David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan are social distancing to the extreme! Only because Mike lives in Georgia and David lives in Southern California, though. That doesn’t mean they can’t relive everything they love (and maybe hate a little, too) about their favorite Roadkill cars! They’ve compiled a list of the 10 greatest Roadkill cars of all time, and as a bonus, are going to tell you a little about their history, their favorite moments with each car, and maybe express some deep seeded feelings along the way. Did your favorite car make the list?
10. Crusher Camaro
The Crusher Camaro is the most filmed Roadkill car and the oldest one in the fleet, too! By that we mean it was the first ever Roadkill car, not the oldest from its manufacture date. If you don’t know the story, the Crusher Camaro is a 1967 that David Freiburger literally saved from the crusher by taking it off the hands of its previous owner for a measly $700 way back in 1994. The Crusher Camaro has appeared in 12 episodes of various MotorTrend programs, including two shows you’ve probably never heard of: HOT ROD Unlimited and HOT ROD TV. There have been a number of engines powering the Crusher—it started with the blown big-block, then it got the 24-hour 700hp LS7 swap that was streamed live from the floor of tradeshow, that was followed by a blown LS3 that the HOT ROD Garage guys dropped in then broke at the dragstrip, and now its got a 400ci tunnel-ram small-block. (The Crusher Camaro also likes road trips. )
Finnegan’s favorite moment: When he spun it out in episode 25 during the Roadkill car drag race with Diesel Power‘s KJ Jones sitting passenger.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: Episode 49, after he and Steve Dulcich dropped the 400ci tunnel-ram small-block and got it to wheelie at the dragstrip. Admittedly, not Blasphemi-size wheelies, but still super cool.
9. Crusher Impala
This 1969 Impala is Freiburger’s personal favorite, and who can deny how cool it is when the big boat can do block-long burnouts. Remember the blown big-block from the Crusher Camaro? That’s where the Crusher Impala got its name and its 700 tire-vaporizing horsepower. To be exact, that’s a 489ci big-block Chevy with an 8-71 supercharger and two Holley four-barrels up top. And, of course, the scoop, don’t forget the scoop. The Crusher Impala was built in episode 60 to impress the boys from Mighty Car Mods, Marty and Moog, and give the ultimate American car experience during their visit. It’ll drag, it’ll autocross, it will spin the tires to your hearts content—but Finnegan still hates it. He has so little care for the Crusher Impala he can’t even remember how many doors it has! That’s two, Mr. Finnegan, not four. But there is one saving grace, that engine and drivetrain. Finnegan thinks it should go back where it came from, though, back into the other Crusher, the Camaro.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: In episode 60 when Freiburger did donuts so hard, he threw a tire then proceeded to burn out on the bare rim.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: This is a two-fer, when he got it going sideways for days at DirtFish Rally School, and the 100-yard burn-out he did with Dulcich after fixing it up on an episode of Roadkill Garage.
Years before episode 46, Finnegan and Freiburger picked up a used circle-track car that still had a strong 350, a Jericho clutchless 4-speed transmission and a quick-change rear end. It sat neglected and ignored until Freiburger picked up a stripped 1971 Monte Carlo body from his buddy Hector. The wheelbase of the race car was shorter than the Monte Carlo, so, with some advice from former HOT ROD staff editor Brandan Gillogly, they shortened the body and proceeded to road trip the newly minted NASCarlo to a dirt track a few hours away. After just a few laps, Freiburger put it in the wall rear-end first, but it wasn’t because of a lack of talent—a ball-joint broke off and the right-side control arm dug into the clay and spun him around. NASCarlo was the fastest car at the team’s second visit to DirtFish, then Finnegan crashed NASCarlo again on episode 5 of Faster with Finnegan. With the help of David Newbern and Mike Cotten, Finnegan was able to rebuild it, making NASCarlo better than it’s ever been.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: That time he crashed it on a circle track in episode five of Faster with Finnegan. He swears that big agricultural tire was a ninja and came out of nowhere.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: That time he crashed it on a circle track in episode 46 of Roadkill. But again, not his fault. And, that’s the only time Freiburger has ever put a car in the wall.
7. Vette Kart
This 1985 C4 Corvette represents the very first assignment David Freiburger ever gave Mike Finnegan when they both worked for HOT ROD. Back in 1994, the boys tested the effects of extreme weight loss by comparing the full-bodied and no-bodied times on a paved oval. The Vette Kart can do it all—drag race, autocross, road course, rally—and it does it for cheap, too! Finnegan says the only bad thing about it is the engine. Freiburger says it’s his best idea ever and everyone needs to strip and cage a C4 Corvette just like it. And they both agree, messing around in the Vette Kart is some of the most fun they’ve ever had on Roadkill.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: When Freiburger told him to lift up the Vette Kart with a forklift and roll it over on episode 75. With Freiburger strapped into the driver seat, mind you!
Freiburger’s favorite moment: Episode 35 when they raced it against a Lingenfelter Corvette and at the end of the day did endless donuts in the Vette Kart.
According to Finnegan, this is “tea and crumpets covered Jack Daniels!” Finnegan and Freiburger picked up Draguar, a 1974 Jaguar XJ12, way back in episode 7, with the supercharged 350ci small-block Chevy already in place. The Draguar received one of the first parking-lot swap that the boys have become famous for, getting a new Weiand supercharger right there at Gotellis Speed Shop where it joined the Roadkill family. On that trip it overheated so much, they resorted to running it through car washes to cool it down. The Draguar also holds the title of the first Roadkill car ever to have the hood removed to improve cooling. On the very first episode of HOT ROD Garage, Finnegan and Freiburger swapped in a new blown 383ci small-block that made 650 hp. Randy Pobst raced it, it won the burnout-for-distance contest in episode 50, and was one of the many cars present at HOT ROD’s challenge for the world record of most cars doing burnouts at the same time. It even drove itself once when Steve Dulcich was working on it! No amount of wrenching will make the Draguar better than it is, and Freiburger admits, “We stupidly ruin engines in it for absolutely no reason.”
Finnegan’s favorite moment: The epic burnout they did in Summit Racing’s freshly paved parking lot, right after swapping in the newest BluePrint 383 in that same parking lot.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: When Randy Pobst took it around Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs Raceway.
5. General Mayhem (First Edition)
There aren’t many muscle cars that look better than a 1968 Dodge Charger and, according to Finnegan, no muscle car has ever had better taillights. Version 1.0 of the General Mayhem was powered by the low-mileage 440 and 727 Torqueflite out of an old Walter Whiteesque motorhome. It was the perfect dirt bomber, Finnegan and Freiburger had the time of their lives out in the desert and at DirtFish Rally School. Eventually, it went under the knife at Diversified Creations, where it was turned into a full on drag car. It got the works—fat tires out back, skinny rubber up front, a roll cage, and, most importantly, a Hellcat drivetrain swap. But Finnegan misses the dirt bomber style and Freiburger agrees.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: Episode 32, the first time they took it to DirtFish when it still had the 440 and they had a blast sliding it around all day.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: Episode 23, when they finally finished swapping in the motorhome 440 and took it on dirt for the first time.
4. Muscle Truck
Freiburger bought this 1974 Chevy C10 with a completely restored frame way before Roadkill was a thing and then proceeded to ruin it with a bad c-notch job, airbags, and his first LS-swap—an all-aluminum LS6 with Turbo 400, Gear Vendors Overdrive and a Ford 9-inch from a junker. The Muscle Truck’s Roadkill debut was in episode 18 where they ran it in an eighth-mile drag, but all anyone remembers from that episode is when Freiburger crashed the minibike. In episode 28, Freiburger got to live out a long-held fantasy with the Muscle Truck—removing the step-side rear fenders and hacking the fronts so they could throw on some huge mud-bogger tires and blast around in the sand dunes. It’s next adventure was even more memorable—Finnegan and Freiburger used the Muscle Truck to tow a boat to a lake, removed the LS6 to power the boat and blast around for a half-hour, pulled the engine back out of the boat to go back in the Muscle Truck, successfully towed everything home, then executed the best trailer burnout ever. The Muscle Truck is such a great Roadkill car, it inspired two more muscle trucks—the Mopar Muscle Truck and the Ford Muscle Truck. But none of those are as good as the original and Finnegan and Freiburger agree, it’s probably the best Roadkill vehicle of all time.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: Jumping the Muscle Truck in the Glamis sand dunes and racing Fred Williams of Dirt Every Day in his Baja Bug.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: When Finnegan did an “awesome” job cutting the fenders to fit the mud-bogger tires that one time in the sand dunes.
The Rotsun came from the same friends that sold Finnegan and Freiburger the Draguar, but this 1971 Datsun 240Z has never been kind to the Roadkill guys. The Rotsun refuses to cooperate, always breaking down right when the action starts to get good. The battery melted to the header in episode 25, it broke half-shaft on the chassis dyno after they bolted the turbo to the 4.3L V6, it overheated at the autocross, they still didn’t give up on it when the flywheel nearly came off because someone forgot the Loctite, and then the transmission broke and it was stuck in fifth gear for most of the 24 Hours of Lemons. No matter how bad the Rostun has treated Finnegan and Freiburger, they haven’t given up on it—but they did get rid of the horrible 4.3L V6 and dropped a Ford 5.0 in for the sake of reliability. But then the rear axles started breaking. Again. Once those were fixed, it was time to overheat again, stranding the boys in Las Vegas. Finnegan loves the Rostun, saying the few shining moments between breakdowns are worth all the hassle. Freiburger hates it, although not as much as Finnegan hates the Crusher Impala, and only because those brief rays of hope are so powerful.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: The power the Rotsun has to bring people together, like in episode 42 when everyone kept pushing it to get it to bump start at the 24 Hours of Lemons, not knowing the crankshaft was broken in half.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: Episode 32, when he blasted it around and an old, abandoned suburb against a brand new Subaru.
2. Stubby Bob
Stubby Bob started out life as a 1950 Ford F-650 dump truck that Finnegan bought as a surprise for Freiburger for an episode filmed at his house in Georgia. Bob wasn’t stubby yet, after Finnegan proved he couldn’t drive a non-synchro four-speed, the team got to shortening the chassis for a cool look. Stubby Bob’s first appearance as a runner was in the project car shootout in episode 50, but after a relatively boring experience Finnegan and Freiburger decided it was time to properly Roadkill it. In episode 52, they made a choice that would change Roadkill history and put the new blown big-block 454 behind the cab, mostly because it wouldn’t fit under the hood, and prayed for wheelies. Ask and ye shall receive, after mounting the blown big-block 454, 4L80 transmission and v-drive to get the power to the back, the legend was born. Finnegan executed a picture perfect, bumper tapping wheelie that ended up costing KJ Jones of Diesel Power $100. From there, Finnegan and Tony Angelo of HOT ROD Garage set out to improve upon the success by upgrading the front suspension and adding wheelie bars so they could road trip it to Eagle Field and do some more wheelieing. Broken driveshafts and v-drives and a roadside timing chain fix couldn’t stop them and now Stubby Bob is truly legendary, pulling sky-high wheelies on a whim—that is until Tony Angleo got to drive it.
Finnegan’s favorite moment: In true Tony Angelo fashion, he wheelied it so hard at the end of episode 72 that the straight front axle bent on upon landing. But Stubby Bob hit the wheelie bars so hard all four wheels came off the ground. We’ll forgive you for that one, Tony.
Freiburger’s favorite moment: That first huge wheelie at the end of episode 52. When the trailer hitch hit the ground, it threw Mike off the seat and knocked his foot off the gas pedal. Finnegan says it was like falling out of two-story building but worth every second.
Mike Finnegan’s dream car started out as the rusty shell of a 1955 Chevy Bel Air that he and Freiburger picked up for $2,300. He wanted a Two-Lane Blacktopstyle Chevy Gasser, and ultimately, that’s what he got. They road tripped that shell (on a trailer of course) to Jim Meyer Racing in Oregon where it was mated to one of his gasser-style tube chassis. Mike then stuffed if full of 528 ci of supercharged Hemi with a manual transmission. Blasphemi has gotten more wrench time than any other Roadkill car in the fleet and had more success than all the other cars, combined. The year-long build culminated in a cross-country road trip to HOT ROD Power Tour and has rewarded the guys with more wins than any other Roadkill car. It beat a brand new Hellcat Challenger, it defeated the Hoonigan guys in an NHRA grudge match for beards, and it holds the fastest quarter-mile drag pass of any Roadkill car ever: 8:52.9 at 161.85 mph. That pass was good enough to secure Blasphemi the A/Gas class win at HOT ROD Drag week 2018. But it’s still a Roadkill car and spends just as much time destroying its opponents as it does with the hood up, mostly because of the broken gas gauge.
Finnegan’s and Freiburger’s favorite moment (they’re the same): That 8.52 pass. Freiburger has to commend Finnegan for sticking with the Blasphemi and working to constantly improve it. It took years of tuning to get Blasphemi to that 8-second pass, and that’s light years beyond Finnegan’s original wish of it running 10s. Tony Angelo deserve some credit, too. Right before the best pass ever, first gear in the transmission was blown up, but Tony got it fixed lickety split and literally bench pressed it back in place so Finnegan could make the class-winning run. You can see all that action in episode 102, and it’s the only episode Mike has watched more than once.
Top 10 Roadkill Project Cars of all Time
- 10. Crusher Camaro: 1967 Chevy Camaro
- 9. Crusher Impala: 1969 Chevy Impala
- 8. NASCarlo: Used circle-track racer with a shortened 1971 Monte Carlo body
- 7. Vette Kart: 1985 C4 Corvette
- 6. Draguar: 1974 Jaguar XJ12 with 383 small-block
- 5. General Mayhem (First Edition): 1968 Dodge Charger
- 4. Muscle Truck: 1974 Chevy C10
- 3. Rotsun: 1971 Datsun 240Z
- 2. Stubby Bob: 1950 Ford F-650 dump truck
- 1. Blasphemi: 1955 Chevy Bel Air with 528ci Hemi
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