Field Guide to Wasteland Vehicles: Ravenger

Modern muscle cars get overlooked a lot when it comes to post-apoc builds, thanks mainly to the folks who agree with George Miller’s contention that electronic systems won’t be reliable in the long run.  On the other hand, there have also been naysayers who insisted that fuel injection, electronic engine control and other safety aids would ruin muscle cars, and that’s been roundly proven to be untrue.  A car doesn’t have to have a mailbox blower and a nitrous tank to be a beast.

Jason Sperle’s Ravenger presents a strong argument in favor of this approach.  Sperle picked up the ’04 Pontiac GTO as a salvage car when it was five years old, and immediately set about upgrading the performance as well as giving it an apocalypse-appropriate look.  With the yellow paint stripped off, rough-cut flares welded on to cover oversized tires, caged rear windows and headlights, and a gear rack out back, the car has the look of a tattered survivor.  Diamond-plate has been added to the front bumper while retaining a near-stock shape, for some hidden armor.  The hood is carbon-fiber, with proper weathering, and Ravenger sports custom ducting for additional cooling as well.

Ravenger may look like she’s barely survived, but the hardware underneath is solid as can be.  Sperle had the GTO’s V8 bored and stroked to 6.7 liters and the bottom end rebuilt by the House of Power in Baton Rouge, LA.  The rebuild incorporates a 4″ Callie’s Dragon Slayer crank, custom 4.40″ pistons, Compstar rods and Brian Tooley 650 springs.  The House of Power did a custom cam grind, and Trickflow heads were added.  Ravenger also sports a Fast 102 intake manifold and an over-the-radiator cold air intake.  Final tuning was done by Josh Tonoski at Horsepower Solutions.  The result is over 500 horsepower at the wheels.  Putting that power to the road is a rebuilt T56 six-speed manual transmission with a twin-disc McLeod RXT clutch that’s rated to handle over 1000 horsepower.  An MGW-P short-throw shifter and aluminum driveshaft are installed.  At the rear, 3.90 gears ensure quick launches.  Sperle did much of the work on the engine himself, including building the top end; Ravenger is a hands-on project.

The suspension’s gotten significant upgrades, with BC adjustable coilovers up front and a GForce 1230 drag kit with Strange adjustable coilovers at the rear, Hotchkiss sway bars front and rear, poly bushings all around and heavy-duty tie rods and half-shafts from GForce.  265/60 R15 Hanook H101 tires wrap the tough steel wheels.

Inside, the interior has been partially gutted, with black and yellow upholstery added to fit with the car’s original look.  Ravenger’s proud owner says, “There is still lots more to come! We are not finished yet.”