The Build – Part 3

The saga continues….

It was 30 days out from SEMA, and as with all great plans things do change and fortunately for me, the change was good. I flew up to Grand Rapids to help Tommy do some sanding, get my hands dirty, and get a little visitation in with my baby. We were having dinner the first night there, discussing the car, when he makes a comment about how he thought about widening the back of the car. Tommy says, “I almost gave her a wide body, but the guys said you would kill me without talking to you first, and we are almost ready for paint.” I kind of chuckled at the comment about killing him, but I might have given it serious thought if he cut in to my car without calling me first ;-). The conversation moved on to other mods, and that Pirelli wanted the car in their booth at SEMA. Score!!! Heck yes, I would rather have the car in a booth then just a featured vehicle out on the general floor. But…. I kept thinking about the wide body mod. So I ask him, “How wide?” Tommy was thinking something subtle, just enough to make people wonder what was different, and it would also cover up a wider tire. Perfect plan, but with only 30 days out, too much work. We agree that night – it was just too much work.

So there we were, the next morning, ready to get to sanding the gills and get her ready for paint. That’s when Tommy walks up with the grinder and a smile.. “Well, we gonna do this?”, he asks. We tape out some body lines, and take that last long look. Ok, let’s do this. And so we did. As we start cutting off the back quarter panel, I had the surreal thought “wow, I am cutting up my brand new car”.


Prep work before the cutting


As we start cutting off the back quarter panel, I had the surreal thought “Wow, I am cutting up my brand new car.”  Then….It was off.  No turning back now.


And then I had that, “Tommy’s body guys are going to be none too happy”, thought, when they get in to work on that Monday.  No, the car was not going in to paint as they thought, it wasn’t even close. Instead, it was going to need a bunch of additional work to finish her up in time for SEMA.


I even got in on the cutting and spot welding. Oh well, at least I flew back home knowing the car was going to be special, and all mine.

Yes, I had my safety lenses on, called my eyelids.

Yes, I had my safety lenses on, called my eyelids

To finish the look, we had a few other last minute additions. Of course. We wanted the new wider look to have a lower stance with a race car type of interior. I was making last minute calls to source parts, and suddenly it was week out from the car leaving for Nevada. For the lower stance, we needed coilovers. I made a call to LG Motorsports, “so I would like a set of your G5 coilovers, and I need them in two days”. Great customer service! They had them boxed up and shipped by the end of the day. Interior changes included installing a race harness bar and pulling the rear seat. The last few days before shipping was crazy, but the car was coming together, and would soon be off to SEMA.


HP Therapy had changed completely from when she rolled off the assembly plant line 10 months prior – with a completely different engine and custom body and wheels. But my smile hasn’t changed – I am still grinning from ear to ear.



HPT rear

Caption: Tommy loading her up on the trailer for SEMA.


My first good look at the finished car wasn’t until HPT arrived at SEMA. I was a kid waiting for the ultimate Christmas present. I sort of ruined Tommy’s big unveil plan when I was out for a walk, and heard the rumble of a car coming down the street. “Hey, that sounds like my baby…It IS my baby, Here comes HPT!!!!”. I was very lucky to have a great car, have a great friendship with Tommy, and for my car to be invited to be in the Pirelli booth.

IMG_1936 IMG_1939

But the whole SEMA experience is another story. 😉


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