LS9 Nova
1967 Chevy Nova
Builder: Chris Holstrom Concepts

When it first came to Chris Holstrom Concepts (CHC) in the spring of 2011, this 1967 Nova for customer Phil Mitchell was an unfinished project, but it already had one of the most surprising elements installed: one of the first crate LS9 engines from Chevrolet. So it had an amazing engine, but that was really about all. The Nova was just a stripped roller with no doors or front sheetmetal when it rolled off the trailer at CHC. Originally the plan was to order an Art Morrison frame to set the body on, but after a thorough assessment showed the Nova to be exceptionally rust-free, Chris Holstrom couldn't bear to cut the factory floors out. Instead, he turned to Detroit Speed & Engineering (DSE) for their new front subframe and QuadraLink rear suspension.

Despite all that, the plan was to keep the body, trim, and interior very Nova appropriate, though far finer finished than they ever were originally. We were quite impressed with the level of finish and craftsmanship all over the car, but perhaps most by the flat hood. Care was taken to ensure the LS9 would fit under a stock-style carbon-fiber hood from Anvil Auto, so there's absolutely no external indication that such a beast lurks within such a small car. We never saw it coming.

Apparently Goodguys and Sony were equally mesmerized, as the Nova was not only awarded the Goodguys Gold award at SEMA, but it was also chosen as the Gran Turismo Best in Show winner and will be included as a playable vehicle in a future game release.

By The Numbers
Engine: 700hp supercharged GM LS9
Trans: Tremec T56 Magnum
Suspension/Chassis: DSE front subframe, DSE QuadraLink rear
Brakes: 14-inch Baer six-piston
Wheels & Tires: 18x9 and 19x11 RB3C Forgeline, Continental Contisport tires
Contact: Chris Holstrom Concepts; 253-435-5385;

Street Shaker
1970 Dodge Charger
Builder: Z Rods & Customs/ Competition Fabrications

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get a new shop up and on its legs, and this 1970 Charger is a perfect example of such a sacrifice. Built by Z Rods & Customs of Knox, Indiana, in collaboration with Competition Fabrications of Maple Park, Illinois, the project is known as "Street Shaker." The car, in a twist of fate, was originally sold to fund the beginning of Z Rods & Customs, who then ended up being commissioned to build the car as the shop's first project. The current owner of the Charger, Dalton Davis, wanted a Hemi and the PPG paint color named Bad Penny—everything else was on the table for Z Rods to build however it saw fit. It's hard to ask for anything more than that for a new shop looking to make a name!

Lots of metalworking time was spent crafting the flush bumpers and hand-fabricating the hood with a well-integrated 'Cuda Shaker hoodscoop to feed twin FAST throttle bodies. Other subtle touches include the reliefs atop the front fenders that mimic the door indentations, the 1968 Corvette door handles, the functional rear brake cooling scoops on the quarter-panel made from a GTO hood, and the custom tailpanel and rear spoiler. The interior of the car was treated to carbon-fiber work done by Z Rods & Customs and Competition Fabrications, while the microsuede was stitched by Creative Auto Tops and Interiors of Oswego, Illinois. For their first time out, Z Rods stirred up quite a lot of positive attention at SEMA, we're interested to see project number two!

By The Numbers
Engine: Wegner Automotive 800hp aluminum 572ci Hemi, CNC-ported Indy Cylinder Heads, twin throttle-body FAST EFI
Trans: Tremec TKO five-speed
Suspension/Chassis: custom tube chassis up front with coilovers, four-link rear with coilovers, Strange 9-inch with 3.55 gears
Brakes: 14-inch Wilwood 4-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels & Tires:
18x10 and 20x12 Billet Specialties Velocity Wheels with 245/45 and 335/35 Michelin Pilot Sport Tires
Contact: Z Rods & Customs/Competition Specialties; 630-365-5408;