By huge numbers, baby boomers (those who are born between 1946 and 1964) represent an irrefutable bulge on government flow charts, as if a python had swallowed a pig. Brad Grainger boomed into this world in the final year of this epoch. He came by his car proclivities quite naturally at 4 years old. He can recall sitting on his dad’s lap in his Uncle Don’s ’66 SS Chevelle, the engine howling and Don furiously flat-shifting the Muncie into next Sunday.
“If I’d had a Blackberry in 1968 you can be assured I would be emailing buddies: OMG ... we are doing a wheelie, smokin’ tires, and simply hauling the mail across Southern Illinois roads … My fate is now secured everyone, I’m going to be a race car driver!”
In 1977, his eyes locked on a white ’67 Camaro with a For Sale sign on it. “It was instant love,” he says. “I bought it and [it] has been with me for more than 30 years.” For most of that time, the car stayed just as it was: tangerine nose stripe, Cragar SS hoops, 305 motor, and Powerglide transmission. As an aside, Brad and his family (including Camaro) had gone from Illinois to California, to Dayton, Ohio, to Chicago, and then settling in north Georgia. It might well have remained in stasis were it not for a very fortunate occurrence in the garage.
“In July 2008 my wife and I arrived home to find that our shelving had collapsed and fallen on the car. It had only minor scratches but this was the final straw that pushed me to rebuild it.” Before he had even found someone to shepherd the project, Brad was bug-eyed, sweaty, and busy dismantling his teen angel. A body-off resto is what he envisioned and what he craved. Not long after, he was at a YearOne show and was soon thoroughly entranced by the energy, passion, and talent of Rusty Grindle (who had recently opened Rusty’s Rod Shop in Cleveland, Georgia). Rusty got the job; certain phases were parceled out to Chequered Flag Automotive in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Now Brad’s sweetheart was to finally shed its adolescent innocence and become the Atomic Beast. Grindle finished the car in September 2009. Along with the visceral payback (“…our biggest joy is the whistle of the Magnuson supercharger”), there have been many psychic rewards as well (World of Wheels Outstanding in Class 2010, Autofest Diamond 5 Award 2009, Tremec Trick Stick Award 2009, Goodguys Nashville Muscle Pick 2010, among them).
Brad says, “My Uncle Don died many years ago, but I am sure he would have approved of my supercharged LS3 powerplant … thank you, Uncle Don, for the unforgettable ride.”