10 Drool-Worthy Machines That Make Us Proud to Be American
It's a great time to stop and look at some of the vehicles that make America great. Here are 10 of our favorite, read through and see if you agree!
1. Offroad Design’s K30
With the number one selling car for the past ten years actually being a truck, there’s no hiding American’s love affair with the modern pickup. One company that has made a name for themselves in a world typically dominated by Jeeps, is Offroad Design. Well-known for its hardcore off-road trucks and truggys, the company’s latest K30 pickup showcases the Colorado company’s manufacturing and fabrication skillset. We’ve been on the trail with this incredible rig a few times and can tell you firsthand that it ‘wheels as well as it looks. See video of the Killer K30 in action!
2. AC Cobra
Before the Internet, trends took much longer to get around. For sportscars, it meant that many a U.S. fellow got their first taste of ‘em in Europe during WWII. One of those guys was Carroll Shelby. He remembered the small, nimble machines from the other side of the pond when asked to drive in a race after returning home. From there, Shelby used his driving skills and ingenuity, and worked tirelessly to create a better sportscar. Eventually the AC Cobra was born and American motoring hasn’t looked the same since. The very first AC Cobra can be found on display at Shelby American’s headquarters in Las Vegas and is just one good reason to pay a visit.
3. Trophy Rat
The phrase “they don’t build them like they used to” means so much to a car enthusiast. Vehicles from the 1930s and 1940s could very well standalone as art in a gallery. There’s no plastic trim, annoying electronics, or federal mandates to interfere with style and function. Starting off with a 1937 International pickup, and the drive to create a shop truck like no other, Keith Northrup’s Trophy Rat is unlike anything else. With a custom tube chassis, desert-derived long-travel suspension, and a healthy V-8 to get it down the road, the Trophy Rat is a fine example of classic American craftsmanship and modern fabrication. Check out the complete Trophy Rat feature here.
4. Dodge Challenger Hellcat
Nothing says ‘Murica like having more horses than you’re likely to ever use. Claiming the title of “Fastest Muscle Car Ever Produced,” the Dodge Challenger Hellcat clocks 700+ hp in its supercharged 6.2L V-8. With a long history of making fast cars (we’re talking about you Dart and Super Bee,) Dodge did themselves proud by releasing the revised Challenger in 2008 to join in the automaker’s race to capture the dollars of muscle-hungry Americans. While the first generation Dodge was a winner, the new Hellcat has taken it to even higher heights, all while offering handling and horsepower that wouldn’t have been dreamt of in the ‘70s.
5. V4 Custom E-350
When it comes to tradesmen, vans are often the vehicle of choice. With so much room for hauling gear, and the ability to customize the interior layout, it’s easy to see why Ford’s E Series vans have created their own cult following in the expedition off-road world. As one of the premier van builders in the U.S., Chris Steuber of Ujoint Off-Road makes his living converting E-Series vans into 4x4 dream machines. One of our favorite rigs to come out of his shop is one of the least van-like, but still extremely unique. Steuber calls it “V4.” It’s essentially a Power Stroke diesel-powered E-350 4x4 van, that’s been fit with a cab closeout and custom aluminum bed. It’s the most off-road capable van E-350 we’ve come across, and you can see him pushing it to the limits in our full feature on the 2002 Ford.
6. "The Grasshopper" Ford Model T Custom
The Ford Model T turned the motoring world on its head back in 1908. As the first car the average American could purchase, tons of ‘em were made… but none of them like this one. Originally built in 1959, “The Grasshopper” Model T wowed the popular show car circuits with its fully chromed engine, cutting-edge speed parts and candy colored paint scheme. Eventually, the original car got parted out and disappeared, until Dave Shuten and Galpin Auto Sports decided to recreate it. Taking painstaking care of the details, original parts were found, sourced or built. The result is a car that was just as amazing when originally built as it is in modern day.
7. Erik Miller’s 2016 KOH Winning Car
Winning the King of the Hammers race is no small feat. Doing it twice is even harder. For 2016, Erik Miller beat out the most competitive field that has ever started KOH. Piloting his tried-and-true solid-axle Miller Motorsports race car, he proved not only can solid-axle Ultra4 cars be competitive, they can win. While the King’s Chariot may appear simple, it’s actually a well thoughout machine that continues to gift Miller with podium finishes. This east-coast kid is truly living the American dream for 2016.
8. First-Gen Chevrolet Camaro
Having a vision and seeing it through to completion is the backbone of every great car build, and it’s just what was done with this 1968 Camaro. While Chevy may have taken a couple extra years to the muscle car game of that era; when they showed up, they showed up with purpose. The Camaro forged its own path, offering drivers sportscar-like performance in an American package. Dan Lua, owner of this ’68 Camaro, grew up tinkering with cars and since he could remember always wanted to build an old-school Camaro. Though trends change, Dan’s desire didn’t and he eventually found a sound body and got to work, with Starlite Rod & Custom doing the heavy lifting. The result is a car done right with plenty of style, timeliness, and heart.
9. Sports Car Killer Duramax
Everybody wants to have their cake and eat it too, but few people can taste that sweet success. Andrew Karker has managed to have it all with his 2004 GMC Sierra 2500. Averaging 20 miles-per-gallon and just under 900 horsepower, the Duramax-diesel four-wheel drive is the result of tireless work and pursuit of reliable power. It drag races, truck pulls, and makes its rounds as a daily driver. What more could you ask for? See the full feature here.
10. Ford GT
With racing forging its own traditions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in the early twentieth century, it only made sense that the “Wild” West would eventually seek to beat Europeans on their own turf. But how to do it? Ferrari dominated the European race circuit of the time and there seemed to be nothing Americans could do to beat them. Until the GT40 came along. When they showed up with it at Le Mans 24 Hours in 1966, the GT40 swept first, second, and third places. Ford followed it up the following year, with the very first winning All-American team. In 2016, Ford decided it was time to show everyone who’s boss again and launched a new GT program. The Ford GT raced and won in 2016, making history once again.
Story by Ali Mansour and Kristin Cline, Photos as noted.