Smaller car manufacturers often produced models, which were considered less attractive, sometimes bordering on ugly. It takes a rodder with a sharp eye and a bag full of tricks to transform one of these often forgotten models into something truly bitchin’.

Brian Gannon of Floral Park, New York, managed one of these magical transformations. Starting at an early age working out of his grandmother’s garage in Astoria, it was his uncle, John Cassar, who lit his fire by getting him involved in auto restoration. While he enjoyed working on vintage cars he figured there was something more of a challenge out there.

Inspired by what he was seeing in the monthly magazines he was reading, he took off for the West Coast to get an up close and personal look at what was happening. After an initial trip to Pomona, California, he came back energized and ready to take on new ideas and projects. Drawn to manufacturers that marched to their own beat, Brian began his first project with a ’69 Hurst S/C Rambler, which he heavily modified with numerous performance upgrades.

Project completed, he changed gears and started to search for a neat little wagon that would look at home with a long board hanging out the back. Once again he was led back to the Rambler; this time locating a 1962 American custom two-door wagon, which was pretty rare, with less than 4,500 units produced. This project was an introduction to the opening of his new shop, Grandma’s Garage in Floral Park, New York, paying homage to his humble start back in Astoria.

To get started, Brian tore the car down, preparing it for a full buildup that would take him close to one-and-a-half years to complete. He began by constructing a complete custom chassis fashioned from rectangular steel, which was hidden within the car’s unibody structure. To give it slot car–like handling a Heidts IFS was incorporated, combined with Aldan coilovers and QA1 springs. Out back a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 3.73:1 cogs got the nod matched to an S&W Race Cars four-link with Aldan coilovers and QA1 springs. Fluid pushed through a Corvette master to GM discs at each corner brings plenty of stopping power to the mix when called for. For a really cranked-into-the-pavement look, P.S. Engineering wheels capped with low-profile Falken rubber enhanced handling while infusing a unique vintage race look.

Wanting to bring plenty of performance to the table to match the car’s newfound attitude, Brian shoehorned a ’92 Corvette 350ci V-8 into place. Highly detailed and filled with a COMP Cams stick, it dumps spent gases through custom headers and a 2-1/2-inch owner-fabbed exhaust. Power gets spun through a tweaked GM 700-R4 by FB Transmission of Bayshore, New York, with shifting chores handled by Lokar.

When faced with restyling the little wagon, Brian had his ideas ready ahead of time and wasted no time getting started. Turning his attention to the body he began with shaving it clean, followed by rolling the edges of all the fenders to give it a real neat look. From there the bumpers were shaved and tucked and a custom grille and firewall were set in place, completing the mild updates. Focusing on bringing the tired old body back to life, he spent countless lonely nights blocking it to perfection. Brian then contacted Elite Coach of Glen Cove, New York, to lay down a decadent coating of PPG black and green vibe to bring plenty of allure to the exterior.

Wanting his business office to hold just as much depth as the exterior, Brian worked with Phoenix Upholstery, of Franklin Square, New York, who stitched up a tasty Ultraleather and suede bench interior. Navigation flows through an ididit steering column topped with a Bell-styled steering wheel while vitals are monitored through Classic gauges riding shotgun in a custom-fabbed dash insert. Brian accomplished his mission with flying colors by infusing style, power, and handling into this rarely seen model. Even though the wagon has moved onto new owners, we can hardly wait to see what he comes up with next.