Engine & Drivetrain

The Ram Jet 502 crate engine is a formidable force in its own right, producing 502 hp at 5,100 rpm and 565 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. The smart money here is the engine’s forged rotating assembly and nominal 9.8:1 compression ratio, essentially the perfect platform for heavy forced air induction or a big hit of nitrous oxide. Suffice that the engine is basically unmodified but that it has been amended by a Moroso 6-quart sump and pickup, ceramic-coated Patriot headers, and a Street & Performance air cleaner. Chris dressed the motor with a Zoop’s True Trac serpentine beltdrive system, put Earl’s AN fittings anywhere he could, and set the whole thing up with a Griffin radiator and accompanying fans. Now right where you’d bet on a bullish, high-zoot automatic transmission, there’s this nutty six-gear manual behind a McLeod twin-disc clutch assembly. Torque is transferred to the Inland Empire Driveline aluminum prop shaft, thence to a narrowed 9-inch holding 4.11s and a Detroit Locker differential.

Wheels & Brakes

The conversion to disc brakes involved a collection of Wilwood items: master cylinder, slotted and drilled 12.88-inch rotors, and Superlite 6 (piston) and Superlite 4 (piston) calipers. The bigs ’n’ littles are Intro Twisted Vista, 12x18 and 7x18 joined with 335/35 and 245/35 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.


Coatney’s Customs prepared the chassis with an Eckler’s rack-and-pinion steering assembly, Heidts’ 2-inch drop spindles and narrowed upper and lower control arms, Energy Suspension poly bushings, RideTech air springs and ShockWave adjustable dampers, but no antisway bar. Finally, the ’rails were powdercoated silver to coincide with the argent exterior. The rear suspension mimics the front, again without an antisway bar. Though a firm, fluid ride quality is expected, Chris can unceremoniously drop the Tri-Five on its chin with one finger.


Reconstruction took the form of new floorpans, a smoothed firewall, and a thorough scouring and cavity search via a torrid mediablasting session. As the progenitor, Coatney’s applied a custom blend of House of Kolor Blue and a created a similar formula for the custom HOK White. The outside world noticed all too well. Chris has gotten awards for PPG Paint Pick, Best Ride on Intros (Intro wheels), Goodguys Staff Pick, Altamont Cruisers Judges Choice, and Stockton Car Show’s Best ’50s.


Coatney’s laid the foundation with an American Autowire harness. The Vintage Air went in. The Classic Instruments went in. Chris compiled the audio equipment: Pioneer Prestige head unit, Focal Audio K2 Component system (4x6-inch speakers, 2x3-inch speakers, 4x1-inch tweeters, 2x15-inch subwoofers), and 2,400 whopping watts of smack. The speaker mounts are custom built. But things don’t really begin to get woozy until you spy the ostrich leather inserts in the Lexus SC400 seats (the leather was custom-dyed white). Coatney’s built the console in-between them. The polished metal insert in the dashboard pulls out the bright metal pedal covers, the faceplate for the RideTech controls, the machined ball on the B&M shifter, and the Intro Twisted Vista half-wrap steering wheel. The windows and the seats are endowed with electric adjustment. Yeah, fuzzy dice are back, but nix the foxtails, kids! CHP