Blastolene Machines at Food Lion AutoFair!
Sneaky Pete, Rodzilla, Dream Rod and Big Bertha are the largest, most powerful hot rods on the planet, and they are making their East Coast debuts during the April 3-6 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
A total of six gargantuan vehicles will be displayed by the Blastolene Brothers, an informal group of friends who fashion classically inspired custom bodies around fire engine, military tank and Peterbilt truck frames and powerplants. Every Blastolene creation produces between 800 and 2,000 horsepower while fuel efficiency ranges from one- to six-miles per gallon. These behemoths of the boulevard dwarf regular street rods, and even full-size SUVs seem like lightweights in their presence.
Max-scale motoring originated in the late 1960s when a young art student named Michael Leeds discovered a well-stocked junkyard in Monrovia, Calif., while searching for project material. He paid $250 for the front half of a "retired" 1941 Seagraves hook-and-ladder truck and drove it 360 miles to his shop with the 1,000-cubic-inch V-12 engine only managing three miles per gallon.
Big Bertha was modified, sold, bought and traded several times during the next 30-plus years, but the ever-changing beast kept returning to Leeds' garage.
During the mid-1990s, the artist committed himself to transforming the Seagraves into the magnificent hot rod he always imagined it could be.
Drawing inspiration from a 1924 Hispano Suiza Tulipwood Torpedo-a wood-bodied roadster that France's Nieuport Aviation crafted for aviator/race car driver André Dubonnet-Leeds devoted years to creating each and every body panel on the car.
His plan to execute a "simple, practical" design was discarded when he met glass artist and hot-rod fanatic Randy Grubb, who convinced him the project deserved every ounce of creativity Leeds could muster. As a result, the fenders and "boattail" segment were elongated to give Big Bertha perfect, 1930s-era proportions.
Bertha's progression sparked Grubb's own enthusiasm for obscenely large automobiles. While visiting a military vehicle collector in Coos Bay, Ore., Grubb purchased a pair of 1,800-cubic-inch V-12 engines that had once belonged to an M-47 Patton tank.
Grubb completed his project, a 21-foot-long fenderless roadster sheathed in polished aluminum known as the Blastolene Special, in less than a year. Thus was born the collaboration and friendly competition among the Blastolene Brothers.
Leeds and Grubb introduced their max-scale creations to the world at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in 2002, where the reaction was immediate and intense. Grubb sold the Blastolene Special to Jay Leno, who further modified the V-12 tank engine with fuel-injection and twin turbochargers to produce 1,600 horsepower.
More "brothers" joined the ranks, such as Rodney Rucker, who drove his Peterbilt-based Sneaky Pete coupe coast-to-coast in the 2007 Great Race.
The group's status among automotive aficionados then shot up like a rocket when Leeds and Grubb sold the Blastolene B-702 (this project inspired by a 1939 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet) at this year's Barrett-Jackson auction for $475,000.
The Blastolene Brotherhood will display a half-dozen of its massive machines during the April 3-6 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The spring Food Lion AutoFair annually attracts more than 160,000 visitors. It features more than 50 car club displays; more than 10,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia; and a collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults while children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
Parking for the event is $5.
For information, contact the Lowe's Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit us online.