Pack up your bags, boys, we’re heading to the Middle East. Don’t forget the camera, because one night out on the town will get you a year’s worth of sizzling street racing footage. YouTube is standing by for upload. The rest of the Western world is free to have its own opinion about this region of the globe, but we car guys know what’s up. Mix big oil money, testosterone, prohibitions on alcohol, and vast stretches of open road, and the end result is more predictable than Hollywood’s latest romantic comedy. We’re talking speed, and lots of it, with Corvette ZR1s and Vipers duking it out against Ferraris and AMG Mercedes-Benzes. Why yes, regardless of creed or color, hot rodders from around the world all speak the same language, and it sounds a lot like squealing tires and uncorked motors wailing at WOT.
We’ve all seen the YouTube clips, and whether the street skirmishes are going down in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Abu Dhabi, the lack of law enforcement is as peculiar as the action is insane. After watching these guys manhandle mega-horsepower supercars at ridiculous slip angles on sandy asphalt streets, you realize that it’s only a matter of time until one of these countries produces the next champion WRC rally driver. Despite a street scene that makes anything Stateside look pathetic, the lack of ’64-72 Detroit iron is disconcerting. Fortunately, Jason Whitlock is trying to change that, one muscle car at a time. “You’ll see a Chevelle or a Camaro every now and then, but they cost an arm and a leg because they’re so rare,” says the South Carolina native and current Kuwait resident. “They just didn’t import a lot of muscle cars over here back in the ’60s. If you do find a muscle car, they’re either bone stock or some kind of clone. I thought it would be cool to build a Chevy II with a modern engine, driveline, and suspension to race my buddies with here in Kuwait.”
To stiffen up the chassis...
To stiffen up the chassis as much as possible, the front of the Schwartz frame is triangulated into the base of the firewall. The aftermarket frame also makes it easy to smooth out the inner fenders for an ultraclean engine bay.
After proudly serving in the armed forces with two tours of duty in Kuwait, Jason decided to stay in the Middle East instead of return back to America. Having established extensive contacts in the oil industry, he seized the opportunity to work as an oil consultant. It must be a lucrative gig, because Jason started using the checks to buy some extra helpings of horsepower. His vehicle of choice was a BMW M3 supercharged to 650 hp. The Bavarian was fine for tooling around town, but Jason’s true passion has always been muscle cars. His past rides include a ’65 Satellite, a ’67 Coronet, and a ’72 ’Cuda. A résumé like that suggests deep Mopar loyalty, but that’s not the case. “My dad’s side of the family were always big Ford guys, but for some reason I always hated them. By the time I started driving and getting into drag racing, Mopars were dominating at the track, which is why I’ve owned so many of them over the years,” Jason says. “Despite all the Mopars I have owned, I’ve always been a Chevy guy at heart. When I was a kid, there was a ’67 Chevy II that I used to walk past every day. Even though it was stock with a green interior, I always loved the look and shape of that car. Now that I’m older and settled down, I decided to build the Nova of my dreams.”