Created by Troy Trepanier, Intruder came out of the box in San Bernardino, California, with three miles showing on the odometer. Six days and 2,900 cross-country miles later, on the Hot Rod Power Tour, Intruder had performed flawlessly, and even returned 20 miles per gallon.
The goal for Rad Rides, the builders of Intruder, was to set new standards in style and performance, as part of bringing the new generation of super rods to a higher level. By any standards, this mission was accomplished.
As you would expect from a modern super rod, the sleek Intruder is stuffed with performance components, developed by Summit Racing. It is powered by a 351-c.i. Ford Racing engine with aluminum heads, a trick-flow fuel injection manifold and custom valve covers. A custom-mounted supercharger boosts output to 510 horsepower and 450 pounds of torque. A special Summit Racing bell housing links the engine to a Borg-Warner six-speed transmission and Centerforce clutch. Stopping power comes from Baer Racing, with 13½-inch rotors and four-piston calipers up front, and 14-inch rotors with four-piston calipers at the rear.
Finished in PPG's burnt orange and champagne, the creature comforts of Intruder's interior are first class, providing a high level of comfort for those long days of power hot-rod touring. Without question, this car is an uncompromising statement of the current state of the art in super rods.
Intruder, offered without reserve, sold for $130,680 including buyer’s premium at the Barret-Jackson Scottsdale sale, held January 19, 2002.
Intruder represents the direction super rods have taken in the last several years. Rad Rods by Troy builds street rods that combine the reliability and performance of a new car with the heart and soul of an old car.
Big wheels, big brakes, superchargers, turbochargers and intercooled EFI motors are all part of the typical Rad Rod custom. Ford SVO, GM Performance, Chrysler and Summit Racing have helped ensure the drivability of the finished products.
The market for super rods is just beginning to develop, especially for cars with a connection to well-known builders such as Troy Trepanier, Pete Chapouris, Rob Ida, Roy Brizio and Boyd Coddington.
Instead of building cars on spec, these builders have a line of customers waiting for their latest creations, regardless of what the price might be. And when you factor in the hours involved in the design and fabrication of a top-flight super rod, even $130,000 starts sounding reasonable.
A bonus of owning Intruder is that the car itself has a celebrity status. Being featured on countless magazine covers and participating in the Hot Rod Power Tour makes this 1957 Ford Del Rio wagon a car that will always be recognized. If there is a downside, it has to do with the changing tastes in the hot rod market. It’s impossible to determine if, 10 years from now, Intruder will be seen as a timeless super rod classic or just a well-done example of a style that is no longer in vogue.
The more this car is used, the more risk there is of damaging the custom paint job and interior. Trepanier’s drivetrains have a reputation for being bulletproof, so the new owner won’t have to worry about expensive rebuilds in the near future. A little advice to the new owner-if the car needs work of any kind, from touching up the paint to adjusting the suspension, ship it back to Rad Rods. This isn’t exactly the kind of car you want to entrust to Billy’s Velvet Hammer Collision Repair.
Did the buyer pay too much? Considering that the car was offered at no reserve with more than 3,000 buyers on hand to take a run at it, this has to be considered retail, but not crazy, money. In fact, as the pool of affluent baby boomers continues to grow, there may be money to be made on Intruder in the next couple of years. I believe that the muscle car and hot rod market is headed towards levels formerly reserved for foreign exotics and American classics.
Well-done, attractive cars with no real history or expert-builder provenance are bringing $50,000 to $75,000. That makes the $130,000 paid here seem like a reasonable premium to get a fresh-out-of-the-box, already-famous car by a premium constructor. And we can expect to see the next super rod by Trepanier bring even more.
Could the price be replicated in another year? If the market conditions stay the same and the interest in American cars continues, yes. Even today, if you can find another Trepanier car for sale, you can be sure that the seller is going to use Intruder as a benchmark for his asking price.
Craig Jackson took a chance when he loaded his auction with high-quality hot rods. But the sale of Intruder, Black Jack ($172,800) and Sniper ($162,000) vindicated Craig’s decision, and indicates that we are watching a new and quickly rising market.Steve Dorsey