Atlanta Motorama / Featured Vehicles

Motorama Mini-Feature: Bradley Gray Brings the “Blown Mafia” to Atlanta

 

Selecting a power adder often comes down to a choice between supercharger, turbocharger, or nitrous—at least for many people.

Bradley Gray is not like “many people,” and he’d like one of each please!

The Concord, NC resident has built an entire lifestyle around creating mountainous engine setups fed by an intricate combination of blowers and turbos—and yes, nitrous for good measure. He even created “Blown Mafia,” a community of like-minded enthusiasts dedicated to the boosted life. And if the crowds gathered around his display at the recent Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama are any indication, the waiting list to join the movement is pretty lengthy.

And it all started with his 1969 Camaro SS.

“The Camaro is my original hot rod,” Gray said. “And I’ve owned it 20 years and it’s a progression.  I just wanted to do something different.”

In this case, different means a 468 big block force-fed with a 14-71 screw blower, twin turbos, and nitrous injection plate. Here’s how it all works: Air enters through the injection hat, but exits through a set of tubes in back and is directed to the twin turbos. The air is then routed into a plenum chamber underneath the injection hat and ultimately pushed downward through the carbs and through the blower. The nitrous is essentially used to provide a cooling effect.

“I always have a plan in my mind,” Gray said. “Sometimes it turns out right; sometimes it doesn’t. There are a lot of things I’ve done that people don’t even see because it didn’t work or it didn’t look right. So it doesn’t come out right the first time all the time—not for me anyway.”

You don’t have to look hard to see the ingenuity in Gray’s engine setups, but there’s even more to it than meets the eye. Gray typically starts with a used bare block and builds everything himself.

“It’s all donor stuff,” he said, referring to the engines. “The only new block I’ve ever owned is in the Mustang (which was featured in the Show Car Garage –ed.). The blowers are used. I don’t go and buy a new blower—I don’t have that kind of money. I have to figure everything out to make it all work.”

From his build experiences, Gray has learned to work with a variety of different components as he’s procured the parts.

“I’ve used them all,” he said.  “The JE stuff, Callies, Eagle, SCAT—there’s no brand specifically that I use. They all have good product. Same with the blowers. I’ve had ’em all—Littlefield, the Blower Shop, Weiand, B&M, Dyers, BDS. There’s a Mooneyham on the ’56. I’ve had a Kobelcos as well.”

The ’56 he referred to is his flat red, 468 big block-powered 1956 Chevy pickup, which he also brought to the Atlanta Motorama. He also brought his wife’s 427 LSX-powered 1965 Mustang, the newest of his creations. Like the Camaro, the pickup and the Mustang are outfitted with a unique combo of chromed power adders, which stop spectators in their tracks.

“There are a lot better ways to make power than what I’m doing,” Gray said. “They’re show cars for lack of a better term, but I want to be able to drive them. They’ve gotta work. They actually roll and do what they’re supposed to do.”

As Gray fired up his 1956 Chevy pickup at the Atlanta Motorama, a crowd gathered around to get video and just figure out how it all works. Even with all the positive attention, Gray knows his brand of ingenuity doesn’t appeal to everyone.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said. “People are gonna talk, and I get it.”

Yep–at the Motorama, Bradley Gray’s radical “Blown Mafia” creations definitely had ’em talking. But isn’t that the point?

Get a closer look at Bradley Gray’s 1969 Camaro, 1956 Chevy, and 1965 Mustang below:

 

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