Rad Rides by Troy
Asking Troy Trepanier what he sees as emerging trends can be a bit of an involved conversation-in an enlightening way, not a bad one. Rad Rides has dabbled in nearly every facet of hot rodding from Ridler Award-winning show cars, to Bonneville record setters, traditional-style hot rods, and everything in between, so Troy sees several shifts happening, depending upon what type of car is being built.

Once upon a time, nearly every Rad Rides car had a certain formula to it that reflected Troy's personal preferences at the time-two-tone paint, airbrush touches, and shaved body. That's mostly gone by the wayside in the past few years, however, in favor of styling that seeks to accentuate the stock bodylines, especially in pre-muscle era cars. "They did a lot of beautiful stuff in the '40s and '50s, and sometimes if you start changing it, you wreck it," Troy says. Now much of the trim stays and revisions are designed to be subtle and factory appearing-sometimes even creating their own custom pieces to add to the factory bits. Even the interiors are refined versions of stock, such as with Roger and Nancy Ritzow's '56 Chrysler 300B, dubbed Passion, that combines fine tan leather with original Chrysler cloth inserts. Troy calls it the best car he's ever built and it's absolutely delicious in the amount of subterfuge involved. It rides on a custom chromoly chassis with Viper suspension, and power comes via a twin-turbocharged Dodge NASCAR engine. And while that's interesting, it's easily rivaled by the artistry of the car itself and all the custom touches. And yet, when you stand back, it still looks like an exceptionally nice '56 Chrysler on wire wheels. That's the future of customs, Troy says.

Speaking of twin-turbo NASCAR engines, unusual and exotic powerplants are the order of the day at Rad Rides. Recent and current projects have been propelled by legit NASCAR engines, Boss 429s, twin-turbo 401 nailheads, Mercedes-Benz G-class, and Miller Indy, to name a few. Suffice it to say, bellybutton engines are passé and unique eye candy underhood is where most high-end rods are headed. Despite that, the reliability has to be just a good as a stock small-block. Roger and Nancy have logged nearly 6,000 miles on their 900-plus horsepower 300B. "It ain't written in stone that you'll get your money back when it's sold; they need to be built to be enjoyed," Troy says. "People want to keep these cars and use them instead of look at them."

It's not all about pricey vintage steel though. Perhaps the ultimate proof that acceptable fodder for high-end builds has moved forward in decades is the F87 Raptor '87 Camaro currently under construction. The number one thing holding most '80s era cars back from making that step forward has been the unfortunately large amount of low-quality plastic that makes up a good deal of the exterior, forever stigmatizing them. Troy and his team have the remedy though; everything in plastic on the F87 will be reformed by hand in aluminum and steel, including the IMSA-inspired flares in the body. Troy says the key to the mass acceptance of '80s-based builds will be finding ways to get the cheap out.

As for serious competition-capable cars like the Bonneville-bred and record-setting Blowfish '68 Barracuda, Troy says we'll be seeing more cars of that ilk from top builders seeking to prove their skills.

Rad Rides by Troy