Kiwi car builder Ian Neary debuted his ballistic muscle-car concept, Eruption, at the National Mustang Convention in Auckland

Photographers: Alastair Ritchie

New Zealander Ian Neary knows how to screw together a SEMA-quality pro tourer; after all, he’s previously been asked to judge at that famous Las Vegas trade show. So when he put his mind to building a slick 1968 Plymouth GTX powered by a third-gen Dodge Viper motor, it should come as no surprise that he cranked the dial right up to 10.

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-open“‘Eruption’ is my take on what a muscle car should look like; it’s really automotive art more than anything,” Ian explains. And fair enough too; all the skills, money and time in the world matter for nothing without an eye for design.

“The mark of a good car is when people start questioning what actually has been done,” Ian continues. “The trick is to make it look like it was always there.”

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-engineFor pro touring this is especially true; the best of the breed look like something the factory would roll out today if the stylists and engineers could ever get one over the bean-counters. And Ian’s concept is exactly that.

Sill extensions drop the B-body down low, while the drivetrain snuggles up tight thanks to an entirely custom floorpan, to which tubular A-arm front suspension is bolted, along with a five-link out back.

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-bootHand-formed front and rear valances, brushed nickel bumpers, and a billet grille and rear garnish complete the look. Some were convinced the nickel and billet wouldn’t work, but Ian soldiered on.

“I put around 10,000 hours into this car myself, with skilled tradesmen adding another 4000, easy,” he says. Despite working around 50 hours per week, he still found the time to tip around 40 hours into the GTX. “People sometimes ask me if I actually sleep,” he laughs, “but it’s all down to how determined you are.”

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-interior -1For Ian, determination meant not only completing the project after eight long years, but also standing out from the crowd; a dirty old LS1 wasn’t going to cut it in this pro tourer.

The third-gen Viper V10 powerplant certainly caused some gasps when the bonnet was lifted at Eruption’s unveiling at the recent 37th National Mustang Convention in Auckland.

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-interior -2Devoid of unsightly wiring, hoses and tubes, the big, brutal V10 donk looks right at home, expelling through a set of custom headers and nestled into an engine bay so bespoke, even the bonnet’s inner skin is handmade.

It’s backed by a trusty Tremec T56 manual and a Strange Engineering Dana Ultimate 60 rear end, while the 18×8 and 20×10 American Racing wheels are retarded by supercar-spec six-piston Wilwood front brakes and four-piston rears.

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-open -backOnce show duties are over and it hits the road, Eruption is clearly going to stop, point and turn better than Chrysler could ever have hoped; hell, with those credentials it will probably out-handle a Viper!

Best of all, the custom leather interior, featuring quad buckets, a handmade dash and full-length, sheet-metal centre console, looks comfier than almost any factory muscle car we’ve seen.

V10-DODGE-VIPER-POWERED-PLYMOUTH-GTX--NZ-backWe tend to agree when Ian says it’s hard to point out a favourite part of this amazing car. “It’s probably the overall package,” he muses. “It’s about how it’s come together. I put my own take and signature on this car.”

We didn’t think to check if Ian signs his name with a ‘V’ and a ‘10’, but Eruption has his mark all over it.