Got a car you want the world to see?
David Semel Saylorsburg, PA
“I always knew someday I wanted to own a Corvette,” David Semel says. From his earliest memories there was just something about the intrinsic styling DNA that runs through the Vette lineage that pulled him away from other cars. For many years though, he just couldn’t get himself to commit to a generation; C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6—there’s just plenty to like about all of them. The early Vettes sure are beautiful, but the late models are fast and handle precisely. What to choose? Then one day at the Corvettes at Carlisle show he ran across a modified C1 with a new frame, C4 suspension, and modern engine, and knew he’d found exactly what he needed. It was timeless styling paired with the technology evolutions of the later Corvettes. Working with Southern Street Rods and Corvettes (SSRC) in Fort Pierce, Florida, a donor C5 Vette was purchased for the suspension and paired with a custom frame built by SSRC. The LS1 was sold in favor of an LS2. As for the body, SSRC procured a severely neglected ’58 that sat in a field in Alabama for 20 years. The chassis was completely ruined, but the body was savable. It took two years of hard work by Norm Church and Johnny Cano at SSRC, but the new creation dubbed ’58 Redux is the perfect custom Corvette blend that makes David feel like he got exactly what he always wanted.
Wade Labofish Annapolis, MD
Just because it’s your daily beater doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with it. Wade Labofish’s ’94 Mustang currently serves as his A to B, “gotta get me there” ride, but he’s still formulating his list of parts to make it as enjoyable as possible. We dig that kind of hot rodding, because it causes your whole focus to shift and moderate itself somewhat. Rather than looking for the highest horsepower or most aggressive parts on the market, daily driver hot rodding becomes more about creating something that’s refined and responsible, but still a thrill to drive. Chassis-wise, Wade wants to throw most of the Maximum Motorsports catalog at it to get it faster on freeway on-ramps and through the curves of Summit Point Raceway, while keeping the spring rates livable, of course. Underhood the dependable 5.0 is still performing reliably with over 150K on the clock, but it may not be there too much longer. Wade’s putting his pennies aside with an eye toward a Coyote 5.0 swap that’ll give him an easy 412 hp, new reliability, and good mileage.
Doug & Marie Ousdigian • Chaska, MN
“I have owned many Mopars. My first was a ’68 ’Cuda,” Doug Ousdigian says. We knew right away Doug was a Mopar man through and through. His latest venture is this extra evil ’72 Challenger that he and his wife, Marie, purchased in 1995. It originally was B5 blue with a 318. Nice, but a far cry from the beast Doug envisioned it becoming. Since then Doug and Marie have worked on it every winter, slowly transforming it piece by piece. The first year, they built and installed a 360 small-block, drove it on the street, drag raced it, and performed minor upgrades until 2003. After that they decided it was finally time to tear in and go all out with a new 485ci Hemi built by Tim Banning at For Hemis Only. With the help of a .610/.570-inch lift COMP Cams solid-roller cam, Stage V aluminum heads, and Stage V aluminum dual-quad intake, the new Hemi bestowed 742 hp at 6,500 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 5,400 rpm. Getting that grunt to the ground is an A727 TorqueFlite mated to a Mark Williams chrome-moly driveshaft and a Dana 60 with Hi-Torque axles and 3.54 gears. After the power came the shine; the body received a partial restoration in 2005 by Muscle Car Restorations. No word on the quarter-mile times, but Doug and Marie report that the Challenger now consistently receives “First Place in Class” trophies as well as “Best of Show” and a couple Spectator Choice Awards.
Lee McClure • Wichita, KS
Lee McClure bought this car about four years ago—right before his second deployment to Iraq. He figured it would give him something to keep his mind busy while being gone. Though he’d had a ’64 El Camino as a daily driver for eight years, the Nova felt like his first true hot rod. He even already had a good story; he “wrecked” the Nova a few hours before he bought it while doing the first testdrive. The owner had removed his chrome wheels and put some junk rollers on. Unfortunately, he didn’t torque the lug nuts properly and the driver-side front tire passed him while doing about 20 mph. Some minor suspension and body damage, and a long walk back was all that happened, and Lee still bought it. Looking over the smoking 327ci, TH350, skinny tires, and no interior after he dragged it into his shop, the urge to wrench came on strong. What started out to just be a mild build quickly turned into an all-out effort thanks to combat pay, SummitRacing.com, and the guys at Holzman Racing in Wichita, Kansas. Don’t feel bad Lee, it’s a common contagion around here too. Now the Nova packs a 383ci with 10:1 compression, a TCI frontend with rack-and-pinion steering, manual disc brakes and a line lock, a four-point rollcage, manual valvebody reverse-pattern TH350 with a B&M ratchet shifter, and a shortened 10-bolt rearend with 4.10 posi. That’ll have to do for a while; Lee recently got married and now has a 4-year-old stepdaughter. He’s also currently stationed in Germany, but getting behind the wheel of the Nova again is giving him plenty to keep his mind occupied.