The Unforgettable, One-of-a-kind, Post-Apocalyptic 2004 Pontiac GTO
A Mad Max-inspired DIY build designed to go against the grain in full force.
Toss in one-part exposed supercharger and sprinkle in two parts post-apocalyptic landscape, add a heaping scoop of DIY creativity, and you have at least a small portion of the recipe that makes up Jason Sperle’s 2004 GTO.
Unlike any other you’ve likely encountered, it’ll have you scratching your head, shaking your head, or stuck somewhere in the middle - but it won’t be ignored.
The car, nicknamed Ravenger, landed in Sperle’s hands back in 2009, just as he was ending his second tour in Iraq. “I was looking for a GM muscle car,” he adds. “The two I had in mind were a TA or GTO, and the ’04 fell into my lap. Salvage title for a reasonable price at that time, the original owner had drifted the car into a tree, smacking a curb along the way.”
After having the suspension replaced and the damaged rear panels rectified, the GTO was painted and fitted with a graphics treatment, its interior give a makeover, and, as Sperle puts it, “still looked like every other GTO out there with only minor differences.”
Joining a few different car clubs and after hitting multiple car shows, he realized there wasn’t really a specific category for the GTO and he’d often find his car pushed into the Grand Am and Grand Prix groups. “After a while, the car shows began to run stale. Most cars followed the same trends, and I realized I followed suit. That needed to change.”
While stationed in Ft. Polk, he met a friend also named Jason, and the two spent all of their free time building their cars more in line with performance than appearance, eventually finding their way to Outlaw X - a car club that Sperle refers to as a family. “We were always competing to get more power, push our vehicles to the limits, as well as exceeding our driving capabilities. Learned a lot with them,” he states.
In search of more power, Sperle, with the help of his friend’s Jason and Del Stafford, teamed up to put together a Gen 3 LQ4 with a built bottom end. Beyond the internals, Sperle realized that there wasn’t a deep well of performance options for his car and took to the forums for answers.
He adds, “What I noticed the further I got into certain communities is if you didn’t fall in line with the rest of the community, you were labeled as FPFQ (Falling Prices Failing Quality). So, I made that my challenge and fully adopted it.”
With a low number of aftermarket options for the GTO, most modified versions looked the same and that’s something that didn’t sit right with him. “I wanted something I could enjoy driving on every level. I wanted to carve my own lane, and if that goes against the grain of society, so be it, cause I’m having fun.”
Sperle’s mentality met its ideal match when he made his way to Wasteland Weekend, an annual event that takes place in the Mojave Desert and is best explained as a modern-day Mad Max festival that combines larger than life custom cars, a live concert, wild costumes, and plenty of interactive events, all in a post-apocalyptic movie-like atmosphere.
It was there that Sperle had an automotive revelation, adding, “all I saw was metal, fire, and a party. The vehicles were huge, like mighty death steads breathing fire twenty feet into the air. This…was METAL.”
From that event, he’d made up his mind about the future of Ravenger. “Mad Max and an Australian car made too much sense. This car was going to be the bridge to link the past with the present, like Max’s Falcon. I was going to build the first Mad Max-style GTO.”
More than just creating a representation, Sperle was dead set on driving the car from Virginia to the Mojave to attend Wasteland Weekend before driving it home, and he did just that, twice, both in 2016 and 2018.
Those cross-country adventures made him realize that he wanted to focus on the car’s suspension to make his GTO a rally car.
Reaching out to GTO drift car driver Shane Whalley, Sperle was able to get some valuable insight into suspension upgrades. After Whalley’s car was totaled, its rear quarter windows made their way to Ravenger in tribute.
The original bushings have been pressed out and replaced with polyurethane versions, and, with the help of Bad Company Inc., a custom subframe was created. 18-inch Lenso Forged Venom wheels with 265s up front and 275s in the rear help take advantage of the updated underpinnings.
The once pristine yellow paintwork is long gone, and a distressed, battle-torn appearance covers the GTO today.
A Bad Company Inc. front splitter and a custom rear spoiler were bolted on, and you’ll find Maverick Man Billet Arrowhead added to the rear.
The most attention-grabbing feature of Ravenger is its massive hood opening cut to make space for the power adder.
Speaking of power, the current engine is based on an LQ4 Gen IV outfitted with a Callies 4-inch crank and Diamond piston and CompStar rods combo that was overseen by House of Power.
A Ford GT500 M122, using a Demeuse Engineering adapter, sits well above the hood line and helps to make a solid 530whp.
Once all is said and done, Sperle is expecting over 800hp with the next phase of his engine set up, all put through an RKT56-built trans with McLeod RXT HD clutch and Eaton LSD.
As you might imagine, this unique project hasn’t gone unnoticed with the car appearing in Rat Rod Magazine, as well as “Singularity” by Masters of Media, and an upcoming short film called “Fastlanders.”
The story of Jason Sperle and his one-of-a-kind GTO is really only getting started. He explains, “I got to watch as people went from hating on the car, to starting to ask questions, to overtime becoming a fan.
That’s one of the greatest feelings (next to traveling at a high rate of speed), knowing that you helped inspire someone else, and they pay it forward to others. This has proven a fun way to step out from the norm and challenge myself to push harder and learn more.
The support I have and the crew I work with are amazing and because of this journey, I have met some of the coolest people out there, and it’s truly humbling. There are a lot more plans for this and the car is ever-evolving.”
Jason Sperle’s 2004 Pontiac GTO
Engine LQ4 Gen IV engine; Rev Shift polyurethane engine mounts; Callies Dragon Slayer 4-inch crank; Diamond 4.040 11.4:1 pistons, 6.125-inch CompStar rods w/ARP 2000 series bolts; ARP studs in the main; dual oil filters; Clevite main race bearings, cam bearings; block spec’d and assembled by House of Power, cams; Ford GT500 5.4 M122 supercharger; adapter by Demeuse Engineering; water tank for supercharger cooling; Kooks 1 7/8 long tube headers; Bad Company Inc. custom 3-inch exhaust, oil cooling and filters, modified fuel tank; BTR revised rockers with Manton brass trunnion upgrade; Moroso lin bar lifters; PA 1207x spring kit, titanium retainers, seals; Trick Flow 225 milled .020; DeatschWerks DW 300c fuel pump; billet fuel rails; 80lbs. Deka flow matched by Atomizer billet; flex fuel; Holley Terminator
Drivetrain T56 built by RKT56; McLeod RXT HD clutch, flywheel; Eaton LSD; MGW-P shifter; Tick Performance master cylinder w/steel braided drain line; GForce 1320 half axles, rear heavy duty tie rods, one-piece driveshaft; BMR outer stubs; Motive 3.90 gears; master rebuild kit for rear pumpkin
Suspension BC Racing dual adjustable front coilovers; Strange dual adjustable shocks; 250lbs. front, 300lbs. rear springs; Hotchkis front/rear sway bars; polyurethane bushings; custom subframe and crash bar by Bad Company Inc.; GForce 1320 rear VZ package w/adjustable bracket
Braking 2004 CTSV front calipers; 2010 Camaro front discs; Corvette Z06 rear discs
Wheels/Tires Lenso Forged Venom 18x9 +35 front, 18x9.5 +25 rear; 265/35 front, 275/40 rear
Exterior Jason Sperle weathered/distressed look, rear spoiler; Bad Company Inc. front splitter
Interior Holley Pro Dash
Michael Wilson and all of Bad Company Inc - Have to thank Bad Company Inc.
They have spent countless hours coming up with certain concepts, designs, fabrications, and fitting the M122 and Demuse Engineering adapter to the motor. And thank you Bad Company for making me apart of their family. And huge shout out to Jordan Peltonen for introducing me.
Also, thank you to:
Del Stafford – House of Power
Maverick Man Carbon
Jeff & CJ Ocampo
Damian Smith – Imagerisart ( The Art of Imagery) on IG
Mino Smith photography
Jeff & CJ Ocampo - Ocampos Customs
Shelbi Moorehead – Model
Kyra Mudder - Model
Need More GTO builds in Your Life? We’ve Got You:
Author -> Staff
Photographer / Photo Credit -> Mino Smith Photography / The Art of Imagery -@imageryisart