Rick Dobbertin’s Pontiac J2000

Filed in Pontiac J2000 by on January 20, 2016 • views: 2383

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Probably the most bizarre custom Pontiac ever built is Rick Dobbertin’s J2000.

In 1986, Rick Dobbertin shocked the community and created a seismic rumble like no Pro Street car had ever done before.  The J2000 accomplished that goal by immediately polarizing opinions—you either loved it or hated it. The car demanded you take a stand. Detractors claimed it was nothing less than a fairground queen—some calling it a parody, or even a cartoon car. While the battle raged, Dobbertin enjoyed the wave of attention he knew would eventually blow out—like a hurricane washing ashore.

Pushing the envelope is all part of the nature of man. So it took Dobbertin’s epic build to reveal that the ’80s Pro Street trend was not sustainable. If we examine street-car trends with the benefit of historical hindsight, a case can be made that Dobbertin’s exuberance was the watershed moment for the creation of what we now call Pro Touring. From the moment the J2000 first put tread to pavement, the single-purpose Pro Fairground car was doomed. Street car Darwinism would require two decades to evolve into amazing track-worthy Pro Touring cars that do everything those ’80s Pro Street cars could not. But at the Street Machine Nationals in 1986, all we knew was that Rick Dobbertin had just fired a fat-tired salvo across the Pro Street fleet’s bow. The rumbles of that blast can still be felt today.

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The multi-hued roller features a pneumatically actuated tilt body used to reveal the fully polished stainless-steel tube chassis.

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In a car that took every one of his resources and nearly three years of his life to build, Dobbertin went with by far the wildest engine anyone had ever seen up to that time. In the context of history, we’ll argue it’s still the wildest. An all-aluminum, 350ci small-block was certainly not commonplace in 1986, and neither were the 1,500 man-hours of polishing on the car. But what made it even crazier was a single 1,050-cfm Holley Dominator feeding a pair of Roto-Master turbochargers, which fed twin MagnaCharger Roots blowers, all helped out with a one-off, 20-port NOS nitrous system and a water/alcohol injection system. And the whole thing was covered in more chrome and polished stainless steel than you’ll see in 99.9 percent of show cars today, 35 years later. And it ran. In the Oct. ’86 feature, Gray Baskerville wrote, “the jay-too-grand started and ran like a stocker, the water temp gauge rarely reached the 190-degree mark.” It’s still amazing.

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While you’re trying to assimilate this visual assault, tech details begin to burn through. You realize the only way Rick could stuff those leviathan Firestones under the back of the diminutive J-car was to eliminate—wait for it—the rear suspension. There are no shocks and no springs. At its coming-out party, the J2000 relied strictly on sidewall deflection to tune ride quality. And, yes, given the right circumstances, it would bounce like a Top Fuel car. Later, Dobbertin added a pair of valvesprings(!) between the top of the rear-end housing and the chassis to dampen the legion of critics who howled that any car without a rear suspension was not a real street car.

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The J2000 wasn’t much more than a fairground cruiser, but that didn’t stop it from accumulating a pile of accolades including being recognized as Hot Rod Magazines Hot Rod of the year in 1986, and being immortalized in plastic as Revell model

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