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King of the Jungle: A quiet beast pounds the pavement

AutoWeek
By LARRY EDSALL

DICK HEDMAN IS a child of Southern California’s postwar hot rod culture. His family owned Hedman Hedders and when Dick was 16 he got his first car, a Chevrolet Corvair. He bolted a Paxton supercharger onto it, but Andy Granatelli’s guys made it work right.

Ted Halibrand had four custom wheels that he created for young Hedman’s ride. Hedman worked the family business until it sold. He and brother Ken settled in Phoenix where Dick built Cobras for Bob Bondurant.

Last December Hedman helped businessman Robb Corwin launch Gorilla Motorsports, which turns ordinary SUVs into extraordinary “Silverback” editions. They get suspension mods to wheels and tires, custom interiors with exotic audio/visual systems and supercharger systems.

This Silverback Navigator rides well on its 22-inch, three-piece Lowenhart wheels and 305/45 Falken tires. Hedman does the mechanical work himself—and gives his personal cell number to each Gorilla customer.

Also on this Navigator is an intercooled Paxton supercharger, big brake rotors from Phoenix-based Baer, an exhaust system by IRL racer Billy Boat, hand-fashioned Ultrasuede head and pillar liners, and custom consoles and dash treatment. Hedman had AAW, a local audio specialist, install a pair of DVD players, satellite radio, TV receiver, nav system, Game Cube and theater-style surround sound with a 10-inch subwoofer.

Though the Silverback SUV is quiet in stop-and-go traffic where many tuned vehicles stumble over themselves, with 467 hp and 518 lb-ft of torque ready to pound the pavement, this is one gorilla that rules its jungle.

2003 Gorilla Motorsports Silverback Navigator
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $55,050 plus $45,000 (approx.) for Gorilla package
POWERTRAIN: 5.4-liter, 467-hp, 518-lb-ft V8; 4wd, four-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 6000 pounds
0-60 MPH: 7.0 seconds (mfr.)

For more information: gorillamotorsports.net
 

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