1969 Chevy Chevelle
Rich Kinane, Islip Terrace, NY
Best E.T.: 11.34/120
Rich Kinane was actually out looking for a '70 Chevelle when his brother-in-law informed him that a friend of his was selling his '69. Ordinarily, Rich probably would have passed, but he actually knew this car, though he hadn't seen it since the '80s, and had assumed it didn't exist anymore. What had actually happened is that the owner built a serious 14:1 compression 468ci big-block and done a little racing with it, but lost interest after a while, and parked it in storage.

When Rich laid eyes on it again the cheap paint was showing plenty of wear. Nevertheless, the body was still solid and the $14K price, which included lots of parts and the original engine, was fair, so Rich settled for a '69.

The 468 was much too radical for the street, so Rich used his connections as a tool dealer to find a trustworthy engine shop that would do some horse-trading with him. JM Performance agreed to build a street-ready 496ci big-block in exchange for the 468, the original Turbo 400, and roughly $1,500 worth of tools. Another customer, Ritchie "Hemi" Jones, gave him a deal on paint and bodywork, although after going through enough headaches over the next 20 months to nickname the Chevelle "Christine," he probably wishes he would have passed. It was all worth it though; the final finish is so flawless even other body shop owners ask who did the work.

Nowadays, Rich says the finished Chevelle continually strikes awe in him, and a twist of the key makes him feel like he's 18 again. His favorite thing to do, however, is to toss the keys to his daughters, Katie (20) and Kelli (18), when they're out at the track or cruise night together, and watch the stunned faces of guys as they drive it around.

Rich Kinane, 51 • Islip Terrace, NY
Total cost to build: $30,500
Type: Chevy 496 big-block
Block: stock GM
Oiling: B&B deep pan
Rotating assembly: Eagle forged crankshaft and rods,
11.25:1 SRP pistons with JE Plasma Moly rings
Cylinder heads: Pro Topline 360cc with Ferrea valves
Camshaft: COMP Cams .660/.666-inch lift; 254/260 duration, solid roller
Valvetrain: COMP Cams rockers, springs, and pushrods
Induction: Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake manifold, Holley 750 HP carb
Ignition: MSD 6A box, distributor, and coil
Exhaust: Hooker headers, custom exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers
Cooling: aluminum water pump; and dual electric fans
Output: 590 hp at 5,900 rpm and 603 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm
Built by: JM Performance
Transmission: GM Turbo 400 with transbrake and TransGo cooler,
B&M 3,000-stall converter;
Hurst Quarter Stick shifter
Rear axle: GM 12-Bolt, 3.90:1 gears, Detroit Tru-Trac differential
Front suspension: six-cylinder Chevelle springs Koni 90/10 drag shocks
Rear suspension: stock springs with airbag;
Edelbrock adjustable upper control arms
and Jegs tubular lower control arms
Brakes: stock discs front, stock drums, rear
Wheels: Wheel Vintiques Rallye 15x7, front; 15x8, rear
Tires: 235/70R15 Cooper Cobra, front;
295/60R15 M&H Drag Radials, rear

'68 Chevy Chevelle: $14,000
Paint and body: $7,500
Sheetmetal: $3,000
Interior: $2,000
Trim, moldings, emblems: $2,500
Wheels and tires: $1,500
Total: $30,500