BangShift’s Project Cars: A Glimpse Inside a Twisted Mind

Posted by

It’s no secret that before I ended up as the editor at, I was a contributor to a lot of places including, under the sweatshop-like conditions of the lugubrious Brian Lohnes. One of his most pronounced idiosyncrasies is his inability to pick up a reasonable project car. Every one is the kind of car that most people would pay you to take. Forthwith, an examination:

Exhibit A: Buford T. Justice


A 1987 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 cop car, clad in what’s known in the auto body business as “High Hiding White.” You could make a paper bag full of acorns look smooth if you sprayed it that color.

Lohnes has some fantasy that his Caprice spent its working days chasing down bad guys and avoiding stray gunfire, but we have it on good authority that this car spent its entire life reading meters for the Canajoharie Water Department.

At one point, Lohnes — who fancies himself a modern day George Bignotti — installed a new cam and worked the heads and managed to pick up a staggering TWO HORSEPOWER. 

One normally needs to install new spark plug wires to realize gains like that.

After many years, many hours and many thousands of dollars, Buford currently looks like this:


Wow. Yeoman work.

Clapping Rock

Exhibit B: Project Goliath

1966 C50 1-2

Hey, I like trucks. I even like low-option, fleet-oriented trucks of the 1960s and 1970s, based on the fact that I’ve been writing about my own 1979 Chevy Blazer on Lohnes’s But Project Goliath, a 1965 Chevrolet C50 with a 10-inch pack of leaf springs in the rear?

It’s like driving from inside the drum of a cement mixer.

It has a gross vehicle weight of 16,500 pounds, all powered by a six-cylinder. Its top speed is minus 12 miles an hour. You actually get further away from your destination every time you drive it.

The capper: He drove 500 miles to drag this behemoth out of the woods in Maine.

Hey, Lohnes, I have an old sheet metal garden shed rusting out behind my house. Maybe you can drive that, too.

Exhibit C: Project Brutus


Lohnes finally realized he was over his head with Project Goliath after driving it once and spending the next four months in dialysis after the beating his kidneys took.

He moved that truck down the road and picked up the much more sensible, comfortable, luxurious Project Brutus, a 1968 Chevrolet C50 Wrecker. “I pulled the trigger on buying the truck to save it from the crusher,” said Lohnes, “and to scratch the 31-year itch of wanting to have my own old wrecker.”

I had an itch 31 years ago, too. It involved a Cheryl Tiegs poster.


Yet, I moved on. But like they say, “What’s the difference between a editor and a savings bond?”

A savings bond eventually matures and begins to earn money.


Clearly learning NOTHING from his last project, Lohnes drove 1,000 miles to rescue this one.

Hey, we have an idea, Brian: How about combining all of your projects into one? It’ll look just like this:


Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at