Going BigJeff Allen of J2 Speed and Custom in Omaha, Nebraska, is hard at work on this ride for Darren Maynard. The '69 Camaro will eventually be filled with 427ci of ZL-1 aluminum goodness, backed up by a Tremec five-speed tranny and Ford 9-inch rear end. Before the drivetrain is dropped in, Jeff has to finish the chassis and suspension work. Detroit Speed and Engineering's new front subframe is being teamed up with their Quadra-Link rear suspension for a powerful Pro-Touring one-two punch, and massive 14-inch Wilwood brakes will bring the Camaro down from speed. Everything on the car is over-the-top, including the huge rollers: 275/35R18s up front, and 325/30R19s in the rear. Check out more build shots at www.j2speedandcustom.com.
Nimble NovaIn the end, there won't be much left of this original '66 Nova-but when it comes out this cool, who cares? John Lim has long dreamed of building a top-shelf ride, but was unsure of which model to dive into. He tells us, "I've built and restored many classics, but one day a friend of mine called me to help him drop a 350 into his '63 Nova. I had never driven an early Nova, and once we got it dialed in-damn! The power-to-weight ratio in that thing was awesome, and that was with a mildly built 350!" At first John's build was only going to focus on brute power, but he was inspired by guys like John Parsons and Mark Stielow to tackle the handling. He says, "They made me think about the handling aspects of the car, and how much fun it would be to autocross and road race it, being so light and nimble."
The rusty shell was bought for $2,500 and sent to Rodger Lee at Ironworks in Bakersfield, California, for a lot of TLC. Rodger has been busy working over the classic Nova, in order to integrate the C5 Corvette suspension and transaxle. John tells PHR, "As far as modifications, we are trying to make the 'cage as undetectable as we can. We sunk the A-pillar bars down into the actual A-pillars, and are blending them in. We are also cutting the firewall back to avoid the 'bear in a cave' look you sometimes get when you push the engine back and down for better weight distribution and easier rack clearance." John hasn't picked the final color or many of the other details, but he has chosen the powerplant. A GM Performance Parts LS7 recently showed up and will be installed into the Nova, along with the dry-sump oiling system. "It has all of the attributes of a race engine, but can be driven reliably on the street, and gets good mpg," John notes. Check out more build shots at www.ironworksspeedandkustom.com.
A Very Long Time In The MakingMany of us can relate to Morgan Duffy and his '68 Camaro. Morgan delivered newspapers to save up for his dream ride, and eventually earned enough cash to pick up a mess of a Camaro for the then-significant sum of $800. That was 20 years ago, and after two decades, the project is finally starting to take shape.
This car's journey has been rough going. For the first ten years, the "barely rolling" Camaro moved from storage lot to storage lot, while Morgan went to college and got his life moving on the right track. Morgan tells PHR, "My friends started calling it the 'wheelbarrow,' because each time we moved it we simply picked it up by the front frame rails and wheeled it around."
In 2000, Morgan bought a house and, more importantly, a garage. "I'm not sure if my wife knew our first house would mean a homecoming for the 'mouse hotel' that had been stored for 10 years."
After being prepped by Morgan, the car was moved to a friend's shop for some professional work. Pete Bachand at Kustom & Restoration Specialties (KRS) in Marlborough, Massachusetts, built the convertible a full frame with a six-point cage. Pete also mini-tubbed the ride, and added all the turn-hard goodies he could get his hands on. He extended the wheelbase 2 inches, and set the engine farther back for better weight distribution. The engine is a 500hp 383 stroker, backed up by a six-speed Tremec and a Currie heavy-duty 9-inch rear end with 3.89 gears. If more ponies are needed, there's also a NOS Top Shot nitrous system just a switch-flip away. Morgan wanted the car to have a vintage feel, so the redlines have been vulcanized to tire sidewalls. The paint will be the original shade of British Green Metallic, and the drop-top will be done in matching fabric. The graphics will follow a '60s racing theme, and will be done in dark red with a white number in the circle. Morgan tells us, "Look for the number in the circle to be a 20, since that's how long I've had the car." Seems like those newspapers are finally going to pay off.
Storm FrontWhenever Martin McGuire of Downers Grove, Illinois, strolled through a car event, he felt the vast majority were just the same cars done in different ways. It seemed like most rides were Camaros, Mustangs, 'Cudas, or Chevelles. Occasionally, he would see something different and noticed the attention it received for being "out of the box." This epiphany led him to his current project-a '92 GMC Sonoma GT regular cab pickup. The GT was GMC's "poor man's Syclone," which meant no turbo and no all-wheel drive. OK, it was a poser, but that's all changing now. This truck is getting the full treatment, including paint and body by Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides, and more fabrication work than we have room to write about. Another key player in this build is Competition Fabrication, who is handling much of the drivetrain and chassis. The engine is a Chevy V-6 Bow Tie block, with four-bolt nodular caps, a Crower billet crank, and a Hogan intake. The big power will come from dual Precision turbos with Innovative wastegates, and a bulletproof 4L80e transmission will send the power back to a Currie 9-inch. For suspension, the S10 will ride on an Air Ride Technologies' ShockWave system, and big Wilwood brakes will slow things down. It's safe to say that this will be the wickedest GMC around when it's done (just in time for this year's Power Tour). It's cool to see someone building something outside the norm. To find out more about this ride, visit www.syborgtwinturbo.com.