, and Diamond Pistons. The cam is a turbo grind from LJMS (Lil’ John’s Motorsports Solutions). The heads are Trick Flow TFS220s and they were touched up by Brian Tooley Racing. The intake manifold is from Typhoon.

leroy brown fairmont012

The turbo, that is tucked in like a guy trying to sneak across the border in a pumpkin truck, is a Borg Warner S480. With the current setup, Mike was seeing about 15-15.5 psi in the boost department. The turbo will soon be upgraded to a Garrett GT55. The intercooler is a Garrett 5-inch core unit. Feeding the whole thing are 127 pound injectors from the Fuel Injection Connection. Mike runs a Microsquirt PCM to control it all and our pal Scott Clark has laid hands on this thing to make sure the tune is good and the engine remains a happy camper.

leroy brown fairmont010

Sure, with the hoses and wires and stuff, the engine looks as though it is being monitored after a stroke, but last time we checked, looms, zip ties, and shrink wrap didn’t make stuff faster. Mike drives this car all the time on the street and doesn’t spare the rod. This car is not aimed at the car show set.

leroy brown fairmont001

The 10″ wide Hoosiers look good on the back of the car and they are the widest Mike can get on it without rubbing. He reported that to get those babies to fit some unspeakable things may have been done to the rear wheel wells. Back seat passengers beyond the weight of Kate Moss are verboten.

leroy brown fairmont002

The overall tidyness of the exterior of the car is pretty awesome. The thing even has the chrome vent shade things over all the windows. You can’t call something that has been seen a million times on the internet a sleeper anymore, but you get where we are going.

leroy brown fairmont003

Sloppy Mechanics.com is still up and going strong, they have a super active FB page, and the whole scene is really full of fun and knowledgeable people. If you like wickedly fast stuff on a budget, this is your place. Hey, the wick on all of it may not be that long, but it sure is neat to see.

leroy brown fairmont006

So yeah, this is the current extent of the roll cage. Mike plans on upgrading the thing because he’d like the car to be legal to run at some different tracks outside of where he is running now. The outlaw tracks and scene where he normally runs doesn’t really have a tech department to speak of. Going down in the 8s, some more protection would be a good idea.

leroy brown fairmont005

The stock wheel and simulated woodgrain are two nice touches with respect to the interior. Classy, stylish, and fast? TRIPLE THREAT.

leroy brown fairmont004

That floor shifter is hooked to a 4L80E that Mike said is the only piece of the car that has not suffered a violent death since he’s owned it. The transmission was pulled from a bus by Matt Happel and stuck in a turbo LS truck and then into this car. It has a US Shift Opti-Shift controller, a Trans-Go shift kit, and a Circle D converter reworked by Lenny at Ultimate Converter Concepts.

leroy brown fairmont007

Thos 10″ wide Hoosiers are a tight fit but they are in there. Mike says that he’s out of room for adding more tire to the car, that is why he went with a raft of suspension upgrades to get the existing meat to work better.

leroy brown fairmont008

Skinnies up front don’t help in the slalom but last we checked, we’ve never seen a low 9-second drag car do much else very good than go straight anyway. Mike went with Mickey Thompson front runners which we approve of because the tiny, cheap Chinese shit tires that some guys use are just that and at nearly 150mph, good rubber is important to prevent firey death. There’s a custom Baer brake setup hiding behind those Weld wheels. The brake setup also came from LJMS, the same place the camshaft came from. 

leroy brown fairmont011

All that suspension stuff we have been talking about? The car is now underpinned with an 8.8 rear with 33 spline Moser axles and spool; Strange 10 ways all around with coil over conversion, UPR lower control arms, UPR anti-roll bar, and a Baseline Pro Launch upper setup.

leroy brown fairmont009

This face took a designer at Ford like 11 minutes to draw. “Yeah, OK…you want a rectangle filled wit other squares and rectangles? Yeah boss, no problem. You buying the beers at lunch?”

leroy brown fairmont019

Those are structural ratchet straps. Don’t worry.

leroy brown fairmont018

To us, Leroy Brown represents the basic notion of hot rodding which is to say that you take a cast off thing no one wants and you invest your time and brains into making that thing your own and in the process you make it better.

leroy brown fairmont017

This bench-seated malaise mobile will soon be grabbing time slips in the 8-second zone which is incredible to think about. It was not that long ago that pro stock cars were running 8s and the notion that something with a license plate could go that quick would have gotten you thrown in the drunk tank. We’re living it and Leroy Brown, along with his current steward Mike Breinin are living proof that this is the golden age of horsepower and hot rodding.

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.”


Picture 7






  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

61 thoughts on “Bayou Bomb: Leroy Brown Is Heading For The 8s – Here’s A Last Look At One Of The Tamest Looking Deep 9-second Street Cars In America

  1. Sumgai

    I want to like it, but can’t. I’m just not the kind of person to be okay with that kind of attitude toward building. Why risk your life on a crusty old brake system and risk your hard work on an electrical fire waiting to happen? I hope the owner has fun with it but I wouldn’t ride in it either.

    1. Sumgai

      BangShift, though I complain about the cars, I enjoy every story you guys post including this one. Shows every side of hot rodding, from the clean to the dirty to the weird. Love the site.

    2. Mike

      It has custom Baer front brakes and rear discs. None of the electrical system is at risk of spontaneously combusting, LOL. It is not about looking good, or even giving away what it has. It is about function.

  2. mooseface

    I love this car, ever since a friend of mine showed me some of the Youtube videos of him getting kicked off the track with it. Hot Rodding was not something I cared for at all until this car showed me the true nature of the sport: it’s the ultimate turd polish.

  3. pontiac drag racer

    Those 4 lug wheels make me mighty nervous. I suppose that is some stock 7.5 inch ring gear rear end too….. Neat idea, but the brakes, wiring and wheel studs look like big trouble.

  4. Brian Lohnes Post author

    If you actually read the story you’ll learn lots of stuff –

    The car is now underpinned with an 8.8 rear with 33 spline Moser axles and spool; Strange 10 ways all around with coil over conversion, UPR lower control arms, UPR anti-roll bar, and a Baseline Pro Launch upper setup.

    The brakes have also been upgraded.

    1. Beagle

      You can see the discs in the back. The four lugs are a trip though! They would incline me to dismiss it at a stop light except the meats give it away… that and the bigass intercooler!

  5. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Another rolling abomination! Cars like this should automatically destroy themselves when the builder even thinks of the dreaded LS – this shows a total lack of imagination!

    What’s wrong with going against the flow and investigating some of uncle Henry’s fine engines. What about a shotgun, a stoked twin turbo FE – I’d even put an ecoboost in this thing rather than sully it with a Chevy!

    No matter – owners of Chevy into Ford transplants don’t live very long as their cars eat them alive as they cry tears of rage, frustration and harbour deep feelings of painful betrayal!

    Don’t get me wrong – I love this car and its ultimate sleeper image. But dump the LS and get real!

    1. scott clark

      Ford doesnt make an engine that can make this kind of power without spending a LOT more money.

      Also, the wiring on this car is ugly – but it’s safe. There’s a lot fewer fire hazards when you get rid of open-spark distributors.

      Can’t speak for the rest, but kudos to Mike for building something cool, original, and not being worried about haters

        1. BeaverMartin

          at the end of the day it comes down to $ per horse power. Good luck finding anything that can complete with an LS on that front. I love AMC, Cummins, and Pontiacs in that order, but remaining loyal to an engine or manufacture takes some deep pockets if you want to compete.

  6. cdub

    This had my attention until I saw the darned LS plant under the hood. YAWN. Is anyone getting bored with the “LS swap everything” stuff? I want some originality!

      1. Matt Cramer

        Yep – you don’t do an LS swap because it’s original. You do an LS swap if you want cheap, effective, and reasonably well documented so you’re not reinventing the wheel. That’s why I put an LS in my C10 pickup – I wanted a modern EFI engine that could be swapped in there without too much downtime. If I’d wanted originality, I’d have done something like a BMW V12 – which would have been pretty cool, but I didn’t have the time and didn’t want to do a ton of fabrication.

          1. BeaverMartin

            So if he built a 302/5.0 for it would that be original? Of maybe he could drop in a air-cooled vw and be real original and real slow. Function comes first, and if that function is going fast, it looks like he nailed it.

  7. TheSilverBuick

    Wasn’t this one of the first LS swaps? Basically the patient zero of common JY LS’s into Fox bodies? Sure there might of been a couple before, but not straight from the yard to the car. Which of course then Mike has upgraded since that time.

    Likewise on the 4-lugs, wasn’t the original idea to keep stock rims on the car? At least until the need for a lot more tire happened.

  8. Kev

    I guess any redneck slapdash junk is a feature car these days as long as it looks good from ten feet away with the hood closed

        1. Mike

          The butthurt is strong with this one.

          It runs 5’s in the 1/8 mile. I could drive to your hometown, cruising at 2300 RPM locked up on the interstate at 80 mph while getting 20 mpg, drag the paint off of your Demon while sipping a tasty beverage, and then drive home.

          1. greg

            OMG!!!!!!!!! the best reply back ive ever seen on these websites,take it easy MIKE,dont make his “butt hurt” too bad….at least put a little posi-trac additive for the butt!!!

  9. PJ

    Loads of but hurt. First everyone hates the Riddler winning buick, now this and how its got an LS so it sucks.
    The entire concept of this car is lost on some people I think.
    Google the Cream dream and check out sloppy mechanics if you get it.

  10. Idle King

    This thing is badass.Half you clowns can’t build 12 second car if you start out with one.The whole point of Bad Bad Leroy Brown is to sucker you into believing it couldn’t possibly be that fast.

    1. greg

      IDLE KING it sounds like your giving too much credit out there…i thinkin they couldnt keep a 12 second car in the 12″s they would probably slow it down to the 15″s the more they “tuned” it.I’ve seen it with that style of person that owned a high 10 second grand national n by the end of the nite he had ‘tuned” it to the 13’s honestly speakin!!!!

  11. Magic Fingers

    I think this car is a fake . I bought a 2014 GT500 and it runs low 12’s .. no way that junker could beat American real American muscle … is this a holloween joke ..come on..

    1. greg

      My rusty, dented up , quarter panel bashed grand national that i drove everyday here in kansas city with over 8 inch snows at times would run a lot of 11.90’s on regular street tires,So Magic Fingers,its TAMPONS like u i love to make look like puuuuussssies but then again u bought a car that can run 12’s off the show room floor! Do you understand more of the parts of your car is imported than all the parts in the Fairmont,and if you want to impress any one make your p.o.s. run in the 9’s then…..oh and im sure there is less money in that Fairmont than in your car n 1 last point… a “purdy’ car nowdays will get u there last most of the time….long live the old crusty ugly sleepers!!!!!!!

  12. Ron Ward

    Do I like 4-door cars? Nope. Do I like LS engines? Nope. Do I like Fords? Nope. Do I like GM powerplants? Nope. Do I like cars built to run crazy fast without adding safety features? Nope.

    I do, however, enjoy every bit of this car. This is exactly how you put something together that runs like a scalded dog but looks like a steaming pile without breaking the bank. It’ll piss off the neighbors, the school board, the tech inspectors and automotive purists while putting a big ol’ fat smile on the face of the driver. Nice work!

  13. Mott

    old gold fairmont #2 still hitting people in the feels.
    great article, people get upset but, there is no pure’er form of hot rodding to me, obviously.

  14. jeff

    Somebody give this guy 5 bucks so he can strap the fuel cell down!! JC. I actually like the car but between that bar and the cell it makes me wonder how the rest is put together.

  15. Al Von

    It’s a beautiful thing! Even uglier than my LTD LX w ’79 pace car front clip! That car ran 16.00 and that was fun. Cannot imagine the fun with this–my kind of “hybrid.”

  16. BeaverMartin

    I love it and will drive hundreds of miles to see a grudge match between Mike’s Fairmont, Magic Fingers’ GT500, and 440 6PAC’s Duster. Heck the Colorodo Kid could drop the flag and Guitar Slinger could narrate = best Roadkill episode ever!

  17. Tim

    Everyone complains about how boring and over done LS swaps are. I get it don’t get me wrong they are everywhere, they are not pretty, and people really don’t like them in (insert brand here) cars. The thing is I don’t see anyone complaining about “just another dragster with a HEMI, do something original!”

    As far as Leroy Brown goes it’s not my style, but I love what’s been done here. While I prefer to have everything neat, tidy, and clean I respect the bare essentials this car was built with.

  18. loganexpress

    Early 80 Fairmont run to Logan in early 80’s….
    A stock model straight six Fairmont had an 85 mph speedo…
    Woke up late on a Sunday morning and made a speed run to
    the International terminal from Gloucester in 18 Mins ……
    If you know the north shore I could tell how fast we were going twice
    128 to rt 1 exit and then rt 1 to rt 16 exit for the airport .
    The rest was full tilt – went down the Orient Heights hill @100+
    with a yellow then red light . pure luck we made it

  19. dirwood

    i think you guys are missing the point here, its all about the BOOST! this guy became my hero when he pushed 22 lbs of it into that stock 5.3 and squashed the ring lands in, once you play with the pressure you can never go back….

  20. Don

    This car is knocking on the door to the 8s in the 1/4 mile, is in the 5s in the 1/8. This is hot rodding. Take stuff you have, made, traded for, or got from the junk yard or on the cheap and build a fast car. Then let it evolve from there. Once this car started knocking on the door to the 8s the car got brakes, suspension work, and other things. Its not for everyone, but then again I don’t really think Mike is asking for anyones approval either. Enjoy the article, leave a positive comment, or MOVE ON.

    1. Mike

      Don, I know you get it. I don’t mind the haters…it makes owning, building and racing the car even more rewarding. LOL.

    2. Anon

      This gives hot rodders a bad name. The car is more like redneck engineering from the looks of it. Slap together a bunch of junk and claim it’s as fast as your d*** is long.

      1. BeaverMartin

        For clarification redneck engineering involves “booger” welds, leaky SBCs from old trucks (Usually a 305, they think is a 350) a carb that is too large, leaky headers, and at least one mismatched tire. Turbo and LS are your first clues that this isn’t slapped together. The time slip is the clincher. Took me big bucks and lots of engineering to get my 77 firebird into the high 10s back in my civilian days. Mike has put in the time, planing, effort and money into this one. Don’t be fooled by all the big-buck check built cars, those aren’t the truest hotrods, they’re just the ones the magazines take pictures of.

  21. dieselgeek

    Somebody is mad because their gt500 with a $600/month payment could be sitting right next to leroy brown, nobody over the age of twelve would even notice it LMAO

  22. Anon

    I’m old! My life wasn’t wasted in vain! I used to be cool, believe me! I didn’t grow old because I had no choice…

    ColoradoKid/Gramps, I guess you’re unaware that a 2014 GT500 (662HP) is nothing to sneeze at, and it takes a lot to build a serious street car that can come anywhere near it in terms of all around performance. This hackjob backwoods special is no “properly built street rod”. There are plenty like you that claim that they know their stuff and have been there, but this turd is only shiny to you because it isn’t yours.

  23. BeaverMartin

    I’m not hatting on you or your GT500, but you need to understand that your mod motor and modern (ie heavy) car would be hard pressed to hang with a turbo LS in a lighter body. It’s not about age or anything else. There is a big difference between a street and strip car like this and a factory street car like yours. You can turn up the wick if you want to, just be prepared for the compromises required. Otherwise accept Mike’s challenge and see how REAL his turd is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>