We challenge you to find a better example of bang-shifting than the incomparable Steve Dulcich. The look of concentration, the lightning-quick action—it’s a thing to behold. But Steve can’t work his magic without a worthy ride. That’s where the Bang-Shift Cougar comes in. You might remember this 1967 Mercury Cougar from the very first episode of Roadkill Garage, but with a clutch that slips like a banana peel, this pony car no longer lives up to its name. Worry not! Dulcich and David Freiburger have a plan to bring back the Bang-Shift Cougar and make it better than ever!
Bang-Shift Cougar Is Back, Baby!
Back in 2016, David Freiburger and Steve Dulcich decided to show you exactly how not to rebuild an engine over a weekend and making a TV show about it. Using one of Freiburger’s favorite tools—the dingle-ball cylinder hone—and the fewest new parts possible, he and Dulcich demonstrated that you could get a clunker going again with minimal cash and maximum elbow grease. (As long as you’re willing to stick to the Freiburger motto: Don’t get it right, just get it running. )
The car in question was a 1967 Mercury Cougar that Freiburger liked for three reasons: 1) Factory red-on-red color scheme, 2) four-speed manual and bare-bones meant it was built for speed, and 3) The 351 Cleveland that somehow found its way under the hood before Roadkill Garage sent it to the farm. Of course, everything went wrong. It took a month to get the Cleveland in the Cougar running, but that was just the beginning.
After lighting up the 351 Cleveland, the guys did what they always do with a project car: let it sit outside for over a year, ruining it all over again. In episode 23, Freiburger and Dulcich decided to rectify that mistreatment with a Dart 363 cubic-inch stroker small-block Windsor crate engine making a very healthy 450 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque and sounding mean through a set of Hooker long-tube headers backed up by a Ford Toploader four-speed manual transmission. But, people, when parts manufacturers prescribe a break-in period, there is a reason.
Instead of giving the brand-new clutch a few hundred miles to get bedded-in properly, Dulcich and Freiburger did what they do best as soon as the new Dart block felt fire: burnouts, bang-shifts, and brodies. It’s not surprising the new clutch did not last long. Now, it’s time Roadkill Garage’s first bang-shifter gets back on the road. After all, Dulcich just bought another four-speed banger, and there could be some multi-car bang-shift shenanigans to come.
Steve Dulcich Living His Corvette Summer
That’s right, Duclich is now a Corvette guy, and he is resplendent in that black convertible C3. There’s no shame in admitting you’re going through a midlife crisis, and Steve thinks this 383-powered Stingray will help him get through the blues. This is not a factory 383 Corvette, either, so make no mistake, Freiburger and Dulcich will not be precious about tearing into this C3, Roadkill Garage-style.
Especially if they want it to stand a chance against the Bang-Shift Cougar when they pit them against each other. We don’t know how, we don’t know when, but there will be a Blue Oval/Bow Tie bang-shift-shootout. But before that, the Cougar needs everything.
Freiburger says the steering is scary and a look at the cracked suspension pick-up points only makes things worse. So all-new control arms and steering linkages go on after all the cracks get welded up. One-tire fires are not becoming of Dulcich’s bang-shifting fleet, and a limited-slip differential fixes that along with some ‘strip-friendly 3.55 gears. You’ll also learn how not to properly fix an oil leak, because this is Roadkill Garage and as long as there is oil in the engine, everything is great! A totally new clutch assembly goes in and—voilá—a whole new season of Roadkill Garage is ready for your enjoyment. Sign up for a free trial to the MotorTrend App, and start watching today!