Next year, Mr. Gasket will be celebrating its 50th anniversary since setting up shop back in 1964. In the beginning, it was the idea of Joe Hrudka, a drag racer who loved his ’57 Chevy, to start making his own gaskets out of his garage and sell them to racers at local events.
The company has had its fair bit of history and drama since its inception, but has never lost sight of its mission: to help champions and regular folks alike restore, restyle and rebuild their cars. These principles were put to use by the idea of Don Barry, president of Mr. Gasket’s parent company, ACCEL Performance Group, who wanted to have built a unique resto-mod vehicle to celebrate the occasion.
We caught up with Jill Hepp, manager of customer engagement for Mr. Gasket, who shared with us the details of the 1966 Suburban build, dubbed “Lime Crush.” It started back in June, when the company secured the vehicle from a lead put forth by none other than Boyd Coddington, Jr. (whose father played a major hand in the 30th anniversary build “Chezoom“). Coddington also put Mr. Gasket in contact with the Roadster Shop, based out of Mundelien, Illinois.
In the vision presented by Barry, the Suburban would hearken back to the early ’60s California surf scene, which was where the president spent his childhood basking in the West Coast sun, listening to the Beach Boys and practicing his hang-ten. The guys at Roadster Shop shared this vision, and went about cooking up the commemorative design.
The truck’s lowered stance was achieved by using a Penske coil-over racing suspension system mounted to the custom FAST TRACK chassis that the builders had home-made. The body was tweaked to allow for extensive modifications, which included the following: stretched and reshaped wheel openings; custom-fabricated front and rear bumpers and grille; modified hood and fender openings; shaved door handles; and much more.
As for the ostentatious paint, PPG played the vital role of mixing colors to achieve its one-off “Mr. Gasket Green.” The paint job was the work of Ridler award-winning Charley Hutton, from Charley Hutton’s Color Studio in Nampa, Idaho. His careful hand and brilliant knack for luster gave the vehicle its signature appearance, complete with a creamy white hue for the rooftop.
Inside the Suburban, handmade teakwood graced the floors, as custom upholstery gave the reworked ’61 Impala bench seat and front bucket seats some much-needed care and affection. The gauge cluster was reworked and blended well with the custom dual-hump dashboard and refashioned 1940 Ford steering wheel.
Running between the bucket seats and out to the back, there sat a custom aluminum console. Upon it rested some two recent accolades which Lime Crush had won at the SEMA Show. Hepp explained that these were the GoodGuys Gold Award, given for displaying a Goodguys decal on the windshield and having the WOW factor down to a “T,” as well as the Mother’s Choice Award for being a top ten finalist in the Shine Contest.
Under the hood, a custom-tuned Chevrolet Performance ZZ502, the “king of all big block crate engines,” sat complete with a custom-ground camshaft and made use of ACCEL and Mallory products. These covered everything from the EFI intake manifold to the CT PRO 6A ignition module.
A powerful 4L85E four-speed proved a perfect mate to the big-block V8, rated at up to 1200 hp and 1000 lb.-ft. of torque. Exhaust was covered by Sanderson headers and a Flowmaster 3″ stainless steel system. No dyno stats were available at the time of our questioning, but we believe the numbers hover above 500 for horsepower and 560 pound-feet for torque.
Elsewhere, a sweet Kicker stereo system was installed to deliver deep beats. These and other nice touches made for a crowning achievement on Lime Crush, but SEMA was hardly the last stop for this green treasure.
“After SEMA, Lime Crush will head to PRI for a showcase display. It will then tour the country for the entire next year, and finally cross the block at Barrett-Jackson in 2015 to be auctioned off for charity,” said Hepp. “So, it’s going to be on the road for quite a while yet.”
We were thrilled to see this remarkable display make it to SEMA this year, and we encourage you to stay informed of Mr. Gasket through their website and Facebook page. We can’t wait to catch up with them again at PRI and next year’s SEMA Show.