Super Chevy Show In Ohio - Only In Ohio
We're Never Bored Here, Because It's The Way California Ought To Be.
From the September, 2007 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
Photography by Johnny Hunkins
The weather in California is nice, but let's be honest-there's a price to pay. Isolated from the rest of the hot-rodding world and surrounded by a bunch of anti-hot-rod chicken littles who constantly cry about the falling sky, we tend to get a bit wacky. It's time for a jail break! Forget the tofu-eatin', Birkenstock-wearin' lunatics. When we can no longer resist the urge to strap Sean Penn to the hood of our Chevelle and smash through Sacramento's statehouse doors, we take a deep breath, call the travel agent, and book a flight to Ohio. For now, at least, they're letting us travel outside the state.
Columbus, Ohio, is what you call a real state capital. It has Jeg's, for chrissakes. It also has the Super Chevy Show in early May. The spirit of Chevy hot-rodding burns deep in the heart of Ohio, and we needed it worse than Rush on the hunt for a bottle of Oxycontin. When we got to National Trail Raceway in the Columbus bedroom community of Hebron, it was like coming home. Big cubes, burgers, blowers, and Bow Ties. Sound familiar? Once upon a time, California had more than just a vestige of it, too.
For two glorious days, we reveled in the Chevrolet celebration put on by the folks at the Super Chevy Show. We watched wheelstanding street cars duke it out in both True Street and Bracket classes. We also saw a lot of cool products in the manufacturer's midway. We rekindled old friendships and made new ones in the pit area. We ogled cute girls. We bench raced. We picked through parts in the swap meet. We ate burgers. We drank beers-after work, of course. Hey, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
We can say, God willing, we'll be back to the Buckeye state-and soon. This joint is packed with all the right stuff, and if you're a Chevy guy, you'll do right to plan your own trip to Valhalla. Your sanity will thank you.
Gary Triplett (Columbus, Ohio)...
Gary Triplett (Columbus, Ohio) gets a lot from his '69 Firebird, including major wheelstands and low-11-second ETs on pure cubes from a healthy 10:1 355-inch small-block Chevy.
The manufacturer's midway...
The manufacturer's midway is a great place to meet friendly people like John Byles of Badlands Automotive (left, of Belmont, Ohio) and Mike Stasko of the Mr. Gasket Company.
We caught 1-year-old Maddox...
We caught 1-year-old Maddox Tanzillo red-handed, as he tried to carjack his dad's '79 Trans Am.
Everything was going fine...
Everything was going fine for Tracy Blevins and his '71 Nova until about 8 seconds after this photo was snapped, when the hood blew off at the 1,000-foot mark. (Look hard, and you can see the hood pins are missing.)
Gina Marion poses with her...
Gina Marion poses with her Lemans Blue big-block '69 Chevelle SS 396, which has a rare column-shift bench-seat option.
Up, up, and away! Mike Laferty...
Up, up, and away! Mike Laferty is a line mechanic at Hatfield Hyundai in Columbus, so by Friday afternoon, he's pretty sick of under- powered imports.
T-Time For Dave
We don't normally see rat rods at Super Chevy Shows, but this '27 Model T built by owner Dave McCauley is an exception. Its excuse for being here is a run-of-the-mill 350 small-block-but according to Dave, who hails from Pickerington, Ohio, that's just a concession to driveability and reliability. The look of the all-steel T is nailed, thanks to a 9-inch chop (the top is cut), and a 3-inch channel (the body is lowered around the frame, instead of being on top of it). Other great touches include Harley Sportster headlights, '49 Ford taillights, "pie-crust" whitewall 8.2x15 slicks, Radir wheels (15x4, front; 15x8, rear), and a gas cap made from a Triumph motorcycle cylinder-head heat flange. Dave is a mechanic by trade, and built the car to drive. Our favorite feature: a half-top sunroof covered by a plastic sheet held on by snaps.
Chillin' & Grillin'
At the top end of the track, life unfolds at a different pace, as demonstrated by Adam Miller (left) and Alan Ketcham (both from Cincinnati). We stop to investigate the mellow scene. Alan pops a beer. A high-compression note trails off into the trees. The smell of burgers and cheese brats mixes with high octane. Fat sizzles on coals. "Hey man, wanna beer?" We gladly accept the ice-cold can from Adam, a mechanic and shop foreman with a General Lee hat he was apparently born with. Conversation floats to Alan's '71 Nova, for sale in the car corral. "Alan soaks money off his wife!" jokes Adam. It seems Alan has too many toys, and either the car or the boat must go. (Surprise-you can't bring a boat to Super Chevy.) The boys aren't trying very hard to sell the Nova, and it's abundantly clear that it's just a cover story to get out of the house and party. We linger for a half hour, talking about musclecars, stupid global warming, new Detroit iron, and future project cars we're all kidding ourselves about building someday. Thanks, guys, for reminding us why we came.
Rehl Street Winner
The Columbus Super Chevy Show marked the first time a True Street event has been held by the organization. With little advance promotion, only six cars made up the field, which was handily dominated by local used-car dealer Mike Rehl. Mike's '85 Monte Carlo has run as fast as 10.36/130 down the quarter without the aid of nitrous, and gets power from an 8.75:1 GM 502/502 big-block crate motor with a Crane hydraulic roller cam.
Only in Ohio can you see a...
Only in Ohio can you see a street-legal '59 Corvette with an alcohol-fed big-block do wheelies en route to low-9-second quarter-mile ETs.
The cars in the Jeg's Bracket...
The cars in the Jeg's Bracket 2 class primarily have trans-brake-equipped Powerglides-but not Robert McDonnough's '67 Camaro.
Girls know their car junk,...
Girls know their car junk, too. Here's Kelly Downs from Medina, Ohio, a 31-year-old bartender with a small-block '33 Willys at home.
Long-haul truck driver Bill...
Long-haul truck driver Bill Moore (49) got a Super Chevy Top 10 Editor's Choice Drag Race Award; we think it's partly because of Bill's nice '72 SS Nova, but also because he's a really fun guy.
Legendary Auto Interiors of...
Legendary Auto Interiors of Newark, New York, is most well known for its Mopar interiors (they do '68 to '74 AMX and Javelin as well); but Chris Robbins (30) of Legendary told us they just introduced a complete line of bench and bucket seat interiors for '68 to '72 GM A-bodies, including Chevelles.
Columbus * Super Chevy Drag Results
|BRACKET 1 |
|Name ||RESULT ||Reaction ||ET ||MPH |
|Tony "Sandman" Williams ||winner ||.035 ||6.520 ||218.94 |
|Larry Sinke ||runner-up ||.113 ||10.750 ||81.32 |
|Procharger Bracket 1 Brawl |
|Name ||RESULT ||Reaction ||Dial-in ||ET ||MPH |
|Bill Webb ||winner ||.020 ||7.75 ||7.972 ||138.39 |
|Ted Vanderpool ||runner-up || foul ||9.75 ||9.792 ||137.89 |
|Jeg's Bracket 2 Battle |
|Name ||RESULT ||Reaction ||Dial-in ||ET ||MPH |
|Mike Rehl ||winner ||.110 ||10.34 ||10.400 ||129.59 |
|James Bailey ||runner-up || foul ||10.28 ||12.905 ||85.24 |
|DOT Street Fight |
|Name ||RESULT ||Reaction ||Dial-in ||ET ||MPH |
|Branden Elam ||winner ||.085 ||13.93 ||13.992 ||89.38 |
|Mike Snider ||runner-up ||.151 ||13.40 ||13.444 ||97.35 |
|EDITOR'S CHOICE TOP 10 DRAG CARS |
|Driver: ||Hometown: ||Car: |
|Bill Moore ||Grove City, OH ||'72 Nova |
|Mike Rehl ||Newark, OH ||'85 Monte Carlo |
|John Amick ||Indianapolis, IN ||'67 Chevelle |
|Bob Wymer ||Pataskala, OH ||'62 Bel Air |
|Danny Johnson ||Columbus, OH ||'57 Chevy |
|Andy Burns ||Mechanicsburg, OH ||'55 Nomad |
|Alicia Burns ||Mechanicsburg, OH ||'91 Camaro RS |
|Tim Jenkins ||Springfield, OH ||'57 Corvette |
|Tim Boggs ||Fayetteville, OH ||'67 Nova |
|Mike Conner ||Plain City, OH ||'84 X-11 Citation |
Swap Meet Sellers:
A Study of Opposites
We were struck by the vastly different strategies of two car sellers at Super Chevy Columbus. Both will sell their cars at a profit, but only the first guy gets our thumbs-up-and the ability to sleep at night-for doing the right thing.
The '72 Nova Asking Price: $24,995
Larry DiNunzio owns Cherrie Car Company in New Lexington, Ohio (740-617-7393), and he brought out a freshly restomodded Nova, which his shop meticulously rebuilt. With an asking price of $24,995 it wasn't cheap, but it was packed with the good stuff, including a fresh paint job, a new interior, a stout 355 small-block, a fortified Turbo 350 trans, a Covan's dash with Auto Meter gauges, a new stereo, Roll Control, rally wheels, and fresh rubber. Whoever buys this car will get a nicely refurbished driver that's ready to roll on the street (or into the burnout box for some 12-second fun). Cars built in this manner have a lot of added value, as they're common enough to drive regularly and affordable enough for the average guy. It's even better when dealers like Larry build cars like this as their mission statement.
The '68 ChevelleAsking Price: $60,000
The seller of this all-original, untouched, L34-equipped big-block Chevelle was asking a fortune for the plain-Jane,number's-matching SS. Despite the fact that more than 60,000 of them were built in 1968 (of which the L-34 325hp 396 was the most common), the seller wanted $60,000 for this fairly beat-down 26,000-mile example. With mint restorations of similar '68 SSs averaging $10,000 to $20,000 less, this guy is obviously more speculator than enthusiast. Every musclecar sold at such an absorbent price costs us regular guys more, so we give this practice the thumbs-down.
What Price Youth?
Wesley Crum is proof that perseverance pays. As a kid, he played inside his neighbor's '64 Biscayne, accumulating the warm memories he would later chase in his adult life as VP of a major kitchen cabinet manufacturer. Mr. Kasson's Biscayne was the object of Wesley's desire for many years, and multiple attempts to buy it failed. Then, when the neighbor passed away, Wesley bought it from the family. With three decades of nostalgia piled up, he let the checkbook stretch its legs to the tune of $190,000 at Jack's Garage in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The result is the awesome LS1-powered custom seen here. "When I showed it to Kasson's family, they broke down in tears. They said he would've thought it was one tough hot rod."