Bringing a car back from a decrepit state is gratifying, but being able to take it to the maximum level of engineering is brag-worthy. Everyone loves being unique, and showing up at the local meet in something that stands out is twice as great. More power, more torque, more style, and more sophistication are all key aspects that will carry your car to the center stage.
Everyone adds their own unique touch to their ride. Devoting a lot of money, though, as with most things, is the ticket to set you apart. These seven cars are so sinfully well done that we might as well be begging for forgiveness. Money, time, craftsmanship, and dedication all pushed these princes to perfection. Not all of these are beauty queens, though, so look out. The last thing we want is you to get embarrassed if you meet one of them at a stop light start.
7) 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Gregg Hamilton
That is a big 10-4 good buddy; this Trans Am is everything that the Bandit wishes his Pontiac could have been. We all know that the Trans Am in Smokey and the Bandit was sweet, but in real life, the 1977 Trans Am was a bit of a dud. Gregg Hamilton, a World Rally Star, so loved the car’s ideology that he took it and made it what it should have been.
A new GM 5.3 Gen III V8 with forged rods, pistons, and LS9 cams (plus, two turbos) make this a monster. Lowered and with revised bodywork, you will notice it still looks the part of a movie star but finally behaves like one.
6) 1971 De Tomaso Pantera ADRNLN
Does anyone else hear the name “Pantera” and just want to play their music? I do. Regardless, the original Pantera, made by De Tomaso was a mid-engine supercar for the 1970’s. Italian styling met American muscle when a Ford V8 pumped power to the rear wheels. The car was great.
The Ringbrother’s made it a legend. ADRNLN is the name they gave to the bring yellow restoration/customization project that one man started. After his death, the Ringbrothers picked up his progress to make it perfect. 600 horsepower is cranked out of the LS3 motor (sorry Ford), and a Corvette suspension helps direct it to the road. With a customized interior and exterior modifications, the ADRNLN looks like the 1970’s should have been.
5) 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air – Ironworks Speed & Kustom
Laser precise cutting, TIG welding, and demand higher than a new Poison album, the Ironworks Speed & Kustom Bel Air is badass. They decided to replicate the Tri-Five Chevrolets of the era and improve. However, they wanted to make sure every piece looked and felt like a ‘55 but with a modern approach.
By the time the cars were done Ironworks had a 430 horsepower, 424 pounds-feet torque lead sled (not made of lead) that could easily dust your neighbors. Yes it takes more than 1,000 hours to assemble one, and Rome wasn’t built in a day, so embarrassing your neighbors shouldn’t be nearly as accessible, but you should do it.
4) 1956 Chevrolet Nomad – Cole Foster
The 1950’s were a time of smooth style with space age looks. Nomad added a bit more in all the right ways, thankfully. It can go low and slow, or it can smoke the streets, your call. The 6.5 Chevy V8 makes enough torque and horsepower to do your bidding with the tap of a pedal.
A lower suspension, better brakes, and other suspension work will keep you from barging through corners, but that is not the point. Everything about this ‘56 Nomad is discretion. The only big giveaway would be if you lowered it down because of the air-ride suspension.
3) Old Crow – Old Crow Speed Shop
The airplane’s, World War II, and 168 miles per hour. The Old Crow is named after the P-51 Mustang that fought in World War II, but the name gets better. It is also a reference to whiskey and is a drop fuel tank from a P-38 Lightning. If you want to touch a piece of history, don’t go to your local museum, track this car down. Utilizing a 1932 Model B motor with a supercharger the car drops out enough power to compel it to 168 mph, which was a land speed record.
That is what the boys at Old Crow Speed Shop do, though, they take the essence of an era and combine that performance potential into the car. As long as it was possible in that time frame, they do it. I would believe them too because they set 5 records the day they ran the car at Bonneville.
2) 1973 Plymouth “Kuda” – Beck Kustoms
It is well known that in the 1970’s there was nothing to be feared more in the muscle car menagerie than the ‘Cuda. The Hemi motor gave high horsepower and out pulled anything that dared to keep up, debate all you want, it is true. Beck Kustom’s took a MOPAR block, ported it, and custom built an exhaust and found 500 horsepower.
In a car that weighs only 3,031 pounds (1375 kg) you’ll barely notice the competition because it is so far behind.
1) 1963 Buick Riviera X-11 – River City Speed & Kustom
Smooth, svelte, and silver, it is everything that you need. The sleek modernism belies the fact that this slippery machine has a 6.6 liter Buick Nailhead V8 tucked safely away below the hood.
It isn’t all Buick though because the roof line is from a Mercury and they avoided, as much as possible, to be a counter action to the Thunderbird. In all, you won’t care because this one off restoration is lower, faster, and filled with more silver than a famous surfer.