Cars just aren’t built like they used to be, at least that’s what Jason Vendetto grew up hearing from his father about the muscle car era. So naturally when he turned 16, Jason had muscle on his mind and picked up a ’69 Camaro. One wasn’t enough to occupy him though—plus for $975 it’s hard to turn down a ’71 Chevelle. As soon as he saw it he had a vision of big tires and Pro Street attitude. That doesn’t mean it’ll become a fairgrounds car though; Jason fully intends to drive the Chevelle to and from work regularly and make the occasional dragstrip pass. For now he’s just been getting it respectably aggressive looking, but plans in the near future call for a 620hp ZZ572 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance backed by a TH400 and a 12-bolt rearend. When it comes time to tub the rear for the big tires he wants, Jason says he’ll make sure there’s enough room left for a modified rear seat so his 2-year-old daughter can still come for rides with him. After all he has to start getting her hooked young since the Chevelle will be hers one day.
Engine: stock 307ci small-block Chevy, Cherry Bomb glasspacks, cutouts
Trans: GM Turbo 350 three-speed automatic
Suspension: stock PST Polygraphite bushings, 1⅛-inch front sway bar
Brakes: rebuilt stock drums
Wheels & Tires: Cragar S/S (14x6, front; 14x8, rear); BFG 215/75R14
Ryan Fultz, Brookston, IN
A 15-year-old Ryan Fultz was riding with his dad in 1991 when he spotted the ’68 Chevelle languishing in a yard with a “for sale” sign on it. Eight hundred dollars later, it was his. In the ensuing years it was used as Ryan’s daily driver, then repainted, and subsequently upgraded a little at a time. Ryan has done most of the work on the car over the years, including much of the bodywork, rebuilding the original 327—then building a new 383. The Chevelle is no longer used as daily transportation, but Ryan does get out and pound on it every week, including regular autocross outings at places like Goodguys.
If Ryan’s project looks familiar, it’s because he’s taken part in the annual PHR Photo Contest several times. In fact, Ryan won it outright last year, netting him a free set of Nitto Invo tires. That windfall prompted a whole new round of mods consisting mostly of suspension upgrades from DSE. When that’s done, an LS powerplant of some kind will take the place of the tired 383. Just goes to show, even finished projects are never finished.
Engine: 383ci small-block Chevy, AFR 195cc heads, Holley 830-cfm carb, Dynomax headers, Flowmaster exhaust
Trans: Tremec TKO five-speed
Rearend: Strange S-60, narrowed 2 inches
Suspension: Hotchkis lowering springs and upper A-arms, DSE sway bar (front); DSE upper and lower Swivel Link control arms, DSE sway bar (rear)
Brakes: Baer 13-inch front; Baer 12-inch rear, Hydroboost
Wheels & Tires: Boze Lateral-G wheels, 18x9 (front), 18x10 (rear); Nitto Invo tires, 275/35R18 (front), 295/35R18 (rear)