Finalist
Owner Bob Lambert and photographer Larry O'Connell are longtime Ford fans. They would sneak into Southern California's Galpin Ford dealership's back lot to see the new models roll in. They were there to see the new Starliner come in, and both fell in love with it. They each bought 1960 models, but that was only the beginning for Bob. He has owned a dozen early Fords since then, but always wanted a '61 Starliner. His day finally came. The car was for sale as a result of a divorce. The previous owner had put a lot of time into it, but halted the progress when he found out he would have to sell it. Once Bob had it home, it was up and running in a couple of months. It needed a tune-up and some other details. "I love taking it out on the freeway at night and listening to the Tri-Power open up," Bob says.

1961 FORD STARLINER
Car owner: Bob Lambert; Newhall, CA
Photographer: Larry O’Connell; Placerita Canyon, CA
Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot 5.0
Photo location: Placerita Canyon, CA
Engine: 390ci Ford
Cylinder heads: 427 Ford low-rise
Camshaft: Edelbrock
Intake: factory tri-power
Carb/induction: three Holley two-barrels
Transmission: Ford top-loader
Rearend model & gearing: 9-inch Ford, 3.50 gears
Suspension/brakes: replacement Ford parts
  with heavy-duty sway bars,
  front disc, police interceptor drums rear
Wheels: American Racing Torq-Thrust
Peak hp: factory-rated at 401 hp
Built by: owner
Years of ownership: 3 years
Total invested: $25,000

Finalist
It's pretty safe to say this will probably be the longest relationship owner John Ramm will ever have. He purchased this car the day after Valentine's Day, 1969. How romantic! The initial price was a small fraction of what he has into it today. That day back in 1969, the car was signed over to his name for a mere $850. Obviously, the extra $74,000 wasn't just maintenance. Nearly 40 years of experimenting with new parts has certainly racked up the bills. He has tried different engines, intakes, carburetors, transmissions, rearends, suspension components, and much more. He is pretty sure that this current set of parts is going to be the last, but he mentioned for us not to quote him on that. High-school friend John Hegg brought his big-boy camera out to enter this calendar-clean Impala in our photo contest. The photos came out crystal clear, despite the tripod being victim to a hit-and-run in the university parking lot.

1961 CHEVROLET IMPALA
Car owner: John Ramm; Oak Park, IL
Photographer: John G. Hegg; Forest Park, IL
Camera: Canon 40D, 28-135 lens
Photo location: industrial district of Forest Park, IL
Engine: GMPP 502ci big-block Chevy
Cylinder heads: GMPP aluminum
Camshaft: GMPP hydraulic roller
Intake: GMPP Jet-coated aluminum
Carb/induction: Holley
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 5-speed
Rearend model & gearing: Ford 9-inch,
  4.47 gears, Detroit locker
Suspension/brakes: cut front coil springs
  Art Morrison ladder barswith coilovers,
  rear; four-wheel disc brakes
Wheels: American Racing 15-inch Torq-Thrusts
Tires: Goodyear Eagle GTII
Peak hp: 502 hp
Years of ownership: 39 years
Total invested: $75,000