You've seen Joe Rogan as the host of NBC's Fear Factor tempting contestants to eat insects or perform daring feats of physical endurance. On a recent episode of The Learning Channel's (TLC) Rides show, Rogan himself is the center of attention as his restored 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, called the Sick Fish, is unveiled to him for the very first time.
As part of the show, hot rod designer Chip Foose created the Sick Fish's new design, while Troy Trepanier and the team at Rad Rides by Troy performed the fabrication work on the car. A key piece of equipment used in the process was The Precision TIG® 275.
According to Dan Holohan, head fabricator at Rad Rides by Troy, consistency, reliability and ease of use were the primary reasons the Lincoln Precision TIG was chosen for this application. "The arc doesn't dance around at the start like some TIG machines. With the Precision TIG, the arc starts where you point it," said Holohan. "With its MicroStart™ Technology, the machine produces a stable, consistent arc that is very controllable. We always look for the best weld we can possibly produce, regardless of whether we will grind the weld or leave it exposed. With this machine, we know we are achieving high quality welds."
Holohan, Troy Trepanier and the four other fabricators at Rad Rides by Troy never looked at any other brands when they were selecting a new TIG machine for the Barracuda project. Their previous experience with Lincoln made them eager to try the Precision TIG. Challenged with a compressed six-month timeframe to complete this car for the Rides television show, they knew having a reliable machine was critical.
Although many shops use the MIG welding process for its fast arc travel speeds, the custom fabricators at Rad Rides prefer the TIG process. They use it almost exclusively because of the superior aesthetics it achieves. TIG welding also typically offers more precise control over warpage and burn through on thin materials.
Sick Fish, having only four inches of ground clearance at the rocker panel, required intricate fabrication to achieve its low ride height. To accommodate the 30-inch tall tires and give them the look of sitting "deep" in the car, Holohan and his crew spent additional time designing and fabricating the rear portion of the car.
"To complete the back end of the Barracuda we had to cut out sections of the car's existing frame rails, fabricate new ones for the new four-link rear suspension and weld them into the original frame rails," said Holohan. "Since the frame rails are a key part of the car's structure, we relied heavily on the sound, high-quality welds created by the Precision TIG."
Another area where the Precision TIG set itself apart from other machines on the market was in welding the new 16-gage steel transmission tunnel to the existing 22-gage sheet metal floor of the car. The dissimilar metal thicknesses required a solid butt weld on both sides of the tunnel from the firewall to the new rear end or differential. With the Precision TIG, the fabrication team was able to use the foot control to fine tune the machine and back off of the amperage.
"We pride ourselves on quality, both in the aesthetics and driveability of the car. These cars are made to drive -- no matter how cool they look," noted Holohan.
For a detailed description of the Joe Rogan Sick Fish '70 'Cuda build from start to finish, access the Rad Rides site to order an Official Build Book. Click here to go to radrides.com