Weiand Blower, Holley Carbs Power Gas Monkey Garage's Incredible Hi-Po Hauler

By: Todd Veney02/07/2017 < Back to Blog Home
A '63 Ford Econoline pickup might not be the first thing that comes to mind for your next build, but in the hands of the guys from Gas Monkey Garage, there's nothing that can't be transformed into a bad-to-the-bone hot rod. Their Hot Wheels Hi-Po Hauler is amazing – so amazing that it was selected to be a Redline Edition car for Hot Wheels’ exclusive Red Line Club alongside another epic Gas Monkey Hot Wheels project, the Midas Monkey '68 Corvette Stingray.

To create what's basically a Hot Wheels die cast come to life, Richard Rawlings, Aaron Kaufman, and the mechanical masterminds at Gas Monkey Garage completely disassembled an Econoline and basically scrapped everything but the body itself. As seen on The Discovery Channel's Fast N’ Loud show, they added a back half from Chassisworks and fabricated a custom front frame in-house, moving the driver's seat from the traditional position at the left of the cabin to the center, where the engine used to be.

The engine was moved to the spacious 7-1/2 foot bed (which, incidentally, was the first ever bed that large when Econolines, originally conceived as work trucks, rolled off the assembly more than half a century ago). It’s pointed backwards, with the scoop and headers inverted and a V-drive setup like what's used in boats and wheelstanding drag race exhibition vehicles. With a beefy Ford C6 transmission and reverse gearing, this system works to put as much horsepower to the rear wheels as possible.

For power, the Gas Monkey gang punched out a 460 cubic-inch big-block Ford to 520 inches, and where do you think they went for a supercharger? Right – Weiand! For the carburetors, there really was only one choice: Holley. Needless to say, the blower, the valve covers, and everything else that could possibly be polished or chromed absolutely is.

Econolines are like nothing else Ford ever made, and the Hi-Po Hauler is unlike anything anybody ever made. The powerful beast has a spartan, all-business interior that actually seems spacious because it doesn't have an engine right over the axle and stuffed between the driver's and passenger seats like the original did. Aside from the custom dash support and dashboard, the interior features beautiful instrumentation in a dash that matches the exterior paint, a race-style seat mounted right in the center of the cab, and a cool old-school Moon-style gas pedal.

The huge extended bed sports custom finishing panels, fabricated wheel tubs to contain the extra-wide rubber, and a hand-crafted sheet-metal tailgate. The massive weight of the almost cartoonish engine and the entire driveline puts the pounds right where they're needed for maximum traction – over the rear end. Add it all up and you're left with a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that's not hard to imagine as the Red Line Club Hot Wheels die cast that will soon be available – it already looks like a real-life Hot Wheel now.

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