1969 Dodge Coronet 500
Nicole & Kurt Chenoweth Mitchell, SD
Nicole Chenoweth's desire for some top-down driving was the impetus for this Coronet build. Husband Kurt proposed a classic companion for their 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury, and she replied: "Show me some cars." Unfortunately, this was 2005 when Mopar prices were sky high, but they managed to find a nice driver 1969 Coronet 500 in Illinois. The car was solid and ran well, so they just drove and enjoyed it for a couple of years. The 318 was a little tired, so they decided to rebuild it, but keep it mild since this was just a sunny day cruiser. Shortly after that came a suspension rebuild and rack-and-pinion steering swap for more driving confidence, and then the Coronet was cruised like that for a few more years. Nevertheless, the whole time Kurt was taking notes at car shows and in magazines of cars he liked in preparation for a full build. To make the vision tangible, Kurt had Eric Brockmeyer create a rendering of the subtly modded Coronet. Other than the paint and wheels, the biggest deviation externally will be the Billet Specialties 1969 Camaro taillights flipped left for right. Inside it will sport a custom leather interior and aftermarket gauges in the dash. The 318 will still be under the hood, but all the wires will be hidden and the engine bay will be as smooth as possible. Lots of cruising will still be in the Coronet's future, but Kurt and his son, Andrew, recently discovered how much fun the Goodguys autocross is, so now the suspension, chassis, and brakes are getting upgraded as well.
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: 318ci small-block LA with ported stock heads, Hughes Engines custom cam, and Edelbrock intake
Trans: TorqueFlite A904 three-speed automatic with Hughes converter
Rearend: 8.75-inch Mopar with 3.55 gears
Suspension: Unisteer rack-and-pinion conversion and PST torsion bars, sway bars, and 2-inch drop spindles up front; PST leaf springs and sway bar in the rear
Brakes: Wilwood discs front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 18x8 Schott Challenger with 245/25 Mickey Thompson Street Comp tires
Future plans: Autocross time having more fun than any father and son should be allowed.
1976 Chevy Vega IMSA
Byron Burnham El Cajon, CA
Byron Burnham wanted to build something different, plus he wanted to be very competitive in autocross and Pro Touring challenges. What better than an IMSA-style Vega to fit the bill? While most H-bodies have received the drag treatment over the years, they're actually quite potent when prepped for handling, especially with massive flares covering extra wide tires! Thanks to the widebody kit, pretty much the roof and doors are the only panels that haven't been modified. Byron is now in the process of modifying the front end of the car with a new air dam that wraps around to the fenderwells, and building fiberglass bumpers front and rear. The original Vega uses a unibody construction, however, Byron has installed an Art Morrison three-link back half and continued using the same kind of square tubing to tie into the existing stock front suspension. The front suspension is a custom-built IFS with tubular control arms, Chevy S-10 2-inch drop spindles, and a Unisteer power rack-and-pinion steering system. For optimum weight distribution, the LS3 has been set back 3 inches from the stock location. It's also been moved over .75 inch to the right and lowered approximately 2 inches. For safety and rigidity during the hard driving Byron plans, the Vega has a 10-point rollcage from front to back, Procar racing seats, and a RideTech five-point harness. "I am investing a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, and tears in this Vega, and my friends remind me it is still only a Vega," Byron told us. "Unique is what I seek, and this is already grabbing attention. My friends have also reminded me that there is no time for girlfriends. This Vega is my girlfriend right now!"
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: stock LS3 for now
Trans: Tremec TKO 500 five-speed manual with Lokar shifter
Rearend: Morrison braced 9-inch Ford
Suspension: custom tubular control arms with S-10 drop spindles and Strange coilovers in front, a Morrison three-link with Watt's link and Strange coilovers in the rear
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch discs with six-piston calipers front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 17x9.5 and 17x11 E-T LT-III with 275/40R17 and 315/35ZR17 Nitto NT05 tires
Future plans: Road race and autocross, and kicking some Camaro and Mustang butts along the way.
1965 Olds F-85 Wagon
Jack Karamanos Camano Island, WA
The story of this Olds wagon project actually begins in 1988 when Jack Karamanos' 1947 Olds 98 four-door met with an untimely end when the rearend came loose while he was at full song in Second gear. Luckily, Jack was fine and so was the drivetrain. It took about five years for him to get over the bad mood of losing a 19-year project, but eventually Jack picked up this 1965 F-85 wagon. It was supposedly the tow car for an old front-engine dragster racer and came with paperwork detailing all the work from 1976 when it had 65K, to 1995 when it was parked with 235K.
As a wagon, it may look big and heavy, but Jack says it should be a good half-ton or so lighter than his 1947. Currently the F-85 has a non-running small-block Chevy with a four-speed swapped in using a lot of factory parts, but Jack wants his old Olds power back, blower and all. After a bore and refresh with a Summit Racing kit, .040-over Speed-Pro pistons, and a custom Delta Cams camshaft, it's ready to for its fully ported and modified C-casting heads and B&M supercharger. How did Jack get a blower setup for an Olds? He didn't. When Holley Purchased B&M, there was a big sale and he picked up a BBC blower setup cheaply. He then took the blower, block, heads, an Offenhauser 360 intake, and a piece of aluminum plate to a machinist, and he worked his metal magic to create the custom Olds manifold.
The magnificent spread laid before the F-85 in the photo is the soon-to-be-installed parts. Weighing far less than the 1947, Jack's new Olds should be a screamer ready to surprise those who doubt the longroof's potential!
BY THE NUMBERS
Engine: 463ci Olds with Summit Racing parts, Speed-Pro pistons, 231/235 duration, .510/.525-inch lift Delta Cam, custom Offenhauser 360 intake with B&M blower and Holley 950-cfm carb
Trans: Turbo 400 with TCI guts, B&M Transpak shift-improver kit, Kenne Bell 1,600-/2,200-stall switch-pitch converter
Rearend: shortened 9-inch Ford with 3.25 gears and Detroit Locker diff
Suspension: stock front and rear with air springs in the rear for towing
Brakes: later A-body discs up front, stock 9-inch drums in the rear
Wheels & Tires: stock Olds
Future plans: In flat-black paint with flames, Jack plans to annihilate as many tires as he can.