Wheels & Tires: 18x10 and 19x12 Evod with 255/45R18 and 345/35R19 Pirelli

Contact: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop; 256-492-5989, www.JohnsonsHotRodShop.com

1970 Plymouth ’Cuda

Legens Hot Rod Shop

Trend: Street rod builders trying their hand at muscle cars

Occasionally a customer just wants a nice clean muscle car, say a ’70 ’Cuda for example. And sometimes it’s your car they want. A customer who was looking for a new project and happened to see Steve Legens pull up in his stock daily driver ’70 340 ’Cuda. Boom. He had his next project, and Steve was left looking for a new car. Legens is best known for their award-winning street rods, but things are shifting quickly after the debut of George Poteet’s phenomenally subtle Chevelle (“Vanilla Spice,” Apr. ’11) that has gathered major attention for the shop.

And they’ve got big orders as well; this customer would like a Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award to his name. Legens says it’s a bit strange working on his old car, but he has been given cart blanche on the build so he does get to enjoy building it exactly as he would have done for himself.

By The Numbers

Engine: 800hp 426ci third-gen Hemi with Kenne Bell blower and Mr. Norm’s heads

Trans: six-speed Tremec

Rearend: narrowed Viper rear

Suspension: modified Art Morrison chassis with Art Morrison front suspension and modified Viper IRS

Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch with six-piston calipers

Wheels & Tires: 20x8 and 22x10 Savini with 245/35R20 and 305/40R22 BFG

Contact: Legens Hot Rods; 731-587-6002; www.LegensHotRod.com

1949 Ford

RPM Hot Rods

Project name: ThunderBoss

Trend: Pro Touring trending backward in time

The car most rodders associate RPM with is the incredible ’70 Shelby built for the ’10 Goodguys giveaway that also graced our October ’10 cover. This year they have their hands full with a ’62 Chevy II and this unique ’49 Ford. We love shoeboxes, but typically they’re built with more of a traditional rod and custom flavor rather than performance. This one trends more toward handling and all-around performance, which is something we’re seeing more of. Handling is becoming part of all genres hot rodding.

His grandfather’s ’49 Ford was the first car owner Rocky Boler ever drove, and is what hooked him on cars. This one is in its third life; its first two being the stock phase, and the 502 BBC drag racer phase. Now for its final update, Rocky wants to maintain some vestiges of each of the Ford’s versions, vintage style with insane horsepower, but also add the element that it never had—the ability to cut corners quickly and comfortably.

By The Numbers

Engine: 780hp 520ci Jon Kaase Boss 429 with individual runner EFI

Trans: Tremec Magnum six-speed

Rearend: 9-inch Ford, 3.90 gears

Suspension: Art Morrison chassis, Art Morrison front suspension, four-bar rear

Brakes: 12-inch SSBC

Wheels & Tires: 18x8 and 20x12 Billet Specialties Bonneville G with 245/40R18 and 335/30R20 Michelin PS2

Contact: RPM Hot Rods; 724-940-3322; www.RPMHotRods.com

1968 Dodge Charger

Performance Restoration

Trend: Traditional custom touches on muscle cars

We’ve been seeing a whole lot more roofline modifications to cars lately, though most have been subtle in nature. Nevertheless, subtlety was not the goal for this Charger project over at Performance Restoration. With the help of renderings by Murray Pfaff to determine the angle of attack, Brent Jarvis took a Sawzall to a ’68 Charger and removed the roof completely to create a custom roadster that’s somewhat reminiscent of the mid-’60s Thunderbird Speedsters.

Originally the owner wanted a true convertible, but the logistics of the folding roof became a nightmare, so the plan was switched to creating a true roadster with the look of a Chrysler design studio concept that might have been used for shows and promotions. To keep the theme true, the windshield frame and various moldings from a ’68 Belvedere were used with exaggerated head fairings to take up the real estate of the massive Charger decklid. Of course, custom 4x2 framerails tie into stock rails with very heavy torque boxes to keep the flimsy unibody from twisting—especially with the torque from the stroked gen III Hemi.