1993 Ford Mustang GT

Owner: Jay Albright; Orefield, PA

Photographer: owner/Canon Rebel XTi

Mustang guys are split into two distinct camps: early and late model. While each group has a polite respect for the other, the loyalty can be tenuous. But why? We blame it on the nadir years of 1974 to 1978, when gearheads walked away from the Blue Oval by the hundreds of thousands; the Mustang II might as well be the great continental divide of Ford performance. Nevertheless, early Mustang proponents would do themselves a favor to look in their rearview mirror, as the Fox-body Mustang—built from 1979 to 1993—has long since surpassed all its earlier siblings in terms of affordability, availability, and the sheer number of speed parts available for it.

Joe Albright is actually a student of both schools, however, the reality of his financial situation necessarily puts him in the late-model Fox-body camp. His quest for budget performance led to the purchase of this ’93 GT in 2007. The solid car with nice paint and a fresh interior was ripe for the mods that followed. World Products heads, an X303 cam, Harland Sharp rockers, a Trick Flow upper and lower intake, 32-pound injectors, a 70mm throttle body, and MAC exhaust got the nod under the hood, while an SN95 spindle/brake conversion and a UPR K-member with coilovers help on the suspension side of things.

1971 Chevy Chevelle

Owner: Garry Johnson; Round Rock, TX

Photographer: owner/Canon EOS Rebel

It’s inevitable that whenever we take the measure of our worldwide readership—such as in our annual readers’ rides issue—Texas always seems to come out on top. And while other states such as Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Florida are hot rodding strongholds, it’s Texas that always issues the smackdown. As the only state in which “he needed killin’ ” is used as a valid defense in a murder trial, it comes as no surprise that Texas muscle cars have the same no-nonsense attitude.

While you’re in Texas, just make sure you drive deferentially around Garry Johnson’s ’71 Chevelle, or it might just lock onto you like a pit bull on a mailman’s leg. Garry’s 12:1 compression solid-roller 454 is locked and loaded with aluminum heads, an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake, Demon 750 carb, and a Monster Turbo 400 with a 3,500-stall converter. No e.t.’s yet, but Garry says it’s worth a conservative 600 hp. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1970 Chevy Nova

Owner: John Mastalerz; Niles, IL

Photographer: John Dallianis/Canon 30D

This Nova was once a used and abused race car sitting in the corner of a chassis shop with an unsure fate. That’s how John Mastalerz found it 21 years ago. It was basically solid, but had some heinous add-on flares and butchered quarter-panels to fit more tire in the rear. John saw it with big tires still, but under stock sheetmetal. N.O.S. quarters were spliced in immediately after he got it home and a shortened 9-inch was hung from a custom four-link to make room for Hoosier Quicktime tires. To keep the Nova’s quarter-mile soul, a GMPP 502ci big-block topped with a Dyers 8-71 blower takes up all the real estate and then some between the fenders, and makes an easy 650 hp with only 6 pounds of boost. Behind it is a built TH400 with a 3,000-stall converter. John says he’s never had it on a legit dragstrip, but test passes on an undisclosed empty country road indicate it could throw up some impressively low digits.