by William O'Gorman
R.W. (Bob) O'Gorman is the President of the Automotive Lift Institute. After more than 24 years of riding full dress and sidecar outfitted Harley Davidson motorcycles, he is now healing from an almost life-taking accident that occurred when an inexperienced young driver T-boned him at an intersection while driving an SUV.
After the initial surgeries were over and physical training had begun, he still had all his limbs, was thankful for family, friends, and an industry of peers. O'Gorman who has just celebrated the anniversary date of his injuries, has endured more than 12 months of specialized and aggressive physical therapy, is out of the wheel chair, and has
regained use of his right arm again. His philosophy is to move forward with forgiveness toward the driver of the SUV.
As part of the healing process, he decided to fill his need for chrome and speed by purchasing a New Deep Water Blue 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. What makes this different is that he asked me to help create a Classic look for his new ride.
The S.E.M.A. Show Car, Project N96: Drop Top Revenge will be making an one-time-only appearance at the Little York Car Show on Sunday September 20, 2009 in Little York, just off route 81 in the Cortland-Homer area. Also appearing will be Jeff Moran, the owner of Drop Top Customs, in Florida. Jeff has been featured in programming on television as well as being the go-to guy for convertibles by companies such as Jaguar, GM, and Chrysler, which awarded him the Chrysler Design Excellence Award at last years’ S.E.M.A. show. Jeff will be available for interviews, autographs and good conversation regarding this latest show car from 11 am - 3 pm.
Bill O’Gorman, the project manager and concept design guy will be available, as well. Together, Jeff and Bill are showing the car for the first time… to the car show crowds in Central New York. Soon it will be sent back to Florida to make final preparations for its international debut in Las Vegas on Nov 2nd through the 6th at the S.E.M.A. show. The Little York Car Show will be the only show in the Northeast where the car can be seen.
From the Shaker hood, the custom graphic to the Hurst Shifter, the changes were to be the classic look of the 1970 Challenger with a eye for what's new in electronic technology..and that is when RW tossed the curve to me and presented what he had been studying on his own..."lets cut the roof off and make a convertible! "
You can just imagine the look on my face when the order was being placed and he wanted the car routed to Gainesville Florida instead of to my home dealership in Central New York.
Born in the Bronx, R.W. lived in Vegas from the late 60s through the mid 80s. With S.E.M.A. in his blood for more than 20 plus years, this show began as a hobby and now is a matter of business and pleasure that is attended annually. While injured and in the hospital, he mixed work with passion and kept up on the 2008 show through the Internet, the members and peers he knew from the industry. He remembered a certain show stopping car that won the Chrysler Design Excellence award and had become the talk of the 2008 show...a Snake Green Creation that Chrysler Corporation had commissioned by a company called Coach Builders Limited.
Coach Builders Limited (currently in the process of reintroducing the company as Droptop Customs LLC) has the reputation of being the oldest convertible conversion company that specializes in OEM look, fit, and finish.
What happened to this award winning show machine? After S.E.M.A. this car was quietly scrapped by Chrysler!
RW flew to Florida to witness the first cut...and that is where our project took its second and final turn! Hidden in a corner of the shop, under cover and away from prying eyes....the wheels that were on the Original Drop Top Challenger Convertible sat on a pallet. Because Chrysler did not own the wheels...they were saved from the crusher!
RW decided that the car that he was having built would be a tribute to a car whose life was ended just as it began. The wheels and some of the same color as well as the custom Katzskin Leather Seats are tribute to the "Big Brother," the addition of Green Halo effect lighting by Advanced Automotive Concepts catches onlookers by surprise and stirs
something almost evil as thought the spirit of Drop Top or the very heart of Stephen King's"Christine" had been awakened.
While Drop Top was an SRT8 and Little Brother is an R/T with a 5.7 Hemi, I feel pride in helping my younger brother in having made such an effective vehicle that is a mix of old school and modern rod. I feel pride in the statement we have made with all of the folks who have participated in this build. This vehicle represents all muscle car enthusiasts who are aware of the story of Drop Top and it fills their need for.....REVENGE!
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