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Celebrity Drive: Ted Nugent, and Why He Loves His Hellcat

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Fast Stats: Ted Nugent, singer-songwriter/TV host
Day by day Driver: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (Ted’s score: 20 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Different automobiles: See under
Favourite street journey: I-94
Automotive he discovered to drive in: 1963 Chevy Biscayne
First automotive purchased: 1970 Mercedes 280SL

Though Ted Nugent has greater than a dozen automobiles—which means the Motor Metropolis Madman can drive a unique one each day of the week—he talks about a number of rides with delight and feeling.

“I rotate them. It’s like guitars and guns. I got this just phenomenal 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat they tweaked for me that’s got a plaque under the hood that says, ‘Custom made for the Motor City Madman,’ so do I feel special or what?” he says, laughing. “I missed the whole muscle car era because I was married to the band; all I bought was vans and station wagons, and a Winnebago. I didn’t have my own car.”

However now he’s acquired plenty of cool automobiles. “This Hellcat, it’s the mountain top; there’s no place else to go,” he says. “And not just the power, but the sheer drivability, the comfort level combined with the g-force nirvana.”

With the one exception of a BMW he purchased for his spouse, Nugent’s different automobiles are all from American automakers.

“I’m an American iron guy. I’ve got Chevys, Mopars, and Ford. I love them all,” he says. “But I also give a nod to the incredible German engineering and all those exotic cars. I’m a big fan of those, but, again, we have 18 vehicles, and only one is foreign.”

If he had a day by day driver, it may be the Polaris he takes to hunt for geese and different unsuspecting herbivores, he says. However for the pavement, his Hellcat qualifies as a very particular automotive.

“This Hellcat would eat the entire ’64 to ’72 muscle car squadron. What a rocket ship, and of course with the hardware I have in the trunk, it’s not just a rocket ship, it’s a fighter jet,” he says, with a burst of laughter. “It’s so much fun to drive. It’s the first time I’ve admitted it because I’m on with MotorTrend, but the Hellcat is equal to my Gibson Byrdland [electric guitar]. That is an astonishing statement, but it’s true.”

Nugent charges his Hellcat a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10, noting the Challenger SRT Hellcat has “too much power,” however he admits he makes use of it to cross a slow-moving automotive touring within the left lane on the freeway. “I can get around him so quickly, they didn’t even know I was there!”

Nugent has the power and upbeat demeanor of somebody a lot youthful—his zeal could make any curmudgeon perk up and inquire what makes him so joyful.

“It’s so simple, it’s stupid. Number one—70 years clean and sober. Number one A—I have a diet of pure wild game that I stealthily track and kill, handle, process, gut, skin, age, butcher, and cook with reverence beyond any human being since our aboriginal founding brethren,” he says. “That’s the secret. You should be here. You’d fall in love with me. You should have seen me. … I just plucked a bunch of mallards and wood ducks this morning, which is a sacred event.”

Typically the straightforward issues in life may be thrilling. “I’ve been 70 years clean and sober except for all the fumes from racing fuel and leafing through the pages of MotorTrend magazine,” he says. “As I approached my 70th birthday, I get to talk to MotorTrend! This is awesome, because I’m a horsepower addict. And genuinely am at the alter of all things horsepower and MotorTrend. Cool.”

Nugent obtained the Hellcat for its energy, after having two Corvette ZR-1s from the ’90s. “When I realized the Mopar blood brothers had put out 700 factory horses, I went. ‘Damn it!’ Because I’ve got so many stupid cars. I mean, it’s stupid to have this many, but they’re all wonderful—trucks and cars and ZR-1s and Bimmers, Suburbans.”

He talks about being mentored by some nice names in cars when he raced off-road. “You’re not just talking to any old goofball guitar player, although I am the best of the goofball guitar players, but I was actually trained, hands-on lovingly, lick for lick, detail for detail, in the ultimate driving experience, which is off-road racing,” he says. “Literally mentored and guided by Parnelli Jones and Mickey Thompson and Bill Stroppe, Rick Mears, Ironman Stewart. I won some; I finished a bunch and crashed a bunch. I’ve been under the tutorship of the gods of driving, and I played bass with Chuck Berry, so where else do I go?”

Nugent begins to rely what number of automobiles he has. “I have Ford Broncos that Bill Stroppe, the world’s greatest off-road vehicle builders have built for me, so I know what handling is, and I know what suspension travel and torque and control and g-forces are,” he says. “And damn, this Hellcat is like a Gibson Byrdland through a stack of a Fender amplifiers. It’s perfect.”

He’s acquired 5 pickups, three Broncos, an Escalade, a Suburban, and 1995 Corvette ZR-1 that solely has 300 miles. His spouse’s BMW is the one non-American automotive he has.

“They’re all workhorses—they’re all utilitarian and pragmatic as all hell when you love to drive and you use them in their engineered applications, so off-road stuff and swamp running,” Nugent says. “They talk about the road less traveled. That’s not good enough. I go where no road exists and it’s untraveled in my Broncos. But they’re all wonderful.”

When one mentions that having 5 pickups and three Broncos appears redundant, Nugent agrees. “If I’m anything, it’s redundant!” he says.

“My band told me when we were finishing the record and the tour, ‘If the 25-year-old Ted Nugent showed up, you’d kick his ass.’ At 70, you’re damn right I’m redundant, because all the best gratifying, stimulating things in life is what you repeat as often as possible!” he says. “Have you heard the opening lick to ‘Stranglehold’? Who would not want to be redundant and play that a million times? I have a number of homes and hunting camps, and so up north I’ve got a pickup truck and a Bronco, and here in the southern Michigan swamps, I have a couple pickups.”

When he’s house in Texas, he’s obtained his Cadillac Escalade and Dodge Ram and a 1974 Bronco. “Just an awesome f–king vehicle,” he says of the Bronco. “And then I will ship my Hellcat. Here’s one thing I never thought I would do—no matter where I go, I ship the Hellcat, because I can’t live without it. The Hellcat is my baby when there’s pavement; the ZR-1 I don’t drive anymore because it’s only got 400 horsepower. My lawn mower has that much. I don’t, now that I got the Hellcat.”

1990 Ford Bronco

Score: 10

“I got this original ’82 morphed into a 1990 Ford Bronco that is full Baja gonzo,” he says. “It’s a Zebra Bronco with a Roush Yates V-8 with 860 horsepower. It’s got Currie axles, so I can climb up your face if I wanted to. That’s just a hellacious swap runner. There’s nothing you can’t do in that Bronco.”

It’s acquired 1990 physique elements, making it extra of a 1990 Bronco. “Ford morphed it into a ’90 because they put it on display in a bunch of shows. But the technology, the suspension, Roush Yates V-8, come on! It’s a dream truck.”

The Bronco is there for something Nugent needs to do. “That truck is the vehicular Great White Buffalo. It doesn’t back away from the storm—it looks for the storm and heads straight into it,” Nugent says.

1966 Ford Bronco

Score: 10

Nugent loves his unique 1966 Bronco. “It’s a half cab, and it’s a frame-off rebuild by Build A Bronco here in Michigan, a beautiful 302 V-8 in it, and I pose with that with all kinds of tasty, delicious, barbeque, sacrificial critters in the back,” he says. “There’s a cult out here of Bronco lovers. The ’66 through ’77 Bronco cult is hardcore.”

The Bronco is an ideal 10 to Nugent as a result of it’s the primary yr Ford made them. “It’s collectible as hell, it’s all state-of-the-art driveline and suspension, and it just goes and goes and goes, and all my Bronco-loving cult gang, they just genuflect at the altar of original Broncos.”

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2000 Ford F-250 Tremendous Obligation

Score: 10

“I’ve got this workhorse 2000 F-250 Super Duty with a V-10 that goes anywhere. It’s got a 6-inch lift and 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, and it’s a workhorse,” he says. “It carries firewood and critters. So it’s a ranching, farming, hands-on, conservation resource steward environmental workhorse.”

Nugent loves the truck, whose engine he says has been tuned to supply about 450 horsepower. “It’s got a winch in the front, a winch in the back so I can haul stuff into the backend when I have big animals. It’s a workhorse and an absolute 10.”

2004 Dodge Ram

Score: 10

“The Ram I got from Dodge because they used 11 seconds of my song ‘Stranglehold.’ It’s the sexiest song in the history of noise. The Dodge Ram also has a lift, and it’s got the 37s, it’s got the posi and limited slip, auxiliary KC Daylighters. It’s another workhorse.”

The off-road-ready Ram is his all-purpose ranching truck. “I’ve pulled so many vehicles out of ditches and saved them in floods, and people don’t know how to drive when there’s a raging rapids in front of them,” he says. “So I saved their lives by winching them the hell out of there. It’s a workhorse, but because it’s got a Hemi, it’s also fun to drive.”

Nugent says all of his vans are tweaked for efficiency, energy, dealing with, and enjoyable. “Driving is fun. It’s a big deal. I look forward to driving,” he says. “You want to go on a ride with Ted Nugent in any one of my vehicles during rush hour and watch me teach people lessons. It’s so beautiful.”

2018 Cadillac Escalade

Score: 10

That is the experience Nugent drives when he’s together with his youngsters and grandkids. “That runs great. If you want a family vehicle that still handles and has some oomph,” he says.

He additionally makes use of the Escalade for his charity work with army and youngsters’s charities. “We’re always picking people up from the airport and taking them hunting and to the shooting range, campfires, on boat trips,” he says. “The most powerful relationship I have with my trucks is that when we do charity work for severely wounded heroes of the military and terminally ill and special-needs children, their favorite thing is to go off-roading with me in one of my trucks,” he says with amusing. “I don’t threaten their lives, but we go to the edge. We go places that it doesn’t look like we should, and they really get a lot of laughter and a lot of fun out of that.”

Nugent additionally sometimes drives his spouse’s 2012 BMW 640i he acquired for her birthday, which they hold at their apartment in Naples. “I don’t go to Naples much, but when I do, I drive the damn car,” he says. “It’s another vehicle that represents our demand for fun, handling, performance, driving. But once we get a vehicle that we love, we don’t get rid of them; we like to become one with them.”

Automotive he discovered to drive in

Nugent was born and raised in Detroit, the Motor Metropolis, and as he calls it “the wrench capital of the world.” By the point he turned 16, his mother had a four-door 1963 Chevy Biscayne he discovered to drive in.

“It had a 283, which was pretty oomphy, and back then the muscle car era was coming on when I learned to drive,” he says. “But we also had a 1949 Oldsmobile, and it was just awesome. We called it the ‘Gray Goose,’ and my dad would let me drive that around our neighborhood in the outskirts of Detroit.”

Rising up close to the headquarters of the Detroit Three automakers, Nugent discovered the fundamentals like fuel, brake, clutch, steering, flip alerts, and leaning ahead to see over the steering wheel. “So I’ve always been fascinated by mobility and cars and horsepower,” he says.

When he received his license in 1964, Nugent drove the Biscayne round. “I would take off the air cleaner and put pieces of two-by-four in the A-frame of the suspension so it would have a rake. Then I’d paint the wheelwells canary yellow and put a flashlight under there,” he says.

Again then Nugent would typically race different automobiles on the road. “I would beat Ford Fairlanes with 352s, and I would beat the occasional 325 LeMans,” he says. “Everybody lived for that stuff. That’s why the music has velocity, because it was all based on the mobility factor, whether it was the Beach Boys celebrating 409 or Jan and Dean.”

Each his mother and dad taught him within the Biscayne. “My dad was a U.S. Army cavalry drill sergeant, and the discipline factor was off the f–kin’ chart,” he says, laughing. “He would kick your ass when you got out of line, which I hated at the time.”

Nugent says he appreciates that self-discipline now and that his personal youngsters and grandkids in all probability say the identical factor about him. “He taught me to be courteous and conscientious and to stay out of people’s way and to give room to people to make their good, bad, or otherwise decisions, so it was a real well-honed polite, disciplined introduction to the road. I think my fellow MotorTrend readers will appreciate that because to this day, even though I’ve got the horsepower and everything I own is based on handling and performance, I am the most courteous, conscientious, polite driver to ever hit the pavement, until you hog the left lane. And if I’m in a rental car, I will take you out,” he says.

First automotive purchased

Nugent was beginning to determine his expertise on the guitar as a child. “I started playing my guitar in 1952 and 1953, and I started a band in Detroit with a drummer in 1955 and playing Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley stuff. I’m on fire, we’re playing really good for just kids, and my dad was transferred to Chicago. I had the number one band in Detroit, the Lourds. We won the Michigan battle of the bands, we opened up for the Supremes and the Beau Brummels at Cobo Hall.”

Somewhat later, Nugent began the Amboy Dukes in Detroit, and they took off. “I was consumed with the music even though I knew the muscle car thing was happening. I was aware of its effervescence and allure. And I’m watching the muscle car thing going, and I’m going, ‘Goddamn, would I like a Mercury Comet Caliente with four on the floor, a 411 posi, and a f–king Hurst shifter and 500 [horsepower]!” However all I acquired was a van,” he says.

He began making some data, and the primary verify in his life was for $10,000 for his report Journey to the Middle of the Thoughts with the Amboy Dukes. He put the verify to good use at a Mercedes-Benz dealership.

“I drove by in the band’s station wagon, a Ford Country Squire station wagon, and I just saw this gorgeous-looking brown car, and I went in and talked to the guy. I looked like a hippie freak. I wasn’t—I was actually a narcotics agent,” Nugent says with snigger. “But I looked at it, and I didn’t know what it was; I was not aware of its reputation. But I paid 10 grand with the factory air, and I drove it out, and that was the first vehicle I ever bought for myself—a 1970 Mercedes 280SL convertible with the hard top, and it was a f–king riot ride. It was so performance.”

He stored it for 33 years and bought it for greater than what he purchased it for. “[When I bought it,] I didn’t know what it was, but the guy said, ‘This is a 280SL, and it’s the last year they made them, and it’s $11,500.’ … I wasn’t really familiar with the phenomenal Cobra yet, but it looked kind of like it. I said, ‘You put Mercedes air conditioning in this 280SL, and I’ll give you 10 grand cash right now.’ It’s one of the most collectible cars, one of the finest-engineered driving automobiles ever. I had no idea.”

He purchased the Mercedes when he was nearly to document his first solo album, Ted Nugent.

“During the Michigan winters, I put Michelin studded snow tires on all four corners and used it almost like an off-road vehicle,” he says.

Nugent ended up letting the Mercedes go as a result of the automotive took plenty of upkeep and he couldn’t discover anybody in Jackson, Michigan, who knew how you can take excellent care of a Mercedes.

“I didn’t know at the time—there was no Barrett-Jackson or Mecum, and I had no idea how much they had gotten and what it would have been worth if I had restored it,” he says. “I could have gotten a quarter of a million dollars for it.”

Favourite street journey

“I’ll take [my wife] to the airport in the Hellcat, and we go down the highway here on Michigan-94, and I know it like the back of my hand because we started driving in the 1950s when it was just a two-lane road,” he says.

Nugent particularly loves driving I-94 in the course of the fall to admire the autumn colours. “In that Hellcat, even though I really pay attention to the road, I am also stimulated by the fall air and the fall colors, and just driving with my stunning, dangerous wife, even though I’m taking her to the airport.”

Nugent likes the phrase “stunning.” “I’m looking out a window now; it’s stunning. I have a lake that’s just glimmering in this beautiful clear; it’s only 38 degrees out there,” he says. “My Labradors are out there sniffing where the deer were this morning. I’m out in the middle of the state out in the swamps of central Michigan.”

The Motor Metropolis Madman says it actually doesn’t matter the place he drives, he enjoys all of it in his residence state. “I went to a swamp this morning coming home from my tree stand. It’s how I get high—I get high on nature, I get high on my radar, listening to the sandhill cranes and the geese and ducks coming over, watching all these deer this morning that were out of range from my bow and arrow. … It’s a very stimulating life, and my horsepower cravings and my love of driving is an integral part of God, family, country, hunting, nature, music, horsepower,” Nugent says.

New Album: The Music Made Me Do It

In November, Nugent launched his first studio album in 4 years, The Music Made Me Do It. There’s an accompanying bonus DVD, Stay at Freedom Hill, of a full-length live performance at Freedom Hill Amphitheater in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

“It’s a stone-cold motherf–ker. It’ll make unicorns breed through the night. It’s the best rock and roll,” Nugent says. “There’s a song on it, “BigFunDirtyGrooveNoize,” your car will instantly achieve 25 % horsepower.”

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The brand new album, The Music Made Me Do It’s OUT NOW! Discover the hyperlink to buy in bio.

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Spirit of the Wild on Outside Channel

Nugent is pleased with the longevity of his cable present, named after one among his albums. “We feature a lot of the vehicles. All those vehicles end up on Spirit of the Wild at some point,” he says. “We film every hunt, everything we do, and plant trees with the children.”

For extra info, go to tednugent.com.

Photographs courtesy Brown Images


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