Randall Wollschlager — Marines, Mustangs, Muscle

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 06/2012
  • posted in: Great Garages

Randall Wollshlager loves Detroit muscle, but an Aston Martin or Maserati is a potent ride, too.

His 2,700-square-foot Chandler garage — “King Maxim’s Man Cave” — houses his collection of 10 high-horsepower eight-, ten- and 12-cyclinder cars. “I will enjoy owning one of every cylinder engine offered in high-performance vehicles,” he says, noting that a six-cylinder Nissan GTR and a four-cylinder Subaru STI are upcoming acquisitions.

The air-conditioned garage has a hydraulic lift where he, his friends and his car-minded sons, Brad, 25, Kyle, 23, and Doug, 21, and their friends have already completed many car modifications.

He grew up in Westland Mich., a small suburb just west of Detroit where everyone worked for one of the Big Three following World War II. His dad was with Ford Motor Company for 32 years at the Wayne Assembly Plant, an uncle worked at Ford’s River Rouge plant, once the world’s largest industrial plant, and the other at the Wixom, Mich., engine facility, which built high-performance modular engines.

“I had a strong mechanical interest and worked as a bowling alley mechanic and gas pump jockey while in high school,” he recalls. “I started to become fixated on high-performance vehicles while entering high school,” he recalls. “I was reading everything I could get my hands on, sketching cars all day and helping anyone that would allow me to turn a wrench on their vehicle as a way to learn.”

In 1975, those early jobs allowed him to purchase his first car, a 1970 Mustang Mach1, for $1,000. The red with black striping fixer-upper had a 351 Cleveland engine disassembled in the trunk. He rebuilt it to 500 horses with a custom tranny — dad thought his young hot-rodder crazy — and ran 11.23 seconds at 125 mph in the quarter mile at the local track, fast in those days for a daily driver.

The family now has five Mustangs, the 1967, two 1996 Cobra’s, 2003 supercharged Cobra and a 1997 Cobra set up for auto-crossing which Randall shipped to Detroit for his older brother Joe to drive.

With Joe, he joined the Marine Corps at 17 and worked on F-4 Phantoms, spending a year on the USS Midway (which is now a great museum in San Diego). After his stint, he attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he graduated with honors in Electrical Engineering.

In 1984, Randall relocated to Chandler where Motorola hired him to develop advanced integrated circuits and spent eight years developing advanced integrated circuits for automotive applications. In 1998, he and two colleagues started the Chandler Design Center for Maxim Integrated Products, a Silicon Valley semiconductor company. The office employs more than 120. “We have enjoyed great success,” he says.

Randall, his sons and long-time girlfriend, former NFL cheerleader and car enthusiast Claudia Vasquez, invited us to the garage recently where he discussed a quintet of cars:

•1967 Mustang (‘The Beast’) — “Rough around the edges, old school muscle car at its best. Still needs paint and an interior. I purchased it when my oldest son received his driver’s license in 2003. I was lucky enough to purchase this vehicle from an Idaho farmer who had barn stored it for 17 years.

“This is always a family affair work in progress since we fix one thing and something else is determined to need modification. We have modified everything on the car now including all the suspension which has been set up in Trans-Am style from the early 1970s.

“The latest 351cid it carries has been bored and stroked to a 427 cid, dynoing at 550 horsepower with a 0.700 lift cam, CHI aluminum heads from Australia, backed by a TKO600 five-speed transmission modified by Liberty Transmission in Detroit which drives through a Detroit Locker differential with 4.30 gears and 31 spline axles. The car has run a best of low 11 seconds flat at 125 mph at Firebird Raceway.

•2006 Viper — “My first entry into the more exotic cars. I purchased this vehicle with only 500 miles from a Phoenix man who forgot just how hard these cars are to get in and out of.

“This 505-cubic-inch, 510-horsepower, 550 foot-pounds-of-torque ten-cylinder naturally aspirated engine has soooo much low-end torque you could pull stumps (or palm trees) out with it. It’s basically stock, although we are threatening an exhaust upgrade soon. I now have 22,000 miles on this Detroit muscle with no signs of needing any maintenance. This is one rugged car and a fun car to drift!

•2005 Ford GT — “My favorite car was purchased in 2007 with 800 miles, now at 10,000 miles. It uses many aluminum and carbon fiber parts to keep the weight down to 3,300 pounds. This very historic car was purchased from a former mortgage broker in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“Recall that in the late ‘60s this car took first place three years in a row at the 24 hours of Le Mans and took the top three positions one of those years. Henry Ford II commissioned this car’s development to beat Ferrari at Le Mans after Enzo Ferrari pulled out of a deal to sell Ferrari to Ford in the early ‘60s. I guess he was the wrong guy to jerk around.

“The body panels are fabricated using single sided die and superheated high-pressure air to form extremely articulated aluminum panels that could not be formed using classic body stamping methods. These panels are backed by carbon fiber to provide rigidity.

“This 5.4-liter four-valve-per-cylinder all-aluminum modular engine runs a positive displacement supercharger pushing 13 pounds of boost. It has a dry sump 12-quart oiling system enabling a very low center of gravity. It uses two fuel injectors per cylinder to provide awesome low-rpm drivability and superb high-rpm performance to the tune of 550 horses and 500 foot pounds of torque. The original GT40 was 40 inches tall, but since this car is 44 inches tall Ford decided to drop the 40 from the name. This car has an extremely wide stance and is the best 200-mph sports car for tall people.”

•2006 Maserati Quattroporte — “I purchased it from a local dealer where we had the rims chromed before taking delivery in 2008. This vehicle rocks a drivetrain right out of the Ferrari F430. It has an eight cylinder naturally aspirated 440-horsepower engine with a dual disk dry clutch shifted by advanced electronics or the Ferrari inspired paddle shifters, the infamous duo-select transmission.

“I have modified the bell housing to enable fast and inexpensive replacement of the ever-failing Ferrari F1 clutch sensor. This modification saves over $5,000 each time the sensor goes bad, and they go bad often. All Ferrari owners should make this easy modification to the bell housing.

“This car drives best on high speed trips up to Flagstaff to visit Claudia’s hometown and family members. This car has 36,000 miles on it and it is still going strong.”

•2009 Aston Martin DBS — “One evening at the Royal Palms Resort I was mistaken for Daniel Craig, and that started the family’s interest in owning the DBS. My oldest son, Brad, found this in Texas, made the purchase, and had it shipped here to Chandler while I was on a business trip to Europe.

“This 510-horsepower 12-cylinder naturally aspirated engine sounded awesome and even better two days later when Brad and I modified the electronics to hold the free-flowing baffles open at all rpms instead of just opening up above 4000 rpm as originally designed. This car is so refined, and the torque comes on very smoothly.

I purchased the DBS in 2010 with 1600 miles on it and now it has nearly 10,000. This is a great daily driver although a little on the small size on the inside. This English hand-built car uses a lot of aluminum body panels, carbon fiber (including the driveshaft or torque tube) and even magnesium to keep the weight down.

Race-inspired brakes are front 16-inch carbon ceramic rotors and 14-inch rears; they never fade. This car has a 1,000-watt stereo if I ever get tired of hearing the beautiful whine of the 12-cylinder. Aston Martin won the 24 hours of Le Mans GT1 in 2007 and 2008, so the company is definitely living its pioneer racing history in the 21st century.”

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