Mike Bradley wanted a project that was different and unique from the typical car show attendee’s—but what should it be? He had no idea, so Mike spent time looking around and researching to figure out what was perfect for him. When he found this ’56 Buick Special in the McBride Motors wrecking yard, he knew the search was over. Surprisingly, it even ran, but the more work Mike did, the more obvious it became that a full teardown was needed. Mike stripped it down to the frame and built a rotisserie to mount the body on for the bodywork. So far, Mike’s been wrenching on the Buick for eight years doing all the work himself. He’s doing a pretty good job too; he entered the Buick into a car show for the first time in Manti, Utah, in August 2011 and won First Place in the Unfinished Class. Spurred by that victory, Mike’s next plans are paint by a friend at Top Notch Body Shop, and full restoration of the chrome by Ogden Advanced Chrome. Most of all he’s looking forward to the Buick being: “A great treasure to share with my grandkids.”

By The Numbers

Engine: 322ci nailhead, bored to .060 over with 10:1 pistons, ported stock heads, blueprinted and balanced rotating assembly, PerTronix ignition, Carter 4-barrel carb, and 2½-inch dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers

Trans: Dynaflow two-speed auto

Rearend: stock Buick sealed torque tube with 3.20 gears

Suspension: front springs are stock; the rear is an inch higher to give it a nice rake

Brakes: ’56 Buick power drum

Wheels: currently stock ’56 Buick steelies and hubcaps, but that may change soon

1976 Chevy Laguna S-3

Larry Belcher, Yorktown, IN

Longtime reader Larry Belcher has been a follower of PHR’s Project Laguna for years, and in that time he’s made many great suggestions and provided many hard-to-find parts for our ride, so when we finally got to see Larry’s ride, we were excited. Larry’s ’76 Laguna S-3, however, isn’t your typical hot rod—it’s not hosed down with a wallet full of mail-order parts or sporting a high-end paintjob. It’s also different in the fact that everything Larry has done to it has been to improve its life as a daily driver. There’s no earthquake motor, no gluey suspension, no freight train brakes, or steamroller tires. It’s all practical DIY stuff. A few of Larry’s tricks include ’85 IROC bucket seats, ’95 S-10 front console, ’95 Buick Roadmaster power seat tracks, ’76 Cutlass tilt steering column, Monte Carlo rear window defogger, retrofit Twilight Sentinel headlights, and enough used stereo gear to fill a swap meet.

The list goes on. In fact, we’re hard pressed to find any original parts on Larry’s Laguna—this S-3 is literally a Frankenstein’s monster of parts from GM cars of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. When it comes to interchanging parts on ’73-77 GM intermediates, Larry is the undisputed king!

By The Numbers

Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy, Performer intake, Summit cam, Hedman Hedders, homebuilt engine/firewall brace

Trans: ’87 Corvette 700-R4 overdrive automatic, TCI shift kit, Oregon Performance Transmissions lock-up converter

Rearend: 8.5-inch 10-bolt from ’73 GTO (“no C-clips!”), 3.23 Posi

Suspension: stock, ’76 El Camino front sway bar, ’88 Caprice “cop car” rear sway bar, ’76 Malibu six-cylinder front springs, ’74 LeMans rear springs, Air Lift bags

Brakes: stock front, ’95 Impala SS rear, ’79 Trans Am master cylinder

Steering: ’88 Monte Carlo SS fast-ratio box

Wheels & Tires: 17x9.5 Ronal Firehawk wheels, 255/55R17 (front), 265/60R17 (rear)

1971 Chevelle Malibu

Jason Vendetto, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY