1973 AMC Javelin/AMX

Owner: D.L. Beach; New Brighton, MN

Photographer: Mara Oakvik/Canon 50D

When he graduated high school in 1972, D.L. Beach had pinched his pennies and was ready to purchase his first new car. The problem, he laments, is that he’d missed out on the heyday of muscle on the showroom floor, and his 1973 model year choices were much slimmer. He almost went with an SD455 Trans Am, but a close friend was an American Motors executive so he sat down to fill out an order for an awesome Javelin AMX: 401 Go Pac, auto, console, Twin-Grip diff with 3.15 gears, E60-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires with Rally wheels, A/C, heavy-duty suspension, handling package with disc brakes, heavy-duty cooling, AM/FM Multiplex radio, light group, and visibility group. Must have been a good pairing; D.L. still owns the well-optioned AMC to this day. It is a bit faster now, thanks to ported ’71 AMC heads, shorty headers, Cam-Motion cam, and an Edelbrock 880-cfm carb and Air-Gap intake. The heavy-duty suspension works even better now with higher rate coils and leaves, and sway bars from AMX Industries. “It’s hard for me to believe I’ve owned this car for nearly 40 years,” D.L. says. “Every time I’m in that seat I become an 18-year-old boy again. What a ride it’s been.”

1972 Chevy Chevelle

Owner: Jason Vendetto; Lake Ronkonkoma, NY

Photographer: owner/Canon Rebel XTi

The ’64-72 midsize GM A-body is arguably the height of the muscle car genre. Millions were made back in the day and they were a ubiquitous sight on city streets and highways across America; virtually every family had one in some form. So significant was the GM A-body that it’s generally acknowledged that the curtain closed on the muscle car era simultaneous to the end of its production, and the ’72 Chevelle was perhaps the most well known of the vintage.

At the ripe ol’ age of 22, Jason Vendetto bought his 402ci big-block ’72 Chevelle for $7,000. That was back in 1999, and as Jason succinctly put it: “Boy, there aren’t too many deals like this out there anymore!” Other than putting on new front and rear bumpers, a polished aluminum front spoiler, and a Holley 650-cfm carb, the Chevelle is just as Jason bought it 12 years ago. The minimal mods give Jason’s Chevelle a clean day-two look that is sought after today. Living out on Long Island, there are no drag race or road race venues for Jason to flog his prized possession at, but that only makes him want to even more. “Long Island has no dragstrip—the one we had closed down years ago. Somebody out there help us!”

1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Owner: Joe Stubitsch; Plainfield, IL

Photographer: Stuart Baxter/Canon 50D

They don’t get nearly as much attention as the ’69-70 versions, but the later Mach 1 Mustangs are still cool cars in our book. That goes double if they happen to be a cool ’70s shade like Joe Stubitsch’s Grabber Lime ’71. Only 1,933 Machs were ever sprayed that color, so they’re always eye-catching at a show. Under that long hood, Joe went with a 351 Cleveland with Procomp 3V heads and intake, and a COMP Cams Big Mutha Thumpr cam. Not only does it sound beastly, but it throws 380 hp to the wheels through an AOD trans with a 2,800-stall converter. So far we’ve only seen one Mustang of this generation that has undergone a pro build (and you’ll see it in PHR soon), but it could be the start of something new as people continue to look for ways to be different.