Denver Lawrence, web designer, the person writing this page. After searching through Craigs List the perfect project popped up. I responded right away, and the seller said she only posted a minute ago. I knew it was a good buy. Gathered up some friends to get some wheels on it to tow it back home. SEMA being 9 months away and only working in the driveway, got started ripping the old stuff out. After tearing out the old interior, I discovered that the car was mostly solid. Only one panel on the driver side needed to be replaced. It was a challenge to keep the body up in the air so he could snake the frame from underneath to clean it up. Once that issue was solved, a larger set of wheel tubs was installed in the rear floor pan, under which a modified shortened Ford Explorer 8.8-inch rear-end housing was set into place. This solved the issue of adding disc brakes to the car.
After cleaning everything up under the car, a full coating of POR-15 was applied to keep it rust-free for years to come, and on the inside Lizard skin coating was used to control sound. “With the frame cleaned up, we installed Ride Tech’s Tri-Five coilover system with a four-link welded to our shortened 8.8 rear. Ride Tech front control arms and Classic Performance Products drop spindles.
Since the car was purchased with no engine between the frame rails, I selected a 5.3-liter LS power plant from an ’04 Silverado pickup, then Gabe Bell of R&G Customs topped the engine with a pair of Trick Flow GenX cylinder heads, a Trick Flow camshaft, and a FiTech Ultimate LS EFI system complete with fabricated intake manifold. Feeding the engine is a 255-lph fuel pump installed in the Tanks Inc., fuel tank. Performance Distributors LS coils and wires set the fuel aflame while Doug Thorley LS Tri-Five ceramic-coated headers get the exhaust moving into the Flowmaster Series 10 mufflers. Engine dress-up comes in the form of an All-American Billet LSX serpentine drive kit and CRF Performance valve covers. Liquid cooling is handled by a B&M Racing engine oil cooler along with a Champion’s four-core aluminum radiator and Tuff Stuff water pump for the engine coolant.
Larry and I were debating what to do with the long, rusted roof. It was in good condition, just needed to be sanded down a lot, and that’s where the idea for a rag top came into play. I hit up Legacy Products for a custom 48x80-inch sliding rag top and prepped myself to cut a huge hole with a Sawzall. We think this simple modification helped the wagon to stand out amongst the crowd at SEMA.
Larry said that we need to stop the crowd in their tracks, so I gave him a picture of an interior color I liked, and man did he run with it. Larry started off with what he calls the VXR pattern. Because it is a wagon, he wanted to stick with bench seats in the front and rear, so he chose the 60-inch Pro Series up front and a new-to-market 38-inch Pro Series Bench for the rear. It was like the bench was made just to fit in between the mini tubs that I added. Now that seating was in place the interior would not be complete without matching door panels, dash-pad, and color coordinated carpet.
- All American Billet - Door Handles & Serpentine LSX Kit
- Champion Cooling Systems - Cooling Radiator
- Classic Performance Products | CPP - Big Brake Kit & Motor Mounts
- Continental Tire - Tires
- Dakota Digital - HDX Gauges
- Lokar Performance Products - Shifter & Pedals
- Old Air Products - Air Condition
- Painless Performance Products - Wiring
- RetroSound - Audio
- TMI Products Inc. - Builder; Wrapped Steering Wheel & Door Handles; VXR Pattern Upholstery (55" Front Bench & 38" Bench for Rear)
- Trick Flow Specialties - Heads
- US Mags - Nimitz Wheels: Front: 19 x 8; Rear: 20 x 11
- Legacy Innovations - Rag Top