(Lead Photo: Mopar Muscle) I feel that I write on this subject more often than any other, and I have no problem writing on it again because it needs to be fleshed out and eradicated. It’s the “wrong car” line of thought, and it usually crops up courtesy of blogs who use snark and posturing to gain views, but is also common thought among the crowds: “It’s a killer build, but they just picked the wrong car. If they had just picked that car instead, it would be that much cooler.” Since when? Never. That’s when.
This year’s SEMA cream of the crop was filled with the “wrong car”. An early four-eye Fox was the Mustang eye-catcher. The most wicked and non-mullet third-gen Camaro, the DSE-Z car from Detroit Speed and Engineering, was parked in front of the Optima trailer, looking absolutely vicious. Chris Forsberg’s Datsun 510 wagon was clean enough that I had to do a walkaround tour of it live. Hoonigan’s $350 “Sh*t car” BMW E36 was soaking up the sun outside, and Suzy Bauter’s widebody Rambler was an attention magnet every last day. Think about that for a second…a 1963 Rambler that didn’t have slicks and a blower but was hunkered down over Viper-sized rubber with fender flares you could set your lunch on was drawing crowds.
Wrong car? Give it a rest, will you? If anything, the “wrong car” is the right car to build! There is nothing wrong with doing a Mustang, Camaro, G-body, Chevelle or whatever else floats your boat. If you’ve got the car and you are spinning the wrenches on it, good on you. But downgrading someone else’s car because it’s not a mainstream choice is almost laughable anymore. The creativity that goes into these builds, usually because it’s needed since the aftermarket just doesn’t support that make or model, is what makes them awesome. Seeing a built-up Firebird attacking cones is cool…seeing a ’77 Sunbird doing it is even better. And if you show me something that started life as front-wheel drive boiling the rear hides, you will have my full attention, as well as anyone else in the immediate vicinity. Is it becoming clearer?
I’m all about the weirdness, so long as it’s done right and done well. I don’t care if it is or isn’t the wrong car. One of the baddest machines I’ve ever seen was Bobby Regester’s Pontiac Sunfire Pikes Peak race car. A Pontiac Sunfire is, without question, an absolute shitbox in it’s best factory form. But a RWD conversion, one shrieking V8, and a couple laps up Pikes Peak pre-pavement and suddenly, I wanted one too. (Maybe not so much after he sent the car sailing off of a corner into a rock field back in 2011, but still.)
Bring on the freaks. Build them well, pour your hearts into them. Drive them, race them, show them, enjoy them. And ignore those who still insist on crowing on about the “wrong car”. Even a late-model Mitsubishi Mirage can be made to be awesome…it might take a rally team and a ton of money to do it, but the end product still looks like fun.