SEMA 2017: 1968 Chevy Nova AWD

The Chevrolet Nova was one of the most popular American muscle cars of the 1960s. Produced for 17 years, the Nova came in nearly every body style and had a huge list of engine choices. One thing is for sure: no Novas ever came with all-wheel drive from the factory. We caught up with Parke Bishop of Bishop Built Rides and he talked us through his 1968 Nova custom car with AWD drivetrain.

Congratulations to Bishop Built Rides on winning a Gran Turismo Award at SEMA 2017!

Driven: 1990’s Isuzu Impulse Wagon

There must be some sort of odd subconscious check list in my head that decides whether or not I like a car, would I drive it, and why. Somehow this thing passes the test. Although it’s nowhere near as pleasing to the eye as the first generation Impulse, this second gen wagonback still satisfies. Continue reading

International Harvester C1100


I always thought International Harvester was a really interesting company. They made such a wide range of products, from farm equipment, to military vehicles, to refrigerators and air conditioners. Somewhere in the midst of all the weird shit they were doing, they managed to pump out a few really cool light duty trucks as well. And I do mean only a few. Although they were in the light truck business from 1907 to 1975, when’s the last time you saw an IH driving around?

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Wrong Wheel Drive


I spotted this at an emissions testing place a while back. While I like seeing mentions of Typhoons and Eclipse GSXs, I can’t help but be disappointed at the idea of a bunch of “car guys” assuming that Corvettes are AWD (I wonder how suprised they are when they pop the hood and find out someone replaced the rotary engine with a small block?) and that Dodge calls its fast cars “TR” models.

I wish I would have had a better camera at the time, but the next time I go back, I’ll try and get a shot of whatever ridiculous inaccuracies they’ve got on the board nowadays. Here’s a close up:

AWD Civic Wagon


Civic wagons are rare enough but the AWD version is even more of a treat. The manual cars actually came with a 6 speed transmission which had a super low gear to the left of first gear. I’m not sure why they didn’t just call the low gear “first gear” and rename the rest of the other gears to follow suit, but whatever, it’s still cool.

The reason for the low gear was because with only 100 lb-ft of torque, the D16A6 motor really didn’t have enough power to really do anything exciting at all (or get you out of a ditch, should you accidentally manage to do something exciting). I’m pretty sure the owner of this car doesn’t have much of a problem getting a little crazy though…

Yeah, someone swapped a K-series motor in there. Aside from all the obvious, well …dirt, it looks like a really clean swap too. I bet the thing is a lot of fun to drive, and it looks like the owner of the car isn’t afraid to take the car out in the desert and have some fun with it. Civic wagons in general sort of strike me as an “I really don’t give a fuck” type vehicle, and this one says it with more sincerity than any other Civic wagon you are ever likely to see, given that about 95 percent of them have been hastily converted to rusted hood, negative cambered-out dork cars.

Explorer Sport Trac: Adrenaline

I’ve never heard of these things before. Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a second generation of the Explorer Sport Trac. Apparently this started out as a stereo package for the Sport Trac and morphed into this “appearance-package” atrocity starting in 2008. Based off what was meant to be an SVT-lead performance truck, that idea was apparently scrapped, but kept the 2005 GT-R concept grille treatment. Something nowadays many other manufacturers can’t seem to avoid stealing as well (I’m looking at you SRT team).

So basically this thing is all show and no go. Being as it’s a quad cab with a pathetic excuse for a bed -and built from the Explorer platform- I shouldn’t be surprised that this is basically what you would call a “lifestyle” vehicle. Which I suppose is a nice way of saying that it’s only meant to look like its sporty and utilitarian, instead of actually being sporty and utilitarian. It’s a mechanical cod piece. I also shouldn’t be surprised that the lady driving this looked like she was off to get the kids from soccer practice, driving in a part of town that is exclusively new, upper-middle class suburbs.

During a year where Ford was making the Five-Hundred, Fusion and Taurus (fleet only) all at the same time, I feel comfortable in saying that this was the most useless, outdated and foolish-looking vehicle in their line-up. I hope it’s rarity ensures that I never have to notice another one and think “Oh, what the fuck?”