1967 Ford Fairlane ‘Black Ops’ by Steve Strope

1967-fairlane-steve-strope-rearSteve Strope of Pure Vision Design was in the spotlight a few years ago with the Martini Mustang. He was back at SEMA 2014 with a real head turner, and quite possibly my favorite car of the whole show! This 1967 Ford Fairlane is called “Black Ops” and it was on display at the Dynamat/Dynamic Control booth in the Central Hall.

The name Black Ops warrants an explanation, seeing as the car is not painted black, but rather, a very pretty blue and gold. The concept for this car was to build an “experimental” racer as it might have been built back in the late 1960s. It is not based on any particular car that actually existed, but sought to recreate a “factory test mule” using period-correct parts and technologies. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: Griffin Radiator 1968 Ford Mustang

sema-2014-griffin-mustang-frontThere was a lot of vintage Ford sheet metal on display at SEMA 2014, and I’m embarrassed to say that this one almost slipped by me! This 1968 Ford Mustang was just steps away from the Mustang at the Wilwood booth, and I almost didn’t see it. This dark green beauty was on display at the Griffin Radiator booth.

Griffin is a South Carolina-based company that has been making performance aluminum radiators since 1981. The 1968 Mustang in their booth appears to be most of the way through a major restoration. It’s common to see cars at SEMA that aren’t quite done yet.

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SEMA 2014: Wilwood Brakes 1966 Ford Mustang

wilwood-mustang-frontI caught a glimpse of this red hot 1966 Ford Mustang on display at the Wilwood Brakes booth at SEMA 2014. As you can tell, this pony car is healthy as a horse!

This car has been completely transformed from a regular passenger car to a street machine. It was a contestant in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, which took place alongside SEMA 2014 in Las Vegas.

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Rutledge Wood’s 1953 Plymouth Suburban

plymouth-suburban-odyssey-sema-2014-profileThis 1953 Plymouth Suburban was looking minty fresh at the Odyssey Batteries booth at SEMA 2014. It belongs to Rutledge Wood of Top Gear (USA) fame and was built in partnership with Summit Racing. The build was done at Kenwood Rod Shop in Sharpsburg, GA.

Although it looks showroom new, this classic Mopar is anything but stock. Under the hood is a 408 cid V8 from BluePrint Engines with FAST electronic fuel injection and Summit block hugger headers. It is coupled to a T56 six-speed transmission with a McLeod clutch and a Quick Time conversion bellhousing. The whole thing is wired up with a Painless Performance wiring harness.

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SEMA 2014: Dodge Challenger ‘Rapture’

pfaff-designs-dodge-challenger-rapture-frontOne of the first cars I ran into at SEMA 2014 was this customized 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack called “Rapture” at the AMSOIL booth.

This eye-catching car was a collaboration between Pfaff Designs and Downforce Motorsports, and was built by RM Motorsports in Wixom, Michigan. It features a number of custom touches that really set it off from a regular Challenger.

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PPE 1970 Chevelle Duramax 6.6L Swap with Twin Turbos

ppe-1970-chevelle-duramax-swap-profileWhen it comes to muscle cars, swapping out the engine is a great way to get more power. But you won’t find a 350, 383, or even a 454 cubic inch engine under the hood of this 1970 Chevelle. That’s because it’s powered by a 6.6L (403 cid) Chevrolet Duramax engine. That’s right, a diesel-powered muscle car!

As if that weren’t wild enough, the car also sports a custom twin turbo setup with two Garrett T-38R turbos pushing 30lbs of boost into the motor. Altogether, this little Chevelle makes 950 HP and 1,800 lb-ft of torque!

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1988 Chrysler Conquest TSI with Chevy LS1 V8 Swap

1988-chrysler-conquest-tsi-ls1-v8-sideWhen you take an ordinary car and do an engine swap, it transforms the car into something cool. When you take a car that’s already cool and do an engine swap, that makes it badass!

At SEMA 2014, I saw this Chrysler Conquest TSI lined up for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. It belongs to John Lazorack of Lazorack Motorsports. As you can tell, this is no ordinary Conquest – this one is powered by an LS1 engine from a 2002 Corvette!

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1996 Nissan 240SX with Chevy LS V8 Swap

nissan-240sx-ls2-swap-rearIn the world of motorsports, the Nissan 240SX is the poster child of drifting. These cars are often modified to slide sideways and generate as much tire smoke as possible – a juvenile use of a car when compared to precision automotive events like autocross, drag racing, and rally racing.

This car, however, is not guilty by association. It is tasteful in appearance, with nary an anodized tow hook or band-aid sticker to be seen. This is not some teenager’s ironic drift machine – this is a serious street car that competed in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge in Las Vegas in 2014.

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