'79 Caprice
Chuck Johnson • Aledo, IL
Here's something you don't see everyday, a superclean, tastefully built Caprice. And it's a two-door to boot! This sano '79 is actually Chuck's second such Caprice; the first, a '77 coupe that he and his father built when he was 15, was lost in a fire 18 years later. Though he's still not over the loss of his first love, to cope Chuck bought this 49,000-original-mile Caprice to ease the pain. His '77 had a 454ci transplant, so the '79 had to have that same big-block sound and fury. This time around, Chuck went bigger with a 496ci stoker topped with Edelbrock heads and Performer RPM Air-Gap intake, 850 Holley, and lumpy Lunati roller cam. He hasn't been back to the track with this Caprice, but the 454 in his '77 was good for consistent 12.40s, so we'd guess the '79 is packing at least that much heat. The engine break-in came via logging a few stops on HOT ROD magazine's Power Tour.

Photographer: Donna Franks; Aledo, IL
Camera: Canon 40D
Engine: 496ci with Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, Air-Gap intake, 850 Holley, and Lunati roller cam
Trans: 700-R4
Rearend: 10-bolt with 4.10 gears and posi
Suspension: factory with 2-inch drop spindles up front
Brakes: factory discs and drums
Wheels: 17x7 and 18x8 Coy's C5
Great quote: "Big car, big-block, open highway, what a blast!"

Mothers Picture Perfect Award
Every month we slide a big 'ol case of Mothers goodies to the Hometown Hot Rodding entrant with the best photo, and for our annual photo contest, the honor goes to the runner-up. This year, photographer Donna Franks takes the prize for her sharp shots of Chuck Johnson's '79 Caprice. Sharing the glory is mandatory, but the photo bug gets the swag, and sharing that is discretionary. Better buy her dinner or something Chuck!

'70 Mustang SportsRoof
Dave Osborn
Kalamazoo, MI
In 1970, a generous father decided his little girl was right when she claimed she "had to have a new Mustang," and bought her a brand-new SportsRoof. Unlike so many cars that didn't make it through the high school and college days, this one survived 100K miles before being parked. Twenty years later, her son decided to restore it along with his grandfather and another 35K was added to the odometer. All that happened before Dave placed a winning bid of $10,500 on eBay for the SportRoof, but he added his own large chunk of road time right away by flying to North Carolina with his girlfriend and driving the Mustang 750 miles back to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since then the Mustang has undergone a transformation to become a killer driver with tons of custom touches while staying under his investment goal of $20K. Here's to another 100K, Dave!

Photographer: Paul Kokalas; Kalamazoo, MI
Camera: Canon Rebel
Engine: stock 302ci with Edelbrock intake and four-barrel carb
Trans: four-speed Top Loader
Rearend: 8-inch with 3.73 gears
Suspension: stock front with cut springs, Boss 302 rear leafs
Brakes: Granada disc brake swap up front, stock drums in the rear
Custom touches: David completely redesigned the grille opening for a cleaner look and crafted a custom chin spoiler. The taillight panel is perforated steel, à la Ferrari.

'73 'Cuda
Tim Hutchinson Dundee, IA
As far back as he can remember Tim Hutchinson was fascinated with cars of all types. At 14, a Chevette was the genesis of his desire to build custom cars, and he mastered welding before moving onto a career in bodywork. After 15 years of working for others, he finally stepped out on his own this year with his own hot rod shop. Luckily he has the perfect calling card; his '73 'Cuda came to him as a rust bucket that a gent had gotten tired of storing. The paint and body resto took about six months of nights and weekends, and with a big-block transplant, it made a fun street car. Tim had a hankering for more, and the 'Cuda quickly began progressing into a very competitive drag car. To date, it runs 10s on the engine and 9s on the juice while still keeping street cruisability.

Photographer: Rebecca Hutchinson; Dundee; IA
Camera: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
Engine: solid-roller 383 stroked to 484ci, Edelbrock aluminum heads, Mopar Stage 1 intake with Holley Dominator
Trans: TH400 swap with a JW bellhousing, transbrake, and 5,500-stall converter
Rearend: Strange Engineering Dana 60 with 4.30 gears
Suspension: tubular control arms with Strange double-adjustable coilovers up front, Art Morrison ladder bar rear with Strange double-adjustable coilovers
Brakes: stock discs and drums
Great quote: When asked what his passion is, Tim says:
"I never get tired of working on it or just plain looking at it. If it's not at the track, it's likely in a car show or cruise night surrounded by family and friends just as proud of it as I am."

'70 Chevelle
Mark Garlewicz
Wheeling, IL
After selling his '69 AMC Rambler Scrambler, Mark Garlewicz quickly felt the need to fill the muscle car void in his life. Luckily he didn't have to wait long; while driving home from work one day he spotted a '70 Chevelle sitting in a driveway for sale, and knew he'd found his next car. The Chevelle was nearly perfect; Mark just swapped out the teeny 14x6 wheels for 15x7s, toned down the raucous exhaust, ditched the 4.10 gears for a set of 3.55s, and replaced some bushings in the front end. Now that's an easy weekend makeover! The sharp Chevelle now makes all the local cruises and has netted a few trophies

Photographer: John Mastalerz; Niles, IL
Camera: Canon 30D
Engine: 396ci with rectangle-port heads and a 750 Holley
Trans: Muncie M-22 rock crusher
Rearend: 12-bolt with posi and 3.55 gears
Suspension: upgraded to original GM F41 standards front and rear
Brakes: factory discs and drums
Wheels: 15x7 Wheel Vintiques 50 series
Custom touches: Mark wanted to keep the original Muncie shifter handle, but wanted better feel, so he upgraded the linkage to Hurst Competition Plus.