Owner Larry Martin searched for three years to find just the right straight, rust-free '68 Chevelle convertible-and trust us when we tell you that's darn hard on a budget. Larry finally found the one he was looking for in Oklahoma-but quickly discovered that the beauty was only skin deep. The '68 was a mechanical mess, and required immediate attention in the form of a 290-horse 350 crate motor from GMPP. The stock Powerglide also got the heave-ho in favor of a built Turbo 350. Other improvements include a new convertible top, new interior, ceramic-coated headers with dual 2 1/2-inch exhaust, and DynoMax Super Turbo mufflers. The fully optioned drop top is also equipped with factory air, power windows, power top, power steering, and power brakes (which have been upgraded with Kevlar and ceramic shoes, and finned drums). We would have loved to show you Larry's other car-a '37 Chevy Coupe with a 406 small-block-but his photo CD arrived cracked in half. Better luck next time, Larry!

1968 CHEVELLE CONVERTIBLE
Car Owner: Larry Martin; Dayton, VA
Photographer: Paul Estabrook; Dayton, VA
Camera: Olympus OM-1
Model: Kathy Cruzalegui
Photo location: James Madison University
Engine: 350 small-block Chevy crate engine
Cylinder heads: GM
Camshaft: GM
Intake: Edelbrock
Carb/induction: Edelbrock 600 cfm
Transmission: Turbo 400, performance rebuild
Rearend model & gearing: GM 10-bolt, 2.73 gears
Suspension/brakes: factory, F-41 option
Peak hp: 290 hp
Best ¼-mile time: n/a
Years owned: 1 year
Cost to build: $21,000

Finalist
Brandy Jastrzebski is a 27-year-old mother of three ("Four, if you count my husband," says Brandy) who loves doing stoplight battle with her '97 Saleen Mustang around her home base of Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. Brandy tells us her Saleen is extremely rare because the original owner special-ordered the Mustang from a New York dealer, then had it sent to Saleen for all its upgrades. Normally, Saleen Mustangs are converted at Saleen, then shipped to dealers for sale, but this opportunity allowed for some extra, non-standard Saleen items to be included. The most unusual thing, Brandy says, is the rare purple paint. (Brandy has nicknamed her Saleen "Violet.") Future upgrades will include a supercharger, or a set of "performance-improved" cylinder heads.

1997 SALEEN MUSTANG
Car Owner: Brandy Jastrzebski; Sugarloaf, PA
Photographer: Clint Jastrzebski
Camera: Kodak C813
Model: Brandy Jastrzebski
Photo location: Sugarloaf, PA
Engine: 4.6-liter Ford modular
Cylinder heads: factory
Camshafts: factory
Intake: Professional Products
Carb/induction: 75mm throttle body
Transmission: factory, 4R70W automatic
Rearend model & gearing: factory 8.8-inch,
  3.55 gears
Suspension/brakes: Saleen Racecraft,
  KYB shocks/struts
Peak hp: 340 hp (estimated)
Best ¼-mile time: n/a
Years owned: 2 years
Cost to build: n/a