Story: Jack Chinelli
Photography: Jeffrey Salter
WHEN THE GLARING SUN SINKS BELOW MIAMI’S SOUTH BEACH horizon, it doesn’t always make the temperature fall. Amidst the plethora of thoroughbred exotics that cruise the strip is a car that truly makes the heat index rise, day or night. At 25, Karl Krantz owns a 1984 hi-rise Oldsmobile Cutlass that’s been extensively tricked to tower over every other car on the street and leave them off the line in a cloud of tire smoke.
Now don’t get it twisted, Karl’s whip ain’t a donk (yes, many peo- ple refer to all hi-risers as donks, but donks are Caprices and Impalas that date back to the Disco era). Karl calls it the Montecut, for its combination of Monte Carlo front chip with cutlass body, hi-rising on 28-inch Dub Condos.This mutha has a stance like Yao Ming.
Karl could easily talk about his Montecut and the work gone into it all day, but when it comes to his suspension setup he’s as guarded as the president. “I don’t want to give nobody any ideas,” reveals Karl. Let’s just say he cannibalized an axle here, springs there, and critical parts from a sports utility vehicle where it
counts. All you need to know is that he’s been at the project car game for a minute and has elevated plans for the Montecut.
“I’ve been doing cars since I was 16, just hookin’ up cars for the love of the cars. They tell you who you are, it talks about you.” said Karl. “My dad was the one who told me to get a Cutlass. I like the way it looked, its appearance. I read the magazines and saw how they were tricked out.” The rest is history.
Standing wheels and bumpers above traffic, seven-plus feet from roof to pavement, undoubtedly gets attention, but when you roll up to another hi-riser, particularly one higher than your own, you must have an edge. For Karl it’s a ridiculous Lime Gold paint job. Look up to the Montecut as the Florida sunshine hits the hood, or as the fluorescent twinkle of nightclubs dance on the door and you’ll see a triple flip candy paint scheme.The Montecut was painted by Rodrigo Caceres of American Collision using House of Kolor candy paint. From the bottom up Karl’s whip was sprayed with lapis blue, which turns to planet green, then blends into oriental silver. The Montecut tears through the checkered flag paint detail on the hood because Rodrigo and Karl agreed the checkered flag is a symbol for speed—appropriate for a car that has serious get up and go. Yeah, scary huh, this thing got go!
“There was another car here that was a little bit higher than me, a box Chevy Caprice” Karl recalls, “he was talking a lot of b.s. and wanted to race me; I wanted to race for titles, he didn’t, he wanted to race for fun.” A man who puts up the pink to his baby on a streetlight race must be serious about his engine—no sane person would race with the stock 3.8l V6 under the hood. Initially, airplane mechanic Reynaldo Fernandez tweaked the Montecut’s motor and gave Karl performance tips.To complete the engine work Karl had Alex Haedo of Poe Boyz RacingTeam have his way with the 350 ci Chevy small block V8. Select engine mods include aluminum heads, Edelbrock RPM air gap intake, Proform 850 CFM carburetor, Crane roller rockers, March Performance billet pulleys, and Griffin racing radiator, all mated to a 400-turbo transmission. Karl claims his engine is pushing well over 600 horsepower. If you can’t see Karl in the Montecut rollin’ 10 deep with other Elegance Car Club rides, or in East Coast Ryders’ videos, you’ll for sure hear the Hedman Hedders and custom exhaust from around the block …possibly two.
Karl insists that aside from his engine swap, what attracts people to his hi-riser is the Monte Carlo front end and custom stitched and embroidered interior by Pedro Montenegro. After American Collision sawed off the roof, Pedro also installed a trick convertible ragtop. The yellow interior is complemented by a sewn Oldsmobile logo and Montecut title in headrests.
Sittin’ sideways on custom seats, lifted chassis and monster rims would satisfy most ballin’ car cats—but those dedicated to the project-car game know projects are never truly completed. Right now Karl’s whip is back in the shop for a high-tech, hi-rise renovation for the RIDES booth at SEMA. Next time you see the Montecut rollin’, get ya pinks ready…wait, RIDES doesn’t condone street racing. -DEC/JAN 2006 issue of RIDES Magazine
Spec The Technique:
Year/Make/Model: 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Performance: 350 ci Chevy small block V8, aluminum heads, Edelbrock RPM air gap intake, Proform 850 CFM carburetor, Crane roller rockers, March Performance billet pulleys, Griffin racing radiator, 400-turbo transmission, Hedman Hedders
Exterior: 1987 Monte Carlo front end, House of Kolor candy paint—Lime Gold, Lapis Blue, Planet Green, Oriental Silver
Interior: Custom stitched and embroidered interior, convertible ragtop, sewn Oldsmobile logo and Montecut title in headrests, Billet shift knob, Custom machined Elegance Car Club steering wheel.
Wheels/Tires: 28-inch DUB Condo wheels; Kumho tires