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'73 Datsun 240Z
Jim Wells Pleasanton, California
Born into a motorsports-fanatic family, it was easy for Jim Wells to follow suit and grow up to own several big-displacement American cars and trucks. Recently, Jim had an eye on this particular Datsun 240Z. The owner refused Jim's offers to buy for two years before finally caving. The car was in good shape, minus that there were several layers of paint that were now faded and chipped away. Jim stripped the car to the metal and painted it Dodge Patriot Blue. Getting the small-block Chevy to fit was a cinch, but the big 700-R4 transmission was a different story. Originally equipped with a slim-line manual, the tunnel wasn't meant to fit an automatic of that size. Being a mechanic himself, Jim only saw it as a challenge. Now he has a show-quality 240Z with a 357-inch, aluminum-headed, roller-cammed small-block ready to go for the autocross or road race course. Next on Jim's list is a DeTomaso Pantera. It looks like Jim has a thing for domestically powered imports!
'61 Chevy Bel Air
Larry Nirenberg Newton, Massachusetts
Most people get the car bug from their father or an uncle, but Larry Nirenberg got the enthusiasm for fast cars from his dad's ice cream plant manager. The lineup of cars Larry has had since his early days is longer than most people's grocery list. He's had some oddball cars and really wanted something with a Chevy 409 that he could order parts for rather than hunting them down at the junkyard. He found his dream '61 Bel Air in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, thanks to the Internet. Larry flew out to look at the car in the shop it was built. There were a couple things Larry wanted changed like the color of the roof and a brake upgrade, which the shop did right away. When it was done, Larry and a friend went up with a big truck and enclosed trailer to bring her home. After an hour at customs, they got someone who understood the laws about importing an American car back to America and they were off. Since its return to the States, the 409 got an EFI system and complete engine rebuild. Suspension is equally upgraded with Global West control arms, Hotchkis sway bars, VariShock adjustable shocks, and lowering springs to go along with the SSBC brakes.
'63 Chevy Nova
Al Cook Burlington, Ontario, Canada
When you hear 1963, you think of an old car, but this is actually the youngest car to occupy Al Cook's garage. Al usually sticks to '30s Ford coupes and other pre-'48 hot rods, but three years ago he picked up this California-born Nova. It was all original including the four-lug drum brakes and bubbling quarter-panels. First things to go were the hubs, which were traded in for a four-corner five-lug conversion with disc brakes up front. The quarter-panel bubbling couldn't be ignored any longer, so he and his car club buddy replaced both quarters, then sent the car to a shop to paint it the current VW color, Reflex Silver. The car was beautiful but still didn't handle the way he wanted, so he got CPP's mini subframe with tubular control arms to tighten the front end. He digs this modern handler and will be cruising the small-block-powered Nova with his wife for many weekends to come.
'69 Chevy Camaro
Craig Worm Kearney, Nebraska
So you thought legit barnyard finds were just a figment of your imagination? It was a reality for Craig Worm of Kearney, Nebraska. A barn held this matching-numbers '68 RS Camaro with the original 327 and faded Daytona Yellow paint. Craig was determined to do everything he possibly could himself and that's exactly what he did. He painstakingly restored the car to its original glory but left the paint and bodywork to the experts who brought it back to Daytona Yellow. He cruised the car for years as a show-only vehicle, but became tired of that routine. Craig spent a lot of time on Lateral-G.net and Pro-Touring.com where he had been fighting the urge to convert his car to something a little more fun to drive. Finally, he set his car up for the real world of driving with Hotchkis' TVS system. It's all bolt-in, so he can always return it to stock. Now Craig is actually having fun with his car on the road course and Goodguys' Street Challenge Autocross, instead of worrying about it being totally correct.
Mothers Picture Perfect Award
This is the place to show off your pride and joy to the rest of mankind, so we figure those readers who took the time to capture a really cool shot of their hot rod should get a little bonus. Mothers agreed, and decided to come to the party with some freebies for the best picture submitted to PHR.
Each month, the editors at PHR will sift through the images and pick the one with the best composition, lighting, and overall quality. The winner will get a cool assortment of Mothers products to keep his or her ride looking nice and shiny. Mail us a CD with digital images in JPEG form, along with a written description of your car. Remember that digital images need to be 300 dpi, and the bigger the image, the larger it can run. Also, be sure to include info on the car, along with your name and address. Good luck!