When it was time to relaunch the famous brands that make up the ACCEL Performance Group at the ’13 SEMA trade show in Las Vegas, company president Don Barry thought an outrageous vehicle stuffed with the company’s coolest parts would tattoo the ACCEL and Mr. Gasket names into the minds of 125,000 show attendees. It was Mr. Gasket’s 50th anniversary, too. Something special had to be done.
Keep in mind that hundreds of the world’s most outlandish and stylish vehicles debut at SEMA every year. How do you build one that will burn itself in everyone’s brain after the buzz of the event dies down and the trade-show hangover clears? How about by building the coolest surf wagon ever? Unlike the broken-down jalopy that graced the cover of The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ Safari” album, Lime Crush (as this stunner is called) could win a show anywhere it goes—and get you to the beach before all the good waves go away.
The minute the cover was pulled back on Lime Crush, we saw it gracing the electronic and paper pages of Super Chevy. Built by The Roadster Shop in Illinois, it epitomizes what a hot rod truck can be—to the extreme.
“We couldn’t be more excited to see this build come to fruition and debut at SEMA,” said Mr. Gasket Chief Marketing Officer Tim Martin. “More than 20 years ago, Mr. Gasket’s founder, Joe Hrudka, collaborated with Boyd Coddington to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary with the debut of Coddington’s Chezoom. Today, we continue that tradition of working with the best builders in the industry, relying on the Roadster Shop to help create Lime Crush.”
Once its initial show duties were over, Lime Crush was shipped to our Florida HQ, where we’d be able to sample it near the beautiful Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. After it was unloaded from its trailer, we climbed aboard to familiarize ourselves with its controls. This is not your ordinary surf wagon. The entire floor is teak wood. While it would surely make sweeping out the sand easier, we sure wouldn’t want to scratch it. Everything else is covered in sumptuous leather and high-end, soft-to-the-touch vinyl. The ultimate surf-inspired element is the tiki shift nob.
Of course, we’re all about going fast here at Super Chevy, so it wasn’t long before we were examining what was under the hood. Being in the performance parts business, it was no surprise to see ACCEL and Mr. Gasket goodies here. A Chevrolet Performance Parts ZZ502 crate engine with a custom-ground cam provides the motor-vation, but there’s no carburetor. ACCEL accounts for the EFI intake manifold, DFI Thruster engine management system, fuel injectors, billet aluminum throttle body, and Dual Sync distributor. Mallory’s CT Pro ignition module, and E-core H.O. coil fire the mixture, while Sanderson headers expel the fumes through a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust system. Naturally, a slew of Mr. Gasket’s finest keeps the fluids and gases where they belong.
A simple twist of the key brought the robust Rat to life, and the EFI kept it idling like a new car. Ah, the benefits of aftermarket fuel injection. Driving it was easy once I got used to the sheer size of it. The Roadster Shop’s Fast Track chassis made it drive like a new Suburban—better, actually, thanks to the Penske shocks, low-slung stance, and grippy Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires (P295/30R22 front, P305/35R20 rear) mounted on Billet Specialties SLC62 wheels. The Roadster Shop’s IFS uses tubular upper and lower control arms and a splined sway bar, while the rear suspension is its tried-and-true 4-Bar setup.
Despite the robust weight we were moving around, mashing the throttle provided what we like to euphemistically call “good freeway merging power.” The roar of the 502 no doubt shocked some passersby (if they weren’t already stunned by the custom PPG “Mr. Gasket Green” paint. The revs climbed quickly, thanks in part to the 3.90-geared Strange 9-inch, but once we were at cruising speed, the OD took over and the rpm leveled off, as did the cacophony in the cockpit. Everything you’d expect from a high-end build—great stopping power, acceleration, comfort—was there. Even the turning radius was acceptable when we hooked a quick U-turn in rush-hour traffic.
Inside, the front seats are reworked ’61 Impala buckets, while the back seat was custom-built for this truck. The steering wheel is a one-off piece that started life in a ’40 Ford (mounted to an ididit column), and behind it are reworked factory gauges. Realistically, there’s nothing inside that would be recognizable to anyone familiar with stock ’66 Suburbans.
What attracted us to this super Chevy, and what floored showgoers and pedestrians alike, is its stunning looks. The Roadster Shop smoothed and tucked the front bumper and custom-fab’d the grille. The lack of door handles and flush glass all around brought the look into the 21st century. Our favorite trick was the hidden fuel filler neck. A remote switch in the driver-side doorframe popped out the left taillight, which rotates away so you can fill it with premium.
Our time with Lime Crush was brief but memorable. We only wish we could call it our own.