Volume III, Issue 11, Page 7

Spreading fear and making mayhem…

By Ro McGonegal - Photos by Pete Ores (www.4oresphotos.com) - Video courtesy www.10wideracing.com 11/17/2008

“I can’t spend any time on the phone right now,” wheezed Pat Spangenberg, sounding harried like he had his finger stuck in the proverbial dike. “I think I got food poisoning at lunch. I’m heading home in the fast lane before something pops, you know?”
When Spangenberg isn’t fleeing the supreme squirts, he’s seeing to his Rod & Competition Specialties in Butler, Wisconsin. Hot rod Butler is well within the Milwaukee cultural radiation pattern, a major airport, supporting services, and even a special “test track.” It’s a good place for car crazies, and these boys are crazies.

Pat has had more than 100 cars in his 43-year history but claims none have them have been as much fun as the big, green crocodile, a ’66 Impala in the spirit of Nick Scavo’s bad, black precursor. 

When the notion would seem to be placing the most powerful engine in the smallest and lightest environment possible, some of us find that much too easy. Instead, some mutant gene within causes us to slave over a heavy car and make it run just as good as the flyweight. And we are more inclined to seek retribution with the sleepiest sheet metal you could imagine. A healthy patina of neglect is appropriate and welcomed, although most of the sheet metal beneath it should be rust-free and without real big dents. Scrapes are welcome, though, especially if they carry paint from the scrapee. Car wash? You’re kiddin’, right?

The object is alacrity. A full tuck-and-
roll interior might look pretty but it
won’t make the car one iota faster or quicker. The original digs are good enough, especially if the dash is heat-
checked and brittle beyond help or the seats are gakking up their stuffing uncontrollably because its too
late to save them—and who cares. Street scrim clings like grim death to those wizened Weld wheels.
There’s not a bright spot on it anywhere, not even under that skuzzy, sun bleached hood—Pat’s not
sure of its origin but he knows that car lived a lot of life in a desert climate. As the occasional street
racer, he’s done his best to camouflage the juiced 540 that lies beneath. Dynomax Super Turbo
mufflers do their straight-through best to quiet the big green thing’s crocodile’s bellow. Think
about it. You see this green pile of shit slowly edging its way to your door. He’s alongside…and
then quicker than you can say “WAZZA”—he’s gone in a pile of smoke and a god awful whoop.
You feel like you’re chained to the Charter Oak.