Car mags are usually packed to the gills with high-dollar rides made from unobtainium, and it can be frustrating if you’re trying to wrench together your own project on a thin dime. Heck, even if you’ve got better-than-average resources from your great job, some of the high-end machines in mags can really demolish your ego. We’re regular guys like you, not captains of industry, tycoons, or pro athletes, so we wondered, what do other regular guys like us build, and how do they do it with resources other than cubic dollars?

…we put the word out that we wanted your home projects for a special issue. Anybody with a camera and a street machine could ...

Of course, we could throw that question out on the Internet or email a survey for some impersonal database, but what fun is that for you? It’s better to make it an event—a contest! Back in our June issue, we put the word out that we wanted your home projects for a special issue. Anybody with a camera and a street machine could participate—just fill out a spec sheet, write a cover letter, and send it in with the best photos you could take. We even gave you insider advice on how to take killer photos of even the most beat-up jalopy. To give the contest some extra kick, we dialed the gearheads at Nitto Tire for a grand prize, and they kicked in for a set of four Nittos in any style or size they make. It’s amazing how a good set of meats can motivate a guy to climb off the couch on a Saturday afternoon!

When the contest deadline passed, we picked out the best 26 cars, settling on that number to fit in allowable space while keeping the write-ups from being postage-stamp size. Still, most everybody who followed the directions got in. (If you left out a photo CD, didn’t write a cover letter, or ignored our plea for color prints, you got left out. And sorry, no farm tractors or trucks this year.) If you sent in an entry and nailed our request and it’s still not in here, don’t fret, we’ll probably use it in our Hometown Hot Rodding column later this year. If you don’t see the kind of muscle you like, all we can say is that you had the chance to send us anything you want, and you’ll have that chance again next year.

PHR Photo Contest Winner

1964 Ford Mustang

Owner: Terry Lee; Indianapolis, IN

Photographer: Ryan Fultz/Nikon D90

Having your car on the cover is pretty cool, but it pales in comparison to being the guy who shot it!

You’ve got to hand it to a guy who sticks with something until it results in the big payoff. That’s the kind of guy amateur photographer Ryan Fultz is. This marks the fifth year that Ryan has entered the PHR Photo Contest, and we are pleased to say he is our winner this year. Prior years have seen Ryan place in the Runner-Up and Top 20 category, with his amateur work always placing in the top tier. In those five years, we’ve seen Ryan’s photography improve, in fact, he proactively sought our advice when no one else has.

Ryan’s own automotive tastes gravitate to his Pro Touring–style ’68 Malibu, which is equipped modestly, yet effectively. As our contest rules require, Ryan was not able to send more photos of his Chevelle, which he’d submitted in prior years. Instead, he sought out the beautifully restored ’64 Mustang of his friend, Terry Lee. Ryan chose Lee’s Mustang because Lee restored it completely at home—right down to the motor, interior, bodywork, and paint. Ryan says: “To me, that is very rare and cool that someone has the skills to be that good in all facets. The most work that a lot of today’s car owners do is writing the check when it’s done!” Ryan also points out that Lee also has a gold ’67 Camaro that he restored too.

As a meticulous restoration, Lee’s 260ci V-8 automatic car is worth significantly more than the $8K he has invested (including the car). Lee says it’s all stock, right down to the drum brakes, original rebuilt generator, and driveline. The only concession to modernization is a set of BFGoodrich radial T/As.

As for Ryan’s photographic effort, we were so impressed that we asked him to photograph our main cover image, as well as the opening image for this feature. We’ve never had a reader/amateur photographer shoot a cover image before, and we’re hoping that readers support it enough that we can do it again next year. Having your car on the cover is pretty cool, but it pales in comparison to being the guy who shot it!