Pat Spangenberg builds hot rods, old ones and "new" ones quite unalike at his Rods & Competition Specialties dominion in Butler, Wisconsin. Spangenberg's a renaissance rodder, a crafter who knows how to do it all, from metal finishing to tube frames, to engines that blurt 1,500-2,000 horsepower or more. When we talked to him about his Biscayne here, he was thrashing on his '31 Ford coupe for a car show that was happening two weeks hence. It sports a decidedly different combo: a blown 331ci old-style Hemi backed by a Lenco planetary gear transmission.
He hangs with a group of like-minded and brutally frank pioneers who like nothing more than going flat out to hell in a straight line. Yes, street car drag racing absolute. These lads wheel streetable 8- and 7-second rides that bellow with big-blocks swilling hefty draughts of juice. The 10.5-inch tire is their avatar and their seal.
Pat the administrator has a great sense of humor swimming with whimsy and conviviality. No story too obscene, no societal faction beneath skewering. He's just a good guy like most of us. We became acquainted with this lovable miscreant via a story for another magazine. It dealt with his holy-hell Impala-the epitome of stealth.
A flat, mottled, sun-baked hood, a coterie of digs and gashes on its experienced body, paint from other cars, fence posts, and springs worming their way out of the driver's side of the old bench seat, now covered with an image of a pretty, innocent face.
All rudeness immediately intensifies when he cranks the freakin' thing up. You'd better hope you laid your coin on his flabby tank (4,420 pounds with him in it) that twists tarmac at The Grove with an 8.77 at 156. Though his pristine '66 Biscayne here seems the polar opposite of Pat's tattered, hunkering Imp, the purpose of both is exactly the same: run real hard and suckers beware.
Says Spangenberg: "This is the one and only white car as far as I'm concerned, the baddest 1966 Biscayne on the planet. It's the only car in my shop that gets pampered, polished, and wiped down with Ferris Bueller's dad's diapers. Who cares about that Ferrari!
"I saw this car years ago at a Super Chevy show and it paralyzed me. It was perfect in every way, 22,000 original, red gut, 10-inch tires, 615 nitrous-huffing cubes, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my," chortled Spangenberg. "The interior is so nice, Paul Tadin [who owns a 9-inch tire '67 Chevelle that runs 8.40s] almost didn't want to go for ride ... but I twisted his arm ... and what a ride it was!"
Pat bought the white car about four years ago from a friend who said that it should be in his garage next to the scabby green Impala and he hasn't had time to do much with it since. "I've never raced it but I did have the certification tag updated just in case," he winked.
There's more than just a Biscayne going here. We have a white '66, too, not nearly as powerful as Pat's but that doesn't matter. The first time we saw Billy Izykowski's 427-powered B/S '66 Biscayne burning rubber in the late '60s at Englishtown, it drilled a hole in our brains. Biggest engine you could get in the Puritan post car, an unpretentious sled devoid of shine or ambition. To kooks like us, the chrome-less Biscayne was gorgeous and thumbed its nose at the hot-shot SS and went about its business like a ninja.
Apparently, this car was ordered without radio or heater. Pat's not sure if it originally carried an L72, but there was a big hole in the floor for a four-speed shifter. He's pretty certain it had been painted black. As an afterword, Pat said, "I don't have a ton of info on the white car because I didn't build it. Hope you have enough to work with. If not, call me. I'll fake it."