SEMA 2014: 1968 Chevelle ‘Blue Eyed Devil’

magnaflow-1968-chevelle-frontIt was late afternoon on the last day of the SEMA 2014 show. My feet were tired and I was looking forward to heading back to the hotel. I had spent all day looking at hundreds of custom cars and I was sure that after seeing all of these amazing rides, there was little else that could impress me that day. Well, I was wrong.

Outside of the Central Hall I took a walk past the Magnaflow Exhaust booth and spotted this gorgeous blue 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle. The combination of blue with nickel-plated chrome really grabbed my attention and I spent a few moments admiring the car. This Chevelle belongs to Steve Edling and was built by Pin Did It in Corona, CA. 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.

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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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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

SEMA 2013: 1949 Chevrolet Tin Woody

Showing up to a car show in a wood-paneled hot rod is like showing up to a bikini contest with a Brazilian swimsuit model. Even if you don’t win a trophy, you’ve already won the approval of everyone else at the show. I imagine that the owner of this 1949 Chevrolet got a lot of nods of approval during the 4 days it was on display at SEMA 2013.

The car was done by “Customs by Kilkeary” from Eighty Four, Pennsylvania. The most striking feature of the car is its beautiful wood finish on the exterior. I can’t even comprehend the hours of sanding and buffing that must have gone into this thing! But I can tell you that it looked absolutely flawless in person.

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SEMA 2013: Tim Allen’s 1968 COPO Camaro

The word “restomod” gets thrown around a lot these days. Most of the resto-modded cars I have seen are closer to the “modified” side than to the “restoration” side. It was refreshing to come across this 1968 Chevrolet COPO Camaro at SEMA, which is more towards the restoration side of things.

The car was on display at the Classic Industries booth and was built by veteran hot rodder Bodie Stroud. The car belongs to actor, comedian, author, and car guy Tim Allen.

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1951 Studebaker Woody by Hill’s Rod and Custom

When I think of the San Francisco Bay Area, I think of hippies, hilly streets, cable cars, cloudy days and sourdough bread. The last thing I think of is hot rodding, which I associate strongly with southern California.

But if you venture over to Pleasant Hill, California, a little town in the East Bay area, you’ll find Hill’s Rod and Custom and their amazing 1951 Studebaker woody project. I saw this car on display at the Dynamat booth at SEMA 2013.

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1965 Oldsmobile Starfire Hardtop Coupe

Back in the early 1960s, Oldsmobile wanted to build a full size sports-luxury coupe to compete with the Ford Thunderbird. They came up with the Starfire, which borrowed its name from the Lockheed F-94 airplane of the same name. Known for its tremendous speed, the F-94 was the first US production jet to come with an afterburner.

Oldsmobile’s Starfire was based on the Eighty-Eight and when it went into production in 1961, it was the most powerful and most expensive car they offered. What made this car special was its 425 cubic inch (7.0L) Rocket V8 engine, which was only used in the Starfire and the Jetstar. With a Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, the engine put out an easy 370 horsepower.

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