Ratty Muscle Cars – The House Of Muscle Ep. 8

Ratty Muscle Cars – The House Of Muscle Ep. 8


(gentle music and birdsong) (engine noise) – Remember when old cars were just old and doing burnouts was
encouraged by your buddies? And when ripping your
Plymouth ‘Cuda through an Alabama field was good clean fun? Well, I don’t, ‘cuz I’m from Brooklyn. But Austin Griggs here, the
founder of Riding Muscle Cars? Not only does he get it, but
he’s making it his mission to show the rest of the
world how it’s done. (country music) (racing engine) – [Austin] I always
had a ratty muscle car. Before the name was coined, I just, that’s what I exemplified,
and all of my buddies did it too. I’ve got many friends
that have had these things sitting around, and they have dream cars. These are the cars that people want, and they weren’t doing anything with them. So I kind of felt the need
to just kind of showcase what people had that could be driven. – [Mike] He’s probably
one of the nicest guys you’re ever going to meet, and he grew up wrenching on and driving stuff like this. This is a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. (engine revs) – [Austin] It’s a very
fun, rewarding car man, and I don’t worry about
what’s going to happen to it. If I break it I’ll fix it. It’s a ’70 ‘Cuda. I own it and I can turn the key of it and take it wherever I want. (twangy music) – [Mike] Austin didn’t
want just any Barracuda, he wanted this Barracuda because this car actually has some pretty cool history. (country music) – [Austin] I got this car just over like, two and a half years ago but I’ve been after this car since I
was 16, 17 years old, when I met a now friend of mine
– has been for a long time – ah, it used to sit out in his yard and I’m not kidding when I say this thing had goats on it all the time. There’d be goats running
around, jumping on the hood and on the roof. It broke my heart to see it always sitting on flat tires, but
every time I would think that it was down for the
count he’d crank it up, put air in the tires and
take it down to some local show, and I wanted the car so bad. One day when the car finally went for sale and I knew it was going
to a different owner I had to steal it out from underneath him, and uh, he knew that if I
kept it, it was going to stay local and it was going to stay looking just like his car forever. And he could drive it whenever he wants, so it kind of worked out for him, ya know? (engine screaming) – [Mike] Austin, he always
wanted an AAR ‘Cuda, which, AAR, if you don’t know, that’s All American Racers,
that’s what it stands for. – [Austin] The AAR ‘Cuda
was meant to be in Trans Am series racing. It’s a racing
car, that’s what it was for. So even though it’s not a
real AAR, I’ve made it an AAR. (engine revs) I use it for racing and I like
to beat the dog out of it. (laughs) (twangy music and engine sounds) – [Mike] Austin knew he was
never going to be able to afford an AAR ‘Cuda. I mean, those cars right
now bring in big money and they’re really tough to find. And while this car, at first
glance, kind of has that double-AR look, it’s obviously not. But look at some of the things
that he’s got on this car. He does have the cowl hood on this car. He managed to get the hood off a real AAR ‘Cuda when that particular car went through the car
wash with the hood pins pulled out of the hood. The hood, once he got
back on the road, flew up. It broke the corners
off the hood, and well, ya know, Austin got it for a good deal. The rear spoiler on the back, that’s also off an AAR ‘Cuda. If you look at it, it’s got
a big crack down the middle. But it doesn’t matter,
because it looks cool. – [Austin] It’s a factory
white car with a blue interior, but over the progression of it’s life it changed colors many a times. It’s been black, it’s been blue. Honestly, I think it’s aged well, and if you were to paint this it would be a travesty. (engine noise) (sound of hydraulic lift) – I beefed this up and I didn’t finish – Didn’t stop there? – [Mike] When you look
underneath the car, you look at the sheet metal and then you look at the sheet metal
screws that come through the extra sheet metal that
was supposed to be there when the new sheet metal
was screwed into the sheet metal that’s missing. If that makes any sense. Basically a lot of this
car has been replaced with sheet metal screws and well, just sheet metal. There’s even a license
plate under this thing. As far as functionality,
what we’re talking about is, a small block 340, a 727 with a reverse manual valve body in it, an 8-3/4
rear end with 355 gears, and that’s it. It’s a motor, and a transmission, and a rear end, three gauges and a tach with a ‘Cuda body on top with steering (laughs) – [Austin] It’s so much
fun and it’s so rewarding to lay in the throttle. 340s don’t get a whole
lot of credit, but when they’re just warmed up
just a little bit, man, I challenge any warmed over big block to come tango with this
thing ‘cuz it’ll run. It runs really good. It’s intoxicating to
hit that pedal. (laughs) (engines racing) – [Mike] I have to mention
that one of the guys that Austin gets his inspiration from is his buddy, Mike Colboch. (background chatter) You go to his place and it is just a mecca for old stuff. You’ll look at it and you will see cars that will blow your mind. Old Impalas and Camaros
and Darts and Dodges. Things are kind of lining his
property that you’re like, oh my god, what are you
doing with these things? – [Austin] He has had big block Chevrolets strolled around since I
met the guy in my teens. He’s constantly chucking motors in cars that are just dilapidated,
ratty muscle cars, and I’ve been watching
that since I was a kid. (background chatter) – And it’s been inspiring
to see, cuz’ I’ve seen him just stroll down a road,
baking tires in a car that I’ve watched come out of the field get a big block that he pulled out from underneath a work bench into it, jam a 4-speed into it and be like, “Aw, yeah, I’ll just uh, I’ll change that, and this, that and the other, and” Oh, okay. You talk to a
normal person regularly when they tell you that
you think six months, there’s going to be a car on the road. Give it two days. – [Mike] One of the
cars that we’ve kind of played with a little bit
is Mike’s red Camaro. Now, that car is a 1968
Camaro Z28, and it kind of follows the path of
Austin’s AAR ‘Cuda, where this was like a Trans
Am clone that he made. Mike Colboch’s Z28 is a real Camaro Z28 but when you look at it,
it doesn’t look like any Z28 that ever came out of the showroom. Right? It sits like a 4×4. It’s got these cool
old kind of center-line style (unclear) wheels from the 80s. The tires on it are probably 30 years old and it’s got this crazy tall ram with dual carbs on top, and an intake that’s just to die for. (cars roar by) – Going to a place like Mike
Colboch’s house is like, I dunno, going to a family member’s house. I mean, we’ve known these
guys for a day or two and they already treated us like family. – [Mike] Everybody’s huddled
over the hoods of these cars. Everybody’s trying to fix stuff. Everybody’s asking questions,
drinking beer, laughing, and just generally having a good time, and the cars are always secondary. And then the stories come out about when they busted this knuckle or broke that foot because
the tranny fell on it or something happened like that. The car is the catalyst for that. – [Austin] Oh, the importance
of my friends is huge. I was the silly one that was just like, I just buy a bunch of muscle cars. I’ve had ’em forever, we’ll wrench on ’em and people are going to love to see ’em. My friends come from states away. Fly in, drive in, just
to lay under these things and come out and enjoy
these things with me. I can’t say enough for my
buddies Tim Heck and Randy Goust and my brother David, and
my buddy Anthony Former. Like, these guys, they’ve turned
wrenches night after night just to ensure that my cars make it. Sometimes, you just don’t know how to thank somebody enough for that. (background chatter) – I’m very appreciative
of it, but they know that when their cars are down,
whatever they got going on, I’m right there for them too. – [Voiceover] Austin’s
ability to amass a crew, keep them together, and create a ratty car movement, well, part of that talent stems from his time in the armed forces. (background chatter) – [Mike] Austin was a
crew chief for an F-16 in the Air Force. – [Austin] What made me
join the Air Force was, I’d just gotten out of high school. I didn’t know how I was
going to make any money to do anything. I’ve always had hot rods
but I couldn’t afford ’em. I remember I worked in a
grocery store and I bought an expensive after market distributor for my Monte Carlo. It took everything I had. Like I had worked for a
week, like saved after paying my bills, you know, and I’d worked for weeks to buy a
distributor, and I was like, I can’t work three weeks
at a time to buy one part. (laughs) So ya know, I needed a career. (jet engines) Airplanes and automobiles go hand in hand. The core principles of them is the same, and it’s fun to wrench on
something and get to go watch it dance around in the sky. I was an F-16 crew chief. What you do as a crew
chief is ya change engines, ya change landing gear
components, hydraulic components, troubleshoot any of
the aircraft’s systems. And you’re also responsible
for an airplane, and they are the protection
of this country, so, if it needs to be called
on, it has to be ready. – [Mike] A pilot gets in that
thing and he can’t make it through his mission, and more importantly, can’t make it home, there’s a problem. What that did was that
told Austin, ya know what? When I go home I don’t
want everything to be perfect, I want to relax, I
want to unwind a little bit, and I want to play with my cars. – [Austin] Ya know, the
whole time I worked on these airplanes, my 69 Dart was sitting right there at the flight line. I could be at my jet working and I could look out and see my 6-pack hood sitting on my 318 Dart with the big 275 60s out back just in eyeshot. There’s my hotrod. Get out, turn my toolbox in, get in my rag tag muscle car and just thunder down til I get off base ‘cuz ya can’t act a fool on base, but uh,
soon as I hit that gate, man, it wasn’t nothin’ but black marks through the covered bridge. (laughs) (country music) – [Mike] Time and time again we get submissions for this show where people go I would love for you to drive my car but I don’t think it’s nice enough. And the fact is, well,
what is nice enough? To you, even if your car is a bit on the rowdy side, it
might be the nicest thing in the world, and to us that’s
really all that matters. – [Austin] I can park right up front at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter to me
if somebody door dings it, adds character, don’t care. I’ll remember if there’s
a red mark on this thing but if something else is
sitting there (mumbles). And when I’m mad I’ll just go, (clicks tongue) Mmm, ah, dang, oh well. (engine roars) – [Mike] Austin’s philosophy
was so great, in fact, that we flew across the country to Alabama to check out his event on the No Shine Shit List. (engine rumbles) – [Austin] I felt the
need to make some cruises, make some races, jut kind of showcase what people have that could be driven. I don’t know why you’re here, alright? (laughs) I don’t know how many
times a hundred hot rods gets out but I have
never seen this before. – [Mike] He figured
that he was going to get 30 or 40 cars to show up. – We showed up this morning and there was like 105 cars. – [Austin] We’re going
to keep doing this again. (cheers and applause) – {Randy] Man it’s, it’s
humbling to see how many people have shown up. Grass roots pick up, ya know,
out of the automotive world. – [Austin] Alright, so
what we’re going to do is we’re going to pull out of here as organized as we can,
without hitting each other. Remember, these are ratty muscle cars. (engine noises) – Make sure you’re giving room. Don’t drive up somebody’s tailpipe. Don’t do anything stupid. Let’s not get hurt today. When we get to the drag strip it’s all skinny pedal all day. (engine noise) – [Mike] When you have
a hundred muscle cars and muscle trucks rolling down the road, that’s a sight to be seen. There are a couple of
guys from South Carolina, couple of guys from
Virginia that rolled in and their cars were far from perfect. One guy showed up and his car
didn’t even have any windows. There were a couple of like, rat rods that they didn’t have any windshields. There were cars that were pickup trucks. There were cars that people
drug out of the weeds that hadn’t been moved in 25 years and they got them ready
just for this event. – My dad, we built this car together when I was 14 years old, literally. – [Mike] Fathers and sons. We had sons and daughters. We had cousins, we had
brothers, we had friends. People came together around this, this ratty muscle car
movement in cars that, a lot of people would look at and just kind of discard and be like, well, why would you drive that? Why don’t you paint it? Why don’t you do this? And I’ve been in that position where somebody comes up and like
they’ll look around the car like well don’t you think
you’re going to paint it? It’s like, man, eff off,
I don’t have to paint a damn thing, it’s my car. (engine noise) – We came to the mecca. For a Saturday morning,
to bring together 105 cars that all kind of look like this? (knocks on metal roof) Sound like this? That are kind of dirty like this? If you don’t think people are having fun and enjoying these old cars in the states that they’re in, you guys are crazy. (engine noise) – [Voiceover] I need you
to look closely at the individuals and the
vehicles you saw today. Look at the camaraderie, the smiles, and the sense of family,
and then consider this, These are not show cars. They are not objects of status or wealth. But instead, they’re an
outlet that helps one leave the problems of the daily
grind outside the garage door, which is exactly where they belong. (easy country music and engine noise)