I’m writing this from the driver’s seat of the 1966 Chevelle you see in these pages. Both literally and figuratively. There’s no better place to share this story from. I’ve spent the last 25 years driving this car to school and work, racing it regularly and making change after change to it. This car has been with me through some of my best points in life, and some of my worst. This story really begins in 1986 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Mike Lane owned this Chevelle, and was trying to build a decent driver out of it.
He had rescued the car from a previous owner who threatened to turn the car into a circle-track racer for the local dirt track if Mike didn’t buy it. Mike and I met through street racing and mutual friends, and I started helping him work on the car when IRead More
At the heart of our sport, there’s a basic fact that many people eventually lose sight of: Cars were made to be driven. I’m not just talking about new cars,but also older cars the way you and I build them. More power, better brakes and updated handling all equate to better driving characteristics. So why do so many great cars get carted to and from events in trailers?
I decided to take a little different approach with my ’66 Chevelle. I’ve owned this car for 25 years and have used it for everything from drag racing to daily commuting in Los Angeles. I have a long history of driving this car, and intend to continue that!
When it comes to muscle cars, each of the Big 3 had their top dog rear axle. Their answer for the biggest and baddest engine of the day. For GM, it was the 12-bolt. A Salisbury style axle with a good-sized ring gear and beefy axle tubes. Ford used its 9-inch. A sheetmetal center with a drop-out style differential and ring-gear carrier. And for Mopar, it was the Dana 60. A Salisbury design so big that is was only found elsewhere in 1-ton trucks.
As with everything muscle car related, the rear axle topic is always good fodder for brand loyalists to banter about. Thanks to several aftermarket companies, however, you can now order a brand new 12-bolt or 9-inch to bolt right into your GM muscle car. This lets a GM guy cross enemy lines and genuinely consider which is better.
Show up to any of the many pro touring racing events in the country and you’ll spot a sea of Chevys, a few Mustangs and maybe, just maybe a Mopar. But Moparfans should not despair, there are a few car builders doing what it takes represent you with muscle cars that can turn corners on par with modern performance cars, and in some cases, even better.
The best news is that many of these ideas and designs are making their way into suspension systems and even complete a complete chassis or two that you can swing under your Mopar muscle to show the GM and Ford camps that these cars can hold their own on a race track and on the street. They don’t get as much love, though, so we thought we’d pull together a few pages of some of the hottest suspension offerings to help you conveRead More
Performance cooling is the foundation of Flex-a-lite. In 1962, Eddy Davis founded the company with the original “flex fan” concept. Fifty years later, his Granddaughter, Lisa Chissus leads the company with the same innovative spirit that continuously looks for new ways to provide performance cooling solutions.
Throughout 2012, Flex-a-lite has been celebrating 50 years of cooling performance, and the fact that they are still makin’ it in the USA. That celebration will culminate at the 2012 SEMA Show with an new display located at booth number 22513. The display will pay homage to the company’s rich history in the performance aftermarket, and the company will introduce a dozen new performance cooling products. In addition, Flex-a-lite will also have its mobile museum onRead More
There are only a few tools you can add to your collection that can take your car-building capability to a significantly higher level. A new set of sockets –nice. Torque wrench – must have. Dial calipers – fancy. But the segment of tools we’re talking about here moves you from a bolt-on restorer to a fabricator:MIG welders.
More than any other tool we can think of, a MIG welder opens the door for a hobbyist car wrencher to become a fabricator. It makes sheetmetal repairs possible. It allows you to create something from a pile of steel. You can even use a MIG welder to repair cracks in your riding lawn mower’s deck. In fact, you may become the most popular neighbor on the block.
That first drive of a rescued barn find is like nothing else. It has the combined emotion of driving a new car for the first time, a rush down memory lane and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve put a classic muscle car back on the road. Unlike a complete restoration, the car will likely have some quirks that have accumulated naturally with age, and it will definitely have the look, feel and smell of an old car, not one of fresh paint and new interior components.
If you’ve followed this barn-find revival for the past two months, you already know that we’re showing the steps that will be typical in putting a car back on the road safely that’s been sitting for 20-plus years. The car we’re using for this series is a ’63 Chevy II. In addition to repairing decaying and dRead More
Where were you in 1992? If you answered the challenge printed in the September 1992 issue of HOT ROD magazine to see who was the fastest street car in America, then you are one of 26 guys with a car that made the trip to Memphis. But you didn’t come to enjoy BBQ and drop by Graceland; you were getting ready to throw it down at what would become the inaugural HOT ROD magazine Fastest Street Car in America Shootout.
Like all things that are now bigger than life, this shootout and racing series had some humble beginnings. In this case, it was a few people tossing around ideas. There were quite a few folks who were claiming to have the fastest street car – a doorslammer that saw some street use and perhaps some street racingaction.
This story is all about form following function. When you build something to perform, it’s hard to avoid making a style faux pas. There are no apologies and no explanation needed. That’s one of the things that make rat rods so cool – they aren’t trying to pretend to be something they’re not. So we wondered what would happen if we styled a muscle car interior after a late ‘60s SCCA Trans Am race car. The racing versions of the cars still retained the classic lines of the production vehicles during this era, and the interiors were stripped and simplified version of the original. They were functional, lightweight and had most of the features that we need in a modern pro touring car with a bent toward performance rather than A/C and other creature comforts.
Think about all the ways that a car ends up sitting in a barn, garage or backyard. Best intentions. Someone’s dream car waiting until they have enough time and money to build it right. Or an older person’s car that just quit running and got pushed aside. There are dozens of stories that we’ve heard and, frankly,we love them all! It’s what most muscle car enthusiasts dream of! A rare dual-quad Hemi car covered in an inch of dust and cobwebs, a 409 4-speed Impala hidden in a leaning garage next to an abandoned house or a 429 Galaxie doubling as a shelf in the back of a forgotten section of a warehouse.
What happens if you do score one of the dreams? There are two paths you can take. One is to take the car apart and launch into a full-blown restoration. Theother option isRead More