EP010 – Projects & Prospects with Hot Rod Express


In Episode 10 of Road Muscle Radio, Catfish & Brett talk a hot car collection for sale which- if you missed the chance to bid on this amazing collection- you aren’t the only one…we make a-time for the A-team…and some odd engines that went into production vehicles. In segment two, catch up on the latest projects, and thought on the future of car restoration/modification, with co-owner and master car guru Rick Hunter rom Hot Rod Express, that dream factory of horsepower and monster bling in Blue Springs, Missouri.




Cal State Fullerton has found a buyer for the $10 million collection of postwar sports and grand touring cars donated by Nicholas Begovich, an engineer, philanthropist and longtime Fullerton resident who died May 3. 

The Audrain Automobile Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, has bought the collection for future display, CSUF officials announced Wednesday, May 20. The collection has already been shipped to the museum, a university spokeswoman said.

The money from the sale will support the university’s Center for Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy, as well as research in sustainable energy and power by its College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Begovich started collecting the cars in the early 1950s. Many of the vehicles came directly from their factories.

The Begovich Car Collection

1951 Talbot Lago Grand Sport

1952 Jaguar XK120

1953 Pegaso Z102B

1954 Pegaso Z102 Series II Cabriolet

1956 Porsche Speedster 1600 Super

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

1962 Covair Monza Spyder

1964 Alfa Romeo Guilletta Sprint Speciale

1964 Porsche 904 GTS

1966 ATS Automobili Turismo Sports

1969 Lamborghini Miura

1970 Chevrolet Camaro SS

1973 DeTomaso Pantera

1974 Maserati Bora

1975 Ferrari Dino 208 GT4

Officials said Begovich had wanted the collection to remain as one piece. With the help of Jay Leno, who connected CSUF officials to the museum, the university was able to find a buyer willing to honor those wishes, spokeswoman Cerise Valenzuela Metzger said in an e-mail.




The A Team Van: The Story Behind The GMC Vandura


The A-Team was 48 minutes of cheese with explosions and a cool pedo van.

If you’re below the age of old, you might need a refresher.  The A-Team was a group of U.S special forces officers who escaped from a military prison they were put in for a crime they didn’t commit.

Lieutenant Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith – played by George Peppard;  Lieutenant Templeton Arthur “Faceman” Peck – played by Dirk Benedict;  Sergeant Bosco Albert “Bad Attitude” Baracus- Mr. T;  and Captain H.M. “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock- played by Dwight Schultz.

Aaaaand one of the most important characters since an airborne orange Chrysler- the A-Team van, a 1983 GMC Vandura.

The GMC Vandura and its close cousin, the Chevy Sport Van were built for customization. They could be purchased with three different door options, six engine options, four transmission options and three different wheelbase lengths.  The the show’s production team added a grill guard, foglights, a red spoiler on the roof, red rims and the iconic red stripe that ran along the sides.

All in all, the show went through around eight vans in its four-year run. It goes without saying that with all of the stunts this show pulled off, all of the vans took a real beating. Once a van was used in a jump, it was usually rendered useless and had to be replaced. But what you might not have realized is that the show’s replacement vans weren’t exact replicas.

One of the most noticeable inconsistencies is that in some scenes, the A-Team’s van has a sunroof and in other scenes it doesn’t, but it goes even deeper than that. In some rare cases, the production team substituted the typical GMC Vandura for a Chevy van and even a Ford Econoline van. This big of a change was an odd choice given that the GMC logo was highly visible on the regular A-Team van.

If you want to see a surviving A-Team show van, it’s in the Hollywood Cars Museum in Las Vegas.

There are video’s on youtube on how to make your own, so go, enjoy, and don’t give away free puppies from it, mmmmmkay?




5 of the strangest engines that made it to production

Kyle Smith

22 May 2020

From the wonderful weirdos at Hagerty, oddball designs that manufacturers sent out into under the hoods of production cars.

 Tatra air-cooled V-8

In 1937 Czechoslovakian automaker Tatra built a streamlined, rear-engine, V-8-powered car that competed in endurance racing. Their three-liter V-8 was air-cooled, FEATURING HEMISPHERICAL COMBUSTION CHAMBERS. Power output was 75 hp, which rivaled the contemporary Ford Flathead V-8. The design worked so well Tatra continued producing a version of this V-8 through 1975. The final iteration produced 166 hp—more than the L48-equipped Corvette of the same year. 

Bugatti W-16

If eight cylinders in a V is good, why not sixteen? Seeing the bare block of the W-16 engine is a confusing moment if you aren’t familiar with how the packaging works. The goal is to fit the 16 bores into the most compact package possible, which means staggering them so that all sixteen don’t sit on the same centerline. 8 cylinders per head, staggered like your gramma cramming cookies onto a sheet.  Interestingly, multiple Volkswagen models received narrow-angle V-6 and V-5 engines, which are essentially one bank of this W engine with two and three fewer cylinders, respectively.


Wankel rotary

The concept of an internal combustion engine requires compression, and the easiest means of achieving that was a reciprocating piston. German engineer Felix Wankel penned a compact design that could fit the four phases of the Otto cycle (intake, compression, combustion, exhaust) into one revolution of the rotor. In fact, there are three combustion events for each rotation of the rotor, but the geared output shaft spins at three times the rotor speed. This gives you one combustion cycle per rotor per revolution of the output shaft. Mazda is the manufacturer most closely tied to the rotary design, having installed it in a number of capable sports cars after it acquired the tech in 1961.

There are drawbacks, though. The apex seals at the tip of the Reuleaux triangle rotor have a shorter life expectancy than their piston-ring brethren, and oil consumption is significantly higher than in a reciprocating engine. There are fewer parts to fail—which, on the surface, makes it attractive in an era of long warranties—but the rotary’s thirst for fuel and relatively high emissions makes it a tough sell in the modern market.

 Chrysler turbine

Yeah, I’m stretching a bit here calling this a production car, so save your comment. The fact that Chrysler even considered a turbine power plant for a street car is so absurd it has to be discussed. The plan was simple: Shove Chrysler’s fourth-generation gas turbine into a midsize, two-door chassis. It was 1963, and there was really nothing to lose.

They wanted to achieve “Reduced maintenance, longer engine-life expectancy, development potential, 80-percent parts reduction, virtual elimination of tune-ups, no low-temperature starting problems, no warmup period, no antifreeze, instant interior heat in the winter, no stalling because of sudden overloading, negligible oil consumption, low engine weight, no engine vibration, and “cool and clean” exhaust gases” were all cited in period literature.

The reality was that 130 hp and 465 lb-ft put through a three-speed Torqueflite automatic (sans torque converter, because it was not needed) were simply underwhelming and, paired with the cost of production, just didn’t add up to a winner. Chrysler shelved the idea and crushed 46 of the 55 cars produced. Most of the nine survivors are in the custody of museums.


Need a reminder that racers in modern times are racing the rulebook, not each other? I give you the Honda NR750. In the early 1990s, Grand Prix racing was dominated by two-stroke engines, but Honda wanted to put a four-stroke on the grid. Specifically, a four-stroke V-8 packed into a motorcycle frame. The catch? The rulebook stipulated just four combustion chambers.


So Honda went the unconventional route and blended the eight cylinders together to create four oval cylinders. That makes an engine with a bore x stroke measurement that requires three numbers. The 101.2-mm x 50.6-mm x 42-mm bore and stroke made for a final displacement of 748 cc. Each of the oval pistons is supported by two connecting rods.






Joining us now is a guy who was on Road Muscle Radio waaaay back when we first started, has been on our sister podcast Driven Radio, and is back with us again. Why?  Because he’s cheap.  ACTUALLY, it’s because Rick Hunter is one of the co-owners of Hot Rod Express in Blue Springs, MO.  This place is AMAZING for the custom work it does.  You want it factory fresh like it rolled of the assembly line? They can do it.  You want it modded out so far that NASA wants to take your sweet ride into orbit? They can do that, too. Cool thing is, they’ll even explain their tech work in your language, willing to dumb it down so a dude like me can wrap my head aroudn it.  Rick- thanks for joining us again on Road Muscle Radio.

Rick- we’ve had Hot Rod Express on before, but for our new listener in Craven Arms, UK, give us a run down of what y’all do there.


Performance upgrades…and what’s your FAVORITE motor to which you can upgrade?

Paint & body…


A lot of what we’ll talk about today you can see the progress on in facebook, at Hot Rod Express..

–Tell us about your 1976 Bronco project.

–Tell us about the painting work on the dash for the 1965 Mustang.  Looks like you had to mask the ENTIRE CAR except for the dash.

–What’s the biggest basket case of a vehicle you remember bringing back to life?

–You had to shut down for the duration of the stay-at-home orders.  What do you see happening in the next few months in the rebuilder/restomodder market?

You can find all kinds of in-process project pics from Hot Rod Express on facebook, plus head to hotrod-express.com, and see completed pojects, a full list of what they do, and email addies and phone numbers so you can call and start dreaming.  Rick, thanks so much for joining us on Road Muscle Radio.




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