1961 Ford Galaxie Starliner

Owner: Zach Straits; Staunton, VA

Photographer: owner/Sony DSC-H55 Cybershot

We love Starliners—and so do Zach and Brenda Straits. They first saw this ’61 in a barn 15 years ago, but the owner just wouldn’t part with it. They hunted for another five years before a friend called with a tip on a Starliner his cousin was selling. Low and behold, it was the same ’61! The body had plenty of dings and dents, but very little rust. It took eight years of parts collecting and hard work in their garage, but the finished Starliner has a factory fresh look. The Straits did add a few custom touches of their own, like a mild ’60s-style custom interior and a 200-mph speedo. Underhood, the 390 FE was treated to Edelbrock aluminum heads, a COMP cam, and a rare original aluminum three-deuce intake. Those stock wheels aren’t what they appear either; they’re wide steelies to hold 255/70R15s up front and 275/60R15s in the rear. To date, the Starliner has racked up more awards and show accolades than we have space to print here, but two of the most notable are the 2009 Timberland Pro Home Built Heaven Award at Goodguys Columbus, and the 2009 Detroit Speed Builders Award at the Goodguys Southeastern Nats in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can see restoration galleries of the Straits’ Starliner at www.StarlinerConnection.com.

1955 Chevy

Owner: Bruce Bourgoin; Washington, UT

Photographer: owner/Canon EOS XTi

All it takes is a bone-dry timberline and an errant lightning strike to set off a raging inferno, and that’s exactly what happened in 1955 when Chevrolet introduced its new overhead-valve small-block V-8 and set it between the fenders of a voluptuous body with a Ferrari-inspired grille. The ’55 Chevy was the lightning strike that single-handedly set off the conflagration of Detroit performance, and it seems as though there is no end to the possible iterations that gearheads come up with.

Bruce Bourgoin is one of those who was spellbound by the Tri-Five’s siren song. Maybe it was the movie Two-Lane Blacktop and its starring ’55 Chevy that Bruce saw in 1974 when at the age of 18 he bought his first Tri-Five—a ’56 model. Regrettably, that first one went by the wayside, and by the time Bruce married and started a family, it was a faint memory. Then in 1995, Bruce made a pilgrimage to the Pomona, California, swap meet, and bought the non-running ’55 you see here. It’s been through many changes since then (with Bruce doing most of the work himself), and now it has been fully modernized with C4 front and rear suspension, a breathed on LS1, and a T56 six-speed trans.

1998 Chevy Camaro

Owner: Travis Kirgan; Indianola, IA

Photographer: owner/Kodak Easy Share C180

Today we take sporty-looking, economical coupes for granted, but when the Mustang came out in 1964 as a stylish alternative built off the Falcon platform for the young (and young at heart), it was an unmitigated success. So wildly popular was the Mustang, that dealers would quip that “hotcakes were selling like Mustangs.” Thus a new genre was born, and the competitors in the ponycar segment—namely the Camaro—sprang up quickly.

While the main thrust of today’s Camaro enthusiast is toward the fire-breathing V-8 variants and conversions, let us not forget the ponycar’s original mission statement: to provide sporty, yet economical daily transportation. Travis Kirgan is one if its proponents. His ’98 Camaro has retained the stock Buick-derived, fuel-efficient 3800 Series V-6, to which he’s added a heaping helping of nitrous to even the score with its V-8 counterparts. A 5-inch cowl hood, 1.5-inch lowering springs, 16-inch Epic ARE wheels, and a home-brewed front splitter complete the look.