1969 Olds 442
Darrel Williams, Arlington, TX

You can't always get what you want, but sometimes that works out for the best in the long run. Darrel Williams thought he really wanted a Chevelle to build as his first muscle car, but they were a bit out of his price range. It just so happened, though, that his boss had bought a '69 Olds 442 for his daughter, but she had no interest in driving it. He offered it to Darrel for $2,200, and he just couldn't pass up the deal. Darrel didn't realize it at the time, but the 442 shared platforms with the Chevelle of the same generation, so in essence he got what he wanted, but in a much more unique package. He immediately tore it apart and redid everything himself end to end, except for the engine and paint. The original 400ci engine didn't last long, so Darrel took the opportunity to drop in a healthy 455ci beast. The massive torque curve those engines are known for helped wash away any big-block Chevy envy that might have been lingering, and nowadays Darrel finds himself to be an Olds convert. Since this was his first muscle car, Darrel says he's just going to continue to improve on it: "I'll keep it 'till I'm gone," he told us.

By The Numbers
Engine: 390 rear-wheel horsepower 455ci Olds with Edelbrock heads, FAST EZ-EFI fuel injection
Transmission: GM 700-R4 four-speed automatic overdrive
Rearend: Ford 9-inch with 3.70 gears
Suspension: stock with 1-inch lowering Hotchkis springs (front and rear), Energy Suspension bushings
Brakes: GM Master Brake
Steering: stock with 12:1 ratio box
Wheels & Tires: 17x8 and 17x19 Intro wheels with 245/35R17 and 275/35R17 BFGoodrich G-Force Sports

1956 Pontiac Safari
Ted and Pamela Parish, Bethany, OK

This Pontiac Safari has been with Ted Parish since 1968 when he just barely saved it from the scrap yard. One day when he went over to a friend's house to borrow an air compressor, Ted saw the stripped-down shell sitting behind the house. Ted asked what his friend intended to do with the Safari and his reply was that as soon as he was finished putting his '51 Chevy pickup back together, the Safari was getting cut up and hauled to the dump. Ted couldn't stand for that to happen to the rare wagon, so he asked how much he would take for it. Twenty-five dollars was the answer, but as a college kid, Ted couldn't come up with the money. Luckily, he had a '55 Chevy bench seat he had shortened that his friend wanted. A trade was made, and Ted had his Safari for the price of a Chevy seat. Over the next 44 years, the Safari was built three separate times, but this last version is by far the most ambitious. Ted had no budget limit in mind: "I call it my rolling 401(k)," Ted jokes. Originally the Safari was created as a more powerful and better handling version of the Nomad, so Ted has continued that mentality with a 620hp big-block Chevy, a Tremec five-speed, and a custom-built suspension that has made the Safari only 1.8 seconds slower through the typical Goodguys autocross course than Ted's 700hp Superformance Cobra. All that and it's comfortable enough to cruise the Hot Rod Power Tour with the A/C on.

By The Numbers
Engine: 620hp Chevrolet Performance 572ci big-block, Holley four-barrel carb
Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed manual
Rearend: 9-inch Ford with Yukon locker and 3.73 gears
Suspension: custom-built Mustang II front suspension, frame narrowed 6 inches per side, custom triangulated four-link rear suspension, frame narrowed 3 inches per side
Brakes: Wilwood 4-piston calipers on 12-inch rotors (front and rear)
Steering: power rack-and-pinion
Wheels & Tires: 18- and 20-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels with BFGoodrich KDW tires

1969 Chevy Chevelle
Raymond Higginbotham, Blountsville, AL

Those car guys graduating from a school like the NASCAR Technical Institute in North Carolina tend to be infused with the attitude that they can build anything without the need for mail-order parts. Thank you very much, but I won't be needing that Jegs catalog. Raymond Higginbotham is that guy, and this '69 Chevelle is his car. Fresh out of school and looking for a job-and a car, Raymond went to work for James Newman at Smiley's Rod Shop. Obsessed with Chevelles since childhood, Raymond struck a deal with his boss to buy this '69 Chevelle for $3,000. Like a lot of people who get into autocrossing, Raymond and James attended a Goodguys show in Nashville. Raymond told us: "When I came to the Goodguys show the first time, I didn't even know they did the autocross. The first day, I just watched 'em. This guy said anybody can do it, so the next day I brought the car over, and they said I needed a radiator overflow. I went to the swap meet and got some hose and a can, and they let me run. I've been hooked ever since." The nearly stock Chevelle and his let-it-all-hang-out driving style was a hit at the show, but Raymond knew things could be improved with some sway bars and drop spindles for the next few events. Over time, he's upgraded or fabricated many other parts, choosing to go the affordable DIY route in most cases. This winter, however, the Chevelle will see some major improvements. Raymond plans on tackling an LS/T56 swap, taller spindles, and a homebuilt chassis and A-arms. That's a lot to do, but Raymond says you can bet money on him being at the next Nashville Goodguys in 2013!

By The Numbers
Engine: 396ci big-block Chevy, bored to 402ci, Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake, stock cast-iron 396 heads, COMP Cams Magnum hydraulic cam, 750-cfm double-pumper Holley carb, MSD ignition, Hooker long-tube headers
Transmission: Turbo 400 three-speed automatic, reverse-pattern valvebody, 8-inch 2,800-stall converter
Rearend: 12-bolt GM with 3.73 gears and Auburn differential
Suspension: QA1 coilover shocks, 2-inch drop spindles, Hotchkis sway bars (front and rear), Energy Suspension bushings, boxed rear lower control arms, homebuilt adjustable upper rear control arms
Brakes: stock D154 calipers with 11-inch rotors, '99 Pontiac Grand Am rear 10-inch disc brakes
Steering: stock box
Wheels & Tires: Boss Motorsports wheels (17x8 and 19x9.5), Nitto Invo (245/40R17 and 285/30R19)

1968 Chevy Camaro
Terry Neuville, Prairieville, LA

Most first cars aren't much to get excited about, and most don't hang around, but if you're like Terry Neuville and it's a '68 Camaro, the story might be different. This Camaro has been with Terry since 1980 when he first got his driver's license, but it's really only been for the past few years that it's been reinvented from the ground up. For the first 28 years or so, the Camaro stayed pretty mild with mostly cruising and a little bit of drag racing on the agenda. Terry started taking it on Hot Rod's Power Tour in 2003 when the Pro Touring movement was really heating up, and he found himself very inspired by all the Camaro-targeted parts coming out. He started simple with wheels and a little suspension work. The car became so much more enjoyable to drive that in 2008 Terry decided to go the full Monty and tore the Camaro apart for a Pro Touring makeover. When it was back on the road in September 2009, it was a radically different car. Since then, Terry's love of driving it hard has only increased. At the 2011 Run Through the Hills, Terry finished Second Place, tying with DSE's Kyle Tucker. Both Tucker and the First Place finisher had already qualified for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, so Terry won his way in.

By The Numbers
Engine: 6.0L LQ4 with LS3 heads, Futral Motorsports F13 cam, LS3 intake with custom cold air
Transmission: Gearstar 4L65E four-speed automatic overdrive with Yank 3,000-stall converter
Rearend: 12-bolt rear with 3.73 gears from Detroit Speed
Suspension: Global West control arms up front with Hotchkis front sway bar and RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers, Detroit Speed Quadralink rear suspension with RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers
Brakes: Baer 6P 14-inch brakes (front and rear)
Steering: RideTech TrueTurn
Wheels & Tires: Forgeline SP3P (18x8.5 and 18x11.5), BFG KDW (245/40R18 and 335/30R18)

1965 Ford Mustang
Wayne Walker, Plano, TX

Back in 1977, Wayne Walker and his dad found this '65 Mustang convertible at a used car lot in Point Bluff, Arkansas. For a mere $1,300 they drove home the ex-six-cylinder car that had been converted to a 289. Wayne and dad spent the next eight years slowly building the convertible into a GT clone. The car stayed that way until 2004, when Wayne decided he was just no longer satisfied with the resto anymore. He began thinking about what could be done to jazz the Mustang up a bit-maybe just a repaint, and drop in a T5 five-speed, then get it back on the road. Well that went right out the window pretty quickly and snowballed into an avalanche. Wayne loved early Mustangs, but really wanted something much more fun to drive than the original suspension could muster. At Taj Motorsports in Union, Mississippi, the whole frontend of the Mustang was removed in favor of a tube subframe with extra bracing for the convertible chassis, and a Heidts Mustang II conversion. More rigidity was needed considering the 525hp 427ci stroker and T56 Wayne had in mind. Ever since the Mustang was finished in 2006, Wayne has been getting lots of good use out of it on the autocross at Goodguys events and the Texas Motorspeedway where the Mustang hit 150 mph. "When I'm done with it, I'll pass it on to my son," Wayne told us. "And he's pretty much ready for me to be done with it!"

By The Numbers
Engine: 585hp 427ci stroker small-block with Edelbrock heads, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, 650-cfm Edelbrock carb, cold air intake
Transmission: Tremec T56 six-speed manual
Rearend: 9-inch Ford with 3.89 gears
Suspension: Heidts Mustang II conversion with adjustable coilovers up front, Heidts Superide II with adjustable coilovers in the rear
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes, Hydratech Hydraboost system
Steering: power rack-and-pinion
Wheels & Tires: ARE Shelby wheels (17x8 and 18x8), BFG KDW (235/30R17 and 245/35R18)

1967 Chevy Camaro
Tom Foglesong, Tempe, AZ

Tom Foglesong is the second owner of this cherry '67 Camaro, but he actually inherited it from his grandfather, who bought it new in February of 1967. "I remember riding in it as a little kid, going to the grocery store or whatever. I always thought it was cool," Tom says. He inherited the six-cylinder survivor car in 2007 and enjoyed it in stock configuration for a couple of years. He finally drove it to the dragstrip, where it took a leisurely 17 seconds to darken the stripe at the finish line. "I knew it wouldn't do well," Tom says, "but it was fun to try it anyway, just to see what it would run. I knew it was slow, so I decided to upgrade it to a small-block or something." That something came in the form of a salvaged 5.3L LS truck motor that he got from LKQ recyclers in Phoenix. That was quickly followed by a T56 six-speed from a '06 GTO being parted out. "I just wanted to have a fun driver, then I started hearing more about autocrossing. I finally went to an event that a local Corvette club held in January 2010." From that moment on, Tom wanted as much seat time as possible at autocrosses and road courses. His last dragstrip outing would, in fact, be for Car Craft's LS-Swap Drags, which he handily won running low 13s. Tom does all the work on his '67 in his garage, and as a result he's become quite the online expert. When we asked him if that was indeed the case, Tom told us: "Well, I did stay at the Holiday Inn Express last night." As for Tom's future plans, he says, "Lots more tires and a significantly larger engine!"

By The Numbers
Engine: 5.3L LM7 GM truck engine LS6 camshaft and valvesprings, Edelbrock dual-plane intake and 650-cfm Thunder series carb, MSD ignition, hardened pushrods, 1 7/8-inch full-length American Racing headers, Autocraft oil pan
Transmission: T56 six-speed manual, stock LS7 clutch
Rearend: Ford 9-inch, 3.70 gears, Wavetrac differential
Suspension: Hotchkis sway bar, Bilstein shocks, Hypercoil springs, Speedtech upper front control arms, RideTech lower front control arms, ATS spindles, homebuilt torque-arm system, home-modified Fays2 Watt's link, Bilstein coilovers with Hyperco springs
Brakes: Corvette C6 (front and rear)
Steering: Lee 12.7:1 quick ratio box
Wheels & Tires: '97 Camaro SS wheels (updated since photo) with Nitto NT05 tires (275/40R17)