By Ray Alexander
My introduction to Eric was through a thread on the LX Forum that has a life of its own, it is something like “Tired of yes men telling how great your car looks? Get honest answers here.” It can be fun, and I look at it every time I see it cycle through.
One day, there was a post of a first-generation Charger SRT8 in black and silver, with an air to air heat exchanger clearly visible behind the grille. The car is stunning. The rear has a license plate advertising that the car is blown, and the exhaust tips appeared to be at least five inches wide. I wanted to crudely say, “Your ricer cans are too small, and lose the plate. Suprise ’em.” I went with, “Lose the plate, and you need larger exhaust tips.”
Eric became interested in automobile appearance through his grandfather. Gramps would buy model cars and he and Eric would put the together and paint them in period correct colors. From that he moved forward to showing his vehicles. My grandfather taught me to bale hay and I thought all cars were mud color.
Eric Heinze is an assistant manager at Tireman Auto Service Centers in northwest Ohio; he was planning on attending Spring Festival 8, but life got squarely in the way. He received a promotion requiring him to work more hours. He then had to move his family, and it turned into the move from Hell. Now he believes he moved into Hell. Then two puppies came into his life. So this is the first featured owner and vehicle that was not at Spring Fest.
Eric has owned several Mopars, the first at age 16. His parents didn’t want him owning any car with eight cylinders, so he started with a Dodge Neon. This naturally led to SRT-4s, and his parents had no idea how fast these little cars were.
Once Eric took a trip to pick up a car, and when he arrived the car had a hole in the flexible part of the brake line. He went to a parts store and bought parts to clamp off the open hose. The return trip home was several hours with brakes on only three wheels – very scary. I have driven with three-wheel brakes, and it is not fun.
Eric promised himself an old-school Charger with a Hemi, but after talking with several owners a theme emerged: “I have owned it for 30-plus years, and it’s from my generation.” So Eric thought, why not go with a modern Hemi SRT-8?
He sold his prized possession, a yellow SRT-4, and began looking for an SRT-8. He located one in Michigan and drove up in a blizzard (what else are you going to do in a blizzard?) to look at it. He spent two hours talking to the owner about Mopars. The only modification to the car was a Corsa cat-back exhaust. The owner tossed him the keys and said, “Fire it up.”
It was all over when he heard the throaty rumble, and he drove back the next day to pick up the car.
The car is now supercharged, and Eric has some lofty goals. He has drag raced the car on street tires and believes he needs drag-specific tires. If I had it to do it, a high-stall torque converter would be my first modification. Eric, I hope to see you at a future Spring Fest.
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