1969 Camaro Convertible by Goolsby Customs

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your textbook example of a pro-touring build done right. Start with a classic body style, add modern power and handling, and you’ve got yourself a rockin’ muscle car that turns heads as well as corners.

This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible was built for the Lokar Performance Products booth at SEMA 2013 by Goolsby Customs of Bessemer, Alabama.

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1966 Chrysler Imperial “The Tyrant”

Automobile manufacturers typically build two types of cars: regular passenger vehicles and wild, tire-squealing, high-revving performance vehicles. The latter is usually done by a company’s in-house performance division.

Mercedes’ in-house performance division is AMG. BMW has their M division. Over at Chrysler, they have the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team, which grew out of the original “Team Viper” group that was formed in 1989.

Since its inception 25 years ago, SRT has created high performance versions of many Chrysler vehicles including the Neon SRT-4, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 sedan, and the Ram SRT-10 Pickup. But what if SRT had existed back in the 1960s? What kind of cars would they have built? The guys at HPI Customs in Manitoba, Canada decided to try and answer that question.

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HEMI-Powered 1951 Henry J

On the south shore of Long Island, New York lies the village of West Islip. It was here that William Dzus invented the Dzus fastener in 1932. This unique fastener locks down with a quarter-turn, making it ideal for use in airplanes and hot rods.

William’s son Ted Dzus took the helm in 1964 and ran the company for 23 years before retiring. But Ted isn’t wasting his retirement on the golf course – he’s an active member of the hot rodding community. I had the chance to check out Ted’s insane 1951 Henry J at the 2013 SEMA Show.

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1988 Ford Mustang GT ‘Hypersilver’

If you’ve picked up any kind of car magazine at all in the past year, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of this 1988 Ford Mustang nicknamed “Hypersilver.” The full build has been documented in Car Craft, Hot Rod Magazine, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, and many other magazines made for guys with grease under their fingernails. It was neat to see the completed car in person at the Source Interlink booth at SEMA 2013!

The idea for this car was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords. The magazine’s technical editor, Mark Christ, headed up the build. Things started coming together at the Muscle Mustangs office in Florida. One article I read said that the car went from a shell to completed in just 4 weeks…an amazingly short time for a build like this!

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1971 Chevrolet Camaro ‘The ProfeSSor’

When I go to SEMA, I expect to see hot rods that are above and beyond what the average joe is building in his garage. SEMA is sort of like the World Series of Hot Rodding, where the best in the business put their projects on display for all to see. These are guys at the top of their game, building the wildest cars that anyone can dream up.

This car is a perfect example of an “all-star build.” This 1971 Chevrolet Camaro is nicknamed “The ProfeSSor” and was created as a tribute to legendary drag racer Warren Johnson’s pro stock Camaro. The car was done by Lakeside Rods and Rides of Rockwell City, Iowa, with design from Eric Brockmeyer Designs. Dan Weber did the interior and Gemini Technologies did all of the carbon fiber work. The owner of the car is Dave Leisinger of DK Camaros.

Basically, the team set out to build a modern interpretation of a pro stock car. What they created is one of the wildest second-gens I’ve ever seen!

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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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Flowmaster 1965 Ford Galaxie by Kindig-It Customs

While wandering around the 2013 SEMA Show, I spotted this ’65 Galaxie convertible with its famous stacked headlights hiding out in the Flowmaster booth. The car was built by Kindig-It Customs from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first thing about this car that caught my eye was simply the fact that it wasn’t another 1st or 2nd-gen Camaro. Don’t get me wrong, I like Camaros as much as the next guy, but you can’t swing a set of spark plug wires at SEMA without hitting dozens of F-bodies. They’re everywhere! This car is something different.

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Mr. Gasket 1966 Chevrolet Suburban ‘Lime Crush’

One of the more eye-catching vehicles I saw at SEMA 2013 was this 1966 Chevrolet Suburban at the Mr. Gasket booth. Nicknamed “Lime Crush,” this vehicle is the perfect southern California hot rod/surf wagon.

This classic Suburban was built by The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, IL. You may remember them as the same guys who built the C1RS Corvette and other fine custom cars. I love their work, and this vehicle is no exception.

Under the hood is a GM ZZ454 crate motor that very likely cost more than my first year of college. Dyno information wasn’t available, but a ZZ454 in stock trim makes 440 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque – which is plenty enough to get things movin’. The whole engine is decked out with Mr. Gasket accessories including carb, intake, valve cover, and exhaust gaskets, Mr. Gasket thermostat, PCV valve, and more.

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