1971 Pantera

This one is kind of a sad story, but thanks to the Ringbrothers, Jim and Mike; it will have a happy ending. Randy Brickle had never had a hot rod project, but a friend of his had a Pantera, and apparently going for a few rides in it left quite an impression on him. That semi-exotic DeTomaso body became his dream car and he began looking around for one of his own.

Unfortunately, Randy was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to work on his Pantera as planned. He sent it to a shop to have the work completed, and long story short, a great deal of money was spent with not much result. Even worse, Randy died during the process.

Looking for a trustworthy shop to finish the car, his wife, Cheryl, was referred to Ringbrothers by a friend. After picking the Pantera up and discovering the overall poor shape of the body and the shoddy workmanship, Mike and Jim initially tried to dissuade Cheryl from sinking more money into the car. That wasn't an option for Cheryl though; it had to be completed. She gave them a budget cap, and mandated that the finished color be yellow, but other than that Mike and Jim had free rein.

Since it was way too rough to go back stock, Mike and Jim created a plan that would create a gorgeous Pantera that will do justice to Randy's memory, while still being something that she will be able to sell later. This one isn't a keeper for her; it's just the fulfillment of her husband's dream.

For their perfected Pantera, Mike and Jim worked with the Roadster Shop to create a custom front and rear suspension for better handling, and are swapping to LS3 power. The body mods will be fairly subtle with small wheel flares and custom rocker panels with brake cooling ducts.

By The Numbers

1971 DeTomaso Pantera

Engine: 500hp Wegner Motorsports LS3
Trans & rearend: ZF six-speed transaxle with custom adapter plate
Suspension: Roadster Shop custom tubular control arms with C6 spindles and coilovers up front, Roadster Shop IRS with Porsche driveshafts in the rear
Brakes: Baer 15-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in front, Baer 14-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in rear
Wheels: HRE 18x10 and 19x12, Nitto Invo 275/35R18 and 335/30R19
Contact: Ringbrothers; 608-588-7399; www.Ringbrothers.com

1966 Chevy II Nova
Route 66 Motorsports

Putting together one high-end muscle car takes a monumental amount of time; putting together five at once is practically a full-time job. Kevin Garrison has found the answer, though: he set up a one-man fab and body shop and has an employee whose whole job is just to help Kevin get his projects completed. Man, do we love this idea.

This '66 Chevy II didn't originally start with a plan, Kevin just happened to run across it as an unfinished basket case project for a great deal. He scooped it up, fully certain that he'd figure what to do with it soon. No doubt influenced by the sudden surge of Chevy II handling and performance parts that have become available on the market, he decided that the direction for this '66 would be full-on Pro Touring. He touched base with Route 66 Motorsports with a rough outline of what he wanted: a red Chevy II with 18-inch Boze Alloy Mesh wheels. Other than that and a few other minor points, Kevin let the Route 66 crew have free rein to create a head-turner. When we spoke to them in December, the fast-approaching deadline for the debut was the Indy World of Wheels show in February. After that, Kevin said he plans to attend several Goodguys shows. Hopefully, we'll convince him to stretch the '66 out a bit on the autocross at least once or twice.

By The Numbers

1966 Chevy II Nova

Engine: 585hp LS3 with FAST LSX-R intake, COMP Cams cam
Trans: Coan 4L65E with 2,800-stall converter
Rearend: full-floating 9-inch with 3.70 gears and 31-spline axles
Suspension: Schwartz Performance full chassis
Brakes: 6-piston Wilwood calipers on 13-inch rotors, front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 18x8 & 18x12 Boze Alloy wheels with 255/40R18 & 335/30R18 BFGoodrich tires
Contact: Route 66 Motorsports; 815-462-0090; www.RT66Motorsports.com

1972 AMC Gremlin
Schwartz Performance

There are few cars in the pantheon of automotive oddities that get as much ridicule as the Gremlin. Well, maybe the Pacer, but either way it's high on the list. Despite that, Jeff Schwartz and the guys at Schwartz Performance are bound and determined to make this one Gremlin that haunts the nightmares of autocrossers.

"Why a Gremlin?" you might ask. We posed that question to owner Mark Ifen and he told us that he'd actually autocrossed one back in the early '80s and it handled surprisingly well thanks to a good weight bias because of the relatively long nose. Unfortunately, the strut rod–style front suspension meant that there really wasn't much he could do to tune it.

Years later in 2008, Mark decided he'd like to have another Gremmy, and ran across a clean one in South Carolina that was up for auction on eBay. Originally a yellow six-cylinder automatic base model with tan guts, somewhere along the line a mild 360ci Mopar V-8 had been swapped in. Mark figured it would make a fun cruiser, and perhaps a surprise for a few unsuspecting muscle cars.

Nevertheless, Mark's buddy Jeff had other ideas when he saw the new acquisition. After the demise of Jeff's brown Vega, he really wanted something unique again. After taking a few measurements, Jeff confirmed that with a few mounting point mods and 4 inches taken out of the middle, one of his chassis for first-gen Camaros would fit. To get the right stance and grip, Jeff decided to channel the body down over the rails and raise the front wheelwells about 4 inches to clear at least 275-series tires.

By The Numbers

1972 AMC Gremlin

Engine: 360ci AMC with Edelbrock aluminum heads
Trans: mildly built Turbo 350 three-speed automatic
Rearend: Moser full-floating 9-inch housing with nodular third member, Wavetrac LSD diff, 3.50 gears, 31-spline axles
Suspension: Schwartz Camaro chassis, modified to fit Gremlin, RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers, front and rear
Brakes: Baer 6P 6-piston calipers on 14-inch rotors, front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 18x12 & 18x10 SSR wheels with 275/35R18 & 335/30R18 tires
Contact: Schwartz Performance; 815-206-2230; www.SchwartzPerformance.com