Interview: Quarter Mile Muscle

By | June 13, 2013

Quarter Mile Muscle

Quarter Mile Muscle

I needed to visit the Raleigh, North Carolina, on family business. Knowing my short stay wouldn’t take up my entire time I thought I’d see what goes on in Raleigh when it comes to cars and performance shops.  I hopped on Google and punched up performance car shops. Wow! No shortage here! Paging through search results I ran across an intriguing website presented by Mr. Bryan Klitz (pronounced with a long “I”) for his shop, “Quarter Mile Muscle.”

Quarter Mile Muscle Transporter

Quarter Mile Muscle Transporter

Normally my beat is vintage cars and vintage racing, but a phrase under Quarter Mile’s heading caught my eye. “We’ll come and pick up your car and securely transport it to our shop.” Vintage owners like and expect that kind of care for their treasured family members. E-mailing back and forth over a week or so we arranged my visit.

When the time came I embarked across verdant North Carolina forest through what seemed like an Apple Computer commercial on I 440 to I 40 to I 85 and across the Mooresville Road looking for Rolling Hills Rd. in Mooresville, NC. After 2.5 hours of trees, trees, farmland, trees, orange road construction cones and some more trees, I arrived at what turns out to be the core of all car racing and enthusiast universes. Names like Roush Yates, Outcast Kustoms, Motorola Racing Radios, North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and DC Classic Cars dot the immediate vicinity. Only a few miles away in Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame brings people from across the country.  Set back off Rolling Hills Road in Mooresville at #333 sits Quarter Mile Muscle in a very unassuming building.

Quarter Mile Muscle Hummer

Quarter Mile Muscle Hummer

Little of the passion for cars shows through to the outside of this steel structure though poised, radiator forward, outside the front door, sits a gigantic sculpture of American steel. Brilliantly coated in a rich PPG Blue Metallic Candy, beautifully finished and decked out, an H1 Hummer, complete with grille guards and push bars stands watch over the Quarter Mile Muscle headquarters. Should you question car passion contained within the Quarter Mile Muscle shop, this earth grinding piece of US engineering prowess slays any doubt.

A warm southern greeting awaited as Bryan invited me to join him in Quarter Mile Muscle’s office. We threaded our way through Nash Rambler and Pontiac Chieftain works in progress, greeted 2 of his top people, William McBride and Ben Parsons, (Ben Vincent wasn’t there on interview day) and sat down for our talk. In business only 2 years, work is exploding as a result of Bryan’s brief but growing reputation for quality craftsmanship, love of the business and eye toward doing things right.

From Quarter Mile Muscle’s first project, placing an LS-7 600 HP big block 427 engine in a ’69 firebird, through current customers talking to him from as far away as Michigan and the Kentucky owned Pontiac Chieftain currently in process, Bryan’s obsession with personal involvement from start to finish continues to bring in work from being at shows, taking part in community car events and satisfied customer word of mouth.  Bryan states however, the ’69 Firebird was destined more for the grocery store than the track. Look for quite an arrival among the mini vans and station wagons outside the local Target store.

Bryan got his start when, as a collector, and working for another company, he constantly searched for shops to do restoration and custom work on cars under his charge. Often disappointed, Bryan decided to start his own shop. The rest is history

Klitz says he’ll work on nearly anything with pistons, spark plugs and a steering wheel. “If it has 4 wheels and an engine, I like working on it. Period correct or modernized, I like doing it. If the customers love their car, I understand that.” He tends to stay away, though, from what he calls “Box cars.” He says Caprice Classics with lift kits and 24 inch wheels don’t contribute to the shop’s reputation as a custom destination. When a quality seeking project comes in, Bran makes sure it has his undivided attention.

When I asked about the fastest car on which he worked, a very slight smile came across his face. “Hmmm. The fastest car?”

“Yes, the fastest car.” I affirmed.

The smile got bigger. “Well, the fastest car is a blown and intercooled C5 Corvette.”

My questions stopped. “C5?” Then one more: “What’s it got?”

Brian began listing adds-on, improvements and performance boosters.

“It’s a ’99 C5…Sport mono leaf under it, Hotchkiss rear sway bar, 4 wheel discs with slotted & cross drilled rotors, twin inter cooled Procharger Supercharger pushing 8 lb. boost, Lingenfelter polished intake, Jet long tube headers, Corsa X-pipes, Borla Stinger Cat Back exhaust, B&M short throw shifter, racing roll bar hoops and computer programmed to maintain optimal performance and Stage 3 clutch from Monster Clutch.  Oh, and upgraded Michelin Sport Pilot tires, front 255/35 ZR’s on 18″ rims and 275/35 ZR’s on 20″ rears.

Contemplating this for a moment I asked “Where is it?” I remembered only the radiant  mountain crusher out front.

“It’s at my house,” replied Bryan.

“Can you go get it or can I follow you home so I can shoot it for my readers?” I queried.

Thoughtful for a moment, Brian said, “Sure. I can get it. I live about 8 miles away so it won’t take long.”

“Great!” I replied. “I’ll wait.”

Quarter Mile Muscle - C5 Corvette

Quarter Mile Muscle – C5 Corvette

My short respite ended when a black shadow swept through the parking lot. A 1999 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster C5 making a soft purposeful rumble glided to a stop in front of the Quarter Mile Muscle front door. Seldom does one think of anything black as radiant but this sculpture exuded smoothness, power and glory. It bore nothing harsh, no sharp corners, no extreme edges, nothing. It floated. Bryan posed it for me.

Realizing I was keeping him away from valuable Saturday family time, I shot as quickly as I could with lots of bracketed images to see what HDR and RAW images from my trusty Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70 could do. It’s not easy to shoot a black car on a sunny day.

Quarter Mile Muscle - C5 Corvette

Quarter Mile Muscle – C5 Corvette – engine

When Bryan lifted the hood, I remembered touring The Louvre in Paris. I was in the presence of true, beautiful art. He later told me he hasn’t yet had it on the track but dynoed it at 550 HP and 450 foot pounds of torque. Can’t wait hear how it rips the asphalt.

Quarter Mile Muscle - C5 Corvette

Quarter Mile Muscle – C5 Corvette

Shooting the car and asking a few final questions was a great way to end our discussion. I wish Bryan Klitz and his Quarter Mile Muscle team the greatest of success. In a world crowded with custom car shops, Bryan and his team give a great performance.

See you at the track.

[photos | Neil Eschenfelder]

1 Comment

Terra Maitra on July 29, 2015 at 7:52 pm.

Hi Mr. Eschenfelder,
I just stumbled on this article about QMM, Inc. I am the owner of the Chieftain Pontiac that was mentioned in your article. Bryan never mentioned that this interview took place. Glad to see it!!
When did your visit actually take place? I see it was published on June 13, 2013. Did Bryan see and comment on this article? He should be pleased. This was great advertisement for QMM. Hope you enjoyed your visit to North Carolina. Nice Pictures in your article.
Thank you!

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