Some guys are completely satisfied to restore a muscle car to factory spec. The enjoyment of working on a classic car has its rewards, whether it’s from tinkering in the garage, browsing swap meets and message boards, or cruising on the weekend to the car show. Some go beyond that noble cause, seasoning their pride and joy with modest improvements to suit their individual taste. There is a deep and abiding satisfaction to repairing and maintaining these pieces of history, but for an even smaller minority, that just isn’t enough. These guys have a drive that pushes them and their machines into territory that isn’t always well trod mechanically or aesthetically. They are hot rodders—trendsetters—and their road isn’t usually an easy one. Some of them, as you will see, have worked years and even decades to bring their dream to life.

We asked you to tell us about your project, and you responded with an exciting assortment of muscle cars in various stages of progress. They range from old-school Pro Streeters and high-speed highway machines to hard-core street/strip weapons and cutting-edge Pro Touring rides. Some reflect the inventiveness of a limited budget, while others are fettered only by the imagination of the owner. All of them will be great cars when they are finished. But are the owners of these machines ever really “finished”? Not by a long shot. That’s why they are hot rodders in the first place.

1973 Buick Century

Jeff Stott, Independence, OH

Some projects take longer than others to complete—Jeff Stott’s ’73 Buick has taken 32 years to get this far, and he’s still not done. By his own admission, he has “over 300 hours in the car.” By our figuring, that’s around 10 hours per year. Ever the optimist, Jeff writes that he plans to have it on the road by 2014. Shortly after purchasing the Buick from its original owner (his grandfather) in 1980, he set the goal of turning it into a Pro Street machine. In the time since then, Jeff has worked as a technician at several GM dealerships, and has been in the perfect position to cherry pick many cool NOS parts along the way, including weatherstripping, belt moldings, quarter glass trim, and rear quarter-panels.

Jeff notes that after ordering a custom rear ladder bar clip from Art Morrison, he realized that the largest fuel cell he could fit between the framerails was 9 gallons, so he widened the frame behind the rear wheels back to stock. This allowed him to order a “T” shaped fuel cell from Fuel Safe, giving him a 19-gallon capacity—and he can use his factory rear bumper mounts again. Jeff is doing all the work himself, and plans eventually call for a fuel-injected 455 Buick of some kind.

By The Numbers

Engine: Buick 455 with FAST fuel injection— possibly a 494 or 532 (not built yet)

Trans: Turbo 400 with Gear Vendors Overdrive

Rearend: Ford 9-inch Super Car housing, Strange centersection, 4.11 gears, Lenco billet locker, Strange 35-spline axles

Chassis: Art Morrison 8-point ’cage with rear seat retention option

Suspension: Detroit Speed tubular upper and lower control arms (front), QA1 coilovers, Art Morrison double-adjustable ladder bars, AME coilovers

Brakes: stock front rotors with Wilwood dual-piston calipers, Wilwood 12-inch rotors with Dynalite four-piston calipers (rear)

Wheels & Tires: Center Line Competition Series (15x15), Hoosier Pro-Street Radials (31x18.5), front combo TBD

1972 Chevy Chevelle Malibu

Daniel Sauget, Millstadt, IL