1969 Chevy Camaro
Kirk Tonkin; Aurora, OR
Sometimes it takes a little horse trading and patience to get the car you really want. Kirk Tonkin grew up with a mom and dad who believed in doing things yourself, so he learned to work on almost everything. Family vehicles were always maintained at home, and when Kirk's older brother, Bill, bought his first car he was there to help. It was only a 1,200cc Datsun, but Kirk loved it. Of course watching the neighbor do burnouts in a 1968 LeMans looked like a lot more fun!
A few years later, after getting a couple V-8 cars under his belt, Kirk had the opportunity to trade his complete 1975 Camaro to a friend for a basket case 1969 Camaro. He knew it could be the car of his dreams, so he began collecting parts and working on the body. Unfortunately, the driver's quarter-panel ended up being too damaged to repair, and the project got sidelined. And then life showed up with family, kids, and job priorities.
Kirk kept reading his favorite car magazines and says that articles in PHR inspired him to pick up a MIG welder and tackle the quarter himself. Now 20 years after the trade, Kirk's almost 16-year-old son, Ethan, is coming out to the garage with him and helping to relight the drive. The goal is to have the 1969 finally on the road by Ethan's 16th.
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: small-block Chevy with GM 325hp grind cam, Edelbrock intake, and Holley carb
Trans: four-speed manual
Wheels & Tires: Ansen slots and steelie rollers for now
Future Plans: Kirk is going with a bare-bones, Road Warrior style for the 1969, which includes a black "hammered" industrial paint on the body.
1969 Chevy Camaro
Tara Steinhoff Shakopee, MN
Twenty years ago when Tara Steinhoff was 17, she saw this 1969 Camaro for sale and talked her dad into cosigning a small loan to buy it. She says she didn't know much about cars, but she knew it was sweet looking! She quickly began to appreciate the 327ci, four-speed, and 4.56 gears, especially when her and her dad were challenged to a race by a Corvette one day. The Vette beat them, but the driver yelled that he was impressed by the Camaro and girl driving it. That run convinced Tara she wanted to build the Camaro into a drag car.
The Camaro was torn down to get a big-block transplant and wheeltubs, but as so often it does, school, husband, house, child, and dog priorities took over. Currently the Camaro is slowly progressing, though with the help of some of Tara's friends who run a hot rod shop. So far they've stripped off all the old Bondo, prepped it for quarter replacement, rebuilt the front end, and changed the bushings. Tara says she often feels overwhelmed by how much the Camaro still needs, and has pondered selling it. We've all been there many times. We say it's a great project; keep plugging away at it, get your soon-to-be teenage son involved, and it will be your dream car one day.
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: big-block Chevy
Trans: four-speed manual Borg-Warner
Rearend: 12-bolt with 3.73 gears
Suspension: stock front with poly bushings, multileaf rear with poly bushings
Brakes: stock discs and drums
Wheels & Tires: 15x3 and 15x8 Centerline with 154R15 and L60-15 tires
Future Plans: Fresh quarter-panels and slick paintjob
Doug Jordan Eaton Rapids, MI
This 1955 Chevy has been with Doug Jordan through a lot of changes in the past 10 years, but he's still moving steadily forward. Beginning in 2003 before wife and family, Doug purchased the 1955 on eBay as a basket case. It was the typical rusty 50-year-old car, so Doug stripped it down to really assess the work. It was obvious that a full frame-off resto was required. Many hours were spent cutting off rusty sheetmetal and replacing the quarters, wheeltubs, rockers, and trunk floor. Plus, the firewall was moved back to better fit the big-block. After that, Doug put the 1955 on a homemade rotisserie and finished up the bottom before sending it out for metal finishing and a coat of tinted primer sealer.
Doug says he has discovered that "if you just break down a large project into smaller pieces and complete them one at a time, you will never get in over your head with work or money spent." His next small project is the fuel system plumbing and adding a custom 29-gallon aluminum fuel tank.
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: 396ci big-block Chevy with 454 oval-port heads, COMP Cams 280H-10 cam, Edelbrock Performer intake and carb
Trans: Turbo 400 with B&M guts
Rearend: original 10-bolt with 3.55 gears
Suspension: stock, front and rear, with 2-inch drop springs
Brakes: power discs up front, stock drums rear
Wheels & Tires: 15x7 Rocket Igniter with 215/65 and 255/60 tires
Future plans: Doug says he recently realized he needs to finish the '55 before his son gets to driving age so he can enjoy it before having to wrestle him for the keys!
1963 Ford Fairlane
Felipe Arroyo Deltona, FL
This superslick 1963 Fairlane looks like a drag car that should be sporting some major horsepower, and that was the case for quite a while. Back when Felipe Arroyo bought it in 2000, the Fairlane was in fair condition, but needed a restoration. Felipe handled all the bodywork himself, including spraying the DuPont Spectra Master Blue Metallic paint. The factory shock towers and front suspension was cut away to make way for a Mustang II–style suspension since his plans included a very large engine. That new space was soon occupied by a 789hp big-block Chevy. The final product caught a lot of attention at car shows and even earned Chip Foose's signature with a quick sketch of the Fairlane on the glovebox door. Nowadays, Felipe has decided he wants to make the Fairlane a more street-friendly driver, so the BBC has vacated in favor of another large engine in the form of a 4-cam 4.6-liter from a Cobra Mustang.
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: 4.6L 4-cam late-model Cobra
Rearend: braced 9-inch Ford with a spool and 4.56 gears
Suspension: Mustang II–style front with ladder bars and Varishock coilovers in the rear
Brakes: discs, front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 15x3 and 15x7 Weld Rodlite with Moroso front runners and 28-10.5 rears
Future plans: Lots of street cruising around Deltona, FL