Consider yourself lucky. For centuries, history's greatest engineering triumphs have baffled the scientific community. People today have tried to replicate the pyramids of Giza and failed miserably, and no one knows for sure just how some Brits dragged dozens of 50-ton boulders over 20 miles in 2,000 B.C. to erect Stonehenge. Some say aliens did it, which could also explain how the G-Force 'Cuda was built. After all, the magnitude of its technical achievement is so far beyond the capacity of human ability and modern technology that an advanced extra terrestrial civilization must have intervened. Fortunately, there will never be a need to come up with such silly conspiracy theories because the craftsmen at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop documented virtually every aspect of the build up. Strangely, rather than diminishing the mystique of this unique '71 'Cuda, seeing how it was built only reinforces the sense of awe.
To help transform their ideas into a viable blueprint, Alan and Bob enlisted the services of designer Chris Ito. Although the game plan required the same level of attention to detail that goes into an America's Most Beautiful Roadster competitor, it also had to shatter the 200-mph barrier and remain a genuine streetcar. For Chris, while this served as a big challenge, it provided even greater inspiration. "The more the car came together, the more we realized that it was very purposeful, so we took cues from racecars, exotics, and aircraft," says Chris. Consequently, while some styling cues are strictly for aesthetic purposes, emulating the design elements of wind-tunnel-honed machines meant the 'Cuda's body panels were functional as well. Furthermore, since the car would be built to go, chroming it wasn't an option. Chrome and polished aluminum are non-existent, and brushed metal surfaces are as shiny as it gets. As a result, the overall design and engineering of the car do the talking, not the bright work. "I'm not into that billet and polished crap," deadpans Bob.
Being innovative isn't easy, and the project spanned 10 months and over 10,000 man hours of intense labor. That's a whole lot of hours, but what's truly astonishing is how much was accomplished within that window considering the quantity of parts that were made from scratch. Other than the steering wheel, shifter handle, and seats, the entire interior is custom. All the panels were pounded into shape by hand, and the gauges, pedals, door sills, dash, instrument panel, and center console are all custom as well. There are no exotic five-axis CNC machines at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop either. All the custom metal trim bits were whittled away using good ol' hand-eye coordination. Needless to say, Chris never had to worry about compromising his designs due to the degree of fabrication difficulty. "I had seen a number of Alan's cars and had a lot of confidence in his ability, but his skills were actually far beyond even what I expected," says Chris. "The guys at the shop would just knock stuff out like nothing based on my sketches."
With all the hard work completed, the final product is an amalgam of trend-setting innovations. Granted, few people have the mechanical acumen or massive bankroll required to replicate a car of the G-Force 'Cuda's caliber, but it's almost inevitable that hot rodders will pick out certain aspects of the car and integrate them into their own projects. In addition to showcasing functional elements of the car, here's a closer look at some of the most standout features and how they were built.