MM: Were you a cars kid?
STROPE: Oh yeah, I modified every toy that I had.
MM: How did you modify them?
STROPE: I can show you. You ever hear of Stomper 4x4s? They are AA-battery powered, with little foam wheels. [He places the actual modified Stomper 4X4 from his youth on his desk.] When I was 10, I actually rebuilt this. I made the rollbar. The tonneau cover. A little Bigfoot style dual air cleaner thing, I made the push bar. I cut the bodies. The body mounting tabs, and then welded them in with my dad’s soldering gun, which he got really pissed about because I put molten plastic on the end of the soldering gun.
I just took my model plastic stuff and made basically a lift kit, and extended the cab, and these tires were made out of Legos, and then I took the mounting tabs for the AA battery and soldered in this, which fits a 9-volt battery, now basically -- I’m on nitro. Compared to all my friends (cars) I had three times the ground clearance and ten times the horsepower.
MM: What were those cars called?
STROPE: Stompers. You can go on the web and find all types of stuff. Guys have collections you wouldn’t believe.
MM: So what was the first real car you ever owned?
STROPE: I owned a 1973 Olds Cutlass. It was an awesome car, when I was 16. Bought it off my cousin.
MM: How long did you have that?
STROPE: I had that thing for a year or two.