Each year, we hold our annual photo contest where readers send in their best shots of their muscle machinery. We publish the best ones in our January readers' rides issue, but there are always a few extra special entries that are accompanied by lovely ladies. Rather than throw them in the mix with the rest, we pull them off to the side and save them for later.
Did you miss our photo contest and want to send in pix of your muscle car, or pix of your lady posing with your pride and joy? It's not too late; we're always looking for both to fill some pages. Just send us a CD with some nice high-res photos, specs of your car, and a short one-page story. We'll also need to know your hometown, and any info about your model (age, hometown, relation to you). Send them to: Popular Hot Rodding, Attn.: Hometown Hot Rodding, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606.
Tabetha Swise, 20; Canton, IL
Owner: Stan Owen; Canton, IL
Tabetha Swise wasn't even a gleam in her daddy's eye when Al Hofmann won his first national Top Fuel Funny Car event in 1991, but we're sure she still appreciates all the effort Al took in building this '63 split-window coupe, which now belongs to her friend, Stan Owen. According to Stan's letter, the '63 originally was home to a blown 572ci Keith Black big-block Chevy-the goal being to hit over 200 mph should the need arise. (Remember, 200 was merely loafing for someone used to going over 300!) It now has a far tamer 502ci crate motor, but the rock-solid Morrison frame, Wilwood brakes, Strange rearend, and other hefty mods still stand as a testament to Hofmann's cred as a street car builder. The car was built originally as a calling card for Al Hofmann Motorsports, and as Stan put it, "With Al Hofmann's background as a long-time NHRA Nitro Funny Car driver, it isn't hard to figure out why the street cars he built had a pretty aggressive combination of parts." Hofmann died of a heart attack at his home in Eustis, Florida, on March 20, 2008, but his work as a hot rodder continues to live on in cars like Stan Owens' split-window coupe.
By The Numbers
Engine: Chevrolet Performance 502 crate motor with aluminum heads and Holley 850-cfm carb
Trans: Richmond five-speed manual with 4-inch aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: aluminum Ford 9-inch with Strange 35-spline axles
Suspension: Art Morrison chassis with tubular A-arms, rack-and-pinion steering, Koni adjustable coilovers, four-link rear with Panhard bar
Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes, front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 15x4 (front) and 15x14 (rear) Weld Convo-Pro with 26x7.5 (front) and 33x18.5 (rear) Mickey Thompson ET Street
Cool Factoid: When Stan bought the car from Al Hofmann, he had Hofmann's shop change the color from white to blue with ghost flames.
Dina Kolposkov, 21; Redlands, CA
1969 Camaro RS Z/28
Owner: Barry Vogel; Moreno Valley, CA
Twenty-one-year-old model Dina Kolposkov is probably unaware that the hollowed ground under her feet in this picture is none other than Riverside International Raceway, which was bulldozed for a shopping mall and housing development three years before she was born. On or very near that patch of ground, cars like her friend Barry Vogel's '69 Z/28 battled for supremacy in the Trans-Am series, and in October of 1969, Mark Donohue won the Trans-Am race in Riverside with-you guessed it-a '69 Camaro. Barry bought his '69 as a self-described basket case for $500 way back in 1980. Barry is an old-school hot rodder, so he hit the local junkyards, swap meets, and "Camaro people," doing most of the restoration work in his own garage, many years before the Internet. To test his finished masterpiece, Barry drove it on the Hot Rod Power Tour and did the "long haul" twice, once in 1998 and then in 1999. Barry reports that the 302 small-block gets between 19 and 21 mpg on the highway in Fourth gear between 3,600 and 4,000 rpm!
By The Numbers
Engine: 302ci small-block Chevy with "492" casting heads, "151" Chevrolet hydraulic camshaft, Bow Tie "marine" intake manifold, and Rochester Quadrajet carb
Trans: M21 Muncie four-speed manual
Rearend: 12-bolt with 3.73 gears
Suspension: stock Z/28
Brakes: stock Z/28, front discs, rear drums
Wheels & Tires: 15x7 GM rally wheels with 235/60R15 (front) and 275/60R15 (rear) BFGoodrich T/As
Cool Factoid: Barry says his Z/28 has run a best quarter-mile lap of 12.84/104, and still plays eight-track tapes through the original radio!
Karen Kay Mueller, 29; St. Paul, MN
1964 Chevy Impala SS
Owner: Dave Mueller; St. Paul, MN
Dave Mueller loves going to car shows, cruise nights, and hanging out with buddies and talking about cars-and his supportive wife, Karen, is a big part of the equation. Dave purchased his '64 Impala Super Sport on eBay back in 2004 for $5,800, and he's slowly brought his fullsized classic up to snuff on his modest police sergeant's salary over a period of six years. Dave spent most of his dollars getting the engine rebuilt, then he had enough left to put in some killer tunes with an Alpine CD player with an Eclipse amp and speakers. The finishing touch was a mirror-flat Tuxedo Black paintjob with three coats of clear. Dave tells us the Impy is pretty much finished, and now he's turning his attention to a '50 Chevy Deluxe that he's turning into a Nostalgia drag coupe. He also has a '78 Olds 442 four-speed car that is one rare modern classic.
By The Numbers
Engine: 327ci small-block Chevy with Edelbrock Performer RPM heads and intake, COMP Cams Xtreme Energy cam (.507/.510 lift, 284/296 duration), Holley 650-cfm double-pumper carb
Trans: aluminum Powerglide two-speed automatic with shift kit and 3,000-stall converter
Rearend: GM 10-bolt with 3.73 gears and Auburn Pro Series differential
Suspension: stock GM, Monroe shocks
Brakes: stock power front discs and rear drums
Wheels & Tires: 14-inch GM steel wheels with 215/70R14 (front) and 225/70R14 (rear) BFG
Cool Factoid: Dave gives credit for his love of muscle cars to a '68 Camaro SS that he owned in high school.
Breanna Leigh Rachac, 23; Fargo, ND
1980 Chevy Monza Spyder 2+2
Owner: Brad Rachac; Forest River, ND
Don't get any ideas, because Breanna Leigh Rachac is not only her local track's bracket champion two years running, she's also the daughter of car owner Brad Rachac! The weapon of choice is one of our favorites from GM's diminutive H-body platform-the Chevy Monza. These cars were not only among the most lightweight in the GM fleet, they also came equipped with optional V-8 engines. While they weren't that strong back in the day, it does mean there's plenty of room for more potent small-block transplants with little or no modification necessary. That's exactly the move owner Brad made when preparing his daughter's race Monza with a 350ci crate motor from Chevrolet Performance. Brad also credits Sanderson headers and Flowmaster mufflers for plenty of unfettered power and an easy fit in the small engine compartment and chassis. Brad says Breanna not only drives the car, but she helps wrench on it, adding that she's been racing since she was 16.
By The Numbers
Engine: Chevrolet Performance 350ci crate motor with Vortec cast-iron heads, LT4 "Hot" roller cam, 1.6 roller rockers, Demon 650-cfm double-pumper, Chevrolet Performance intake
Trans: TCI-built Turbo 350 with TCI 3,500-stall converter
Rearend: GM 10-bolt with 3.42 gears, Auburn posi, and Moser axles
Suspension: stock with KYB drag shocks, traction bars, subframe connectors
Brakes: five-bolt S10 discs (front) and Camaro drums (rear)
Wheels & Tires: Weld 15-inch Drag Stars with BFG front runners and Hoosier 26x8.5 slicks
Cool Factoid: Breanna says the Monza normally runs mid 12s on motor, which is the way she bracket races it. On test and tune nights when it's a free-for-all, she likes to crack open the nitrous bottle and run 11.60s.
Dagmar Jaworski, 29; Herne, Germany
1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula
Owner: Volker Czechanowsky; Essen, Germany
You might be confused to look at Volker Czechanowsky's '79 Firebird because it looks more like a '70 or a '72, depending on if you're looking at the hood or the grille. No worries, Volker doesn't mind mixing and matching to create his dream car, which started life as a '79 with T-tops and a 350 Pontiac engine. Building your own Pontiac-and we're talking engine, body, paint, and interior here-is a tough job anywhere you live, but doing it all the way in Germany is a real labor of love. A NASCAR fan, Volker was inspired to build a dual side-exit exhaust and a bigger 400ci Pontiac mill. To retain an air-conditioning unit that worked with the 400's taller valve covers, Volker scavenged an A/C unit from an '80 Turbo Firebird and says it functions perfectly. Volker says he did all the work on the car himself in his garage over a five-year period. "Everything but the window tint was done by myself," writes Volker. The thing Volker isn't saying is that in Germany it's practically a crime to work on your own car; drivers are required to get all work done by state-certified mechanics or risk being fined. It just goes to show you how great we've got it here in the United States. For his photo shoot, Volker got his friend Dagmar, a professional model, to help him pose for the pics.
By The Numbers
Engine: 400ci Pontiac with "#13" casting heads (ported and polish by owner), Warrior high-rise intake, COMP Cams 51-433-9 hydraulic roller cam, Holley 750-cfm double-pumper carb with QFT billet blocks
Trans: Turbo 350 three-speed automatic
Rearend: GM 10-bolt with 3.23 gears
Suspension: stock with HAL coilover conversion (front)
Brakes: stock discs (front), '79 model discs (rear)
Wheels & Tires: 18x8 Lexi Centerline wheels with 225/40R18 and 255/55R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires
Cool Factoid: Volker bought his American classic in 1991 for $1,000 from an English guy living in Florida. He stopped counting how much he had in the car by 1995.
Katelyn Whalem, 23; Wareham, MA
1957 Chevy Bel Air
Owner: Dave Mark; Bourne, MA
The story behind Dave Mark's beautiful '57 Chevy Bel Air isn't so much one of how it got the way it is, but how lucky it is to still be here. It all started simple enough; Dave bought the Tri-Five at the Fall Carlisle show in 2002 for $17,000, then he and his wife, Ann, drove from their home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, all the way to Niagara Falls to pick it up. It was a great day that Dave will cherish forever-it would have to be to blot out what happened just 30 days later. Dave was in his garage washing the air cleaner with gasoline like he had done many times before with other cars. When he replaced the air cleaner and turned the key, the engine backfired through the carb and set the whole top of the engine on fire, consuming the wires and all the paint underhood. Fortunately, Dave is a volunteer firefighter, and had plenty of fire extinguishers on hand-three of them to be precise. Dave's thankful that it wasn't any worse; the fire could've easily totaled the car, and possibly even his house. Most of the 30-year-old paint survived, and Dave still loves to drive it as often as he can.
By The Numbers
Engine: '74 vintage 350ci small-block Chevy with Summit Racing cylinder heads (2.02/1.60-inch valves), Edelbrock Performer cam, lifters, intake, and 600-cfm carb
Trans: 700-R4 automatic overdrive
Rearend: 8.2-inch 10-bolt with 3.42 gears
Suspension: stock with replaced shocks and rear leaf springs
Brakes: stock drums, front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 14-inch Cragar S/S with Goodyear radials
Cool Factoid: Dave's model, Katelyn Whalen, belongs to the same car club-The Sham Rods-that he and his wife, Ann, belong to.