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1966 Pontiac LeMans
Bill Herder • Peters Township, PA
Being raised in a Chevy-only family, Bill Herder grew up thinking Chevrolet was the only manufacturer that produced high-performance engines. With his dad’s help, he started his first project, a ’73 Camaro. After an engine fire claimed the car, he put doing a build on hold. He had a couple other cars throughout the years, but nothing that really stuck. Then came the Pontiac. “My goals were to have a very streetable, reliable, visually striking car with at least 500 hp that could handle as well as a modern car. In other words, I wanted it all,” Bill says. He didn’t want a car he would feel criminal cutting up so he bought this ’66 LeMans. Within three weeks of delivery, Bill had the entire car in baggies or on a parts rack. He sent the frame along to Mark Savitske of Savitske Classic to modify and powdercoat the frame. From there it got a Pontiac 462ci stroker, Tremec TKO-600 five-speed, tubular control arms, and Wilwood brakes. At the car shows people assume it’s a high-dollar shop-built trailer queen, but in truth, most of the work Bill did himself in his garage, and the car is driven because it’s built to drive.
1968 Chevy Camaro
Rodney Prouty San Mateo, CA
While working at Steve’s Camaros in San Bruno, California, Rodney Prouty answered a call from a woman looking to sell a ’69 Camaro. Rodney made the trip out to her house to check it out and found that it was actually a ’68, or what was left of one. The shell was badly damaged, but it was still a Camaro. He asked the woman how much she wanted for it. The answer of $100 shocked Rodney. After trying to convince her she could get more out of it, she stood by her offer and the car was his. “I don’t know what made my heart beat faster, the excitement of owning a ’68 Camaro, or the sense that I was probably in way over my head,” Rodney says. Over the next two years he worked on his budget build, finding most of what he needed on Craigslist, funding those purchases with cash earned by selling the spare parts on eBay. He has since bought some fancy suspension components to get more out of the car at autocross events, but he’s keeping it reasonable. After a thousand ideas on paint schemes, Rodney finally committed to white with a play on the traditional hockey stripe graphic.
1978 Chevy Camaro
Mark Giles • Big Stone Gap, VA
The initial build plan was to go with a Pro Street motif, that was until owner Mark Giles got a job at a stock car chassis shop and his aspirations shifted. His boss tried to convince him to build a three-link with coilovers, but Mark wanted to make it like a Cup car. He started working on the frame in the living room of his apartment until he moved to Virginia, where he could really get to work. There he built the cage, fabricated the inner tin work, and started the bodywork. He took a factory nose and created an air dam and gutted a hood to clear his air cleaner. A flat hood would have worked if he stuck to his big-block Chevy with no carburetor spacer plan, but after seeing what a 2-inch spacer did to his dyno numbers, he made the sacrifice. He swapped out the original front and back glass for Lexan pieces from Pro-Glass, but kept the stock door glass. Consumed with the race aspects of the build, Mark ran the door bars right where the window crank needed to be. Instead of moving the bars, he found a set of electric window motors as the solution and ended up being the only piece of luxury in this race car. Mark tricked out the rest of the car with oval exhaust tubing, pinion-mounted parking brake, and a dry-sump oiling system.