25 June 2013
|Builders Challenge: Rory Griffith's 2006 Chrysler 300C|
When Las Vegas plumber Rory Griffith dove into his Chrysler 300C project just over three years ago, we'll bet he never envisioned the splash it would ultimately make. What he did anticipate was going “way past what all others had done” to use his own words; but, with the final touches applied in the form of the outstanding interior and audio system by Industry Auto Designs, Griffith's mean C was picked by voters as the winner of the 2013 Phoenix Gold Builders Challenge. Here's how it all came together.
Griffith is no stranger to project vehicles. For 15 years he was active in the show scene, building SEMA and CES show rides for customers and companies for 10 of those fun years. This time out, he was able to take a back seat and enjoy the work of others, including the prestigious Tommy Rocker Auto Fabrication.
To achieve the paint-scraping ride height, front tubular upper control arms and drop spindles have been hand-made to work with the 300C chassis. The frame rails are reinforced and plated with the fabricated mount for the threaded hydraulic cylinders, which are supplied by Parker bladder accumulators. This completely one-off setup provides an extreme range of suspension travel. The rear has received a similar treatment with hand-built upper cylinder mounts and two more accumulators for ride comfort.
Naturally, Griffith plumbed all the air lines and installed the “1 pump, 5 dump” Hydroholics manifold. He also added the 6,000 k HID headlights and the smoked rear taillamps himself while Danny Demello at Best Muffler Shop installed the Magnaflow exhaust and custom piping necessary to make it fit with the body drop. Unlike many off-the-shelf air ride kits, all of the tanks and lines have been kept completely hidden from sight – one of the many clever touches that help to set this vehicle apart.
The body and rear pan got dropped by Tommy Rocker Auto Fabrication, and the trunk and rear doors tubbed to fit the monster 26x9-inch Velocity 725S wheels. Tires are an equally-ridiculous 275/25-26 size from Fullrun, and look just right disappearing deeply into the fenders at full drop. Martel has also shaved the gas door and rolled the inside of the fenders, as well as handled the body work and the painting of the roof gloss black.
The result of all of the love lavished on the exterior is a slick sort of hunkiness; it looks like a Dub toy found at a Toys “R” Us. It makes an impression without making a sound. At this point, the car sat for a while while Griffith considered possible interior modifications.
Enter Industry Auto Designs and the Phoenix Gold Builders Challenge. Industry Audio Designs had just been approved for the Phoenix Gold contest and Andrew Evers, the CEO of IAD, was looking for a nice car with a virgin interior. “When we heard about the challenge and were approved, we hit all of our outlets – friends, family and looked at shop cars as well as the car clubs we work with. We did some interviews, looking for a common enough vehicle that everyone could relate to and be able to have freedom with on the install.”
Evers knew Griffith from his work on past project vehicles, so it can be considered a match made in heaven. The only fly in the ointment was they would have only 30 days to complete a contest-winning audio installation. Impossible, right? Wrong.
To begin, they stripped the insides to the bare walls and removed the rear window so that four Phoenix Gold Ti10D2 subwoofers could be mounted in the rear deck on angled mounts, and the enclosure below them built with a clear acrylic “pass through window” into the interior. This meant the rear bench seat would have to be converted into captains chairs. Since they were going that far, they went a step further and did a complete color change from the OEM tan to blue suede and black vinyl and leather for the seats and all of the interior panels. The hard trim pieces are repainted blue to match the exterior finish with a “hydro graphic” to finish it off with a silvery pattern that also migrates to the steering wheel. Other nice touches include smoked, back-lit gauges and remote-mounted PG bass control.