It's quite an honor to be named the Chevy High Performance Chevy of the Year, but the gentlemen who collaborated on this project and their teams of dedicated enthusiasts are very familiar with the territory. The Chicayne is a study in "understated excellence." It is a compilation of a great design from Mike Desmond, the horsepower know-how of John Meaney, and the craftsmanship of Troy Trepanier and his team at Rad Rides By Troy that sculpted this very unique package.
Chicayne is a driver. After getting a little seat time at this past year's Hot Rod Power Tour, we can tell you it is a thrilling ride. With over 1,100 hp of twin turbos churning through its soul, it made the Long Haul Gang with ease. Chicayne is like a rock star in that it has a following and will draw a crowd of dedicated Bow Tie enthusiasts within minutes of coming to rest.
Chicayne was also made to run hard. At press time, the results were not available, but Chicayne was to have made some full-throttle passes down Route 66 in Joliet, Illinois, to prove it can hook-and-honk. All these things combined to make Chicayne this year's CHP Chevy of the Year.
Rather than re-review this piece of high-powered rolling automotive art, we instead provide you with interviews of two of the main persons responsible for bringing this car into being. For all the detailed information on Chicayne, get your hands on a copy of the June issue and read Jeff Smith's review.
What follows here are answers to some of the questions CHP had for Glenn Grozich, owner of Billet Specialties and the Chicayne, along with comments from Troy Trepanier, who brought this car to life. We hope you enjoy this unique perspective of men and machine, and that their comments inspire your own future Bow Tie endeavors.
Glenn Grozich's Chicayne, built by Troy Trepanier and Rad Rides, emptied the booths at last year's SEMA show. The crowd at that event was naturally jaded, but when the cloak came off the Biscayne, they flipped out. It stood out like an Uzi in a field of pocketknives. Troy had again trumped the street machine world with another wholly different creation, drawing praise for its vision and execution of street-machine excellence.
Congratulations on winning the prestigious Outstanding GM Vehicle Award at the 2002 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the Mother's Shine Award also received at the SEMA show, the Popular Hot Rodding Goodguys 2003 Street Machine of the Year award, and now the Chevy High Performance Magazine 2003 Chevy of the Year.
CHP: What makes this car a winner?
Glenn Grozich: A lot of it has to do with the technology involved in building something to this level. You've got a car that's making about 1,200 hp, gets 17 mpg, goes down the highway doing 70 mph at 1,700 rpm, and is dead quiet inside. But when you put it to the max, it sounds like a jet.
CHP: How did the concept originate?
GG: Obviously, we wanted something radical--big wheels, big brakes, and suspension. Then we started talking about the motor. Originally, it was going to be a big-block, but at the same time Troy was working on my car, he was also working on John Meaney's Corvette, doing the brackets, and mounting the turbos for his 1,200hp small-block. He finished Meaney's Corvette, took it for a ride, and said, "We gotta do this twin turbo on the Biscayne." After that, everything switched. The goal became to build the most awesome street machine that has ever been done.
Troy Trepanier: A '62 Chevy isn't exactly uncharted territory. In fact, it's probably the most popular '60s Chevy there is. So you take a twin-turbo motor, put it in that car, and you've got something that's whacked.
CHP: Is there any street machine that you've seen with the kind of power the Chicayne makes?
TT: No, not something you can drive 1,200 miles on the Power Tour. There's nothing even close.
CHP: Why is it so important that the cars you build be drivers?
GG: You've got to enjoy them! It seems like there's never enough time to drive, but when you finally do, then you remember why you built it in the first place. I wouldn't be afraid to drive Chicayne anywhere. You can put four people and luggage in it. Street rods are great, but there's no room in 'em. Troy goes after the performance, stopping, and handling, as well as driveability. It's not just "the look" that matters. I don't think the car would have been possible without Meaney and the technology he's developed at Big Stuff 3. What Troy does with the car, John does with the electronics and the software.
TT: That car has the finest aftermarket parts you can buy. And to be able to get 17 mpg, idle at 700 rpm, and have that kind of horsepower with air conditioning, it's awesome--not because we built it--it's just awesome.
CHP: Was it Chicayne's combination of fit and finish and power that made it a standout to those deciding on the award for Street Machine of the Year?
TT: Street machine guys traditionally haven't paid attention to fit and finish as much as street rodders do, but they are now and it's coming on strong. Bottom line, the car has to be unique. You have to have the colors, the interior--the whole package--built by a team of people who love what they do, and work hard at it.
I'm fortunate enough to be working with the team at Rad Rides, which makes a car like this possible--my wife Angie, my mom and dad Jack and Judy Trepanier, Moose Ferguson, Bob Thrash, Jared Zimmerman, Levi Green, Andy Leach, Ryan Kircher, Dan Holohan, and Danny Ladislas. Chief Warren Lewis did the paint work, and Jim Griffin created the awesome interior.
GG: Troy would say, "What's the matter? Don't you get enthused? You don't say anything?" I'd say, "Troy, I brought the car to the right shop. I don't have to look at what you're doing." His work is phenomenal. He's on the edge. Hell, way off the edge! Let the artist use his creativity. Let the artist create!
CHP: Where did the color choices come from?
GG: I liked silvers and pewters. We wanted the road-race look. It was going to be all polished and the engine compartment was going to have that mechanical look. When I looked at that olive green, the bottom color, I said, "I think you lost your mind." He said, "Glenn, this is going to be Army-lookin', nasty ... blah, blah, blah."
Then Griffin brought out the fabric and suede, and he had some unique colors. I said, "Looking at that olive, are we going to miss, or are we going to be right on?" Troy's like, "Glenn...!" dancing around the shop, hollering... So I said, "Alright, we'll run with it." Certainly, the interior ties the whole together.
TT: If you are creative outside, and it's tasteful, then you can go inside like we did with the Buffalo Suede and the green colors, and really make a statement. If that car was red and had a tan or grey interior, it would be OK; you'd still have the hard evidence there, but eye appeal wouldn't be as great. We took an '00 Lincoln LS color, that Sage Green family. Lots of guys wouldn't paint their car that color, but they really like the way it looks on ours. No one has asked, "Why did you use that bottom color?" It's not a good color as it is, but put it with that top color, and then add the anodized wheels--shiny ones did not work--and it's a package. Everything is shine and polish, and I still like that, but we wanted more of the aggressive road-racing theme. It just gave the car a more sinister look.
I took my '60 Chevy to the '90 Street Machine Nationals, and of 4,000 cars there, mine was the only one with billet wheels. I'd brushed all the trim, and to all these guys this was like a spaceship to them. All I did was take from one industry and apply to our industry. Now, go to the import side. I say, open your eyes, take some of their ideas, and apply them to our street machines. Then you've created something else.
CHP: Where did you get the name "Chicayne"?
GG: Of course, the word itself refers to a curve in a road course. There was also a play on Chicago Biscayne. We kicked around a few names and Chicayne stuck. CHP: What could someone take from Chicayne and incorporate into their car?
TT: So much can be done that will go a long way. Pay attention to what you have in front of you. If you have an idea, get to that goal. Don't spend your time and money more than once. Keep it simple. Simple and subtle are the biggest things. Our goal is to have someone walk up to our cars and say, "That's cool, what'd you do to it?" Then you've done it.