History’s Road Hauks are tearing it up tonight. To satisfy a distillery’s need for some flash, they are building a moonshine monster that can outrun the law.
Warning: Fire will be in the hole on Road Hauks this evening!
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is ground zero for all this car-moonshine alchemy as the client, Tall Pines Distillery, has rung up Mr. Hauk with a Smokey and the Bandit-inspired idea.
Describing his latest client’s vision for an attention-grabbing vehicle to promote their distillery, Kenny Hauk says: “They gave us a copper moonshine still and a 2010 Camaro SS for a moonshine-infused off-roader.”
That just sounds like a pile of third-degree burns, doesn’t it?
Nobody does theme builds with the authenticity that Kenny and his crew of facially hirsute cut-ups can do, from concept to finish. Interestingly, Kenny wearing a beard is unimaginable.
In a test run, Kenny has two crates of pure moonshine in the bed of the truck.
He tells his driver, master mechanic Rick Shultz: “We need to find out how much of a beating these bottles can take so we can keep our vehicle safe.”
Moonshine is pure alcohol practically, one spark and it’s a Ford truck flambé.
Shultz destroys the booze. Sweet, sweet moonshine, R.I.P.
We get a mini-Prohibition history lesson about the early bootlegger vehicles designed to NOT do what meanie Rick Shultz did to the potent nectar.
The client delivers Kenny and his guys a copper still. This is to serve as inspiration so that the guys can visualize a 2010 Camaro SS into an all-terrain boozy, copper still rally car. “With a killer off-road suspension system,” adds Kenny.
Rally racing is essentially one-person driving like a bat out of hell on a poorly paved remote road. The kind of driver you really do not want to encounter in your best bike shorts as you ride peloton-style for exercise.
The bill? $120,000 is the estimate. The purpose? So that the client can use the eye-catching ride at a booze event and as a distillery main tourist draw.
Kenny knows what he has to do. He must take the elements of the still and soup up the engine and suspension so that this baby can transport a crate of moonshine undisturbed.
The plan is enacted. The guys waste no time playing with the car to get it gutted and ready to rebuild.
Josh Moe sings a really lame version of Willie Nelson’s Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, swapping cowboys for moonshiners.
Off road suspension and a lesson on struts versus shocks are given. Rick draws some dodgy phallic-looking build plans on his phone.
Longer struts are out of the question. No mistakes can be made on this custom all-wheel drive Camaro. Kenny says: “Rick is way overthinking this whole thing.”
Enter Justin Kapfer, Kenny’s “no daddy” operations manager, who interrupts his build with a custom Jeep job.
Kenny wants to make a tribute vintage looking vehicle out of the new job that rolled in. A small build that can go quick and under-budget so that the fantasy builds can be realized too. Justin is all about managing Kenny’s Benjamins [money].
Back to the Bootlegger build. All the power is going to the back wheels, and they have to modify the axle to balance it out. Rick takes time out to annoy Josh. There’s a shop quota for this on Road Hauks.
Then the buyer cheaps out a bit on Kenny, and the budget is whacked down to $70,000.
Skimping on the planned sheet copper used to cover the Camaro is discussed. They have to rethink the build.
Now a solution is proposed, called “Copper FX” that when sprayed on plain metal magically (well, through a chemical process) turns it into aged copper! It’s very cool.
Rick is assigned to create a concoction to make dense smoke come out of the exhaust pipe. There are all kinds of inherent dangers in that last sentence, which we will revisit.
Now the 2016 Wrangler Jeep job is being finished up as the paint crew give it a 1941 WWII finish. Olive drab green is the choice.
Meanwhile, Rick heads to Newcomer’s parts junkyard to find a salvage transfer case part for the Camaro. Bingo! It costs $200 clams and Rick heads back to the shop.
The underside of the Camaro is a Frankenstein of parts from all sorts of vehicles being welded together. The line between what could be awesome or completely awful is very thin.
Our put-upon Josh Moe ponders a life as a homeless sex worker made to eat bad fast food if his modified seat (very expensive seat, mind you) is a bust. He really doesn’t want to be fired.
Justin is now on high alert over Kenny’s current spending spree, as he gets text messages whenever the plastic is swiped.
Kenny is buying vintage war baubles for his Jeep remodel. He and Justin bicker over the dollars like a married couple.
The Bootlegger is finally fired up. Sounds like a hot rod for sure. Road test as Kenny takes it out for a spin, but there was some tire rubbing and it’s back to the shop.
The back suspension needs to be tightened up. It’s about that time for Rick’s daily dose of Moe abuse.
A custom fuel cell is installed in the trunk (boot) while a half distiller’s wooden barrel is fashioned to cover the cell.
The spoiler is in place, and the car is readied for the client. Meanwhile, the concurrent Jeep remodel looks authentic, old and off the banana boat from the actual Korean war. Cost? $17,000+ bucks.
Okay, time for the…COMPLETE and utter calamity as the Bootlegger is on fire!
An injector was not seated properly, fuel started spraying out and the bad seal made for a massive engine fire. Fire repair cost? $1,300 bucks.
Whew, crisis averted — and now Kenny has arranged a “police chase” (with “officer Rick”) for his buyers, using the repaired Bootlegger car.
The car will outrun Johnny Law, as Officer Sean races against the vehicle while Rick rides shotgun with the cop, eating of course.
Kenny says: “I’m proud of the car and I’m proud of my guys!”
Indeed, the finished vehicle is a modern miracle of off-road tenacity and the speed of a hot rod, glistening like a copper still as it brings the liquid courage safely to its destination.
Hey! You can go see this fireball yourself at Tall Pines Distillery…the home of the first legal moonshine distillery in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, since the prohibition.
Note to Kenny and the Tall Pines people: M&C reviews spirits, guys, so make sure to send some our way. Bring it in the ride that Kenny built!
Road Hauks airs Saturday nights 10/9c on History