1971 Buick Riviera
Ron Daugherty Pocatello, ID
Ron Daugherty is quick to point out that the rare one-of-a-kind Buick Riviera boat-tail only appeared in 1971 and 1972. The premium-level Buick achieved mixed reviews within GM and with customers in general, but Ron says owners of these unique cars should feel lucky as the boat-tail Riv almost didn’t make it beyond the prototype stage. Fortunately, the Riviera was scheduled for production for two years, after which the distinctive shape dissolved into history. Riviera expert Ron says most boat tails found homes in the northeast between New York and Chicago, and weren’t produced long enough to spread throughout the United States. We’re not sure about that one, since we’ve certainly seen them all over, but there could be some truth to the claim.
Ron’s painstakingly accurate ’71 Riviera restoration was mostly undertaken between 1997 and 2002, but continues today. The personal luxury coupe is largely stock, with its cornucopia of factory amenities intact and working with Swiss watch precision. (Sorry smokers, the original hidden ashtray has been removed!) Don’t think, however, that Ron is satisfied to ride glassy-eyed in the slow lane. This Champagne Pearl Beige sled packs an intercooled P-1SC ProCharger that feeds a nearly stock Buick 455ci for around 550 hp. The car has also been lowered 2.5 inches (on QA1 adjustable shocks) for a sleeker look.
1964 Chevrolet Bel Air
Butch Grooms Morristown, TN
Flipping hamburgers at a local drive-in while in high school enabled Butch Grooms to purchase a ’64 Chevy Impala. But after several years of running it to death and rebuilding, Butch traded it off in the early ’80s. At the time, Butch had no idea how influential that Impala was; with each passing year, he missed it more and more. Then in 2005, this ’64 Bel Air showed up. It was a post car, and just begging to be redone. Not too long after this juncture, Butch’s sister, June, died, imparting a new sense of importance to the Bel Air. This Chevy was built in June of 1964—the same as the birth of his sister! After June died in November of 2006, the two-door sedan acquired the same nickname as Butch’s sis: “JuneBug.”
Butch tells us the Bel Air’s engine is a 300hp 327ci small-block that powers a three-speed automatic and a factory Positraction rearend. He credits Rick Michaels of White Pine, Tennessee, for accomplishing the frame-up resto and mile-deep Bahama Blue metallic and pearl white paint. Fullsize Chevy aficionados take note: Butch kept the Bel Air look with the double taillights and sedan roof, but added every chrome piece or accessory that could be had in 1964, thereby elevating it to the Impala look. Johnny Stines, a local icon, stitched the interior in white vinyl, recreating the sedan stitching and blue carpet to keep the plain Bel Air look. The end result is an Impala/Bel Air mix named JuneBug that Butch’s sister would be proud of.
1969 Dodge Coronet
Jeff Clise • Denton, MD
Jeff Clise purchased his ’69 Dodge Coronet just before entering his junior year of high school in 1976. Back in those days, nobody had any idea how valuable the late-’60s Chrysler B-Bodies would become—they were just used cars filtering into the secondary market. But as we know, all that changed. Jeff got married in 1985 after finishing college, then started his business and a family. After 25 years of the car sitting in storage, he finally brought the car to The Hot Rod Garage in Denton, Maryland, for a complete rebuild.
The car is now equipped to perform light-years ahead of its OEM configuration, and takes advantage of a modern-handling Reilly Motorsports front suspension, 13-inch brakes, power rack-and-pinion steering, and custom-built 17-inch Magnum 500 wheels. Jeff hasn’t neglected the engine compartment either: a 472ci Ray Barton Hemi with two four-barrel carbs provides angry quantities of torque to a 518 overdrive transmission and a narrowed Dana 60 rear. Indoors, the attitude is a bit more restrained with a fresh black leather interior, cruise control, and crisp, cool air conditioning. Being a Mopar, it’s only natural that it wear one of Ma Chrysler’s outrageous colors, so a custom pearl version of Sublime Green was laid onto the steel, followed by the Coronet’s trademark Superbee stripes, and six coats of clear.
Jeff’s elated to have the Coronet back on the road after 25 years, and he recently realized his dream by unveiling it at the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. Jeff gives kudos to Ray Bartlett and the rest of the crew at The Hot Rod Garage for helping his fantasy become reality!
1968 Chevy Camaro
Jay Fredericks Almonte, Ontario, Canada
Ten years ago, Jay Fredericks’ wife found this ’68 Camaro under a pile of snow just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Jay writes: “I brought my dad to look at it with me the next day. When we picked it up it had been turned into a stereo competition car, very poorly I might add.” The body was good to go, but the interior metalwork was totally shot. Jay and his dad spent the next couple of years tearing it apart and cleaning the underside of the car, all with the anticipation of the much cooler performance goodies that were to come. It took another couple of years before Jay found the money to do the job the way he wanted. The list of upgrades includes an LS6 powerplant from a ’02 Z06, a T56 six-speed with a Pro 5.0 shifter and LS7 clutch assembly with full hydraulic linkage, a 12-bolt rearend with 4.10 gears, QA1 shocks, Hotchkis drop leaves in the rear, Eibach springs in front with SSBC drop spindles, SSBC four-wheel disc brake conversion, 18-inch Foose Monterrey wheels with Nitto NT555 tires, and Global West control arms.
After 10 years of moving the car around and finally getting the job done, Jay says it’s very nice to just get out and drive! Says Jay: “I would like to thank my dad for all the hard work he has put into this car over the years. Without him it just wouldn’t have been possible.”