1968 Pontiac Firebird
Steve Travers, Polk City, FL
Steve Travers’ first car was a ’67 Camaro, so he’d been on the hunt for a first-gen F-body when he came across this ’68 Firebird. Though it had been hit in back, it was relatively rust free, and he had a vision of exactly what to do with it. Steve decided to create a “what if” car, as in “what if” GM had built a 455-powered Trans Am in 1968 with the paint graphics of the ’69 455 Firebird test mule that Pontiac mocked up but never built using the ’69 rear wing and turned aluminum dash? The result is a pretty striking Firebird with a unique personality and a bit of history.
Underhood, Steve brought the power with a 10.5:1 455ci Poncho with KRE D-port heads ported to flow 310 cfm, a .488-lift, 247-degree COMP cam, Harland Sharpe roller rockers, ported Edelbrock Performer intake, Edelbrock Performer 800-cfm carb, PerTronix HEI distributor, and Hooker ceramic-coated headers mated to dual Flowmaster mufflers. Behind that is a Tremec five-speed trans with a McCleod dual disc hydraulic clutch inside a Lakewood bellhousing. For now a GM corporate 10-bolt with 3.23 gears tries to get it all to the tires, but a Moser 12-bolt rear is in the works. The stance on the stock suspension is already pretty good, but Steve plans to up the handling capabilities with a four-link rear and aftermarket front control arms with coilovers.
1973 Ford Pinto
Logan Knisely, New Philadelphia, OH
Logan Knisely is only 15, but he’s already got his first hot rod project ready to roll. Originally Logan’s dad bought this Pinto wagon in 1986 for $300 from a family friend. He gave it to Logan’s uncle to drive, but he wasn’t fond of the red and woodgrain trim combo, so he and Logan’s grandpa started to fix up the Pinto. The interior was replaced, the rear windows were filled with sheetmetal to create a sedan delivery, and the Pinto was dipped in Garnet Red. Doesn’t sound like a great deal of work, but it actually took so long to get the car done that Logan’s uncle ended up buying another car to drive and the Pinto just sat in Logan’s grandpa’s garage. All that work, and it’s only been driven 286 miles since 1993. When Logan turned 2, his dad reclaimed the Pinto and put it in storage with the idea that it would make a great first car for Logan someday. All that storage time worked out well for Logan; he and his dad pulled the Pinto out of storage last November and brought it home. After cleaning off 14 years of dust and grime off the car, the paint still looked pretty good!
Check out the shaved door handle!
1966 Chevy Nova
Ryan and Katy Sandlin, Cedar Hill, TX
Ryan and Katy Sandlin love classic cars; one of their favorite family outings is to take their kids to local classic car shows to see the cars and soak up the friendly atmosphere. One day Katy decided she wanted a car; the catch was they needed something that could carry the whole family. Obviously, a coupe was out of the question, but Ryan found the perfect project basis with this ’66 Nova four-door. Ryan set out to make it a comfortable driver with the help of his father-in-law and Carl’s Custom Cars in Red Oak, Texas. The engine bay was doused in chrome and billet including a polished Edelbrock intake and carb on the rebuilt 350. Driveability and comfort were high on the list, so the suspension was fully rebuilt with a mini A-frame kit, power steering and brakes, and a Vintage Air system to keep everyone cool inside.
They’re making good use of the chosen upgrades, too. Ryan tells us he loves entering the Nova in shows and seeing the faces of his wife and kids light up when it wins awards. We love that image; the family that cruises together stays together!
1965 Mustang Fastback
Pete Giustozzi, St. Petersburg, FL
Twenty-five years ago Pete Guistozzi picked up a seriously beat Mustang fastback for a mere $800. Of course it had no front clip or floorboards, a frozen engine, and a busted trans. But it was a fastback! First it needed a driveline, so in went a built 302 from a previous project and the C4 was rebuilt with a ’65 valvebody with shift kit, GER 2,200-stall convertor, and Hurstmatic ratcheting shifter. Since everything was missing up front, he opted for a drag race fiberglass front clip from J.C. Whitney and modified it. A swap meet B&M 144 supercharger with a 15-pound overdrive pulley can be credited for the decision to go full-on Pro Street car, bolting on the big rear meats.
Unfortunately a messy divorce sidelined the progress, but it did put the fastback on the road; Pete rattle canned it with gray primer and it became his daily driver—despite no carpet, a busted front seat, and lots of rust. Once he was able to pick up another driver, the fastback took Pete over 3½ years to complete, but it was worth it though. Now dubbed “Wicked,” the fastback is a huge hit whenever Pete rumbles the streets in it.