Bryon Lawrenz, Pueblo, CO
Bryon Lawrenz was in his sophomore year in high school in 2007 when he found this ’75 Nova parked on a side street with the “For Sale” sign asking $1,500. After talking price, he bought the car for $1,000 and drove it home. The following summer, Bryon and his grandpa Rick Lawrenz, painted the Nova in his airplane hangar and the vinyl top was added to complete the Cabriolet look. The Nova was used as Bryon’s daily driver all throughout high school, and is currently still his ride while in college. In the fall of 2011, the old 350 was starting to go through a quart of oil a week, so Bryon decided it was time to drop in a new engine. A family friend, Tony Martinet, built a new 350 and with the help of two uncles, his dad, both brothers, and his best friend, the team managed to pull the old engine and trans out of the car in less than a day. Bryon’s brother, Michael, then tore down the trans and rebuilt it within a few hours so that it could be reinstalled with the new engine the following day. The Nova was also treated with an MSD Street Fire distributor, Edelbrock valve covers, two-barrel Rochester carb, and Flowmaster exhaust. Down the road, Bryon plans on redoing the upholstery and the whole interior including new dash and gauges. In the next few months, he plans on fixing the surface rust on the panels and touching up the paint of the car. In the meantime, he’ll still be sliding behind the wheel daily.
Charles Michael Lewis, Nashville, TN
Charles Lewis picked up this amazingly clean ’78 Thunderbird from the original owner back in 1987. He was looking for something different from all the ’80s Mustangs and Camaros cruising the lot, plus at $1,500 it fit his high school budget. With a few tweaks of the timing and carb, Charles soon realized the potential of the car. The 400M engine made good torque and the T-bird’s control arm rear suspension made for a surprisingly well-handling ride for such a large car.
During the ’90s, more modifications came. The 400M was bored .30 over and rebuilt with a mild Melling cam, 9.5:1 pistons, Weiand intake, and an Edelbrock 600 carb. The machine work was done by a local shop, but Charles and a buddy did all the teardown and reassembly in his parent’s garage. A few years later the suspension and heavy-duty brakes were given a full rebuild and 17x8 and 18x10 wheels were added to put everything to good use. A C6 was slid in place of the original FMX, along with a set of Hooker Super Competition headers. The T-bird is a weekend toy rather than a daily driver now, which will give Charles more time for more mods, including a Gear Vendors overdrive, Edelbrock cylinder heads, bigger brakes, and suspension upgrades. In the aesthetics department, Charles is also pondering a custom cowl hood that follows the lines of the original.