1969 Pontiac Firebird

Earl Blundell, Marion, AR

“Unreal!” “Very nice!” “Sick car!” Earl Blundell says it’s amazing to him to hear these things about his Firebird after working on it for so long. But now that it’s finished, he can stand in his garage and smile, knowing that he accomplished his original goal. “I took a junker, and with some time and dedication, created a monster, a beautiful monster,” Blundell told us. Back in 1969, Blundell’s uncle bought the Firebird. It was the car he and his new wife drove on their honeymoon. Many years later, it was also the first car Blundell ever drag raced. Seven years ago, Blundell bought the car with the intention to just build a driver, but with the help and motivation from his family, Javier’s paint and body, and Precision Race engines, the project turned into much more. Working on it once a week, Blundell dropped in a 575hp Weiand-blown 383ci small-block with an Eagle forged crank and H-beam rods, 9.2:1 Mahle forged pistons, CNC-ported Patriot Race Rite 225cc heads with 2.08/1.60 valves, MSD coil, plug wires, 6 BTM box, and a COMP Cams solid roller cam. A Strange Super 60 with a Detroit Locker, 4.10 gears, 35-spline axles, and Strange chrome-moly driveshaft gets the power to the ground. A Unisteer manual rack with ididit steering column and Hotchkis springs help him keep the power in check. Many more future upgrades are in the works for the interior and suspensions, but first things first: Blundell intends on enjoying what he has for a while.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo

Bob Morse, Pittsgrove, NJ

Cars from the ’80s are the perfect affordable option for hot rodding since they’re still easy to find in decent shape. Take this ’85 Monte Carlo for example; it only took $500 for Bob Morse to bring home a clean base for a build with his son. Luckily, the body was very straight and had very little rust, so they were able to dive right in and yank the entire drivetrain and kick it to the curb. For the new combo, the Morse boys opted for a new 350ci/330hp crate motor backed by a rebuilt Muncie four-speed and a custom driveshaft. Part of us thinks they should have gone for more gears, the other loves the retro-ness of it. In the rear, a 10-bolt 8.5 out of an ’87 Buick Grand National was swapped in. Yes, they know that’s a ’60s Ford color, but it just happened to match the vision they had for the color. Now that it’s back on the road, Bob reports that the Monte has exceeded their expectations. It runs and handles great, and is a blast to drive.