SEMA 2014: Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevy Nova

1967-chevy-nova-meguiars-frontMeguiar’s is like the hotshot director of Hollywood in that they only invite A-list cars to their parties. This year was no exception, with Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova taking center stage at the Meguiar’s booth.

This ’67 Nova was the GoodGuys Custom Street Machine of the Year for 2014, a Top 5 Finalist in the Barrett-Jackson Cup, and a Great 8 Finalist in the 2014 Detroit Autorama. Those are some extremely prestigious honors for a car!
Continue reading

The Roadster Shop’s 1964 Chevelle ‘MaliciouSS’

roadster-shop-1964-chevelle-maliciouss-rearPeople love the look of old cars, but one thing they don’t love is the handling. While muscle cars like the Chevelle were big on power, their handling and braking are vastly outperformed by today’s modern cars. Upgrading these components can do a lot to improve the driveability and safety of a classic car.

There is a distinction between bolting on some parts from a catalog and making them yourself. With this 1964 Chevelle, they chose the latter.

Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1965 Mercury Comet R Racer

1965-mercury-comet-r-craftsman-frontThis car began its life as a 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente – the souped up version of the Ford Falcon. That was before the guys at Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle transformed this sizzling car into a Trans Am-inspired street machine!

The “Craftsman Comet” made its debut at SEMA 2014 at the Craftsman Tools/Stewart Warner booth. It features a Roush 427R motor with a Hillborn EFI stack and a Holley computer. This period-correct setup would have been on a high-performance race car of the day. The engine is coupled to a Hurst Driveline Tremec T-56 six-speed transmission with a Moser engineering rear end. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1950 Chevrolet ‘Vanilla Shake’

1950-chevrolet-vanilla-shake-frontWith so many builders in the hot rod world focusing on making rat rods and other rusty-patina-weathered creations, it is refreshing to see a true hot rod. This 1950 Chevrolet coupe belongs to Jerry Logan and was designed and built by Donn Lowe.

This is a hot rod that uses parts from a variety of other cars to enhance its visual appeal. Rather than all-out speed, this car is built for aesthetics with a ton of custom body work and fabrication that really showcases the skill of the builder. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1967 Volvo Amazon ‘Swedish Ops’

1967-volvo-amazon-profileThe Ultimate Street Car Invitational is an annual shootout put together by Optima Batteries, where drivers can put their street-legal cars to the test. It’s no surprise that many of the contestants are performance cars such as Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes. These cars are widely supported with many aftermarket and performance parts available. In this way, Robert Jackson’s 1967 Volvo Amazon truly stands out from the crowd!

With a car like this, there is next to no aftermarket support in terms of performance. If you want to change suspension parts or build up the motor, you will find yourself making a lot of custom brackets and adapters, drilling and modifying parts to fit, and other issues that most people would rather not deal with. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1960 Cadillac ‘Criminal’

1960-cadillac-criminal-frontIn the 1950s and 1960s, Cadillac was the king of the automotive world with some of the most luxurious and beautiful cars that money could buy. They were often driven by movie stars, businessmen, and of course, politicians and heads of state. To own one was to own a slice of the good life, part of the American Dream.

That dream is a big part of what makes these cars appealing to hot rodders, who get a kick out of modifying these luxury boats-on-wheels into kustom kruisers. One such owner is Jessie Osborne, builder of this 1960 Cadillac “Criminal.”

Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Custom

1955-chevy-nomad-sideNothing says hot rodding like a tri-five Chevy! This beautiful blue ’55 Nomad was on display at SEMA 2014, and it really caught my eye. This car was put together by Salvaggio Auto Design in Port Washington, WI.

This is one big, bold, and blue ride. It features a Chevrolet LS engine from Mercury Racing and a Bowler 4L80E automatic transmission. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

1959-chevrolet-el-camino-frontAlong with the 1965 Fairlane, this was the other car from SEMA 2014 that really tickled my fancy. This impossibly clean 1959 El Camino was a blast from the past and made me think of drive-in movies, soda fountains, and taking your sweetheart up to “make-out point.”

1959 was the first year for the El Camino, and just 22,246 were built in the initial year. It was a unique type of vehicle that combined the comfort and handling of a car with the utility of a compact pickup truck.

This amazing vehicle was given a concours-quality restoration by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in Escondido, CA. Like many hot rods these days, the car wasn’t just restored, it has been resto-modded to be better than when it was new.

Continue reading