Pure Vision
It may be hard to believe when you contemplate creations, such as the 515GTB Charger, the Z/28 Nova, and the always-impressive Hammer Road Runner, but Steve Strope likes a simple muscle car. No matter the envisioned final appearance of the car or the amount of custom fabrication involved, his goal is always to integrate or hide much of the detail work, so that goes unnoticed. Purpose and simplicity are the keys, and as Steve puts it, "in the end, it still needs to look and feel like a real muscle car, because that's what people connect to."

Take the current '69 Mustang SportsRoof project going together for Anvil Auto for example. It'll host an extensive list of modifications and complete reinvention of the chassis to accommodate a remote-mounted coilover JME SLA-style front suspension with Flaming River electric steering and Maier Racing's innovative torque arm rear suspension, and, of course, Anvil's own carbon-fiber body panels. While it's obviously a high-end build that will get the typical Pure Vision details, such as sizing and tailoring the cockpit to the owner, the end result still needs to feel like sliding behind the wheel of '69 Mach 1 rather than a street rod.

Along that same notion, Steve feels there is a distinct move in the hobby away from overly modified, overly showy cars. "And I'm happy to report that people are moving away from the out of proportion, oversized wheels. Twenty-something inch wheels are going away for the most part," he says. We're glad to hear that as well, since performance is our focus, and from that perspective bigger is definitely not always better.

But even more than that, perhaps due to the economic slump that has realigned many hot rodders' priorities of what they really want to spend their money on, Steve predicts a resurgence of "Day Two" style muscle cars, and what Steve likes to call "sweetheart cars."

Day Two-style revolves around simple, economical bolt-ons like those available in the '60s or '70s, paired with a hot OEM engine. Think 15-inch Cragars or Torq-Thrusts with white letter tires, slapper bars, Thrush glasspacks, and so on. You know those cars; they were the envy of every high school parking lot. Sweethearts are those mild near-stockers with an excellent blend of color choice, parts, and stance that make them timeless-they just couldn't be improved. By definition, neither is at the bleeding edge of style today, but they're also never uncool, and are always instantly accepted by anyone who digs cars. Building one also means you end up with a cool muscle car with a modest investment.

For his part, Steve truly enjoys the innovative builds that challenge him to integrate the latest technology into vintage steel, but he'd love to put together more Day Two cars for customers, since it would allow him to create cars like the ones that originally inspired him. It all goes back to the '68 Road Runner that first turned on his love for muscle cars, and has been an underlying reflection in nearly every car he's built. Of course to really do it right and get that "second day on the street" feel requires a pristine survivor, or at least a mild restoration, but for any interested party, Steve already has a perfect stocker sitting at the ready.

Pure Vision