1967 Ford Mustang
Shane Bowman • Blountsville, AL
Shane Bowman found his dream shop in Alabama, and it just so happened to come with a house, so he bought it. Soon he was trolling the back roads looking for a new project. He finally spotted a familiar profile of a ’67 coupe—like he had in high school—sitting out in a field. The owner was tired of moving it to cut the grass, so for $25 and dinner at a local diner, it was his. Shane restored the body and had it nearly ready to run with a 289 and three-speed, until an intriguing idea occurred to him. He hated everything about his daily driver Mercedes-Benz except the straight-five diesel engine, and he’d sure like to drive the Mustang everyday with good mileage. You can see where this is going; the diesel dropped right in with just custom mounts and a bellhousing spliced together from the original Mercedes-Benz and a Ford toploader.
1964 Ford Falcon
Chuck Kretsinger • Idyllwild, CA
Gassers are retro, but right now the revived interest in them is as high as the stance. We have seen guys gasser-izing nearly everything lately, but next to Tri-Five Chevys, the ’60-65 Falcons are probably our second choice as the best-looking cars to shove a straight axle under. For this one Chuck Kretsinger is going full ’70s style, which is appropriate for this particular car since it had been residing in a scrap yard in Long Beach, California, since 1973. How it survived intact we’ll never know, but the body is remarkably straight; most of the bodywork has consisted of welding up dozens of trim holes. Our favorite touch so far, though, is the ’65 Mustang rear wheelwells. This gasser won’t be a car show cruiser, though; when finished this summer in Candy Apple Red, Chuck plans to drive it during the week and race it on the weekend.
1955 Chevy 210 Wagon
Tony L. Morse • Pellston, MI
When 17-year-old Tony Morse cruised this ’55 to high school back in 1974, it had a 396 and a Muncie four-speed with 4:11s. It was cool, but a ’72 Chevelle SS soon occupied his time and money, followed by marriage and a family. After 30-plus years of being set aside, it’s time to get the Handyman back on the road with all the touches Tony dreamed about back then, such as flares, fenderwell headers, and a retro-cool one-piece fiberglass frontend. The radiused rear wheelwells, Ansen slots with M&H Racemaster slicks, and the big teardrop hoodscoop will remain—just like the old days. The Chevelle that originally caused the wagon to slide from the limelight will donate its 454, TH400, and posi 12-bolt with 3:73 gears. With Hedman headers, Cherry Bombs, and 18x4 resonators, Tony says it sounds like the ’70s again when he fires it up.
1971 Ford Ranchero
Clark Watkins • Carmel, CA
We love basing PHR projects on distinctive platforms, and Clark Watkins’ track-prepped ’71 Ranchero is right up our alley. The ’70-71 body has a rakish and aggressive frontend styling, and since it’s essentially a Torino, there are good suspension parts and tricks available. Clark’s main focus so far has been removing weight and enhancing the aerodynamic profile of the already decently sleek Ranchero. Custom ground effects and front air splitter, a bellypan, and a lightweight aluminum bedcover help him reduce drag and lift and take full advantage of the 620hp 408ci Cleveland underhood. He didn’t get specific on his goals for the Ranchero, just the simple mandate of “drive, show, race.” Actually, that sounds just right to us.
For this year’s reader project roundup Detroit-based Equipe Watches donated one of their bitchin’ Big-Block watches to the reader with the best combination of cool concept, good photography/artwork, and solid construction technique. Jerry Stewart’s ’62 Dart is bold and ambitious, and he deserves a timepiece that reflects those qualities! The automotive-themed Big-Block timepiece Jerry wins is a full-function chronograph ($449) with a stainless steel body and piston-themed push-buttons. Congrats to Jerry and thanks to Equipe for making our contest a reality!