Roadster Shop swept the Road America Concours d’Elegance event July 20 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, by finishing 1-2 for best builds in the American Muscle class. A total of 18 cars were entered. Concours d’Elegance is a French term that means a “competition of elegance” and refers to an event where prestigious vehicles are displayed and judged.
Barry Blomquist’s 1965 Pontiac 2 + 2 placed first, with Dr. William Fox’s ’66 Chevelle finishing second. Barry’s 2 + 2 was awarded a Builder’s Choice Award the previous weekend at the 22nd Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. Both cars feature Mercury Racing’s SB4 7.0 automotive crate engine. Thousands of car enthusiasts flooded the streets of Elkhart Lake to view the classic sports cars on display.
Designed, developed and manufactured in-house, the Mercury Racing 32-Valve DOHC SB4 7.0 engine adapts our proven high-performance valve train to a customized LS-based cylinder block that produces a staggering 750 naturally aspirated horsepower. Mercury Racing’s advanced four-valve cylinder head combustion system and dual overhead camshaft valve train provide superior performance and durability compared to a standard two-valve design. The Pontiac 2 + 2 was completed just in time for the Nationals. Barry has not yet taken delivery. He is very anxious to do so.
Barry is a self-proclaimed car nut. He has been one all his life. His father being a used-car dealer while Barry was growing up may have something to do with that. Barry got his first car at the ripe old age of 14. His first new car, a 1963 Chevy Impala Super Sport, was purchased at age 16. Barry would purchase his third car, a Pontiac 2 + 2, at 19. It was very similar to his latest Roadster Shop project car.
Barry owned a steel-fabrication business for 40 years. While his career and raising a family limited his street rod hobby, his work continually refined his eye for quality steel fabrication – something he would appreciate at a whole new level in the future with Roadster Shop.
Barry has known Roadster Shop owners Jeremy and Phil Gerber and their father and company founder – the late Neal Gerber – a very long time. In fact, Barry was their first customer. His first car, a 1932 Ford Dearborn Deuce Roadster, was delivered on his 60th birthday. The award-winning ’65 Pontiac 2 + 2 is his sixth Roadster Shop project car.
“Neal and his sons started the business out of what was a very small hot rod shop. In 10 years, Roadster Shop has grown from an unknown entity to the top of their game in the high-end custom-car business. Their mix of old-world hand-craftsmanship with modern technology is unparalleled in the street rod business,” said Barry.
From early childhood, Barry established a pattern in regard to car ownership. He doesn’t seem to hang onto them for more than three years. About a year and a half ago Barry began reminiscing about the Pontiac 2 + 2 ride he had in his late teens. He became obsessed with the process of building cars, which he compares with building a custom home. As he expressed, “The fun is in the building part.”
Barry said the uniqueness of the Mercury Racing SB4 engine sparked an interest as well. He began to wonder what it would be like to stick the naturally aspirated 7.0-Liter small block SB4 in a big, beautiful car. During my phone conversation with him, it didn’t take long for me to realize that, once he commits to something, Barry is full-in with laser focus on every aspect of the build process.
2 + 2 (4 CAM)
Not only is Barry passionate, he has a wealth of automotive historical knowledge as well. He told me Ferrari was the first to use the 2 + 2 moniker. It means 2 seats plus 2 seats – a reference to driver and passenger bucket seats in front, matched with bucket style seating in the back. He also told me Ferrari used V-12 four-cam engines in the ’60s. Porsche also used four-cam engines in the ’60s. Both are rare and very difficult to find today. Knowing the rarity of the four-cam engines was another draw for Barry toward the Quad Cam Four Valve SB4 engine. The 4-CAM moniker on the car pays tribute to the technology. The “4 CAM” Wisconsin vanity license plate pays tribute to the birthplace of the SB4 under the hood.
Back to the Future
In the ’60s, Pontiac was known as the performance arm of General Motors. John DeLorean, creator of the famed stainless-steel DeLorean supercar featured in the Back to the Future movies, was the division CEO. The 2 + 2 was more of a performance sedan, while the GTO was the big seller for muscle-car enthusiasts. One thing that set the 2 +2 apart (well known by Pontiac purists) is the unique eight-lug wheels. Developed in 1960 and in use through 1968, the eight-lug wheels incorporated a one-piece casting that integrated the brake drum at the rear of the wheel. The casting was finned to keep the brake drums cool. Not only were the finned eight-lug wheels functional, they were also a timeless work of art. Even though the GTO stole the show in terms of sales, the larger 2 + 2 held its own. MotorTrend ran a feature article on a shootout pairing the Pontiac 2 + 2 with a Ferrari. The results were very, very close.
Attention to Detail
Barry wanted the car to retain its classic elegance with new technology.
“The mission was to retain the car’s original looks but update every mechanical component to modern standards,” said Barry.
The 2 + 2 is extremely well built – much more perfect than the original could ever aspire to be. The interior, custom built by Avant Garde Design, is an art form on a whole new level. The quality level of fit and finish is impeccable. The interior space, seats, dashboard, trim and headliner are covered in fine leather. The center console is milled out of three-quarter-inch aluminum milled to perfection. You won’t find a single screw in the entire interior.
Roadster Shop re-engineered and rebuilt the complete vehicle to have all the conveniences of a modern automobile. The only original pieces in the car are the door hinges. The chassis, differential, suspension, transmission, wiring, steering column and brakes are all new. The car features a custom Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis and high-performance suspension. The SB4 is coupled to a Tremec T56 six-speed transmission. Roadster Shop even built custom stainless-steel headers and a complete exhaust system. A C & R Racing radiator keeps the SB4 cool as it runs through the gears up to its 8000-rpm rev limit. Even the door latches, while retaining the original aesthetics, are new with modern latching mechanisms. The SB4 styling has been revised with custom powder-blue paint to match the original factory engine color. The spark plug wires and engine cover add to the era-correct aesthetics.
Barry was so enamored with the eight-lug wheels that he had the originals scanned and replicated to perfection. And here’s an interesting fact: The original wheels were 14 inches in diameter and 6 inches wide. The new disc-brake rotors alone are 14 inches in diameter. Massive Pilot Sport 295/35 19 (front) and 335/30 20 (rear) tires are mounted on the all-new wheels.
We are very proud to have our SB4 automotive crate engine the power of choice in these award-winning vehicles. We are anxious to get Barry’s feedback upon his first trip behind the wheel of his teenage dream car restored and resurrected for the modern era.