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.

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SEMA 2014: Foose 1960 Ford Starliner

foose-1960-ford-starliner-profileFrom his early days as a designer for Boyd Coddington to the hit TV show Overhaulin‘, it’s safe to say that Chip Foose is one of the most recognized faces in the world of hot rodding. His automotive creations have grown beyond custom cars to include wheels, architecture, and even art!

Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that Chip Foose brings a lot of attention to the hobby of custom car building. One of his recent builds was this 1960 Ford Starliner coupe on display at the BASF booth at SEMA 2014.

The whole car looked absolutely flawless in BASF Metallic Grey paint from their Glasurit 90-series. It was wearing a set of Foose Heritage wheels which are 19″ up front and 20″ in the rear. But this car isn’t just a simple respray with some new shoes…it has a big surprise in the typical Foose fashion. Continue reading

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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1958 Ford Fairlane with 5.0L V8 Swap

1958-ford-fairlane-profileWe continue our series of engine swapped cars with this 1958 Ford Fairlane. This is a real classic cruiser from the era of whitewall tires and acres of chrome trim. I don’t know what the story was on the original motor, if it was underpowered or just not worth the cost to rebuild.

In either case, this car has been swapped to a 5.0L Ford small block from a Fox-body Mustang! It makes me wonder if this car was restored sometime in the 1990s or early 2000s. Based on this engine, I would guess the car was done before 2005 when the S197 platform made its debut. I particularly like the black painted intake manifold. Continue reading

1969 Opel GT 1.1L Coupe

1969-opel-gt-frontToday’s post is about an interesting little car from Opel, the German arm of General Motors. The Opel GT was a small, sporty car with an inline 4-cylinder engine that was produced from 1968 to 1973.

There were two engine choices available: a 1.1L engine and a larger 1.9L engine. The 1.1L engine made 67 horsepower and 62 lb-ft of torque and was coupled to a 4-speed manual. The 1.9L engine could be ordered with an optional 3-speed automatic transmission if desired. Buyers overwhelmingly chose the larger motor, causing Opel to discontinue the 1.1L engine after 1970.

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1965 Mustang ‘Sparkey’ Electric Conversion

There’s no doubt that the roads of the future will include many types of automobiles including gas, diesel, hybrid, electric, and alternate fuel vehicles. But I have to question the wisdom of bringing an electric-powered muscle car to SEMA. Most of the guys walking the show floor still haven’t embraced automatic transmissions or EFI – and I think that getting them to ditch gasoline altogether is going to be a very hard sell.

Still, I’ve gotta hand it to Larry Gareffa for getting his car out there. I saw his 1965 Mustang “Sparkey” on display at the Covercraft booth at SEMA 2013.

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Gil Losi’s 1961 Impala – ‘Under PreSSure’

There is an old saying that “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” That’s particularly true for the owner of this 1961 Chevrolet Impala, Mr. Gil Losi.

Back in the 1980s, Gil started a company called Team Losi. Their family business grew to become a dominant player in the R/C car industry during the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s. Gil later sold the business to Horizon Hobby, but he’s not through playing with cars. These days, he’s tinkering with full size ones!

Gil’s latest toy was built by Steve Cook Creations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I saw it on display at the Meguiar’s booth at SEMA 2013.

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