At first, the submissions only trickled in. Was our country truly in such economic doldrums that nobody cared about hot rodding any more? The fact that the Reader Projects issue was announced the third week of February at the depth of an economic tsunami didn't bode well, or so we thought. Then the envelopes started hitting about one a day. OK, things might not be all that bad, but the stack of mail was still hurtin'. It looked like we might even have to scratch our idea for a Readers' Projects theme issue due to lack of interest. Then about a week before the April 2 deadline, the floodgates opened, and the mailman was delivering your entries daily in tote boxes. Ay carumba!

Not only was our faith in the state of DIY hot rodding fully restored (and then some), it looked like we might even have to renege on our promise of publishing every single submission. In the end, we decided to run every entry that had the bare bones requirement of high-res digital photography, and enough info and specs to support at least one good paragraph and a small spec box. Thankfully, that was the vast majority of them. (If you didn't send a readable CD or a write-up like we asked, you won't find it here. But don't worry, if you reload with what we need, we'll run it as space allows in our "Under Construction" and "Hometown Hot Rodding" columns.)

By promising to include all comers, and to put one (in this case, actually three) lucky reader projects on the cover, the Readers' Projects issue was--in hindsight--destined to fire people up about the iron sitting in their garages and carports. In the case of reader Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer, it inspired him to take a series of really fine photos of a home-built project that was in its own right really fine. There is no doubt in our mind that Jim totally embraced the spirit of the "cover competition." He read, understood, and executed our material requests, and delivered it on time.

If you're wondering what happened to our annual Popular Hot Rodding photo contest, don't worry. We'll be rolling out the official contest details next month, so keep your eye peeled here, and keep checking the Popularhotrodding.com website. We can tell you that the 2009 contest will be better than ever, especially now that Nitto Tires has stepped in as the official contest sponsor. We'll be giving away a new set of Nitto tires (in the size and model of your choosing) to the winning photographer, so get your cameras ready!

1969 Camaro * Mark Antrim * Wanatah, IN
A chance discovery in the corner of a barn in 1990 by Mark Antrim's future father-in-law got the ball rolling for this high-profile '69 Camaro, and it's been the glue holding this family together ever since. Mark writes: "Initially, I thought about restoring it to its original state. Then I stripped three layers of paint and started to see a blank canvas. No rules, no limits, lots of dreams. Plans quickly changed, and I decided that the Pro Touring design was the way to go. My wife wanted comfortable seats and air conditioning--her only two requirements." In spite of unforseen health problems and the attendant medical bills, Mark and his wife, Cami, continue to make good progress on the Camaro. Their goal is to reveal it at the Goodguys event in Charlotte this fall.

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: 700R-4 overdrive
Suspension: DSE, Hotchkis, Global West
Brakes: ’94 Corvette (front), '96 Camaro (rear)
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.42 gears
Wheels: Intro Twisted Vista (17-inch)
Tires: Nitto 235/45R17, 255/45R17

1969 Camaro/Firebird * LaMont Mulligan * Ione, WA
We see people swap the nose of their '71 and '72 Chevelles to look as if they were actually '70 models, so why couldn't you change the nose on a Firebird? Well, we guess you can. LaMont Mulligan bought this '69 Firebird through eBay, and when he got it home, he realized that the paint was so thick, it would cost more to have it removed than to replace it. When shopping for the front end sheetmetal, LaMont realized the Camaro parts were actually cheaper. He loved the look of the Camaro nose, so he bought them and bolted them on.

By The Numbers
Engine: 383ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: 700-R4 with 2,800 rpm stall
Suspension: Air Ride Shockwaves, CPP control arms
Brakes: 12-inch discs
Rear: Moser 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and Eaton posi
Wheels: Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog (18-inch)
Tires: BFG KDW

1973 Camaro * Carroll Lanassa * Marrero, LA
After the destruction of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Carroll Lanassa was able to rescue two '73 Camaros. The first was an almost complete car minus the front seats, which he found though eBay for $600. Carroll writes, "Following my father's club members lead, I drove to Chalmette and there it was, a '73 Camaro with a ton of surface rust. I traced down the owner and asked if he would consider selling it. He said, `if you can get it out of the front yard, it's yours.' He offered all of his spare parts, which were stored in the attic, free of water damage. This cost $70 to get home. I now had everything to get this car together; a little elbow grease and some seat covers and I would be in business." The budget is $10,000, and Carroll's got a great start so far.

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: TH350
Suspension: 1-inch lowered front, four-link rear
Brakes: front disc
Rear: GM 10-bolt
Wheels: ralleys (15-inch)
Tires: BFG Radial T/A

1968 Torino * John Guess * San Diego, CA
"You see none of these cars around, and the ones you do are trailer queens. Torinos dominated the NASCAR circuit for a long time, making them look fast just standing still," owner John Guess says. John bought this Torino GT when he was 17 years old, and his father looked over his shoulder at the engine, seeing the long oval air cleaner for the dual-quad carbs, and said, "this car is going to get you in trouble son." It's survived the years, and John has given it a new paintjob, which he has been complemented on regularly, promising a good product when he's done. Unfortunately, his health and the economy are slowing the process, but he hopes to have it all back out at the car shows.

By The Numbers
Engine: 427ci big-block Ford
Transmission: Top Loader four-speed
Suspension: Heidt’s Mustang II kit with coilovers
Brakes: power disc
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Wheels: stamped steel
Body: fresh black paint

1968 Mustang * Lance and Trish Howlett * Cibolo, TX
Lance and Trish Howlett have been married for over 20 years, and have gone though many Mustangs and other hot rods along the way. When Lance spotted this particular '68 Mustang for sale, he didn't give it a second thought because they had too many toys. When he saw a couple weeks later that it was still available, he asked Trish what she thought, and she was eager to go check it out. Lance tells us: "Somewhere along the line, it went from a simple fix-what's-bent-and-drive-it repair job, to a full on nut-and-bolt restoration." The Mustang is nearly finished; it's just waiting for the engine to go in and a couple of loose ends to be tied up in the interior.

By The Numbers
Engine: 390-inch big-block Ford
Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed
Suspension: 620-lb springs, 1-inch sway bar, Koni shocks
Brakes: '05 Mustang discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch with Strange 31-spline axles
Wheels: Eagle Alloy (18-inch)
Paint: ’08 Subaru Blue Effect

1972 Gran Torino * Andrew Crouch * Omaha, NE
This poor Ford Torino had sat alone in a barn for 15 years before Andew Crouch came along and reused it. He saw an ad on the Internet that read: "1972 Torino, $600." It was owned by a college student who bought it from a guy in his hometown of Dana, Iowa, who was the original owner. Unfortunately, this student had to sell it because he couldn't afford the gas. Andrew went to check it out, and despite the fact the owner had lost the keys, he still bought it. It turned out to be a great deal, especially because the 351ci Cobra Jet, four-speed trans, and 9-inch rearend were still in tact. Andrew did all the bodywork, and made a temporary paint booth, where he will be spraying it with the factory Medium Bright Yellow.

By The Numbers
Engine: 351ci Cobra Jet Cleveland
Transmission: Top Loader four-speed
Brakes: '99 Crown Vic police edition discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Body: Medium Bright Yellow paint
Wheels: Crown Vic stamped steel (16-inch)
Tires: Kumho Sport Radials, 245/50R16

1968 Chevelle * Tim Fitz Maurice * Brick, NJ
"Sometimes I think I've landed in project hell. I've got two '68 Chevelles at my house, a '66 El Camino at my friend's chicken coup, and enough parts to fill a barn," Tim Fitz Maurice gripes in his letter. We think three projects are better than none. Tim found his latest '68 Chevelle project though eBay. The car was driveable, but Tim took it off the road because of the manual drum brakes. Since he put it away, he's rebuilt the 12-bolt, beefed up the small-block 350, and rebuilt the Turbo 350 trans. The final touch will be a coat of LeMans Blue, or House of Kolor's Candy Blue, depending on his funding at the time

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 350 with a high-stall converter
Suspension: Hotchkis springs and sway bar, UMI lower control arms
Brakes: 12-inch disc
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 3.55 gears
Wheels: GM ralleys (15-inch)
Interior: bucket seats, Autometer gauges

1973 Duster * Brian Judkins * Silverdale, WA
While parking his '29 Ford at a tire shop, a couple of ladies came over and asked Brian Judkins about his hot rod. Through the conversation, one of the gals mentioned she had a Duster she wanted to get rid of because it had a broken connecting rod. Brian asked her how much she wanted for it, and she answered, "if you fix it up like your '29 here, you can have it for free." Brian was over the next weekend to pick up the '73 Duster. Brian teamed up with Keith Russel, a 10-year veteran fabricator at Boyd Coddington's shop, now owner of KR Customs. They collected a 440 to replace the straight-six, and recoated the body in the factory blue with a satin black hood.

By The Numbers
Engine: 440 big-block Chrysler
Transmission: 727 Torqueflite
Suspension: Speedway coilover
Rear: 8.75-inch with Sure Grip posi
Body: Year One double-snorkel hood
Wheels: American Racing Hopsters
Purchase Price: $0

1971 Camaro * Ralph Fields * Laurinburg, NC
When Ralph Fields was 16, two awesome things happened: he bought a red '72 Camaro brand new, and met his wife, Kay, to whom he has been married for 33 years. While they were dating, Kay would patiently and curiously watch Ralph work on the car. They enjoyed the muscle car life together, but had to sell the car as the kids started coming. Now the kids are on their own, and Ralph and Kay set out to get another red second-gen Camaro. Ralph worked a ton of overtime to fund this build, and has a healthy pump-gas 468 big-block just waiting to go in.

By The Numbers
Engine: 468ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Suspension: boxed control arms
Rear: GM 12-bolt with posi
Paint: red like their first Camaro
Body: GM reproduction panels
Years owned: two years

1972 Challenger * Chris Varjan * Oradell, NJ
Chris Varjan and his father had been looking for the perfect Challenger since Chris was 13. They had gone on some road trips, and even flew out to see cars that turned out to only look good in the pictures. Finally, Chris's dad brought home his '72 Challenger, which Chris has had apart more times than he can remember in the seven years he has owned it. There was a lot of rust like many East Coast cars, so Chris pitched it all. He's having Max-G of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, do all the bodywork. He is still plumbing the intercooler for 14 pounds of boost pumped by a Procharger.

By The Numbers
Engine: 408ci Chrysler with Procharger
Transmission: 727 Torqueflite
Suspension: Alter-K-Tion double adjustable coilover front
Brakes: Wilwood disc
Rear: 8.75 inch with 3.55 gears
Wheels: Budnik Gasser (17-inch)
Tires: Nitto NT555

1964 Nova * Darin Brewster * Savannah, GA
When Darin was just a young boy, he would visit Gramma Vercie in the small town of Bedico, Louisiana. He remembers riding in her '64 Chevy II all around town. Even though Gramma lived off a dirt road, she always kept her car clean. She would have Darin pull it under the carport to wash it with her. When Gramma Vercie passed, Darin brought the car home, where it was safely stored until he could start the restoration at Killer Kustoms, of Cartersville, Georgia. This is where it got a complete street-machine rebuild. He's named the car "VerSSie" in memory of his Gramma.

By The Numbers
Engine: Smeding 383ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: CPP tubular arms (front), Chassisworks G-Bar rear
Brakes: Wilwood 12-inch rotors, 4-piston calipers
Rear: Moser 12-bolt with True-Trac posi
Wheels: Budnik Ice (17- and 18-inch)
Tires: Nitto 555 225/40R17, and 275/35R18

1970 Mustang * Paul Lindstorm * Santa Cruz, CA
For all the guys who thought there should have been a Boss 427 Mustang in 1970, here's what it would have looked like. Paul Lindstrom bought this '70 Mustang as a birthday present for himself, after spotting it on eBay. It was owned by an older woman who picked it up off the lot brand new at Honolulu Ford. She didn't drive it much, racking up only 56,000 miles, but during disassembly, Paul saw this car had a hard life. There was a lot of rust, probably because of Hawaii and Santa Cruz's damp climate. Paul plans for all-new metal, Metallic Candyapple Red paint, and Boss stripes.

By The Numbers
Engine: Smeding 427ci Windsor
Transmission: Gear Star 4-speed AOD
Suspension: coilover front and rear
Brakes: Baer six-piston
Rear: Ford 9-inch with 3.50 gears and Trak Lok
Body: Candyapple Red paint, with a flat hood

1976 Laguna * Tom Palkovic * Pittsburgh, PA
In the hope for his Laguna to make it into the pages of PHR again as Laguna of the Month, Tom decided to rebuild it. Tom found his special S-3 Laguna less than a quarter mile away from his home (at the time) in Ottawa, Canada. This car was originally burgundy, but Tom preferred black, so he repainted it. They didn't make a cowl hood for the Laguna, so Tom grafted a fiberglass cowl from a '67-69 Camaro hood to the factory steel Laguna lid. He only cut the air cleaner's 15-inch diameter from the steel side to allow it to pop though under the cowl. The motor is a 12:1 355ci small-block Chevy packed with some really nice parts. He hopes to get his son into the hobby one day. Is 2 years old too young to learn to weld?

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: TH350 by LenTech Automatics
Suspension: boxed lower arms, PST bushings, sway bars
Brakes: 12- and 11-inch disc
Rear: GM 8.5-inch GM 10-bolt with 3.42 gears and posi
Wheels: Iroc Z
Tires: BFG Radial T/A 265/50R16, and 295/50R16

1964 Falcon * Patrick Biggs * Thousand Oaks, CA
Usually, the garage is awaiting a car build, not the other way around. That's how things happened for Patrick Biggs. His new home didn't come with a garage, and his wife would always open the large sliding glass door to the living room to store his current project. Last year, his wife asked to have a garage. Patrick has a contractor's license, so he was all in. Once the shop was done, he bought this '64 Falcon. He's got most of the dirty paint and bodywork done, and gets to do the assembly stuff in his garage/recreation room. This Falcon is number three in his lineup of Fords, and probably won't be the last.

By The Numbers
Engine: Boss 302 small-block Ford
Transmission: T-5 five-speed
Suspension: Fatman spindles, Shelby sway bar (front) Moroso shocks (rear)
Brakes: Wilwood four-wheel discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch with Detroit locker
Wheels: Cragar 612 (18-inch)
Tires: MT Sportsman (big 'n' littles)

1963 Mercury Comet * Steve Reddy * Camden, ME
Growing up in the hey day of Pro-Street, this was the second big-blower car that Steve Reddy has built. He's done all the sheetmetal work in his home garage, too. Though his shop is set up for carpentry--his trade--it has been home to this Mercury Comet project for the last five years. Steve's Pro-Street style is aimed to look as if it were out of the '80s, which he is well on his way to. The Merc weighs 3,150 pounds, and he expects the 670hp 408-inch small-block Ford to push it into the six-second eighth-mile range. This car also has all the creature comforts, such as a Vintage Air system, and a full stereo.

By The Numbers
Engine: 408-inch small-block Ford
Transmission: Lentech four-speed AOD
Suspension: Fatman strut front, back-half
Brakes: '96 Mustang (front), Explorer disc (rear)
Rear: Ford 9-inch with 4.11 gears and Detroit locker
Wheels: Centerline Convo-Pro
Tires: Hoosier front runners and 31x16.5 rear

1966 Fairlane * Alan Lambert * Poughkeepsie, NY
There are Ford guys and Chevy guys, and Alan Lambert is definitely a Ford guy. He's owned Mustangs and other Ford performance-oriented cars from'68-91 models. The hobby had to take the backseat to his kids, but now he is in a position to build another car, now with his wife's blessing! This '66 Fairlane has got a lot of rust and corrosion, but Alan is confident he can tackle it. Once the body is rebuilt, he will be building a big-inch Windsor, producing at least 450 hp. He says he absolutely must have a four-speed trans and a 9-inch rearend.

By The Numbers
Engine: 427ci Windsor
Transmission: Top Loader four-speed
Suspension: TCP front clip
Brakes: four-wheel disc
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Wheels: steelies
Body: satin black with maroon accents

1967 Chevelle * Larry Shelton * Medford, OR
Medford, Oregon, is just north of the California border, and has several local car shows, and even a nearby dragstrip. Larry Shelton has owned both Novas and Camaros, but was always interested in getting a Chevelle to take to that local drag spot. Larry found this '67, and brought it to his buddy's shop, Preferred Automotive, which specialized in building drag race cars. After a few months at the shop, and a year at home, Larry finally had the car ready to run. It's made six passes so far, with a best time of 10.90 at 128 mph. There's a bottle full of nitrous that he hasn't cracked open yet; that will be for next season!

By The Numbers
Engine: 406ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 350 with B&M Pro Stick
Suspension: Competition Engineering 90/10 shocks (front), coilovers (rear)
Brakes: line lock, discs
Rear: Dana 60 with Richmond 4.65 gears
Wheels: Weld Pro Star (15-inch)
Tires: Mickey Thompson 29.5X13.5

1969 Mustang * Chuck Martin * Slidell, LA
Since Chuck Martin was in elementary school, he knew he wanted a Mustang, and had his heart set on a '70 Fastback. That was until he saw the '69 model. In 1998, he was finally able to buy a project car, and you guessed it, it was a '69 Fastback. He bought the car for $4,500, then was given $4,500 years later to fix it after a flood packed it five feet under with mud. Chuck decided to rebuild, rather than take the money and run. The engine was rusted together beyond repair, so he quickly got a replacement. The body still looks as though it's been off roading, but that is on the long-term list of things to do.

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.0L roller motor
Transmission: T-5 manual
Suspension: Pontiac Sunbird rack-and-pinion
Brakes: four-wheel ABS brakes
Rear: Ford 8.8-inch
Wheels: '97 Mustang GT
Purchase price: adjusted $0

1967 Mustang * Rick Kowalski * Emeryville, Canada
Rick Kowalsi had worked for Ford Motor Company for 13 years, but was recently laid off. With the spare time, Rick decided to un-bury his '67 Mustang project he's had stored at a friend's house for 11 years. When Rick went to pick it up, he found a '95 T-bird right next to it. Rick explained: "My friend, Matt, and I decided to do a little Canadian Redneck engineering, and cut the roof off the T-Bird and stick the '67 Mustang body on top. We had the lovely gravel floor to be our workbench. As a machinist, I know how important a work surface is." So far, this build has cost a lot in labor, but not much in cash. Maybe Rick should look for a new job.

By The Numbers
Engine: 4.6L Ford OHC
Transmission: electronic AOD
Suspension: ’95 T-Bird (front and rear)
Rear: Ford 8.8-inch IRS
Body: ’67 body on a ’95 T-Bird
Comforts: A/C, cruise control, ABS, tilt wheel
Wheels: Ford Bullitt style polished aluminum

1973 Duster * Joe and Conner Drab * Rocklin, CA
The name of this game is "budget." Joe Drab has been helping his son, Connor, find a project car to work on during the years he will still live at home. They were looking for a `68-74 Camaro, Chevelle, or El Camino, but had no luck within their budget. Usually, we don't think to turn to Mopars when budget is a concern, but Joe's $5,000 budget brought up many more options for the post-'70 Mopars. This picture was taken the day the team picked up Connor's new ride. Good thing the wipers and defroster worked, because it was a cold and wet ride home. The Drabs haven't developed a solid plan yet, but know the first things that have to go are those wheels.

By The Numbers
Engine: 340 small-block Chrysler
Transmission: automatic
Suspension: air shocks
Body: vinyl top
Special options: console, power steering, seat belt buzzer
Wheels: powdercoated steel (15-inch)
Tires: “black”

1955 Bel Air * Mike Weatherson * Fresno, CA
Mike Weatherson's first big project was a '32 Highboy that disappeared when the shop he was having it worked on went out of business. Mike took this as a hint to let the car thing go for a while, and work on his family. In 1998, he felt it was time to get another project car. This time he needed something that would seat a few more passengers. He got this '55 in reasonably good shape and replaced wiring, hoses, belts, and other worn items to allow him to drive it daily. Through the next eight years, Mike drove the car every day to and from work until he decided he wanted to change the glass. That snowballed into the current full paint and body project.

By The Numbers
Engine: '69 360ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie M-21 four-speed
Suspension: McGaughy spindles, PST bushings, KYB shocks
Brakes: McGaughy disc, booster, and master
Interior: Ididit column, Autometer gauges
Wheels: American Racing (14-inch)
Tires: Nitto 205/70R14

1971 Dart * Tony Pagano * Enfield, CT
Years of kicking himself for selling his '68 Dart back in the day motivated Tony Pagano to set sail and look for a replacement. He quickly realized that prices had climbed, and he would be looking for the '71 and '72 models instead. He saw over-priced, nearly-finished projects, and cheap rust buckets that were too much work, but nothing in between. At a local swap meet, Tony talked to a guy who had one of those pricy cars. He mentioned he had a '71 back home he wouldn't mind parting with. Tony picked it up the next weekend, straight-six and all. He plans for a Hemi powerplant, four-speed gearbox, and 8.75-inch rear end to handle it all. Tony digs the Butternut Yellow body and satin black hood, so he may repaint it the same way.

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.1L Hemi
Transmission: five-speed manual
Suspension: coilovers (front and rear)
Brakes: B-body drum
Body: Butternut Yellow paint
Rear: 8.75-inch Chrysler with 4.56 gears
Wheels: stamped steel (18x10-inch)

1995 Camaro * Randy Jameson Jr. * Richland, WA
Randy Jameson may wear a suit to work and stand in front of a judge during the day as a lawyer, but that doesn't mean he can't have a little fun. Randy found this nearly stock '95 Camaro with only 45,000 miles on the odometer. First on the list of upgrades was a set of QA1 shocks and Eibach springs. Randy and his father Randy Sr. replaced every suspension part the aftermarket supported. Randy blew out the dainty 7.5-inch rearend the car came with, so in went a Moser 9-inch that could take the beating. Together, father and son rebuilt the engine with a new cam, rocker arms, timing set, throttle body, headers, and dry NOS kit. With the beefed up powerplant, the trans needed some work too.

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.7L LT1 small-block Chevy
Transmission: TCI 4L65E
Suspension: QA1 shocks, Eibach springs UMI A-arms
Brakes: UMI C5 conversion with Powerslot Rotors
Rear: Moser 9-inch with 3.00 gears, ABS sensor, and True-Trac posi
Wheels: “Saw Blade” Corvette (17-inch)
Tires: Kumho V-710, 275/40R17

1972 Camaro * Shawn Hodges * Graham, WA
Shawn Hodges picked up this Camaro in high school, and started the build on his own. Friend and local car guru, Bob Cody, suggested he cut the floor out completely to install some subframe connectors. This idea inspired Shawn to re-build the car, leaving nothing but the body in the factory location. Shawn changed the whole suspension setup, lowering it 4 inches without the use of air suspension. Before you know it, this high school student will have a full-on race car. Shawn fabricated tubs to fit extra-large meats that he would need in order to control the big-block stroker power.

By The Numbers
Engine: 496ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: modified tubular arms (front) four-link coilover (rear)
Rear: Moser 9-inch with 35-spline axles
Body: steel wheel tubs
Wheels: Weld (15x15-inch)
Tires: MT Sportsman 29x18.5

1971 Cutlass Supreme * Matt McAllister * Arnold, MO
The gas crisis of the '70s almost forced Matt McAllister's dad, the original owner of this '71 Cutlass, to trade it for a Pinto, but he couldn't justify it, thank goodness. His father, shown standing next to the car in this 1971 photo, let the car sit in the garage after both head gaskets had blown. Boxes piled up on top and around it through Matt's childhood. Finally in 1993, Matt needed a car, since his truck was totaled. It made more sense to fix up the Cutlass than buy another car. He disassembled the car, but only got back to it last year. He's got the Hotchkis Total Vehicle System, Edelbrock shocks, AGR steering box, and many other parts to give it the life it never had.

By The Numbers
Engine: 455 Olds
Transmission: 200R4
Suspension: Hotchkis kit, Edelbrock shocks
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.43 gears and posi
Body: W-30 bumpers, hood, and steering wheel
Interior: rally steering wheel, Autometer gauges
Wheels: Vintage Wheel Works V60

1965 Corvair * Robert Ziegert * Jumping Ranch, WV
Robert started cutting up this '65 Corvair coupe in 1972. He removed the entire back half of the body from the rear door post back, and removed all of the front sheetmetal. He retained the factory windshield frame and glass, but that was about it. He built the unique body panels from the same fiberglass you would use to build a bathtub. He didn't use any molds, he just started building. He borrowed parts from many cars, including headlights from an S10, taillights from a Focus, and a fuel cap from a Honda CBR motorcycle. He's raised three children, received two college degrees, served as a police officer, and still had time to create this exquisite car.

By The Numbers
Engine: 251ci Olds all-aluminum V-8
Transmission: Chrysler LHS transaxle w/OD
Suspension: IFS/IRS with coilovers
Brakes: third-gen Camaro (front), aluminum drums (rear)
Wheels: five-spoke aluminum
Donor cars: S10, Focus, Honda motorcycle, and Corvair

1974 Ranchero Squire * Tim Ostrander * Buffalo, NY
You know you've got a weak paintjob on your hands when the painter has sprayed over dirt, emblems, wood trim, and any other piece that would normally be removed or masked. Tim Ostrander saw this as an opportunity to practice paint removal, and re-spray it black in his home-built paint booth. Tim has a 351 Cleveland that this '74 Ranchero came with, but he's currently researching the idea of swapping in a 5.4L modular motor with a five-speed manual to replace the C-6 automatic he's got now. Tim's had a lot of projects over the years, and his wife asked him if this would be the last. He just laughed.

By The Numbers
Engine: 351ci Cleveland
Transmission: C-6
Body: home-sprayed black
Interior: Blazer bucket seats
Wheels: American Racing Hopster
Tires: Kumho
Favorite thing: vinyl top (coming soon)

1968 Cutlass * Mike Kline * Hemet, CA
Mike Kline's son, Luke, will be the fourth generation in his family to own this '68 Cutlass. The first was the original owner, Mike's grandfather, who passed it down to Mike's father, then to Mike himself. Mike grew up in Indiana, where they salt the roads, which thoroughly trashes the frame. Now a resident of California, Mike was able to get a rust-free replacement frame. A huge percentage of the parts were damaged from the salted roads, so Mike decided to rebuild it. He found a 455 to replace the 350 engine, and a manual transmission to replace the automatic one. This change led him to continue his improvements through to the suspension.

By The Numbers
Engine: 455ci Olds
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: tubular adjustable upper control arms (front)
Brakes: rebuilt with drilled and slotted rotors
Rear: Moser 12-bolt with 3.55 gears and Eaton posi
Wheels: Intro Vista or Fikse
Tires: 245/40R18 and 295/45R18

1965 Mercury Comet * George Teding * Oceanside, CA
"So far, I've done all the work myself, except for the machining on my 289. I grabbed some books and learned how to do the assembly. All of the body and paint work I did in my garage as well," writes owner and builder, George Teding. This was a real learning experience for him. George even learned how to weld in his driveway to complete the body repair and build the functional hood scoop. He's been watching shows like American Hot Rod and Overhaulin' for ideas. He says, "I'm on year five of a three-year project." Plans change, things happen, but George hopes to have the car done this year.

By The Numbers
Engine: 289ci small-block Ford
Transmission: C-6 automatic
Suspension: Rod and Custom Mustang II (front)
Brakes: factory-style discs (front), Explorer discs (rear)
Rear: Ford 9-inch with 3.50 gears
Wheels: American Racing Anson Sprint (15-inch)
Tires: BFG 205/60R15 & 255/60R15

1973 Mustang * Austin Moore * Anderson, IN
What a way to start out in the roddin' world. A year ago, 12-year-old Austin Moore was given this '73 Mustang as a project car, so he would have something cool to bring to high school when the time came. When his dad got it for him, it didn't run. The 351 Cleveland was beyond a squirt of starter fluid to get it going, so Austin's dad, John, helped him yank the motor, and brought it to the local machine shop, Morgan Automotive, to be rebuilt. It's now back between the fenders, with a fresh coat of Ford blue, and some shiny valve covers. Since Austin can't drive it yet, he spends a lot of his time cleaning it. He also gave it the flat black paintjob.

By The Numbers
Engine: 351ci Cleveland
Transmission: C-6
Suspension: KYB shocks
Brakes: discs (front)
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Body: flat black paint
Wheels: chrome

1966 Chevelle * Duane Fields * Fair Haven, MI
Duane Field's story is all too familiar. His progress on his '66 Chevelle has slowed because of the crummy economy in the automotive industry. He has been working on the car for four years now, and has focused on getting the body and frame as clean as possible. Duane has scraped all the rust, replaced panels, and refinished everything in black. "I built this car to be a family cruiser. My wife and I have two small boys, so we needed a big back seat and air conditioning for going out in the heat," Duane tells us. He's completed the bodywork, and has switched gears to the drivetrain. He hopes to have it all done this summer to make it out to the Woodward Dream Cruise.

By The Numbers
Engine: 396-inch big-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Suspension: tubular control arms (front and rear)
Brakes: four-wheel discs
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 3.55 gears and posi
Comforts: A/C, lush upholstery (for the wife)
Body: fresh black paint

1973 Firebird * Ron Evans * Los Angeles, CA
Ron Evans grew up working on cars with his father since he was about 8 years old. His father worked at local GM dealerships his whole life. When Ron was old enough, he was able to get his father's employee discount when he ordered this '73 Firebird in 1972. Ron drove the car hard into the '80s, performing amateur body work with way too much filler. Ron ended up getting a job with Chrysler in 1993, who gave him a company car, and the Firebird stayed in the car port until 2004. Ron wanted to get his father's help, and to include his own son. He had been out of the culture for a while, so he keeps up on PHR to see what's hot, and had artist Kris Horton do a project rendering for him. Let's just say there will be a lot of carbon fiber.

By The Numbers
Engine: 455ci Pontiac
Transmission: Turbo 400 with Gear Vendors
Suspension: Strong Arm control arms, Air Ride four-link
Brakes: Wilwood rotors with Hydroboost
Rear: GM 12-bolt, 3.42 gears, and Eaton posi
Body: carbon-fiber body modification
Wheels: five-spoke with carbon-fiber overlay

1971 Nova * Nathan Shaw * Farmington, MN
"If you can help get that four-door Nova out back running, you can have it," Nathan Shaw's pops said when he was 14, and that's what started it all. Since then, he has upgraded to a two-door model. The four-door helped him realize what he wanted out of his muscle car. He wasn't looking to follow any trends, or break any records, but have a healthy turbo-powered import-killer. While working at a GMC dealership, he caught a 6.0L Denali motor headed to the recycling bin, and figured it would be a good start for his turbo project. To get the car ready, Nathan sent it out to be sandblasted and primered. He ended up having to replace almost all of the panels.

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.0L GMC w/turbo
Transmission: 4L80E
Chassis: eight-point cage, DSE mini-tubs
Brakes: power disc (front)
Rear: GM 12-bolt
Wheels: Ralleys (15-inch)
Tires: BFG Radial T/A and Drag Radials

1969 Camaro * Tony Smith * Pickerington, OH
Tony Smith spent his teen years in the '70s when muscle cars were abundant, and therefore unappreciated. Everyone thought they'd be around forever. Now the price of these cars is climbing to the point they must become a luxury. The ones that are out there for a fair price need a lot of work. The '69 Camaro Tony's been working on was purchased for $1,500 with '70s-style fender flares, and a rattle can paintjob. The interior was a breeding ground for mold. Tony drove it into the garage, and never let it out until the awful paint and body work was reversed. He's got the suspension dialed in now, and awaits help from his friends to prep it for paint.

By The Numbers
Engine: 454 big-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie M-22 four-speed
Suspension: Competition Engineering four-link (rear)
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 4.10 gears
Body: Sherwin-Williams Garnet Red
Wheels: Weld (15x14-inch rear)
Tires: “big”

1932 Ford Pickup * Doug Schmieskors * Graham, NC
Some guys are engine guys, and some are body guys; we say Doug Schmieskors falls into the second category. Doug has done a lot of cutting and welding to his '32 Ford pickup: "I kept the cab, and replaced everything else with fiberglass parts. I ended up spending more on these parts than the truck initially cost me," Doug writes. He chopped, stretched, and smoothed the cab, then placed it all on a CJ-7 chassis; some things from the '30s are just outdated. To power this creation, Doug turned to Chevy for a fuel-injected 502ci crate motor. This open-minded builder has brought GM, Ford, and Mopar together for this project.

By The Numbers
Engine: GM 502ci big-block crate
Transmission: TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: CJ-7
Paint: '68 Chrysler metallic burgundy
Body: chopped and stretched cab and recessed firewall
Interior: A/C from Vintage Air, leather seats
Wheels: chrome steel (15-inch)

1970 Mustang * Timothy Wahls * Spencerport, NY
Timothy Wahls tinkered with cars quite a bit in his teenage years, and admits he didn't know what he was doing back in the day: "What were bearing clearances back then...?" After the time off from cars, Timothy spotted a '70 coupe for sale while spending the evening with his wife Lacey. She knew he was quite fond of it, and bought it for him as a birthday gift. Now Timothy and his son, Andy, do all the work on the car, and have re-dressed the current 289 as a place holder for the '94 5.0L they're building. They have also overhauled the interior, though for only having 27,000 miles on it, it was in pretty good shape.

By The Numbers
Engine: ’94 5.0L Ford
Transmission: C-4 automatic
Suspension: tubular control arms (front)
Brakes: power disc conversion
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Wheels: American Racing Magnum 500 (14-inch)
Tires: BFG 205/70R14 & 245/60R14

1946 Chevy Pickup * Wayne Creel * Early, TX
The focus of Wayne Creel's build was the engine. The tech sheet he filled out for us was three quarters of a page devoted to engine specs on his 406 small-block Chevy, and a couple notes about everything else. Clearly, he's a horsepower man above all else, and that's fine by us. Wayne bought this car late in 2007, with almost none of the body parts you see on it in the photo. It had only one fender, no lights, no wiring, no interior, and no bed. He's since sourced the rest of the panels and dropped the engine in. There is still a lot of work ahead of him, but with this potent big-bore small-block, and a 150-shot of nitrous, this thing will surely scream.

By The Numbers
Engine: 406ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 350 with 10-inch Hog converter
Suspension: ’82 Suburban frame and suspension
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.42 gears and posi
Body: John Deere satin black (rattle can)
Wheels: Moon discs (16-inch)
Tires: 215/75R16 (front) 235/70R16 (rear)

1978 Trans Am * Larry Middleton * Landing, NJ
Different tastes draw people to different cars, and Larry Middleton liked them all. He grew up liking the late-'70s T/As, but also was intrigued by the handling of Germany's BMW M3. Larry writes: "While reading a copy of Special Interest Autos Classifieds, I saw an ad: `1978 Trans Am g-Machine. EFI 455, T-tops, Gold/Tan, many suspension mods, 200-mph speedo, one owner, etc...' Still wanting the M3, I let it pass. Four months later, I saw the same ad on an automobile forum with pictures. The gravity had increased, so it was time to pick up the phone." It's been a love-love relationship for Larry ever since then.

By The Numbers
Engine: 455ci Pontiac
Transmission: Viper T-56 six-speed
Suspension: Global West, Alden coilovers, Watt’s link
Brakes: C5 (front) and Kore3 disc (rear)
Rear: Ford 9-inch, 3.70 gears, True-Trac posi
Wheels: Forgeline WC3 (18-inch)
Tires: Toyo TR1 255/45R18 & 285/30R18

1968 Camaro * Rick Schnack * DeWitt, IA
Living in a house with all girls (his wife and two daughters), Rick Schnack needed an outlet. He's had a handful of Chevy rides, but has always dreamed of a first-gen Camaro. His friend has a finished one that really gave Rick the itch. He got what was supposed to be an SS model, but Rick is still doing the research to find out. The Camaro didn't have an engine when he got it, so he took a trip to the local auto wrecker. He scored a dirt-cheap LT1 and the attached 4L60E trans. When asked why an LT1, Rick answers, "because I was at the right place at the right time, and the price was, right."

By The Numbers
Engine: LT1 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: 4L60E
Brakes: power disc front and rear
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and posi
Body: bright blue paint with Z/28 stripes
Interior: Autometer gauges, A/C
Wheels: chrome steel

1976 Nova * Randy Crownover * Granville, PA
Randy Crownover has had six Novas in his lifetime, but this one was his very first. He's had it for 20 years, and most of the time it was put on the back burner. His now ex-wife didn't permit him much time to work on the car, so nothing got done for many years. Randy is now engaged to a woman who actually likes the car, and encourages him to work on it. With six kids running around, it's difficult to find time, but he still manages. Randy has put together a 454ci big-block Chevy from an '85 Suburban, using GM high-output heads and an Edelbrock RPM cam.

By The Numbers
Engine: 454ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 350 with B&M converter
Brakes: slotted rotors
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 4.10 gears and posi
Wheels: aluminum (15-inch)
Exhaust: Hedman 2.125-inch primaries to 3-inch collectors
Performance: 12.11 e.t. at 119 mph

1970 Chevelle * Joe Miller * Island Lake, IL
Nostalgic Auto Body and Barnes Automotive in Arlington Heights, Illinois, are two sister companies specializing in building high-level show cars. They've been putting this '70 Chevelle together over the last four years in their spare time for the purpose of showcasing their shops' talents. "We envisioned from the start to build a modern vehicle with Pro Touring influences, a street rod interior, and a hot rod drivetrain, all while maintaining classic muscle car style," writes Joe Miller of Nostalgic Auto Body. Currently, the car is in the wiring and plumbing stages, and he expects it to be completed by the time you read this. We'll be keeping an eye out for it at the upcoming Goodguys show in Joliet this year.

By The Numbers
Engine: GM Performance Parts Ram Jet 502
Transmission: 700-R4 by DTI of Round Lake, IL
Suspension: Air Ride, Global West, Metco
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: GM 12-bolt
Wheels: Billet Specialties Stiletto (18x7 & 18x10)
Tires: Nitto 225/45R18 & 295/45R18

1986 Camaro * Robert Kapp * Clinton, IA
We've all heard the same advice: don't sell your first car, you'll regret it later. Robert Kapp took that advice to heart. He got his '86 Camaro on his 16th birthday, and plans to keep it until the day he dies. Robert has a special attachment to the car because he too, is an '86 model, making him 22 years old. He must work on an extremely limited budget, because unfortunately he is overwhelmed with medical bills from his epilepsy. His doctors won't allow him to get a driver's license until he is free of seizures for six months, which he is well on his way to. Once he gets the go-ahead, he plans to sign up for an automotive program that is too far for hitchhiking!

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400
Interior: custom steering wheel and seat covers
Special features: custom plates "Rose 86"
Body: factory body and paint
Wheels: gold IROC
Tires: (under-inflated) Firestone Firehawk

1959 Impala * Bill Hill * Jackson, TN
After searching for a solid '59 Impala, Bill Hill found the perfect one on eBay. It had spent most of its life in North Carolina and had zero rust. Boy, that must've been difficult to find! The seller led Bill to believe the powertrain was all original, but it turned out to be a '62 327 instead of the 283 it was supposed to have. It didn't really matter either way because Bill had his sights on a 565ci big-block Chevy crate motor built by Precision Machine of McMinnville, Tennessee. When he went to pull the original engine, he wanted to clean up the engine bay, which turned into a bare-metal prep, and complete paintjob. Funny how things happen...

By The Numbers
Engine: 565ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: 4L80E
Suspension: Air Ride front and rear
Brakes: four-wheel discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Body: DuPont base/clear white
Performance: 809 hp on 93-octane fuel

1966 Chevy Wagon * Louis Jackson St. Charles, MO
When you look at a '66 four-door Chevy wagon, you think kids, groceries, automatic transmission, and brown paint. Well, life will be changing drastically for this particular car. Louis Jackson fell in love with the gasser look back in the '70s when he was just a young boy. He wanted a high-front straight-axle Chevy. He got this car as a roller, and started doing research on converting it to a straight-axle car. He came across Bob Crawford of Gassers Inc. who agreed to work on the car in his spare time. It's been two years since the car left Louis's house, but it's progressing steadily. Bob has welded the rear doors into the body for a cleaner look and modified the front end with the leaf-spring solid axle.

By The Numbers
Engine: 540ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400 with Gear Venders OD
Suspension: straight axle conversion (front)
Brakes: GM discs (front), drum (rear)
Body: four-door to two-door conversion, modified glass
Wheels: ET 10-spoke (front) and American Racing Torq-Thrust (rear)
Tires: MT Sportsman

1969 Mustang * Michael Hay * Beach Park, IL
"It started as an idea to try and get my wife [Lorenza] to like, or at least to tolerate, my hobby with muscle cars," writes Michael Hay. "I had hoped to get her to take pride in something that was considered hers, since she never had that growing up in a dirt-poor neighborhood in the Dominican Republic." Fords are the brand of choice in the Hay household, so the quest for a Blue Oval began. A search on eBay turned up this '69 Mustang, which also included a MIG welder, SSBC brakes, and a small-block Ford crate engine in the deal--all for the price of $4,000. Michael writes: "Lorenza's tone changed from `all that car crap' to `now we need more room for the cars and all that stuff.' Of course, I sprang my grand plan for a second garage."

By The Numbers
Engine: Jasper crate engine
Transmission: late-model Mustang T-45
Suspension: new, factory
Brakes: SSBC
Rear: 9-inch Ford
Wheels: '03 Mustang GT, 17-inch
Color: Royal Maroon

1969 El Camino * Jerry Bliffen * Whittier, CA
Jerry Bliffen was big into running, but this interest had to be put aside because of an unfortunate medical issue that left him with only one lung. Jerry would need something with a powerful motor to move him around now. He had a '69 El Camino with a limp-wristed 350 in it that would need to be replaced. Jerry swapped it for a 11:1 327ci small-block Chevy, which was a blast until the day Jerry's wife came home and asked him to keep the car from making loud noises and pouring oil everywhere. The El Camino has been through three engines, three transmissions, and a couple of axles over the years, but Jerry keeps fixing it and flogging it down the dragstrip.

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: Edelbrock AIS shocks
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and Eaton posi
Wheels: American Racing Daisy (14- and 15-inch)
Tires: BFG Radial T/A
Miles on car: 380,000

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air * Bob Wagenhals * Lakewood, CO
Bob Wagenhals started tinkering with cars at age 15, and was lucky enough to be chosen to compete in the first ever Popular Hot Rodding Engine Masters Challenge. "Going all the way to the finals as an amateur engine builder was a dream," writes Bob. These days, Bob spends his time with fellow gearhead, Dana Frew, who he shares a shop with. Called the "Car Club," Bob and Dana's shop is just a low-pressure place where the two can get together to work on cars, and wind down after a hard day of work. (Dana's ride is a 55 Series 3600 Chevrolet pickup.) Bob's '55 Bel Air (shown here) is fresh from the dragstrip, and is slowly being converted back to a street car. "I've still got a long list of things to do before it hits the street, but building it is the most fun."

By The Numbers
Engine: 502ci big-block Chevy
Intake: Offenhauser low-rise dual-quad
Carburetion: dual Holley 650s
Exhaust: fenderwell headers
Transmission: Turbo 400
Steering: rack-and-pinion conversion
Tires: Mickey Thompson 18-inch street radials

1989 Trans Am GTA * Tim Kohlmeyer * Westminster, CO
When Tim Kohlmeyer found his '89 Trans Am in 1997, he wasn't looking for a car, but it was love at first sight. "I caught a slight glimpse from the corner of my eye while driving home one day, and BAM! Stick a fork in me, because I was done!" The GTA had the hood, wheels, taillights, interior, and everything else Tim liked, so he bought it without even balking at the price. At first, the plan was to build a healthy 383 with AFR heads and a Stealth Ram intake, but the LS bug bit hard. All set to buy a new L92 in a crate from Scoggin-Dickey, Tim heard about a derailed train with a load of new L92s that were slightly damaged. He got one for half price, and only had to replace the damaged intake manifold! For more, check out Tim's buildup at the site listed in the spec box.

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.2L L92 Gen III
Transmission: T-56 six-speed
Suspension: BMR
Brakes: Baer Brakes
Wiring harness: Cadillac Escalade
Website: tinyurl.com/c2pl8k
Special thanks: wife (Sheila), and Mark Wells

1965 Impala Wagon * Scott Bura * Davis, CA
"The minivan has served us well, "writes Scott Bura, "but it was getting time to search for a replacement. I wanted something fun, and that seated at least six. No SUVs. No trucks. Nothing fit the bill, so we started looking at classic wagons. I figured we could build a wagon for about what a new SUV costs." The answer for the Bura clan turned out to be the '65 Chevy Impala nine-passenger wagon you see here. Since the wagon will be driven regularly with a load of precious cargo, Scott is refurbishing it with modern four-wheel disc brakes and master cylinder. A fuel-injected 6.0L Gen III LS engine and 4L80E transmission from an '04 2500HD truck will also be transplanted. "The overall vision is to build a factory-appearing car. That doesn't mean a sleeper. It's using colors and materials the factory would use."

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.0L Gen III LS, from Schram’s in Michigan
Transmission: 4L80E
Suspension: Air Ride, CPP, Hotchkis, Energy Suspension
Brakes: Baer Track, CPP master cylinder
Rear: 12-bolt, 3.31 gears
Wheels: Billet Specialties Rat Tail (17x8.5, 18x9.5)
Tires: run flats, TBD (245/45R17, 275/40R18)

1963 Chevy Impala * David Brownell * Tucson, AZ
"At first, my intention was to keep it simple, and make a nice restored driver [for my son, Ryan]," writes David Brownell. "I started teaching Ryan the basics, like rebuilding the carburetor, all the drum brakes, packing the bearings, rebuilding the suspension, and so on." That was 13 years ago, and a lot has changed--in fact, nearly everything has changed, and the car has yet to hit the road! Among the changes are a new overdrive 700-R4 trans, a built 400 small-block, Ford 9-inch rear, boxed trailing arms, custom radiator core support, hydroboost power brakes, drop spindles, hidden wiring, new gauges, Mercedes Brilliant Silver and Viper Yellow paint, Lexus seats, custom center console, new door panels, side-exit NASCAR-style exhaust, shaved door handles, and more.

By The Numbers
Engine: 406ci small-block
Intake: Edelbrock Performer Plus
Carburetion: Holley 750-cfm
Cylinder heads: ported factory
Transmission: 700-R4
Exhaust: Hedman headers
Rear: Ford 9-inch, 4.10 gears

1955 Crown Victoria * Roy Evans * Spring Valley, CA
"When my dad got out of the army in 1970 and needed transportation, he bought the '55 Vic off his brother for $150. My parents drove it for 10 years, then it sat in the garage and collected dust for 15 years," writes Roy Evans. Roys' brother, Richard, got the car running again in '95, but realized he wanted a '67 Mustang--Roy's car--even more. (That Mustang was featured in our April '08 issue--"Persistence Pays.") That put the '55 back into mothballs, until Roy revived it in 2002. An updated grille from a '56, and modern running gear from some late-model Mustang Cobras will help Roy make the show-and-go circuit, and a modern coilover suspension from Fat Man will make it streetable. Roy writes: "My dad jokes that he hopes to live long enough to see the car finished!"

By The Numbers
Engine: '01 Mustang Cobra 4.6L 32v
Transmission: '03 Mustang Cobra T-56
Suspension: Fat Man coilover
Brakes: Explorer discs, hydroboost
Rear: Moser 9-inch, 4.10 gears
Wheels: 18x7, 18x10
Tires: 225/40R18, 305/45R18

1964 Ford Falcon * Jeff Wallace * Spokane, WA
Jeff Wallace has worked at Harbor Freight Tools for the last eight years, and in the last two of those years, he's also attended community college to graduate with an AAS degree in auto body repair. All that sounds like plenty fertile ground to concoct all kinds of ideas for this '64 Falcon. "I did this build because you don't see a lot of Falcons around. I have always liked the body style of the '64 hardtop, and after two years of trying to find one, I bought this one off of eBay in August 2005," writes Jeff. Jeff has done all the work himself, including the buildup of the 347 stroker. "I learned engines and how to do mechanical work from my dad, who has been a mechanic for 25 years. He also taught me some metal fab and bodywork.

By The Numbers
Engine: 347ci Windsor
Transmission: T-5 from ’90 Mustang
Suspension: Rod & Custom Motorsports, Heidt’s
Brakes: Rod & Custom 12-inch, Explorer
Exhaust: Patriot tri-Y, Magnaflow mufflers
Wheels: Boyd Coddington Smoothie
Completion date: summer 2010

1965 Chevy Corvair * Patrick Hagerman * Nowata, OK
"I grew up in the '80s, when Pro-Street was the thing, so that's where the build is going now," writes Patrick Hagerman, owner of Scotlea Hot Rods, and who is also apparently a doctor. The goal is to build his '65 Corvair for the road so he can drive it every day like he used to. With that in mind, the engine will be fuel-injected (read: reliable), and it won't be overly aggressive (around 350 hp). Of course, in a car as light as a Corvair, that kind of power will make it a rocket. Naturally, Patrick is putting the engine in the correct end of the car, and a super reliable 9-inch will go in the rear. Between the two is a completely custom frame of Patrick's own design, so that the Corvair won't twist into a pretzel when the pedal drops.

By The Numbers
Engine: ’96 vintage 350ci LT1
Transmission: 700-R4
Frame: dual 2x2 square tubing, 2x3 rear framerails
Front suspension: stock with Air Ride
Rear suspension: triangulated four-link, Air Ride
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: Moser Ford 9-inch, 3.70 gears

1973 Dodge Challenger * Mike Calvert * Hahira, GA
"I have always been infatuated with older cars, especially muscle cars," writes Mike Calvert. "My fist car at 16 was a '69 Olds Cutlass. I am building a '73 Dodge Challenger now that I've been working on for three years. I hope to have it done in a couple of months." Mike picked up the Challenger because he's always been a fan of Mopar E-bodies. He passed on his first choice--a '71 AAR 'Cuda convertible, and cites the high price of entry, and the fear of cutting up something so valuable, as two really good reasons for settling on the '73 Dodge. "I consider working on the car as therapy. I've done all the work on this car myself except for the engine and trans. I taught myself to weld, sandblast, paint, fabricate, and I've loved every minute of it."

By The Numbers
Engine: 440ci Chrysler RB
Transmission: 727 Torqueflite
Suspension: stock w/heavy-duty leaf springs
Brakes: SSBC rear disc conversion
Rear: Mopar 8-inch, 3.91 gears
Wheels: Wheel Vintiques, 14x6 & 18x5
Tires: BFG 215/70R14, 25560R15

1972 Buick Skylark * Aaron Drees * Celina, OH
"My dad and I are restoring what will be my first car, which was my late grandpa's car. He always wanted it fixed, but it wasn't worth fixing," writes Aaron Drees. "That little old lady story you so often hear doesn't hold true here. [Grandpa had bought it from someone else.] Even though the odometer has 50,000 miles, the car was a complete rust bucket." After inheriting the car in 2005, Aaron got the ultimate Christmas gift from his dad, who owns Drees Paint & Body. "I received a toolbox, a D/A sander, a board sander, sandpaper, and a gallon of Duraglass. I was one happy and excited kid. My dad and I did all the bodywork ourselves." Aaron says the car is really special because of its sentimental value, and the quality time he's spent with his dad.

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci two-barrel Buick
Chassis: all stock
Interior: “ripped seats and torn headliner”
Rear: factory 10-bolt
Wheels & Tires: “Dig the hubcaps and white stripes!”
Other: needs new wiring harness, thanks to family dog
Age of owner: 16

1957 Chevy * Jeremy Ridings * Cheboygan, MI
For the last 21 years, Jeremy Ridings has been in the aviation field, working at Hessel Airport in Hessel, Michigan. His penchant for flying, and for high-tech precision machinery is naturally reflected in Jeremy's choice of hot rods: a jet-age chic '57 Chevy, loaded with a modern fuel-injected Corvette engine. "About two years ago, my father and I were driving past a local junk yard not far from the airport, and saw this faded '57 Chevy with Rallye wheels," says Jeremy. "Of course, when you see something like that you just have to stop and ask the questions, right?" When it came time to load it up on the trailer (naturally, Jeremy bought it), the guy at the junk yard gave him an old battery, and it started right up. How's that for a good omen?

By The Numbers
Engine: ’07 Corvette LS3 crate motor
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: Air Ride
Brakes: Eckler’s four-wheel disc
Rear: stock, 3.73 gears
Wheels: Billet Specialties Fast Lane
Tires: Nitto 225/40R18 & 265/35R18

1970 Chevelle * Dave Livesey * Diamond, IL
"I've always loved '70 Chevelles," writes Dave Livesey. "I got this rolling shell from my dad in Mesa, Arizona, seven years ago. I built the engine a year or two later, and worked on the car occasionally for the next six years. I will be driving it this spring!" Dave's been working on it almost every day since he first saw our article about reader projects. He got the car running a couple of weeks before sending out his letter, and actually moved it under its own power. Dave's next goal is to drive it around the block soon. Writes Dave: "I still have the big dreams for the car if I ever have a lot of extra cash lying around. Put EFI on my big-block with a T-56 trans. Maybe an 18-inch wheel tire combo like the Chevelle in your Nitto tire ad that used to be on the back cover."

By The Numbers
Engine: 454ci big-block Chevy
Cylinder heads: ported 781 castings,
Intake: Edelbrock Torker II
Cam: COMP Cams XE 268H
Carb: Holley 750 vacuum secondary
Transmission: Turbo 350 & Hughes converter
Dyno numbers: 490hp @ 5,800 rpm

1984 Monte Carlo * Jerry Mann * Greenville, MI
When Jerry Mann's wife decided to retire from work and stay home to raise the kids, they had to cut back on some of their expenses. This meant that Jerry's '70 SS 454 Chevelle had to go up for sale. He still had a thirst for speed, so he started looking for a lower-budget build. His wife spotted this '84 Monte Carlo in a field that the owner at the time had given up on. After seeing it, Jerry bought the car for $1,200. His goal is to build a mid-to-low 12-second street/strip car with a budget in mind.

By The Numbers
Engine: LS6 454ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 350 with B&M shifter
Brakes: drag racing front discs
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.73 gears and posi
Exhaust: 3-inch pipes with Flowmaster mufflers
Wheels: Pro Star (15-inch)
Tires: drag slicks

1970 Pontiac GTO * Scott Forthofer * St. Clair Shores, MI
How many times are hot rodders truly honest with themselves and their families about the true cost of building a project? You think you're a straight shooter? Well Scott Forthofer sent us a complete cost breakdown of his '70 GTO, and so far, his itemized accounting notebook totals $72,718, and counting. That's everything, even the $21 he spent for rear differential lube, and the $62 he spent for window chrome. Scott writes that his love for cars began when he bought a '79 Trans Am in high school, and flourished when he got a job with GM in 1995, and ordered a new Ram Air Trans Am (which also explains his love of the LT1 powerplant). Scott's current '70 GTO was picked up at a farm auction in 1997 when his dad spotted it for him.

By The Numbers
Engine: GM LT1 small-block
Transmission: Tremec T-56
Suspension: QA1, Koni
Brakes: Baer, Wilwood
Rear: GM 12-bolt, 4.10 gears
Wheels: Corvette 17x8.5, 17x9.5
Tires: BFG 245/45R17, 285/40R17

1971 Chevy Nova * Calvin Thorn * Jasper, IN
"My goal when I purchased this car was to have it laser straight with nice paint," writes Calvin Thorn. "I have worked in the alternate fuel industry for 30 years, and in June of 2008, I went to work for a company in Texas that develops and sells liquid propane injection [LPI], called Clean Fuel USA." Obviously, this provided the perfect opportunity to bring the Calvin's '71 Nova project into the green era; he plans to convert an as-yet-to-be-purchased Gen III LS-series engine over to liquid propane. As we all know, the secret to propane is its high-octane rating, which allows you to build a really high-compression street engine that's super efficient and extremely powerful. Calvin is also working with a co-worker to install a custom IRS for super handling too.

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.3L or 6.0L Gen III LS
Fuel: liquid propane
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: custom built IRS
Body: custom lead work by owner
Initial price: $2,500
Prior car: 1978 Z28

1969 Camaro * Jim Manfred * Humble, TX
The commercial tag line for some long-forgotten cosmetic line was: "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." And if the '69 Camaro could talk, that is undoubtedly what it would say. As a soft-spoken Texan from Houston, Jim Manfred would say no such thing, mostly because he'd let his newest car--a '69 Camaro--do it for him. You may remember Jim's first '69 Camaro from our August 2005 issue, "Striking White Stunner." This time around, Jim is going the high-tech route. Instead of a carb on top of a small-block, he's going with GM Performance Parts new LSX376 crate motor and fuel injection. Because he got such great results from Detroit Speed and Engineering suspension parts with his last car, he's sticking with them for the new car too.

By The Numbers
Engine: GMPP LSX376 crate motor
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: Heidt’s, DSE
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: Ford 9-inch, 3.70 gears
Wheels: Budnik, 19x8 & 19x11
Tires: 245/40R19 & 295/35R19

1969 Camaro * Pat Chumley * Granbury, TX
Those who have the financial wherewithal to build their projects in a professional shop get many advantages. For starters, a shop like Smoky Hill Restoration has a rock-solid bedplate as a jig for projects like Pat Chumley's '69 Camaro. The bedplate ensures perfect alignment of the frame and chassis components from start to finish, and allows different portions of the car to be built simultaneously, thus saving time by getting it right the first time. Pat is going state of the art with his Camaro, choosing to incorporate Chevy's top-shelf 605hp LS9 powerplant found in the new ZL1. By going with a production plant that has undergone extensive durability testing (GM gives it a 36,000 mile warranty in the Corvette), Pat has ensured many miles of carefree driving.

By The Numbers
Engine: Corvette LS9, supercharged
Transmission: Tremec T-56
Suspension: Z06, Art Morrison
Brakes: carbon ceramic discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch, 3.73 gears
Wheels: Forgeline ST3P
Tires: Nitto 275/35R18 & 345/35R19

1950 GMC Truck * Carson Waterman * Salamanca, NY
Carson Waterman tells us this project started when the Europeans first arrived. "After contact was made, my ancestors traded beaver and buckskin hides, and other items for cloth and glass beads, therefore, an adaptation took place," writes Carson, a native American of the Seneca Nation. He's been a professional artist for 40 years, and with this '50 GMC pickup, he's figured out a way to combine his artistic ability, his ancestry, and his love for hot rods all in one project. Carson purchased the GMC two years ago from an owner who had done much of the work already, including the chopped top, transplanted front subframe, and shortened bed. The final cultural adaptation of the GMC will be applying the artistic native American mural on the hood and fenders.

By The Numbers
Engine: 383ci Chevy small-block
Transmission: Turbo 350
Front subfame: '78 Firebird
Body: top chopped 4 inches
Box: shortened 3 inches
Springs: '70 Chevelle
Rear: GM 10-bolt

1966 Mustang * Henry Scott * Conneault, OH
Henry Scott's story of a spiral into the depths of modification is familiar: "I drove [the Mustang] a couple of years before the motor spun a bearing. While I was working on the motor, I found some rust, so I started repairing it. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was fixing everything on the car." In 1989, Henry got married, and started a family, so the Mustang project got put on hold, but around 1998, he started working on it again. "I work on other people's cars to help pay for parts for my toy," writes Henry. So far, Henry has rebuilt the 289, added a Demon carb, and an Edelbrock intake. He also added tri-Y headers and a 9-inch rear. In 1999, Henry moved from California to Ohio, putting everything in a U-Haul. Now he's started a new life, but with his old toy.

By The Numbers
Engine: rebuilt 289ci Windsor
Intake: Edelbrock Performer
Carburetion: 625-cfm Demon
Transmission: Ford C-4
Exhaust: Tri-Y headers
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Wheels: ’67-style steelies

1964 Chevelle * Glen Copeland * Anaheim, CA
"This project had to be a muscle car--big horsepower, modern-car reliability, and pretty easy to get parts if a problem were to happen on the road," writes Glen Copeland. As an engineer, Glen is a firm believer in reliability and over-engineering just about everything. Besides using the very same tools he and his grandfather used together, Glen also enjoys the wrenching because he can share the shop space at home with his two kids, Carly (5), and Collin (3). "My daughter loves to suit up in her welding jacket and helmet to watch the `fireworks.' Collin will sneak by and turn off the welder while I'm welding, and run away laughing!" The learning curve with the turbo big-block has been steep, and Glen credits Al Nimo Jr. at Performance Techniques (San Bernardino, CA) for help.

By The Numbers
Engine: turbocharged, intercooled 502ci big-block, 800hp
Transmission: Turbo 400 w/Gear Vendor OD
Suspension: custom tubular A-arms, boxed frame
Brakes: Chevy Caprice & Corvette
Rear: Ford 9-inch from Currie
Wheels: Curtis Speed & Engineering
Tires: 245/45R19, 31x18x20 Mickey Thompson

1966 Pontiac GTO * Bill Herder * Finlayville, PA
As soon as Bill Herder was able to drive, his recreational interests turned to cars. Having grown up around muscle cars, he immediately gravitated to a very nice '73 split-bumper Camaro. "I then went into the Army, and stayed there for a long time. Between time, money, and family constraints, muscle cars were something only to look at and wish for," writes Bill. But last year, Bill decided to take the plunge. He knew he wanted either a first-gen Camaro or '64-72 A-body, and lucked into this '66 LeMans. Not being a real GTO didn't deter Bill, in fact, it gave him "license" to do all kinds of guilt-free upgrades to the suspension, powertrain, and color. Bill's goal is to have the LeMans completed in time for the Pontiac Nationals in August.

By The Numbers
Engine: 400ci Pontiac
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: SPC, Edelbrock, Spohn, Energy Suspension
Rear: Moser 12-bolt, 3.73 gears
Clutch: Centerforce DF2
Ignition: MSD 6AL-2, Pro Billet distributor
Paint: PPG Cabernet Tri-Coat

1964 Chevelle * Norb Baumann * Manitowoc, WI
Norb Baumann works second shift, so his story, photos, and specs on his '64 Chevelle were a little sketchy, perhaps due to a touch of sleep deprivation. We'll do our best to represent it properly, so forgive us if we get it wrong. A racer buddy introduced Norb to the previous owner of this '64, which had no engine. With permission from Norb's wife, the car was purchased, then stuffed with a 355ci Vortec V-8 that had seen previous duty in Norb's 11-second '67 Chevelle. Norb writes: "The Chevelle needs a little bodywork and paint, so the plan is to cruise in sleeper mode for a little while. It has no tach or other special racing gauges. Then we will show up at WIR or The Grove on Real Street drag night with the drag radials on."

By The Numbers
Engine: 355 Vortec 350
Transmission: Powerglide
Suspension: Air-Lift bags
Future mods: 700-R4 trans, new dash pad
Rear: GM 10-bolt, 3.08 gears
Wheels: Rallye wheels
Tires: BFG 275/50R15 Drag Radials

1978 Chevy Malibu * Marc Luetje * Topeka, KS
Marc Luetje paid just $500 for his '78 Malibu in 1988. To make it complete, Marc paired it with a salvage motor from a '70 Corvette, and a Turbo 350 from a neighborhood guy. Then Marc had a little set back. "After a night of some street racing, I crashed the Malibu trying to get away from the police. The car needed a new front clip, and some framework." Marc also needed a time-out from behind the wheel, so the ensuing time was good therapy. Four years of college, marriage, and the birth of a son brings us up to the sober point where Marc is now. Six years into the rebuild, Marc has done all the work himself (except paint), and paid cash for it along the way. Soon, the Malibu will be done, and Marc will have the choice of driving it responsibly, which we hope he makes.

By The Numbers
Engine: 368ci small-block
Transmission: Turbo 350
Suspension: Eibach, Belltech, Rancho
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: 8.5-inch 10-bolt, 4.11 gears
Wheels: Corvette C5 style
Tires: 235/45R17, 275/40R17

1964 Ford Galaxie * Mark Schaller * San Jose, CA
"I had already restored a '66 Mustang GT, and I was feeling the need for another project, something a little different, and something you would rarely see driving around town," writes Mark Shaller. In February of 2006, Mark saw a posting on a Shelby Club website, advertising a '64 Galaxie with the right color combo. After Mark did some research on the history, a deal was struck. "In retrospect, I paid more for it than I really should have; it was not running, most of the parts were in the trunk, and it clearly has serious electrical problems. I know, major red flags!" Mark is now nearing the end of what has been a challenging three-year restoration. Along with help from friend, Dominic, all the work was handled at home, and the end now appears to be in sight.

>Wheels:
By The Numbers
Engine: 428ci Ford FE
Transmission: Ford Cruisomatic three-speed
Suspension: factory, Monroe & KYB shocks
Brakes: manual four-wheel discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch 3.55 gears
ARE Torque Thrust D, 15x7
Tires: Dunlop 225/70R15, 245/60R15

1955 Plymouth Belvedere * Adam Moore * Decatur, IL
"My father and I have the same weakness: huge cams, tons of compression, and cars that aren't the most comfortable to drive--unless it's a quarter-mile at a time," writes Adam Moore. Then Adam came up with the crazy idea: How about a car that can actually be driven? That brings us to the photos of the '55 Plymouth Belvedere. Adam's dream is to build it into a car that doesn't require race fuel, or ear plugs to muffle the exhaust noise. It also means not worrying about every little rattle he hears. Though the engine's not built yet (the blower motor is just a mock up), Adam's therapist suggests low compression, a little cam, and a little carb. Yeah right! We saw Adam's tech sheet, which has a COMP Cams Thumpr cam, and that's something sure to get his blood pumping!

By The Numbers
Engine: 400ci small-block, Weiand blower
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: probably Air Ride
Exhaust: exit through rear quarter panel
Rear: Nova 10-bolt rear
Wheels: steel wheels
Tires: whitewalls!

1978 Camaro * Lance Stultz * Yakima, WA
We were overwhelmed when we got Lance Stultz's letter--he has no fewer than six project cars in the works! To be fair to everybody, we had to pick just one, and it was an easy choice. Lance bought this '78 Camaro for just $200, and equipped it with swap meet finds and old take-off parts lying around the yard. Lance writes: "Over the last two years, I have used all my spare and leftover Chevy parts to piece together the car you see here. The motor is an old 0.060-over 350 I had laying around. It's got a $40 swap meet Torker II intake, $40 swap meet headers, and an Edelbrock carb I took off my son's Camaro when we put on a Holley 750. It still needs paint, rust repair on the floor and trunk, and some tuning, but it's not too bad for about $1,000."

By The Numbers
Engine: Chevy 350
Transmission: Turbo 350 out of a demolition derby car
Suspension: Energy Suspension bushings
Exhaust: Dynomax Race Magnum, $75 from a Mopar
Interior: $40 dash pad, $50 door panels, new carpet
Gauges: $25 gauge cluster from swap meet
Other cars: '76 Mustang 4x4, '78 Mustang, '84 Camaro, '75 Mustang, '74 GMC

1965 Chevelle * Al Bruder * Livonia, MI
Here's a tech tip from Chevelle owner, Al Bruder, that all the blower guys can use: "The best thing I ever did on this build was to paint the firewall and floor with two coats of Lizard Skin ceramic heat shield. It dropped the inside temperature by 15 degrees or more." Heat, is of course, exactly what you get when you build a blown big-block, then stick it out on the street on a hot summer day. Al's Chevelle has had many upgrades, including suspension, brakes, cooling (lots of cooling stuff!), wiring, and even nitrous on top of the 8 pounds of boost. Al drives his Chevelle at least 1,500 miles a year, and boasts that it's one of the few blower cars that is regularly street driven. Writes Al: "I spend all week out cruising Woodward before the Dream Cruise."

By The Numbers
Engine: 460ci big-block, Weiand 6-71
Carburetion: dual 750 Demons
Suspension: Global West, QA1, Eaton, Hotchkis
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: Ford 9-inch, 4.10 gears
Wheels: Boyd Coddington 4x15; Centerline 15x15
Tires: Mickey Thompson

1967 Camaro * Keith Melzer * Richfield, WI
"I worked as a machinist, and convinced my boss to let me work on the car in our lunchroom area," writes Keith Melzer of the '67 Camaro he bought back in 1977. After blowing the engine in 1983, Keith took the Camaro out of action so that he could, "do it right." Doing it right consisted of a complete Alston 2x3 chassis kit and new body panels. By the time Keith finished all the fitting and welding, it was 1997. Then six years ago, Keith discovered he had Parkinson's Disease, which sidetracked the Camaro until he found the right combination of meds. "I find working on my car very therapeutic, and although it takes me longer to do things, I think I'm still making good progress." Keith hopes to get the Camaro's chassis inspection for Division 3 this spring.

By The Numbers
Engine: 343ci Dart small-block
Cylinder heads: Jegs aluminum
Headers: homebuilt from Stahl kit
Suspension: Alston, Afco
Brakes: Wilwood, Strange, QA1
Grille: billet, made by owner
Body: front end, deck, doors by Glasstech

1980 Camaro * Eric Wood * Walton, NY
"I bought this car when I was 18 because I've always had Camaro fever, and it's built for speed," writes Eric Wood. "I started attending NHRA events when I was 12, and shortly thereafter my dad bought a 130/four-speed '66 Chevelle--the car I learned to drive standard with." Of Eric's '80 Camaro, he says it's still a pain to drive on a regular basis, but it's really fun when he opens the throttle. We really dig Eric's photo, especially since he took the time to do some nice Photoshop work to superimpose the hood off the car with the engine showing through it. Eric also included a sweet photo illustration rendering with his entry. This combines actual photography with computer rendering techniques to produce a lifelike image of his completed car. Nice work, Eric!

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci Vortec small-block
Transmission: T-56 six-speed
Suspension: Hotchkis, KYB, Energy Suspension
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: 8.5-inch 10-bolt,
Wheels: Vintage Wheel Works V40
Tires: Nitto 255/45R18 & 295/45R18

1969 LeMans * Paul and Shanna Sandal Box * Elden, SD
Paul and Shanna Sandal have two boys, and several hot rods. The boys often refer to the cars as their own, but Shanna never did. Now it's her turn to have one. Husband, Paul, is currently building her this '69 LeMans. Paul writes, "It's getting a 454 Chevy--sorry Pontiac purists--700-R4 trans, and 13-inch brakes to keep my wife safe." The paint choice would have to reflect Shanna's personality, so they chose a two-tone Rasberry Metallic, with a black metallic roof. (Smart girl: that's a color combo that's sure to keep any man out of the driver seat!) Paul hopes when it's done that it's a fun, safe car for Shanna to drive.

By The Numbers
Engine: 454ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: upgraded sway bars, lowering springs
Brakes: 13-inch discs
Body: Raspberry and black metallic two tone
Wheels: five-spoke (18-inch)
Tires: sticky

1965 Cadillac * Joe Spilski Jr. * Greenville, WI
Details are kind of sketchy in Joe Spilski's letter, but apparently something turned him on to this odd barn find he picked up 14 years ago for $900. "I liked the way the body was modified," writes Joe in reference to the funeral flower-car styling of the Cadillac-cum-El Camino. Another tantalizing piece of information passed along by the previous owner: the owner before him alleges the Caddy was owned by none other than Evel Knievel. Over the years, Joe has pushed it out of the garage in warmer months to work on, then storing it once winter arrives. Recently, he finished a big piece of the puzzle by securing the services of Performance Engineering, which built a total frame, rollcage, and narrowed rear with a four-link. Says Joe: "There is still lots to be done!"

By The Numbers
Engine: 429ci Cadillac
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: Performance Engineering
Interior: sheetmetal aluminum
Exhaust: custom headers
Wheels: Centerline 15x15
Tires: Goodyear Eagle slicks (17x33x15)

1981 Pontiac Trans Am * Robert Jensen * Scotch Plains, NJ
"I have always dreamed of having my first car in a prestigious magazine like PHR, and planned someday to submit it, however, I figured that day was a long way off. Thus, I was thrilled to see your solicitation for reader projects, so here it goes!" Robert Jensen bought his '81 Special Edition Trans Am before he had ever heard of Smokey & The Bandit, and it was his daily driver until 1994. "The original 305 served me well for years, and when my parent's '77 Impala station wagon rusted away, it left behind a very low mileage 350 GM Goodwrench engine," writes Robert. While it's out, he plans to rebuild it, and endow it with an Edelbrock Performer RPM Power Package consisting of a roller cam, aluminum heads, and Air Gap intake manifold.

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci Vortec small-block
Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM Power Package
Transmission: Tremec five-speed
Ignition: MSD
Suspension: factory WS6
Interior: Corbeau seats
Wheels: Snowflake wheels from Year One (17x8)

1985 Chevy S-10 * Adam Moore * Buford, GA
After a run-in with an old Mercury back in May of 2000, Adam Moore decided to take the transmission and motor out of his wrecked '95 Camaro, and stick it in his S-10 truck. The swap is a common one, especially down south, and plenty of technical advice on the Internet gave Adam the leg up. In the nine years since Adam first performed the swap, he's refined his driveline, computer programming, and wiring harness. He's also installed gauges, a cowl hood, roll pan, custom driveshaft, a pile of suspension parts, new Camaro SS wheels, Mezier electric water pump, cold-air induction, Aeromotive fuel-pressure regulator, and disc brakes from a C5 Corvette. Finally, in the spring of 2008, Adam's C-10 made its road course debut with some paced "hot laps" at the Year One Experience!

By The Numbers
Engine: 1995 vintage 355ci LT1
Transmission: Tremec T-56 six-speed
Suspension: Hotchkis, SPC, ATS
Brakes: C5 Corvette discs
Rear: 8.5-inch GM 10-bolt
Wheels: ’02 Camaro SS
Interior: Autometer gauges

1966 Pontiac LeMans * Garry Tody * Lapeer, MI
"How I came to own this car is an interesting story--I bought it at a garage sale! I've had my eye on this car for a number of years, and saw that this car never seemed to move. When I saw the ad for the garage sale, I was there shortly before it started," writes Garry Tody. "He turned down my first offer of $2,000, but accepted an offer of $2,300." After putting in a new battery and pouring fresh gas down the carb, it roared to life. Garry says it still needs an interior and a trunk floor, but it otherwise runs great and is a ball to bang the gears in. "I'm getting old," says the 63-year-old grandfather, "but once a gearhead, always a geahead!" To that end, Garry frequents his local dragstrip, and has pulled down at best e.t. of 15.81/92.7 with the original 350ci two-barrel.

By The Numbers
Engine: Pontiac 350 two-barrel
Intake: Edelbrock Torker II
Ignition: Mallory dual-point
Exhaust: Summit headers, dual exhaust
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.08 gears
Best e.t.: 15.81/92.7

1955 Chevy Pickup * Chris Verbeke * Colona, IL
For Chris Verbeke, it all started when he saw the classic movie, American Graffiti. That's giving away his age, since he was 14 when it came out. "I've been hooked ever since! My first car was a '56 Chevy two-door sedan. Since then, I've owned several Novas, a '67 Chevelle, and a '50 Chevy truck." Chris was happy with all those, but his first love brought him back to the Tri-Five fold for his current affair. "I have always liked this body style, and searched a while for a rust-free project," writes Chris. He credits Southwick Machine & Design in Coal Valley, Illinois, for modifying the frame with a '78 Nova front clip. That simple mod opens up so many possibilities for engine, suspension, and brakes. A 4-inch drop rear suspension from TCI also gives the truck modern handling.

By The Numbers
Engine: 396ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400
Frame: ’78 Nova
Exhaust: Flowmaster Series 40
Steering: Ididit column
Rear: GM 12-bolt, 3.43 gears
Wheels: Cragar S/S
Planned color: HOC Tangelo Pearl

1968 Firebird * Bruce Hanson * Melbourne, FL
Back in 1978, Bruce Hanson picked this '68 Firebird up for $640--his best friend, Gary, pitching in the last $40 to reel this `Bird in. "Within a week, I had sanded off the paint, since I knew I was going to give it a new paintjob. Since that time, the car has been through numerous rebuilds of its 400 Pontiac motor. I drag raced the car for quite some time," writes Bruce. Then marriage, then a move, then a new house happened. The Pontiac sat covered until he started the current phase in 2005. "I saw an article about Chris Kerr's '68 Camaro [in Popular Hot Rodding], and I was hooked. Then I stumbled upon the Lateral-g and Pro Touring websites." The final piece of the puzzle happened when Bruce contacted artist Kris Horton to render his dream in lifelike form.

By The Numbers
Engine: 540ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
Suspension: Martz, DSE, Afco, Koni, Flaming River
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: Currie 9-inch Ford
Wheels: Budnik Tiller (17x8 & 17x13)
Tires: Michelin 245/45R17 & 335/35R17

1973 Corvette * Wes Jeans * Marshall, TX
"I have been into cars as far back as I can remember," says Wes Jeans. "My dad said the only way he could get me to sleep as a baby was to ride me around in his '68 Camaro SS, and play Jimi Hendrix. Go figure!" Ever since then, Wes has been rocking out, and working on cars. When he's not touring, or recording in the studio (you can check out his latest album, "Forest of the Pine," at myspace.com/wesjeans), Wes likes to work on his '73 Corvette. Currently, Wes is building a 406ci small-block with Scat crank and rods, Speed Pro pistons, Dart 200cc heads, Holley Avenger street carb, and an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake. Wes is shooting for a Baldwin Motion Stage III look, but with modern 18-inch wheels and tires. Rock on Wes!

By The Numbers
Engine: 406ci small-block
Exhaust: Hooker side pipes
Power adder: 150hp shot of NOS
Body mods: L88 fender flares, L88 hood, Motion graphics
Other cars: Vortech supercharged 2003 Z06
Wheels: 18x10 & 18x12
Tires: 275/35R18 & 335/30R18

1966 Pontiac Tempest * Norb Neighbors * Bensenville, IL
Growing up in a car family, Norb Neighbors didn't waste any time after high school; he built a bright yellow '57 Chevy that was inspired by PHR's Project X. "I started working at the Chicago Transit Authority right after high school in the maintenance department," writes Norb. "I learned even more fabrication skills there." After several promotions, Norb decided to buy a house, and made the tough decision to sell the '57 for the down payment. Now at 48, Norb has retired from the CTA, and is getting back into the game. It turns out that the '66 Tempest Norb subsequently found was the same one he'd seen in high-school. "The years were a little rough on the car, but I had to have it anyway. I felt like I was 16 again." Body and paint work followed, and is in progress now.

By The Numbers
Engine: 410ci big-block Chevy
Intake: Weiand
Carburetion: Holley 780-cfm
Ignition: MSD
Exhaust: Hooker headers
Transmission: Turbo 400
Rear: GM 12-bolt, 3.23 gears

1968 Mustang * Mark Panther * Schaumburg, IL
"One day, a tourist in a rental car decided he would go the wrong way, and the best course of action was an immediate righthand turn from the left lane," writes Mark Panther. "I swerved to avoid him, and jumped the curb and high-sided a fire hydrant. It didn't shoot water like the movies, but it did total my '68 Mustang. Luckily, the rollcage kept it from being worse." Mark finally found a replacement--another '68 California Special Mustang, and three years later (and with salvaged parts from the first Mustang), it's nearing completion. As for what's going to be under the hood, Mark writes: "I can't really give up much information on the drivetrain, because I don't want my competition to get an edge on me."

By The Numbers
Engine: “won’t say!”
Previous engine: big-block with Hilborne injection
Transmission: Ford C-6 w/trans brake
Other driveline: 35-spline axles, spool
Rear: Ford 9-inch
Wheels: Centerline Convo-Pro
Favorite movie: Two-Lane Blacktop

1974 El Camino * Michael Moore * Clarence Center, NY
"I have always been interested in muscle cars, mostly because I have grown up working on, and watching my dad restore a '69 Chevelle SS," writes Michael Moore. [No, not that Michael Moore!] One day after school last September, my dad asked me if I liked a car that was across the street from our fire station. I asked, `why?' and he said `because there might be one showing up in the driveway tonight." Sure enough, a black '74 El Camino SS pulled into Michael's driveway, and it was his. Michael and his dad have spent the last seven months stripping, grinding, cutting, and welding the El Camino to the best of their ability. With the floor pans just finished, Michael says he's ready to take on the quarter panels.

By The Numbers
Engine: 454ci big-block
Trivia: lives 15 miles from Tonawanda
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: stock
Rear: GM 12-bolt
Future paint color: Silver

1972 Olds Cutlass * Frank Mares * Riverside, CA
"I bought this Cutlass from the original owner for $1,000," writes Frank Mares. "It was completely stock, and still had its original paint and interior. The Cutlass served duty as the family vehicle for a few years and then became my daily driver. I have been driving it ever since to the tune of over 350,000 miles." Frank's future plans for the Cutlass include installing a W-30 ram air hood, sport springs and sway bar, wider stock-appearing rally wheels, a new interior, and a 403ci Olds motor (which Frank can use all his existing brackets and pulleys with). Paint and body work is also in the mix. "I am sort of an A-body junkie, and have owned quite a few of them. I like the Olds because it is so different, and you don't see many at shows or events."

By The Numbers
Engine: Olds 403 planned
Transmission: stock w/custom trans cooler
Exhaust: Flowmaster
Wheels: 15x8 & 15x10 Olds Rally (planned)
Website: franksclassiccargarage.blogspot.com
Previous car: '71 Olds Cutlass “S” sport coupe

1974 Corvette * James Wiscarson * Tracy, CA
"In 2005, the man that I thought was invincible and would never leave us passed away from a heart attack in his sleep," writes James Wiscarson. "Mom said Dad wanted me to have the Corvette. The day I put it on the trailer and took it home, my wife notified me that is was 17 years to the day that we drove it from our wedding." Since the '74 Corvette had been sitting under a cover for 15 years, James decided he was going all out in memory of dad, bringing it to a level of quality that would make them both proud. "I stripped the car and removed the body myself. I repaired the cracks and added gussets. I was going to powdercoat, but decided that POR-15 was an amazing product and would allow me to do it all." Next up is a four-bolt 383ci small-block with AFR heads.

By The Numbers
Engine: 383ci small-block planned
Cylinder heads: AFR 210cc
Power adder: "Maybe nitrous. Not sure yet."
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: Global West, BPR
Wheels: Wheel Vintiques planned
Tires: BFGoodrich

1957 Chevrolet * Mark Heller * Lanark, IL
A welder and fabricator by trade for the last six years, Mark Heller is certainly prepared to take on pretty much whatever a 52-year-old classic can dish out in the way of mechanical gremlins. After a year of seeing it on the side of the road, Mark finally paid the seller a visit, and the adventure began. "All of the work to the car is being done by me in my shop," writes Mark. "The car hasn't seen the street for the last three years because of a rear axle explosion from too many burnouts." Mark planned to take it off the road just long enough to fix the grenaded rear, but things began to snowball from there. The battery is being moved, the wiring will be hidden, and there's a custom firewall block off, and new, custom-bent lines for the fuel and brakes.

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Suspension: Energy Suspension
Brakes: SSBC
Wiring: Painless Direct-Fit
Wheels: Cragar S/S
Tires: BFG 215/70R15

1967 Pontiac LeMans * Colin Anderson * St. Louis, MO
"The prospect of having a picture of my car make it into a magazine fills me with a childish glee," writes 24-year-old Colin Anderson. A student going to paramedic school who is also holding down a full-time job, Colin says it's hard to find time to work on his project, which is his first. "I bought the car in high school, wanting an old cruiser." The motor, which was supposed to be a 400, turned out to be a 350, and as luck would have it, Colin found a 428 for sale in the paper the next day. "This led to the snowball. Soon, everything was replaced." Down the road, Colin plans for some bodywork and some paint, then some serious suspension pieces, larger 17- or 18-inch wheels, and bigger brakes. "I think I may have been hit by the g-Machine bug!"

By The Numbers
Engine: 433ci Pontiac
Heads: ported 6X-4
Induction: Performer RPM, 750-cfm Speed Demon
Transmission: Turbo 400
Rear: GM 10-bolt w/3.55 gears
Wheels: Cragar Street Star (15x7 & 15x8)
Tires: BFG 225/60R15

1971 Chevy Nova * Joe Hansel * Batavia, OH
"I wanted to share this experience with my dad, as we are both car enthusiasts and this would give us something to do together that we both love," writes Joe Hansel. The search for a '68-72 Nova lead them to a '70 model that Joe located via eBay in Shelbyville, Indiana. "The car was exactly what we were looking for. Once you make the purchase, though, knowing where to begin can be overwhelming. It was like a scavenger hunt looking for the right parts and getting everything in order to begin the restoration." Joe has never done a restoration before, but has tackled most of the work himself under the supervision of dad, and Joe Wolf, a close friend who also did the finish paintwork. Much has still to be determined for the Hansel's Nova, such as the specifics of the engine and trans.

By The Numbers
Engine: small-block Chevy (planned)
Transmission: Turbo 350 (planned)
Suspension: stock, restored
Interior: restored to stock by owner
Rear: GM 10-bolt with 3.73 gears
Wheels: Cragar 61 Series (14x6 & 14x8)
Tires: BFGoodrich

1957 Dodge D100 * Jim Spencer * Smithfield, RI
"I always like non-mainstream vehicles. I like the challenge of fabrication, hunting for stuff, and lying in bed at night trying to figure out solutions," writes Jim Spencer, an IT expert who hails from Smithfield, Rhode Island. Jim figures he's got about five years left to go on his '57 Dodge D100 pickup, and still needs to tackle the glass, gauges, wiring, door handles/latches, rollbar, and seats. Jim has completed all the work to date by himself, including the rear suspension, which was originally for a '55 Chevy, but that he adapted to fit. ("It's a Dodge, I've got no choice!") Jim also fabbed the crossmembers, dropped it 5 inches, installed floor pans from a LeMans, built a flip-top hood, and fabricated a bank of switches above the windshield for fans, lights, and engine start.

By The Numbers
Engine: Chevy 350 small-block
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: modified four-link rear
Induction: Edelbrock intake & carb
Rear: GM 12-bolt from '72 GTO
Wheels: Centerline, 15x6 & 15x10
Tires: Mickey Thompson, 16x8.5 & 29x12.5

1963 Dart * Mike and Cheryl Toupin * Fall River, MA
This is another story that starts out with the Internet. Mike Toupin found this car online, and drove from Arizona to Michigan to pick it up. Mike says: "I have to admit, this was not my first choice for a street machine project. I originally wanted a '64 Falcon, but all the ones I found were already done, or too far gone. I expanded my search to include Valiants, Darts, Comets, and early Skylarks. I didn't want just another Mustang or Camaro, and I didn't get one." Once he got it home, he let his imagination fill with thoughts of 5.7L late-model Hemis and big fat tires. Mike is still deciding the color, but it's looking like green.

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.7L Hemi
Transmission: 4L65E AOD
Suspension: Alterkation K-member with coilovers and rack-and-pinion
Brakes: 12-inch Wilwood discs
Rear: Ford 9-inch with 3.50 gears and a True-Trac posi
Wheels: Billet Specialties (17- and 18-inch)
Tires: BFG KDW 205/50R17, 285/40R18

1973 Nova * Ben Meissner * Eagle Mountain, UT
While at the Brigham Young University studying industrial and transportation design, Ben Meissner picked up several projects, one being this '73 Nova. He felt like he got a good deal on it, but upon further investigation, he realized there was a lot of hidden damage. "Under the cheap seat covers were seats with most of the foam exposed, plastic floor mats covered with quarter-inch deep sand, fresh electrical tape hid broken and rotting wiring, and the subframe was bent. Ben complained. It was too late to turn back now, and the parts started going on the car. When it's done, Ben would like to see it with era-correct styling and modern performance.

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: 1-inch lowering springs, sway bars
Brakes: 12-inch late-model Camaro discs
Rear: ’79 Camaro 10-bolt with 3.36 gears and posi
Wheels: American Racing Torq-Thrust
Tires: 245/50R16 Z-rated

1964 Impala * Bill Duke * Jefferson City, MO
Though Bill Duke doesn't claim to be a professional car restorer, he's been through a good number cars. The car that started it all was a '70 Nova he got when he was 15. It had several layers of paint on it, some of those layers even brushed on. Fixing up that car helped Bill get ready to tackle his newest project. Bill bought this '64 Impala SS at an auction. It has all the original goodies and shiny paint, but needs some major adjustments. He and his brothers like to work on these cars together, and currently they have half a dozen in progress.

By The Numbers
Engine: 327ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Brakes: SSBC discs
Interior: factory tach option
Options: power everything
Body: all-original with Cherry Red paint
Wheels: chrome Cragars (15-inch)

1963 Corvette * Roger Farris * Hazelwood, MO
Roger Farris bought this Corvette from his best friend's widow. This `Vette was facing life at the local pick-n-pull until Roger swooped in to save it. "The main reason I bought it was because I saw potential. I had some good ideas that will make the Corvette enthusiasts really hate me," Roger writes. In his eyes, he couldn't do anything worse to it than what its destiny was before he intervened. It took Roger 20 years to build it because he was going though a tough divorce, and raising his daughter by himself. His goal was to have it done by his 50th birthday and he's nearly there. He says it's well worth the 20-year wait.

By The Numbers
Engine: 355ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: Muncie four-speed
Suspension: 3-inch lowering springs
Brakes: SSBC disc
Rear: 8.2-inch GM 10-bolt with 3.07 gears
Wheels: Weld Flames (15-inch)
Tires: Firestone 205/60R15, 275/60R15

1968 Chevelle * Kevin Hudgins * Fort Gratiot, MI
Typically, one's first project car is relatively simple. Normally that means an engine swap and some sheetmetal work to get your feet wet in the restoration and customization world. Kevin Hudgins didn't approach his first project car that way. He wanted a radical corner carver that was unbreakable. He started by building a quarter-scale frame for torsion testing, to make sure he had it right. Talk about diving into the deep end first! The frame consists of 2-by-2-inch tubing that's TIG welded and gusseted at every joint. The original plan was to just push the engine back a little, and that made Kevin relocate the firewall, which meant the floor needed to be cut out, and so on.

By The Numbers
Engine: 408-inch small-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400
Suspension: C6 Corvette
Chassis: owner-built tubular frame
Brakes: 12-inch Corvette
Rear: Moser 9-inch with 4.11 gears and posi
Years owned: 17

1986 Chevy C-10 Pickup * Jeremy Barrett * Gretna, NE
After an accident had rendered his previous '80 C-10 totaled, Jeremy Barrett had to have another. Jeremy is in school studying mechanical engineering, and works in a facility that designs and tests turbochargers. He searched for a truck model he could transplant the wrecked truck's drivetrain into. Once he found the right truck, this '86 Chevy C-10, Jeremy knew he wanted to experiment with a turbo system of his own. "I can't tell you how exciting it was to see the needle on the boost gauge pass zero for the first time," Jeremy writes. He is jealous when he hears of people enjoying their project cars, and hopes his being published in PHR will help get him motivated again.

By The Numbers
Engine: 383-inch turbocharged small-block Chevy
Transmission: 4L80E
Suspension: Prothane bushings, traction bars
Brakes: Hydroboost with disc front
Rear: GM 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and True-Trac posi
Wheels: American Racing aluminum
Tires: BFG Radial T/A

1991 Firebird * Bill Thompsen * Punta Gorda, FL
Bill Thompsen Jr. is submitting this car in our reader projects issue for his father. Bill writes: "He's a quiet, modest man, with an abundance of talent. He would never send in photos of his project to the magazine for himself, so I had to step in." Bill's dad has helped him build many cars over 35 years. He was trained in the art of bodywork early in his teen years. At the time he just saw it as work, and has learned to appreciate his father's help in his smarter years. Bill Jr. found this '91 Firebird in 100 percent stock condition, a rare find. It's a 305 TPI small-block car with no T-tops; this was exactly what Bill Jr. wanted. The original Maui Blue paint was rough, so father and son plan to re-shoot it in the backyard.

By The Numbers
Engine: 305 TPI small-block Chevy
Transmission: 700-R4
Suspension: WS6 (front and rear)
Interior: original A/C, new weather stripping
Body: repaint Maui Blue
Wheels: restored WS6
Original Miles: 157,000

1950 Chevy Sedan * Paul Williams * Gillette, WY
This two-door sedan was originally ordered by Paul Williams' parents in 1949. It lived with them in southwest Iowa until Paul got his hands on it in 2000. It was being stored in his parents' garage, which was falling down around it. Paul sold his '70 Chevelle to make room for the relic, and planned the build to be the muscle car of 1950. He gave it a brutal 468-inch big-block Chevy that earned this rod 12-second passes at the dragstrip in Douglas, Wyoming, which has a higher elevation than Denver. While it's still being built, the old Chevy wears hot rod satin black paint, but is going to be painted the same color as Paul's old Chevelle: Cranberry Red.

By The Numbers
Engine: 468ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Borg Warner T10
Suspension: '78 Nova stub (front and rear)
Brakes: '78 Nova
Rear: 8.5-inch GM 10-bolt with 3.42 gears and posi
Wheels: Crager chrome (15-inch)
Performance: high 11-second (corrected e.t.)

1972 Chevelle * Mike Boland * Erie, PA
It's funny how a base model, with no special options, can be such a great find. Mike Boland snagged this 307-powered, AM-only radio equipped, 55,000-mile '72 Chevelle just two years ago. The car was totally unmolested, but that would change. Mike stripped it all down to bare metal, the way it always should be done, and painted it in DuPont Cranberry Red. Mike threw all the best parts at it, like a big-block Chevy motor and a Moser rearend. Judging by the current pictures, it looks as though it's about ready to hit the road. Mike says his kids are old enough now to appreciate the ride.

By The Numbers
Engine: 454ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: TH400 with manual valve body
Brakes: Wilwood four-wheel discs
Rear: Moser 12-bolt with 3.42 gears and Eaton posi
Body: DuPont Cranberry Red
Wheels: American Racing Torq-Thrust D
Tires: 235/60R16 and 295/50R16

1969 Camaro * Matt Butts * Columbus, IN
What comes first, the engine or the car? In this case, it was the engine. While Matt Butts was studying at the University of Michigan for his masters in mechanical engineering, he had an urge to build a small-block Chevy after a school project had him running down the dragstrip in an ethanol-powered Silverado. Once the engine was complete, he set out to find a car to put it in. Matt loved first-gen Camaros, and found one that was lacking the drivetrain. He worked on it clumsily in his student years, made some mistakes, then decided to let the project wait for him to mature a bit. Now the wiser, Matt dove back in. He hopes to have it move under its own power soon.

By The Numbers
Engine: LQ4 6.0L GM truck motor
Transmission: Borg Warner T-56
Suspension: BMR upper and lower arms (front) Chris Alston G-Bar (rear)
Brakes: Kore3 C5/C6 big brake kit
Rear: GM 12-bolt
Inspiration: school
Tires: drag radials

1955 Bel Air * Steven and Eileen Jones * Newburgh, NY
The year 1955 was a very important year to us, because it was the birth year of the small-block Chevy. Although the puny 265 V-8 didn't even come with an oil filter, they were put into '55 full-size cars like the one Steven Jones's dad had when growing up. Times have changed, and Steven is all grown up and wanted to get a '55 of his own. This one was a bare shell with no interior, wiring, engine, or transmission; it barely rolled. Collecting parts has been a five-year process, since when he had the money he didn't have the time, and vice versa. Steven has now found some time, and got the body prepped for PPG custom red paint.

By The Numbers
Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy
Transmission: five-speed manual
Suspension: all rebuilt
Brakes: Right Stuff power disc brakes
Body: PPG Red
Wheels: Chrome ralleys with spinners
Tires: BFG

1973 Hurst Olds 442 * Keith Scott * Fernley, NV
After unsuccessfully searching for a '69 GTO, Keith Scott ran across one of 1,097 '73 Hurst Olds 442s. "I had about $15,000 to spend when I found it," says Keith, "I got it from the original owner [for $3,500] with 126,000 miles on it, and about a month later, the engine blew up." The 455 Olds crank was toast, so another one went in, then it too broke. After the third crankshaft broke, Keith swore off the 455, and picked up a GMPP ZZ4 crate motor. Since them, it's been smooth sailing. "I put the original matching-number's engine in my garage in case I ever sell it to someone who wants the original." Keith is also fixing the bodywork gradually; some rust repair in the roof has turned into a major repair to the rear window channel, and more work is expected.

By The Numbers
Engine: GMPP ZZ4 350ci
Induction: L98 aluminum heads, Holley Street Avenger carb
Transmission: B&M Turbo 400
Suspension: KYB shocks
Rear: GM 10-bolt, 4.10 gears
Wheels: ARE Outlaw II, 15x7
Tires: Riken 215/75R15

1959 Chevy Pickup * Donny Dill * Coweta, OK
This was gramps' pickup that he drove every day till he passed in 1978. It sat in the spot he last parked it for nearly 25 years before Donny Dill's grandmother gave it to him. It sat at his garage until earlier this year, when she passed on. Before that day, Donny did get quite a bit of work done to it. It's now more '94 Camaro than '59 pickup. Donny replaced the straight-six with the LT1 and its attached 4L60E trans. He was even able to use the driveshaft and rear end from the donor Camaro. The entire suspension has been overhauled with CPP's four-link rear and TCI's Mustang II IFS. He's kept the factory steering wheel to remember where the truck came from.

By The Numbers
Engine: ’94 Camaro LT1
Transmission: 4L60E
Suspension: TCI Mustang II (front), CPP 4-link (rear)
Brakes: ’94 Camaro discs
Rear: ’94 Camaro (narrowed)
Wheels: Corvette ralleys (15-inch)
Tires: BFG Radial T/A 245/60R15 & 275/60R15

1969 Torino * Jeremy Wilson * Toronto, Canada
Not nearly as many muscle cars made it to Canada as they did here, so it's extra special to see them. The '69 Torino that Jeremy Wilson bought was a Detroit native, and was driven there for almost 40 years. The previous owner did a handful of modifications in the '70s, but hadn't touched it since. When Jeremy got it, he immediately started working on the body, and what he is calling general clean up. He plans to freshen up the motor with a nice new Edelbrock carb, intake, and headers, and maybe even some aftermarket cylinder heads.

By The Numbers
Engine: 351ci Windsor
Transmission: automatic
Suspension: new power steering upgrade
Brakes: disc from Crown Vic
Rear: Ford 9-inch with 3.00 gears
Interior: original AM/FM and eight-track player
Wheels: slot mags

1972 Duster * Benjamin Kardon * Sharps Chapel, TN
There is no doubt Benjamin Kardon is a die-hard Duster fan. He writes: "I noticed that Dusters never get the respect that they deserve. People always think of them as a `starter' car or a `grandma' car. So I decided that I was going to build a Duster that no one could ignore!" This ambitious guy is doing a full-on NASCAR theme, with big fat tires on steel wheels, light-weight glass, and a sparse, business-only interior. Benjamin has drawn the car exactly how he wants it to look; he plans to bring the car with him to work on while at studying at WyoTech.

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.7L Hemi
Transmission: five-speed manual
Suspension: full race tubular control arms (front) and four-link (rear)
Brakes: the biggest he can fit
Rear: 8.75-inch with posi
Wheels: Aero stamped steel (15-inch)
Tires: Goodyear

1982 Camaro * Todd Schonfeldt * Marshfield, WI
Kids get into trouble, we look the other way, and move on. But when your 13-year old son brings home a '82 Camaro that had been sitting in a neighbor's garage to rot, it may be harder to ignore. At 13 years old, Todd Schonfeldt bought a dirt bike, which took him all over town. He was showing off his new ride to a family friend, who mentioned he had a Camaro he bought at an auction (since the car was involved in a high-speed chase and drug bust). Todd loved it, and traded his dirt bike for it on the spot. Since then, he's cleaned it up quite a bit. The interior needed extra attention because it had been tossed up in the search process.

By The Numbers
Engine: LG4 305ci small-block, Edelbrock carb
Transmission: TH350, Hurst shifter
Exhaust: dual Flowmaster mufflers with cat delete
Interior: Kenwood deck, upgraded speakers
Wheels: slotted aluminum
Tires: Goodyear Eagle GTII
Original mileage: 152,000

1968 Camaro * Tom Tieman * Glendale, AZ
It started when the new Pontiac Solstice came out. Instead of buying one of those, Tom Tieman's son, Josh, said that for about the same amount of money, they could put together their parts-car Camaro, and make it nice, which in the end, would make it worth more. The donor Camaro was left over after it had been purchased for its engine--which had gone into Josh's Corvette. "The body was rusty in places, and we weren't sure what was beneath the paint," writes Tom. The project soon ballooned as parts and tools began sprawling all over the small garage. "As things began to roll, the plans enlarged a bit. After all, going to six-piston calipers all around isn't that much more than four-piston." Tom credits Grandpa Ike and Jeff Schwartz for helping with things big and small.

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.2L LS3
Transmission: Tremec T-56
Suspension: Schwartz Extreme Performance
Brakes: Wilwood
Rear: Winters 9-inch Ford, 3.73 gears
Wheels: Z06 Motorsports
Tires: Nitto 275/40R18, 345/30P19

Picture Perfect Award Winner

1972 Chevelle * Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer * Schaumburg, IL
Our '72 Chevelle cover car belongs to Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer. "It's the very first car I ever owned," writes Jim. "My dad bought it brand new on my 8th birthday. I even took my driver's license test in this car." Wow, how's that for provenance? Jim's dad took impeccable care of the Chevelle, and taught Jim to do the same, but back in 1983, Jim didn't understand defensive driving. "I wiped out the front end when someone pulled out in front of me. It was probably the best thing that could've happened. It was a great way to learn how to work on cars!" Jim painted the '72 right in his garage. He even cut out the stock firewall and built a new one. "This is the biggest metalwork project I've ever taken on." Keep an eye peeled--we'll be running a story when Jim gets it finished.

By The Numbers
Engine: 502ci big-block Chevy
Transmission: Turbo 400 w/trans brake
Suspension: Air Ride, PST
Brakes: Baer
Rear: Currie Ford 9-inch, 3.55 gears
Wheels: Billet Specialties SLX45 (18x8 & 18x10)
Tires: Nitto 205/45R18, 305/45R18

Mothers Picture Perfect Award
This month, in place of our normal "Hometown Hot Rodding" section, we're running our "Reader Projects Contest." In place of awarding our Mothers Picture Perfect Award to the Hometown Hot Rodding photo winner, we're bestowing that honor to the cover winner of the Reader Projects issue. This month, that goes to Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer. Congrats Jim! You'll have some fine products to maintain your homegrown paintjob. Next month, we'll resume giving the winner of "Hometown Hot Rodding" an assortment of Mothers products to keep his or her ride looking nice. Mail us a photograph or, if you're a modern guy, email us a digital image. Remember that digital images need to be 300 dpi, and the bigger the image, the larger it can run. Also, be sure to include info on the car, along with your name and address.