If the name Eric Brockmeyer sounds a little familiar, it should. The 40-year-old from Viera, Florida, has made a good name for himself in the last decade providing automotive illustrations to some of the biggest names in the street rod industry. To name a few, Bobby Alloway, The Roadster Shop, Alan Johnson, Boyd Coddington, Legens, Dominator, and Rutterz Rods have all used Brockmeyer to put pen to paper and conceptualize and design new ways to look at the hot rodding hobby.
Link’s Rod Shop worked out the articulation for this taillight/gas filler door. Nicely don
But Eric’s full-time job drawing and designing was, at first, a hobby that came from building model cars as a kid and worked its way into gainful employment by the time he was 30 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. Designing most every aspect of what a boat could look like for Sea Ray for four years, Eric decided to branch out on his own in 2003 and opened Brockmeyer Design to start working on what he really liked: hot rods.
It was the same year he’d found a little ’62 Rambler (offered for sale by its original owner!) on the Internet and it was only a few hours from his home. Eric had seen a white Rambler for sale at a cruise back in the mid-’90s and really liked the “dare to be different” mentality. That car had always stuck in the back of his mind and, when the opportunity came up to join the Rambler fraternity, he jumped.
A ’55 354-inch Chrysler Hemi was shoehorned into the engine compartment and topped with a
The car still had its straight-six flathead and three-on-the-tree and, for $1,700, Eric was able to drive it home. The concept was to keep the car a low-buck cruiser—something he could drive to the Goodguys Columbus show (a 1,000-mile one-way trip). He took the car down to Maaco and got an all-white paintjob, tossed on some custom wheels, and drove it that way for a year (picking up a Custom Rodder Top 10 award at the 2004 Goodguys Columbus show along the way).
His car’s overly sensitive clutch and general lack of power soon got the better of him, and he began talking with one of his clients he’d done some T-shirt designs for, Matt Link of Link’s Rod Shop in Heath, Ohio, about what he could do to better the car.
He dropped the car off with Link in 2004 and they began discussing what the car could look like. Feeling a small-block Chevy would be too common, and since he was already geared to going through the car from top to bottom, Eric asked if a small Hemi could fit under the hood. Matt is a “whatever you want, we’ll make it work” kind of guy, so the theme of the car took off after the choice of powerplant was made.
Dan Weber of Weber’s Custom Interiors re-foamed and recovered the ’66 GTO bucket seats in
The Rambler, being of unibody construction, made it a bit harder to dial in the suspension both front and rear, but nothing was out of reach for the team at Link’s Hot Rods. They started by adapting a front IFS clip with tubular arms from Art Morrison and created new floors, tunnel, firewall, and inner fenders along the way. The stock 100-inch wheelbase was kept, and a narrowed Ford 9-inch posi rear (3.50:1) was added, along with outriggers to attach it to the unibody. Adjustable coilovers are used front and back, as are Wilwood disc brakes. Rollers are big 18x7 and 20x10 Junkyard Dog wheels from Boyd Coddington, which are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle P235/45R18 and P295/40R20 rubber.
The ’55 354 Hemi was handed over to Bob Beach of Beach Performance in New Albany, Ohio, to be machined and assembled with a stock rod and crank combo, but Ross Racing pistons and a camshaft from Hot Heads were also used in the buildup. Hot Heads also provided the machined aluminum adapters to run a big-block Chevy water pump while the radiator came from Performance Radiator.
Sculpted, but not overdone, the dash has been moved toward the driver a total of 3 inches.
Stock, cast-iron heads were bolted up with a pair of Moon aluminum valve covers, and twin Edelbrock 600 carbs feed the V-8. Link’s had to fabricate mounting brackets for the accessories, and they used a billet aluminum adapter from Hot Heads to mate the TH350 transmission (outfitted with a TCI Automotive converter).
The body got the full treatment, too, as it was completely stripped and then media blasted before some modifications were done, such as the left taillight that hinges open to reveal the gas filler and the Shaker-style air cleaner/hood opening lifted from a Dodge Dakota pickup (it’s smaller than ones you’d find on a ’60s ’cuda).
Custom center emblems for the ’64 Plymouth grille and horn button were made and, though the back bumper is stock, the bumper guards were removed both front and rear. The license plate recess on the front bumper was removed, too.
Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog wheels, 18x7 and 20x10, are stuffed under the Rambler and sho
Inside the car the dash was moved 3 inches closer to the driver and a painted ididit column topped with a Grant wooden steering wheel was added. Auto Meter gauges (linked with a Painless Performance wiring system) were set into a custom enclosure fabbed up by Link’s Rod Shop, and controls for the air-conditioning system (from Hot Rod Air) are located to the left of the column.
The rest of the interior was built up over a base of Dynamat and black Daytona weave carpet. The bucket seats, from a ’66 GTO, were re-foamed by Dan Weber’s Custom Interiors, who also created the rear seating from scratch (made a little more difficult due to the wheel tubs). Black leather is used throughout, and other dress-up items include handles and pedals from Billet Specialties and the custom tach housing mounted on the trans tunnel (behind the B&M Ratchet shifter) by Link’s Rod Shop.
Steve Newell of H&H Autobody sprayed the custom-mix Sikkens Brockmeyer Gold and added the
H&H Auto Body in Coshocton, Ohio, did the bodywork on the car before H&H’s Steve Newell sprayed the custom-mixed Sikkens paint (now called Brockmeyer Gold). Eric’s brother, David, created vinyl templates to mimic the graphic look of the ’60s-era AAR Barracudas, though this version has the word “HEMI” at the end of the charcoal metallic stripe that was then covered with a satin clear finish.
Watching Brockmeyer’s Hemi Rambler roll into a parking lot is a unique experience. At first you’re caught off guard by its shape—it’s not your typical hot rod and your mind searches your memory bank for a moment so you can identify it. Then the color, stance, and big-inch wheels stuffed under the fenders give you the signal this ain’t no poser and, once Eric parks and pops the hood, you’re smiling and nodding in agreement with the Hemi shoehorned into the engine compartment. We suspect it’ll be an experience shared by the thousands of folks who will be seeing this ride around the country in the following year.
Street Rodder will be running a few more photos of this car’s construction in the next issue of the magazine, plus you can find more on the car at the streetrodder.com website, along with some of Eric’s acclaimed artwork.