'69 Camaro
Andy Louie • Sacramento, CA
At 45, Andy Louie decided he needed something to keep his mind at peace. He's been a lifetime car nut, and drag raced his '69 Mustang SportsRoof, bolting on parts when his paper route budget would allow, so a new project was the answer. Intrigued by the Pro Touring revolution he saw in the pages of magazines like PHR, Andy decided to try a Camaro this time. To tackle some of the bodywork, he signed up for a welding and metalworking class at the local junior college. To keep it from becoming a 10-year project, he had a pro shop handle the big stuff and spray it. For now he's got the look, but someday when time permits, Andy wants to learn how to autocross it and get some big Baer brakes on it to prepare for track days.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Andy Louie; Sacramento, CA
Camera: Casio Exilim
Engine: GM ZZ4 350 ci with COMP Thumpr cam and Edlebrock Performer RPM Air-Gap intake
Trans: 700-R4
Rearend: 10-bolt with Auburn diff and 3.55 gears
Suspension: QA1 shocks with Energy Suspension bushings up front, Alston Chassisworks g-Bar rear with Varishocks
Brakes: stock discs and drums
Wheels: 18x8 and 18x10, Boze Boost
Great quote: "In my opinion, a car is a tool, and if it doesn't get used, it's of no use."

Finalist
'79 Malibu
Chad Chmura • Pomfret Center, CT
This Malibu was Chad Chmura's present for his middle-school graduation and he began working on it right away to have it ready for when he turned 16. With his dad serving as shop foreman, Chad learned a great deal about what it takes to build a car, and the entire project other than the interior came together in the garage. Chad also had the added benefit of attending a technical high school, which allowed him to create countless custom parts on the shop machines for little to no cost, including engine accessory brackets, trailing arms, coil mounts, carb spacer, and much more. All that hard work showed too; Chad graduated valedictorian of his class and earned a full scholarship to the University of Connecticut in the mechanical engineering program. How's that for justification for keeping tech programs accessible to students? Next on the agenda is a 496 big-block to replace the race gas-swilling 402, so Chad can drive it to college occasionally.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Chad Chmura; Pomfret Center, CT
Camera: Nikon D40
Engine: 402ci big-block with ported GM heads, COMP Magnum cam, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, Barry Grant 850 Mighty Demon
Trans: TH400 by built by Rossler
Rearend: narrowed 9-inch with 4.11 gears
Suspension: stock front with V-6 springs and 2-inch drop spindles, double-adjustable trailing arms in the rear with 3-inch drop springs
Brakes: stock discs and drums
Wheels: 15x3.5 and 15x8, Weld Racing Draglite
Great quote: "Of course, another goal was to convince a girl or two to ride along, and last summer I managed that as well."

'80 Corvette
John Killen • Florence, AL
Though it looked great in pictures online, John Killen says he was mighty disappointed with all the issues when the '80 Corvette arrived on a car carrier. Still, he started repairing things as he could until the recession hit. Unfortunately, John was one of thousands who were laid off in 2008. He was very close to his 91-year-old grandmother, and didn't want her to know for fear of making her worry, but he says she knew something was wrong. "You and your cars," she said, always concerned that he spent too much money on them. As time went by, bills piled up and John was preparing to put the Vette up for sale, when he was notified that his grandmother had died. At the reading of her will shortly thereafter, John had to wipe tears away as he looked at the amount of money she bequeathed to him; it was enough to pay off the Corvette and keep him afloat for a while longer while he looked for work.

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Mac Sheritt; Florence, AL
Camera: Canon 40D
Engine: stock 350 ci with Edelbrock intake
Trans: original four-speed
Rearend: stock IRS with 3.08 gears
Suspension: stock original
Brakes: stock discs
Wheels: original Corvette Rally
Great quote: "When people say, 'That's a sharp car,' I automatically think of my grandmother."

'73 Dodge Challenger
Ken Hale • Ogdensburg, NY
Eight years ago, Ken Hale rescued this '73 Challenger from a field. It was all there minus the engine and trans, but had plenty of rust to make up for the completeness. That's actually what Ken did for the first three years-replace all of the floors and framerails as well as some braces and suspension parts. The engine currently in it is a 360ci Mopar with 727 trans, which works well for Ken as a daily driver to his job as a New York corrections officer at a medium security prison. He says he regularly gets advice and suggestions from inmates who can see the car through the fence!

BY THE NUMBERS
Photographer: Ken Hale; Ogdensburg, NY
Camera: Sansung Digimax 201
Engine: 360ci with ported heads, Crane cam, Edelbrock intake, and Holley 750 carb
Trans: 727 TorqueFlite
Rearend: 8¾ Mopar with 3.23 gears and limited slip
Suspension: stock up front with upgraded sway bar, Hemi rear springs with 1-inch sway bar in the rear
Brakes: stock discs and drums
Wheels: Centerline
Custom touches: The front fenders, hood, and trunk lid are all fiberglass.