Once upon a time there was a ’65 Fairlane sitting in Phil Hale’s brother-in-law’s brother’s garage. Well, at least the roller was inside; the engine had a bad cam bearing, and many other parts were scattered outside rusting away. Phil scored it for $2,500 in April of 2006 as a retirement present to himself. He figured it would be a good, simple winter project, but with time on his hands, plans quickly expanded. The Fairlane was shipped off to Snow Cap Collision in La Pine, Oregon, for body and paintwork. Next step was to overhaul the running gear: brakes, U-joints, new 3.25 gears, and reconditioning the little C4 with a shift kit and a Hughes 2,500-stall converter. That kept him occupied until winter 2007 when the Fairlane got a new interior from Dearborn Classics and a Secret Audio stereo with a 10-disc CD changer. After that came 15x6 and 17x7 American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels with 195/60R15 and 225/50R17 BFG g-Force TAs. Done? Not quite. As a very wise man once said, “An extra 100 hp is always desirable,” so in went a new 302ci roller cam engine topped with an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap with two AVS 500 carbs. Phil says the Fairlane makes a great cruiser for now, but he plans to keep improving it with time. After all, that’s what hot rodders do with their retirement, right?
Curtis McLachlan Incline Village, NV
What do you do with one of the world’s most iconic luxury automobiles that doesn’t run and costs two arms and three legs to fix? Well, if you’re Curtis McLachlan you build a street rod out of it. Curtis told us he spotted this ’74 Silver Shadow sitting in a neighbor’s backyard and watched it slowly get buried deeper in weeds for five years before he couldn’t take it anymore, and he stopped by to check it out. Though the Rolls had certainly seen better days, it was all there—but it all would have to be completely redone. The problem there is that the cost of redoing any Rolls-Royce is more than the national debt, and the reliability was obviously questionable. But as owner of Curtis Custom Classics, Curtis did a little measuring and had the answer: a 502ci GM crate motor and a 700-R4 trans with 2,800-stall converter would motivate the Rolls nicely. The SS Super Rolls, as he calls it, required custom mounts and crossmember, a new wiring harness, and a FAST XFI system, but other than that everything fit. Inside, Curtis gave his luxury ride on steroids an all-new interior with plush Italian leather and a JL Audio sound and video system. The stock suspension system was kept for that famous Rolls-Royce ride, only altered by a one-off set of 18-inch Rolls-Royce wheels. We think our favorite part would be the look on people’s faces outside a posh restaurant when this Rolls is fired up!
Richard Gray • Shelbyville, TN
Apparently the barns are better out in Tennessee. Richard Gray tells us this awesome Gothic Gold ’59 more-door Impy is a legit barn find with 62,000 original miles, made extra rare by the fact that it’s a seldom seen four-door hardtop. The body was so mint that Richard went right for the mods and dropped in a 383ci stoker backed by a 700-R4 transmission. The puny original drum brakes were no match for that combo, so SSBC disc brakes went in along with American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels to mount some fatter rubber. Other than that, a 100-amp alternator, new gas tank and gas lines, stainless dual exhaust, and a little help from a Painless wiring harness was all it took to get the Impala to better than new in short order. The interior, except for carpet, is all original, but it did get new weatherstripping, Auto Meter gauges, a Vintage Air system, and custom Autosound radio with a 10-disc changer. All the work was done by Richard, his two sons, his uncle, and his brother who handled the minor bodywork and a repaint to the original colors.
Despite the fact that it’s taken top honors at several car shows, Levi Fincher tells us he’s always dreamed of having his car in a magazine. Consider it fulfilled, Levi; you get top billing in Hometown Hot Rodding this month! It’s tough enough to build a cool Camaro when you’re a family man with two kids to be responsible for, but Levi had an additional setback when the engine being built for his LS conversion got tangled up in the bankruptcy of a shop. He didn’t let it get in the way for long though; after licking his wounds and finding a donor car, Levi got his ride back on the road. Now the ’68 sports a healthy LS1 with a 224 R Texas Speed Cam, Temple Transmission 4L60E with a 3,200-stall converter, and an Auburn posi with 3.73 gears to get it motivated. Getting the power to the pavement is a set of Centerline Convo Pro wheels shod with Nitto 555 tires. It’s not all about speed, though; Levi also upgraded the creature comforts with keyless entry, Auto Meter phantom gauges, and, of course, Vintage Air to keep the black-on-black Camaro bearable in the sweltering Texas summers.
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