classic cars

Beyond Restoration

In much the same way that one person prefers chocolate and another vanilla, chicken over steak, college ball versus pro ball, Chevy enthusiasts tend to lean toward particular vintages, models, powertrains and other special Bow Tie features, which may be nothing more than a vehicle loaded with unusual options that make that car more unique, and valuable, than the next. Our love for such things is generally based upon a range of influencing factors.

Short of a Restoration

By name alone, Reflections Restorations attracts enthusiasts whose worlds revolve around period-correct classics, muscle cars and other favorites built in the Motor City over decades past. Then again, not all of the exquisite creations emerging from this Cabot, Arkansas-based creative shop reflect originality, as an equal number of customers these days prefer a more modern approach to the cars they’ve found and have been attracted to for so long.


The poor Falcon.
Were it not for Ford’s inglorious first compact car, who knows what the early Mustangs would have been like, built as they were on Falcon architecture? Today, everyone wants a Mustang, yet Falcon fans are few. Fewer still are those who crave Falcon wagons, and initially, Norman Schmitt was not one of them, either. He wasn’t after a Falcon, or a wagon, but when a friend told him about an old wagon for sale, he went to check it out. What he found was a rare ’63 Falcon two-door wagon, and it was in great shape. The price was right, so he bought it, with visions of a wicked Pro Street Falcon in his head, and he set out to transform those dreams into steel.

Harry’s Coupe

Back in the summer of 2004, Harry Cline found a ’34 Ford three-window coupe body on eBay. When the auction ended, Harry was the high bidder. He made the trip to Jacksonville, Illinois, to pick up the body. The overall condition of the car was better than he expected, and the doors fit very well for a car that was 70 years old. The seller told Cline that it had actually been stored for nearly 40 years.


Here in the United States, we have been conditioned to find vintage tin in many places. The availability of good cars to build into street rods has become more limited as the years have passed, but depending upon your choice of bodies, there are still quite a few options. Of course, the advent of reproduction bodies has added to the choices. Now put yourself in a foreign land and think about how hard it would be to find a good 70-plus-year-old imported American car to build. That is what Wayne Streams faced as a native of the United Kingdom. Building street rods has grown in both popularity and participation in the UK. There are many vintage English vehicles available, but American cars are the most cherished among British rodders.


Mark Turner is an avid hot rodder—he eats, sleeps and breathes hot rods and muscle cars, and he jumps at any opportunity to add another car to his collection. On one of Turner’s many trips to check on the progress of a Camaro he had being built at G&S Custom Fabrication & Suspension in Athens, Alabama, owner Greg Blaydes told him about a ’67 Camaro RS/SS convertible being built whose owner had lost interest and was looking to get out from under the car.

Nuthin’ Fancy

Ryan Newman grew up with a steering wheel in his hands. From the age of five, he has been behind the wheel of a racecar. Now, almost 20 years later, Ryan drives for Penske Racing South on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. In 2003, Ryan won eight races, 11 poles and was named Speed Channel’s Driver of the Year. In 2004, he will be driving a Dodge sponsored by primary sponsor Alltel with associate sponsorship form Mobil 1 and Sony Electronics on 38 weekends.


Although there is no set list or solid criteria we look for when choosing a feature car, we typically know the instant we’ve found one. Sometimes it’s a flawless paint job and subtle body mods that draw us in; other times, it’s a fully built motor loping angrily. Other times, though, we come across a car that is just plain cool—not the fastest, or even highly modified, but the kind of car you just look at and say, “Wow, check out that…” So it was at Goodguys Charlotte this year: sitting proudly in the mist and drizzle was Doug Wayne’s ’66 Galaxie convertible. At Auto Builder, we have a soft spot for large vehicles, and, realistically, Ford is not known for making many great small cars. Even small Fords are big, and if you don’t believe us, stick an early Falcon next to a Scion. But few companies do big as well as Ford, and even from a distance, we knew this Galaxie was as cool as it is long.


At home at a concours event, George Lange’s ’68 Camaro begs for closer inspection, as it is much more than it seems. Capable beyond most people’s wildest imagination, its laser-smooth lines are complemented beneath the flawless luster of DuPont’s Ash Gold Metallic paint. Call it “Alloway style.”

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