Gerry Kerna’s beloved “Runt” ’62 Chevy II has been named the Goodguys 2011 Detroit Speed Muscle Machine of the Year. The Muscle Machine of the year is designed to honor a Muscle Car that has been modified to perform at a high level including stance, handling, body & paint and overall engineering. The “Runt” possesses all these attributes and more. When she first envisioned the car in her mind, Kerna wanted something she could “participate” in instead of merely a show queen. She wanted a car that was at home on an AutoCross course but could quickly turn heads at the same time. Mission accomplished!
Built by Curt Ukasik and his team at RPM Hot Rods in Pennsylvania, “Runt” started life as a meek, all white 6 cylinder Chevy II with Government Issue hubcaps. But that changed quickly once RPM got to work. It was designed by RPM to run hard with a custom boxed Roadster Shop chassis featuring a modified Heidt’s Pro-G front suspension, a Currie 9 inch rear end on a parallel four-link, Ridetech single adjustable coilovers and Nextel Cup-style swaybars. Setrab coolers were used for the differential, power steering and transmission circulated by Weldon pumps.
A 650hp 427 LS7 from Thompson Racing is coupled to a Bowler prepped Tremec 6 speed with McLeod road racing clutch and a lightened aluminum flywheel. Twelve and thirteen inch Wilwood brakes are used to stop the Billet Specialties “Throttle” wheels wraped in BFG’s G-Force KDW tires.
Runt’s body features stretched front wheel openings, tucked and smoothed bumpers, a sheetmetal spoiler, new floors and firewall and a custom lower front valence. The interior pulls from high end luxury cars with diamond-stitched brown leather upholstery by Smith’s Custom Seats. There’s also a full roll cage, 5-point harnesses and a “Throttle” steering wheel from Billet Specialties to match the wheels.
The Runt will take its rightful place inside the “Champion’s Arena” presented by Street Rod Headquarters at the Goodguys 14th Southwest Nationals November 18-20 in Scottsdale. Kerna will receive a customized toolbox courtesy of Snap-on while in Scottsdale.
Fellow award finalists included: Paul Alderman, Ellensburg, WA (’70 Camaro), Dave Leisinger, Wall Lake, SD (’67 Camaro), Mark Stielow, Beverly Hills, MI (’69 Camaro), Alex and Jane Stoner, Spring Green, WI (’70 Mustang), Royce Glader, Ft Collins, CO (’66 Mustang), Tom Graham, Tyler, TX (’68 Camaro), Robert Bell, Scottsdale, AZ (’65 Mustang), Todd and Stephanie Foust, Baton Rouge, LA (’65 Mustang), Steve Moore, Rock Hill, SC (’69 Camaro), Mark Rife, Carolina Beach, NC (’63 Corvette), Kim Cook & Barry Bryant, Oklahoma City, OK (’66 Chevy Malibu).