FinalistThis El Camino may look familiar. It was a feature car in PHR March 2004, titled "Pro-Tour of Duty," and was on the cover of Chevy High Performance the following year. Owner Herb Lumpp is very proud of the publications it has been in, since this is his labor of love. Through the years, Herb has been through several engine and transmission combinations, his current being a well-built big-block Chevy. In addition to swapping motors, Herb has played musical wheels on his car, currently running Intro Pentias wrapped with Nitto rubber. The suspension and brakes have been upgraded slowly over the years, as he likes to keep the car running for as much time as possible, only allowing pauses for smaller projects. He has put over 20,000 miles on this Elko since 2003, the year of its completion, and plans many more. His insurance company frowns on the miles clocked, so as a daily driver, Herb just picked up a new Vette with a six-speed-backed LS3. Maybe we'll see that combination in the Elko next.
This is a story of a high-school shop teacher who for years watched his students create and build things for themselves. He told himself, one day, he would build something just for him. Upon retiring, and with a lending hand from his auto shop teacher friend, he started building a 350-inch small-block. Most people purchase the project car before building an engine, but shop teacher Rocco knew for sure whatever he bought, it would take a small-block Chevy. This motor was bored .030 inch over, and houses a steel crank and forged aluminum pistons. Rocco's auto shop teacher buddy gave him a set of Dart heads and Crane "high-performance" rocker arms to install. Next, it was time to seek out a car. He had his heart set on a Corvette from day one, but found the years he most desired were out of his budget. He settled for this 1977 that had no useable parts besides the frame and body. He was quite sure if the body was steel, it wouldn't have been usable. Rocco didn't know a thing about body and paintwork before this project, so he enrolled in a community college course to learn. He then spent hours stripping the three-colors-deep paint to the fiberglass beneath. The class didn't just serve as body and paint guidance, but gave him several helping hands to finish the project.