'69 Chevelle SS396
Stephen Story • Comstock Park, MI
Every classic car has a story; this one certainly does, a Stephen Story to be exact. Bad pun, we know, we just couldn't resist. Stephen traded an '80 Camaro straight across for this '68 Chevelle in 2009, as muscle car values were crashing and neither he nor the Chevelle's owner were having any luck selling their cars. Not bad, in our opinion. The Chevelle only had 92K on it, owing to the fact that the original owner drove it 90K before deciding to drag race it with a built 396-then was sent to prison due to alleged mob connections. The second owner only added a couple thousand miles over the next 20 years, which left little for Stephen to repair. Other than detailing, he swapped in disc brakes, replaced the twin carbs with a single 750 Holley, and put 3.07 cogs in place of the 4.10s. The purported horsepower passed from the original owner is 525, but Stephen has no plans to test it at the track.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Stephen Story; Comstock Park, MI
Camera: Nikon Coolpix
Engine: 396 ci with Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap intake and 750 Holley double-pumper
Trans: T-10 four-speed
Rearend: 12-bolt with posi and 3.07 gears
Suspension: stock up front, ladder bars in the rear
Brakes: factory power disc and drums
Wheels: Centerline
Great quote: "After rebuilding five personal vehicles and three classics, this Chevelle is probably the last. At 62 years of age, the wrenching is now harder on me than the vehicles."

'67 Camaro
Jim Nilsen • Rockford, IL
It's called the Cormaro because Jim Nilsen always wanted a first-gen Camaro that could handle like a newer Corvette, and to meet that goal he purchased an entire Z51 suspension out of an '85 Corvette way back in 1993. Might sound commonplace now, but that was really original thinking back then, and Jim had to figure out the installation himself in his one-car garage. In the process, he also welded the frame into the body to make it substantially more rigid, along with a 10-point 'cage. It's been a long time in the making, but Jim finally got to debut the Cormaro at the 2010 Motorstate Challenge. More track days are definitely to come since Jim has 19 years of building to make up for. So far, the Cormaro has been to Gingerman Raceway, Road America, and Blackhawk Farms.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Jim Nilsen; Rockford, IL
Camera: Canon Rebel TLi EOS 500D
Engine: 355ci with Engine Pro angle-plug iron heads, COMP XFI 280 cam, ACCEL Gen 7 EFI with wideband O2 sensor
Trans: Richmond six-speed
Rearend: '85 Corvette with 3.07 gears
Suspension: '85 Corvette Z51 front and rear with five-way adjustable shocks
Brakes: '85 Corvette discs
Wheels: '87 Corvette
Great quote: "In 2008 I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, and almost never finished the car. By 2009 I beat the cancer and continued the work."

Finalist
'71 Chevelle
Ryan Rosenow • Menomonee Falls, WI
Call it a midlife crisis, but when Ryan Rosenow spotted the Silver Pine Metallic '71 Chevelle with black SS stripes and black vinyl roof sitting in an old barn, he just had to have it. His wife wasn't on the bandwagon to begin with, so Ryan promised that he'd keep the resto slow and reasonably inexpensive. With only 49,000 miles on a clean body, Ryan has chosen to keep the Chevelle stock-appearing with mild upgrades, such as quicker-ratio steering, 3.73 gears, and Hedman headers with a Pypes exhaust. As a police detective lieutenant, Ryan says the Chevelle has been a lifesaver in distressing times, and has given him a good way to bond with his kids who love to go for a cruise or get ice cream. Even his wife has come around to a point, and takes it for a spin occasionally.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Ryan Rosenow; Menomonee Falls, WI
Camera: Sony DSC-19
Engine: 350ci, Edelbrock intake with 650 Edelbrock carb
Trans: TH350
Rearend: 10-bolt with posi and 3.73 gears
Suspension: factory stock
Brakes: drums all around
Wheels: stock SS wheels
Great Quote: "My kids love the attention it brings, and I can't lie, so do I."

'63 Bel Air
John Meeks • Fairview, OR
After scoring three GM 4.3L engines at an auction cheaply, and reselling them for a profit, John Meeks suddenly had cash burning a hole in his pocket and went looking for the new home for his favorite 350 that he'd been saving. A rusty '63 Chevy tucked away in a barn and piled with parts came up for sale for less than his engine profit and John scooped it up. The deal he made with his wife was that none of the family income would be used for the car, so only bonuses and extra cash were allocated. That's the mother of innovation, and John became a bodyman and metal shaper, making his own patch panels. He became a junkyard scrounger, getting crafty and fixing parts instead of replacing them, and even made his own new wiring harness wire by wire. Our favorite bit of resourcefulness has to be the turn signal switch that was repaired with a castoff spring from a patio door roller.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: John Forton; Beaverton, OR
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Engine: 350ci, Edelbrock Performer intake and Edelbrock carb
Trans: 700-R4
Rearend: stock with 3.41 gears
Suspension: rebuilt stock with KYB shocks, '78 Nova steering box
Brakes: rebuilt stock drums
Wheels: American Racing Torq-Thrust II
Great quote: "Just one tip about power steering swaps: Make sure the box is attached solidly to the frame. If not, high-speed cornering becomes very ... interesting."