Who would've guessed that some inexpensive tractor paint would give Matt Melhorn's '71 Chevelle such a bitchin' look? We immediately locked onto it and knew right away it was too cool to leave out. The 25-year-old Melhorn bought someone else's stillborn racecar project for $300, sight unseen. Cheap, yes, but it needed everything, including the kitchen sink. Not to be deterred, Melhorn, who lives spitting distance from the swap meet mecca of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was able to find almost everything he needed on those hallowed grounds, including fenders, grille, bumpers, cowl hood, and Corvette rally wheels. A junkyard 454 was scored for $1,500 from his father's co-worker, and an old four-speed Saginaw trans ($300) from a buddy with a trans shop. And that cool paint? Matt did it himself in the family's two-car garage for the princely sum of $200 (paint and supplies). If the total cost of the car seems a bit high, it's because so much was missing from the car initially. All we need now are some decent time slips from the drag strip, and we'd consider featuring this too cool street machine.

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle
Owner:Matthew Melhorn; Hanover, PA
Engine:454ci big-block (used for $1,500), 396 heads, Edelbrock Air Gap, Holley 750, Crane rockers & cam
Transmission:Saginaw 4-speed (used), Hurst shifter, Centerforce dual-friction clutch, Lakewood bellhousing
Rearend:stock 12-bolt, 3.73:1 gears, Eaton posi
Chassis/suspension:2-inch drop springs (front), Hotchkis UCA (rear), Lakewood traction bars, polyurethane bushings
Brakes:disc brake conversion kit
Wheels/tires:BFG T/A 215/60R15 on 15 x 7 Corvette rally (front), BFG T/A 295/50R15 on 15 x 10 Corvette rally
Best ET:unknown
Total cost to build:$19,715