THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #325

Speed, horsepower, braking capability, and handling all make up that beautiful experience we call driving. Innovations in the automotive industry have helped designers capture and create amazing machines. This week, we dive into the hobby with some real petrol heads. We begin the show with a bang as automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith, shares his 303-MPH experience in a jet-powered dragster. Then, George Kennedy, automotive journalist for the Boston Globe, sounds off about the Dodge Charger GT AWD and the anticipated return of the Toyota Supra. As if the first hour wasn’t great enough, we are joined by Dennis Collins of Collins Bros Jeep, Russell Holmes of Garage Rehab, and “Big Chris” Smith of Black Mountain Jeep for the second hour of the show. Dennis tells us that Russell has his shop all torn up for great reasons, and “Big Chris” is helping take Black Mountain Jeep’s idea of distribution to a whole new level. Don’t miss this fast-paced, hilarious group of car guys!


  • [00:00:00] Jet Powered Dragsters
  • [00:06:24] 303-MPH, A Walk in the Park
  • [00:12:31] Jay Leno’s Jet Powered Motorcycle
  • [00:19:54] Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
  • [00:28:10] AWD Dodge Charger GT
  • [00:35:55] Return of the Toyota Supra
  • [00:42:16] Garage Rehab and Collins Bros Jeep
  • [00:48:08] Black Mountain Jeep Goes Global
  • [00:54:47] Building Your Garage to Produce
  • [01:02:09] Become Your Own Dealer
  • [01:10:48] JL Wrangler Extensive Redesign
  • [01:18:11] Don’t Forget the Classics


Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] Jet Powered Dragsters

Automotive journalist Steven Cole Smith has always been intrigued by the power of a jet engine. In the late ‘50s you could buy military surplus jet engines for about $800, so crazy car guys would buy them, build a frame, and slap four-wheels and a cockpit on it. A drag car out of Texas, the Hot Streak II, was his first experience with these insanely fast machines. This car is still around today, powered by two jet engines that make 25,000-HP and achieve speeds of up to 405-MPH. Hayden Proffitt, a military veteran recently returned from Afghanistan, decided to by the truck as a new business. From the front, this jet-powered ride looks like a ’57 Chevrolet truck, but there is no floor inside (except where your feet go) and nothing under the hood – it’s all behind you. Would you ride in a truck like that?

[00:06:24] 303-MPH, A Walk in the Park

Rattling windows and falling ceiling panels and caulking all over the place – this was the scene in the San Antonio Raceway media center on the night that Hayden Proffitt sped by in his double jet engine powered dragster. This got automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith, excited and he knew he needed to ride in that monster. After some begging, Steven was able to convince Hayden to take him for a ride but due to insurance conflicts it could only be done at an air show. When the stars aligned for this experience to happen, Steven was ready and cinched his belt down tight as he sat in the seat in his HANS device. He reminisces that he didn’t notice the speed, he could only feel the massive power coming from behind him. Watching this kind of insane beast rocket down the track is almost more exciting than riding inside! Do you think you could handle the g-force?

[00:12:31] Jay Leno’s Jet Powered Motorcycle

A jet engine pushes more horsepower than you can ever imagine. Automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith, talks about the launching and stopping power of the dual jet engine dragster, Hot Streak II. While the 43,000 lb car doesn’t launch or stop quickly, it sure barrels out a lot of speed in the middle. Then, Alan tells a story about Jay Leno and his jet engine motorcycle at Barrett-Jackson about a decade ago. Alan went to commercial break and asked Jay to fire up the motorcycle, without realizing that the exhaust was point directly at another radio show’s live feed. Let’s just say things got a bit loud and wild for a few minutes! At the end of this segment, Steven Cole Smith shares about what we can look forward to at the Sebring International Raceway this weekend. Join in on the laughs now.

[00:19:54] Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster

Have you ever climbed into a car and felt right at home? Automotive journalist, Steven Cole Smith, has added another car to his wish list. When he sat in the new Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, he immediately felt like they were designed for each other. The instrument panel, the infotainment system, and comfort level felt like he had known it all his life. Steven makes a point that cars these days should feel intuitive, and not too futuristic. With over 500-HP this machine’s exhaust made 35-MPH sound like 80-MPH. This beautiful chariot came in at a base MSRP of $157,000. The sweet lady that Steve drove was a small step up at $179,000 and she’s worth every penny!

[00:28:10] AWD Dodge Charger GT

Everyone should know that the Dodge Charger GT is all-wheel drive. Automotive journalist, George Kennedy, explains that there is a bit of a body roll to this size vehicle, but the all-wheel drive evens it out for a smoother ride. The GT package ramps the Charger up to 300-HP and has a starting MSRP of $28,495. George also chats about the great things Dodge is doing with the revival of the Challenger platform, like the Hellcat and Demon. Lastly, we discuss the appropriateness of dealer markups; just how far should they be able to hike the price up?

[00:35:55] Return of the Toyota Supra

The Geneva International Motor Show usually lacks relevance in the U.S. market but a few things caught automotive journalist George Kennedy’s eye. The return of the Toyota Supra and its turbocharged in-line 6 cylinder engine is sure to get fans fired up; Toyota reports this car will be extremely easy to tune. Other stand-outs include the Volvo Polestar1, a fantastic high-end coupe, and the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo, a 591-HP and achieves 0-60 in 3.5seconds. Which ride are you most excited for?

[00:42:16] Garage Rehab and Collins Bros Jeep

We all need a little help from our friends sometimes, and that is exactly what is happening at Collins Bros Jeep garage. Russell Holmes of Garage Rehab tells us that they are taking on Dennis Collins’ garage right now. While Dennis may be an auto parts hoarder in the best way possible, Russell, Richard Rawlings, and Chris Stephens (the Garage Rehab team) are keeping him out of the shop while they tackle it. Dennis watched in horror as they completely unload his shop and it has left him feeling a bit nervous. Find out more about this high profile rehab now!

[00:48:08] Black Mountain Jeep Goes Global

There are no vehicles on the road that are more customizable than Jeeps. Over 1.6 million JK Wranglers have been produced since 2007 and Black Mountain Jeep manufactures every part but the tires. Owner Dennis Collins tells us that “Big Chris” Smith has helped them set up with distributors globally, as Jeep is popular around the world. Dennis also discusses his Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and the fantastic job FCA is doing making vehicles that people crave. Are you a ride or die Jeep fan?

[00:54:47] Building Your Garage to Produce

Car guys tend to be hoarders of parts they “will use someday,” and this can lead to a cluttered garage that is hard to work in. Russell Holmes of Garage Rehab shares why getting rid of the junk could actually open your shop up to more production. Now that Black Mountain Jeep has gone global, it is important to make sure they get the most out of the shop by redesigning and up-fitting the space. Russell also tells us that there is a severe lack of certified mechanics out there and if you have the discipline, then you can really make a lot of money turning wrenches. His hope is to instill the basics for anyone striving to have a successful garage – organization can make all the difference. Do you know any mechanic friends that could use a little help?

[01:02:09] Become Your Own Dealer

Have you ever wanted to own a shop that worked solely on Jeeps? Dennis Collins and “Big Chris” Smith of Black Mountain Jeep explain their “Become Your Own Dealer” project. They are hoping to help those stuck in miserable careers start doing something they are passionate about. There are 1.6 million JK Wranglers out there, making it a very profitable market. The team will run a licensing agreement, bring you into training at their shop, and then show up for your grand opening with a ready-made social market for you to become a part of. Are you ready for the job of your dreams?

[01:10:48] JL Wrangler Extensive Redesign

Journalists couldn’t be more impressed with the Jeep JL fresh new look. The new generation has bigger brakes and an upgraded 8-speed automatic transmission. The dash has finally joined us in the 21st century, which has been one of the Jeep community’s largest complaints. While Dennis Collins of Collins Bros Jeep still loves the older JK Wranglers, they are spending time testing the JL every day as they manufacture new parts for them. A fact that many may not know is that every year the JKs sell out completely, and last year they were even short 100,000 units. This is one of the reasons that Dennis brought in Russell Holmes of Garage Rehab and “Big Chris” Smith to keep up with increased production and global market sales. This popular brand just keeps getting better. Learn more now.

[01:18:11] Don’t Forget the Classics

While Dennis Collins and “Big Chris” Smith have set their main focus on increasing the production and distribution for Black Mountain Jeep, they haven’t forgotten their passion. They love Jeeps but there is a big place in their hearts for classic cars and they continue to hunt down rare ones. If there are any amazing, classic cars hiding in your barn or falling apart in your garage then be sure to contact these guys at Dennis also tells us that he is patiently waiting for his Hennessey Venom F5 but he won’t pull the trigger until it proves 300-MPH. There’s never dull with these wild guys.


Explore more with Helpful Links:

Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, leave us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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