Ethan Lawrence of Albuquerque, New Mexico, took top honors in this year's True Street Chal
What is the definition of a true street car? If you ask the local police in the town where this author grew up, they'll tell you about a '64 Dodge with a stout 440, 5.13 gears, wheeltubs, cheater slicks, and a gutted interior that was regularly driven, and regularly pulled over, on the streets of Greenfield, Indiana. While this car did meet the minimum requirements of a street vehicle-lights, turn signals, mufflers, and DOT-approved tires-it lacked the refinement of what we would consider a street car in today's world. These days, a stout, head-turning street car must have plenty of power, and good looks don't hurt either, but today's street cars must also demonstrate road manners worthy of a rush-hour commute, and must suffer through long periods of idling in hot traffic while running on low-octane pump fuel.
The rules of the True Street Challenge are simple. Points are awarded for interior and exterior appearance, and the fit and function of the car's equipment is checked. We then fill the cars with pump gas and make them drive more than 20 miles through the desert heat on a combination of interstates and highways, then through the stop-and-go traffic of Las Vegas Boulevard, before returning to the Strip at Las Vegas for some quarter-mile passes. During the driving portion of the contest, each car is awarded points for road manners, ride quality, and noise level; at the strip, points are awarded based on quarter-mile elapsed times.
The cars in this year's True Street Challenge, held at the annual Mopars at the Strip show and race in Las Vegas, Nevada, are quite likely similar to the cars you own. These are real cars, built by real people, and they are driven and raced regularly. This year's entries impressed us with their appearance, road manners, and especially their quarter-mile times.
While the competition was close, the overall winner of this year's True Street Challenge was Ethan Lawrence with his Viper red '67 Satellite. This car combined good looks, power, and excellent road manners to best a tough stable of Mopars in the challenge.
Follow along as we give you the details about all the cars in the challenge, which combinations worked well, and which came up a little short.
A-, B-, and E-bodies, as well as small-blocks, big-blocks, and Hemis were all represented
All the competitors were required to fill their tanks or fuel cells with pump gas before t
The times these street cars turned were certainly impressive, with a couple of the entries
Ethan Lawrence's '67 Satellite was equally at home on the road and the dragstrip. The pain
'67 Plymouth SatelliteLike most projects, this Satellite was in poor shape when Ethan acquired it. Years of street use and then racing had taken their toll on the B-body, but the car's foundation was sound, and he loved the squared-off lines of the Plymouth. Having more time than money and enjoying mechanical work, Ethan built this car himself, in his garage, over a period of five years. The front suspension was rebuilt with new bushings and A-body disc brakes, while the rear was changed to a coilover/ladder bar setup for hard launches. Mini-tubs were also added to accommodate the 30x13.5-inch rear tires.
Ethan's grandfather loved to build custom cars and assisted in the body and paint work, teaching Ethan how to get panels super straight as they shared valuable time together working on the project. This Viper red Plymouth was the last car Ethan's grandfather would help with before his death, making the project even more valuable to Ethan.
When it came to the engine, Ethan decided to build it himself. Starting with a factory 440 block, internals from Eagle and JE were added, and displacement was increased to 493 ci. A Comp Cams .590 lift roller cam was utilized in conjunction with a set of fully ported 906 casting cylinder heads topped with Comp roller rockers. An Edelbrock Victor intake and Demon 1,000-cfm carburetor handled the fuel/air mixing. Behind the engine, the TorqueFlite was freshened and loaded with new internals, including a Cheetah manual valvebody and TCI 3,800-rpm stall converter. Out back, a stout Dana with a Sure-Grip transfers the power to the pavement. This combination was good for some solid mid-12-second passes at Vegas, enough to win this year's True Street Challenge. Congratulations, Ethan.
Although an ignition timing issue only allowed some 28 degrees of total advance, this Sate
The engine bay of this Plymouth shows the same attention to detail that is highlighted thr
What does Ethan like most about his Satellite? Driving it, of course.
Placing a close second in this year's challenge is Terry Antosko's '70 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda
Everyone knows AAR 'Cudas came with small-block engines, right? A closer look at Terry's c
'70 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda CloneLiving in the town of Grande Prairie, in Canada's Alberta province, gives Terry Antosko plenty of time during the long winters to work on his cars. When building this 'Cuda, he had a theme in mind. Loving the look of the AAR 'Cuda, he wanted to make this car appear as a factory AAR, but with a twist. The twist was the addition of a 693ci Hemi engine. Terry found the car some 10 years ago in a field and scored a deal by telling the previous owner he wouldn't cut the car up and make it a race car. And he stuck to his deal, pretty much. The suspension of this car remains fairly stock with the addition of aftermarket disc brakes and Cal-Trac bars. The 831/44 rearend contains 3.90 gears and a Sure-Grip differential; the freshened TorqueFlite houses a 10-inch, 3,800-rpm stall converter and reverse manual valvebody shifted by the factory column shifter. Aftermarket gauges and a rollbar are the only deviations from a factory interior.
While Terry's car is stock appearing, the engine is anything but stock. With a goal of running deep in the 9s in the quarter on pump gas, he started with a 4.510 bore Indy block, stuffing it with a Bryant steel crankshaft with a stroke of 4.96 inches. Groden aluminum rods were matched with CP pistons for a somewhat pump-gas friendly 12.25:1 compression ratio. Mopar aluminum heads were ported and polished, then topped with an Indy intake and 1050-cfm Holley Dominator carburetor. The combination was good for 948 hp and 877 lb-ft of torque on the engine dyno. this car ran a string of mid-10-second passes while in Vegas, making it the quickest entry in our challenge. We congratulate Terry on a very close second place finish in this year's True Street Challenge.
This AAR clone could definitely fool the untrained eye. The only deviations from a stock i
After a quick wiring repair, Terry clicked off a series of 10-second elapsed times, nettin
A short in the fuel-pump wiring forced Terry to abort his first pass. after a quick repair
Oakview, California, native Randy Burg's '67 Dodge Dart is a fine example of what muscleca
While it looks like a 440, the big-block under the hood of Randy's Dart actually displaces
'67 Dodge DartRandy Burg fell in love with Dodge Darts when he bought his first one-a 340 Swinger-new in 1969. Since then, he has owned Darts with small-blocks, big-blocks, and even one with a Slant Six, but the '67 Dart shown here is now his favorite.
While searching eBay several years ago, Randy found this car already complete with a mild 440 between the fenders. The paint and bodywork were already finished, so he got to work on the rest of the car. The leaf springs were moved inboard to make room for the big 275/50 15-inch tires, and the 831/44 rear was filled with Richmond 3.55 gears, a Sure-Grip, and Moser axles. A custom fuel cell was built to fit inside the spare tire well of the trunk. Up front, the factory brakes were replaced with late-model A-body discs, and the K-frame was notched to clear the Milodon oil pan. Inside, Randy added new YearOne carpet and a CD player with satellite radio to keep his ears busy during cruises.
While Randy's Dart came with a mild 440 when he purchased it, he just wasn't satisfied with the performance of the engine. Sure it had torque-every 440 does-but low compression and a small cam really limited the engine. So when Randy's son decided to sell his '69 GTX to finance some moving expenses, the two struck a deal. Randy and his son had just built a 496ci stroked 440 for the GTX and hated to see it go with the car, so they agreed to replace it with the mild 440 from Randy's Dart, and the Dart got the 496-inch motor. During the build of this engine, Randy and his son added an Eagle 4.15-inch stroke crank and H-beam rods, Ross flat-top pistons, and a Comp .573-inch lift solid flat-tappet cam. Edelbrock aluminum heads were added, and a Victor 440 intake with a Demon 850 carb take care of the induction. TTI headers expel the gasses through a 3-inch dual-exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. This combination was good for mid-11-second timeslips in Vegas, and tied Randy for third place in the True Street Challenge.
A Tremec five-speed manual transmission and a .61 final drive ratio make this Dart a pleas
An aftermarket tachometer and radio are the only clues this Dart isn't quite stock.
Solid mid-11-second elapsed times earned Randy a tie for third place in this year's True S
Rod McGregor had the only small-block-powered entry in this year's True Street Challenge,
'69 Dodge DartHailing from Glendora, California, Rod McGregor has always been a Mopar enthusiast. When he decided to build this Dart as a father/son project, he envisioned a car that would be comfortable to drive on the street, but equally as fun to race at the Irwindale dragstrip on Thursday nights. Starting with the chassis, Rod and his son added frame connectors, new front-end bushings, and Caltrac bars to stiffen up their Dart. Late-model disc brakes were installed on the front, and the rear was mini-tubbed to accommodate the 28x13.5-inch Mickey Thompson rear street tires. To aid with weight transfer, the battery was moved to the trunk where a fuel cell was also installed. To keep the occupants safe, a custom rollbar was installed to fit with the back seat and speakers in place. An aftermarket shifter was installed to row the A-500 automatic transmission through the gears, and aftermarket front seats were installed, but otherwise the car's interior remains fairly stock.
When the first small-block Rod and his son built for this car had issues, it was pulled, and they decided to go all out. They purchased a restoration block from Mopar Performance and added an Eagle 4-inch stroke crankshaft, Eagle connecting rods, and SRP pistons for a compression ratio of 10.4:1. A Comp Cams .576-inch lift solid roller camshaft with some 240-degrees duration at .050 lift was utilized to actuate the valves in the Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads. An Edelbrock Victor intake and Holley double-pumper top this combination, and an MSD ignition lights the fires. Rod wanted to cruise the streets with more than just three gears, so an A-500 automatic/overdrive transmission was rebuilt, and a Hughes 3,500-rpm converter was installed. Out back, the factory 831/44 rear was filled with Richmond 4.30 gears, a Sure Grip, and Mark Williams axles. Having only run at an eighth-mile track prior to our event, Rod was as impressed as we were when he ran a solid high-10-second elapsed time in the quarter during our event in Las Vegas. This elapsed time, combined with a great looking, well-rounded street car, landed Rod in a tie for third place.
While fairly stock appearing, there are a few clues to the potency of this Dart.
Though obviously a small-block, the displacement of this LA engine isn't so small at 408 c
Though the smallest engine of our competition, Rod's small-block had plenty of torque to w
This '72 'Cuda owned by Tom Eskridge of Denver, Colorado, was a great combination of power
'72 Plymouth BarracudaWhen Tom Eskridge teamed up with his friend Kipp Smallwood to build this 'Cuda, they wanted a car that was fun to drive and fun to race. Starting with a clean, low-mileage, original car made their job easy. After purchasing this 'Cuda, Tom and Kipp went through the car, replacing anything that was worn or broken. The interior remains mostly stock with the addition of a Blaupunkt stereo system, Kenwood speakers, and aftermarket gauges. The factory disc brakes were rebuilt along with the front end, and Weld Pro-Star wheels were added to accommodate the sticky Mickey Thompson 275/50 rear tires. The Top Banana paint job isn't the original from the factory, but was in good shape so it was detailed and left alone.
Since Tom wanted this car to both race and cruise, he decided the engine should be slightly warmer than stock. Beginning with a factory block, crank, and rods, Tom had the block bored .030-inch oversize and added Speed-Pro flat-top pistons and a Hughes .640-inch lift flat-tappet camshaft to wake the 440 up. Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads top the engine, and factory electronic ignition lights the fires. Behind the engine the TorqueFlite was freshened, and a looser converter was installed; out back the factory 3.23-geared 831/44 rear handles getting the power to the pavement.
Tom stresses this is no show car-it's driven regularly and sees regular time at the local dragstrip. In Vegas, this combination was good for mid-12-second elapsed times in the quarter-mile-enough to tie him for fourth Place.
A solid combination of parts propelled Tom's '72 'Cuda to mid-12s in the quarter and captu
E-bodies turn heads, and with Top Banana yellow paint, side stripes, and Weld wheels, this
While the rest of the car remains pretty much stock, the engine is a different story. Edel
This '68 GTX owned by S.E. Garrick of Lehi, Utah, was the closest to a fully restored vehi
'68 Plymouth GTXHaving owned this GTX for more than twenty years, S.E. Garrick is quite familiar with his Mopar. Over the years, he has driven this car in various configurations, but he always knew he'd restore it one day. Loving the way the car came from the factory, he decided to leave everything pretty much stock, rebuilding and replacing only the items that were worn. The maroon interior was recovered with Legendary seat covers, and the carpet, headliner, and dashpad were all replaced. The stock radio still resides in the dash and even works! Cragar wheels were added to lighten up the rolling stock, and BFGoodrich tires adorn all four corners. The suspension and drum brakes were rebuilt, but are still the same items this GTX left the factory with.
When it was time to rebuild the engine for this project, S.E. was pleasantly surprised. The 440 block was in amazing shape and didn't even need an overbore. The factory crank, rods, and pistons were used, and the heads were freshened and reinstalled. The only internal modification performed was the addition of a Mopar Performance .509-inch lift hydraulic camshaft and matching valvesprings. A Mallory distributor and electronic ignition handle the spark duties. Behind the engine, the transmission was freshened, and the stock converter was checked and reinstalled. Out back, the 831/44 Sure Grip was inspected and reassembled with new seals.
While the GTX didn't perform as well as he would have liked, the 15-second quarter-mile times were still respectable given Las Vegas' elevation, and earned S.E. a tie for fourth place.
S.E. liked the maroon interior so much he decided to restore it in the stock color. We agr
Under the hood, the 440 looks much like it did when it left the factory. Internally, the e
As the most stock car in the competition, this GTX ran 15-second elapsed times in the quar
Pat Derieg of Albuquerque, New Mexico, built this car with the help of several friends. Th
'69 Plymouth Road RunnerIn the summer of 1983, Pat Derieg saw this Road Runner for sale in the parking lot of a local apartment complex for $500. he wanted the car and saved his money riding the bus to work all summer. Since he was only fifteen years old and hadn't learned to shift a manual transmission yet, his older brother had to drive the car home after it was purchased. Through high school, he fixed the car up and drove it, but always wanted to really build the car right.
In 1999, Pat decided it was time, sold all his other projects, and started on the Road Runner. Going for the pro street look, he installed a four-link rear suspension, rollcage, and Dana 60 rear differential. Wheeltubs were added to accommodate the huge Mickey Thompson tires in the back.
When it was time to build the drivetrain for his Road Runner, Pat opted to make this car appear as a '6911/42 Six Pack clone. The original 383 was set aside, and a 440 block was stuffed with a Mopar Performance 4.15-inch stroke crank, main studs, and .050-inch oversize pistons for a compression ratio of 10.3:1. A Hughes .575-inch lift solid flat-tappet cam was installed, and 346 casting heads were ported in house for this engine. A Weiand six-barrel intake was used with a trio of Holley two-barrels; Hooker headers expel the spent gasses through a Dynomax exhaust. The A-833 four-speed was resealed and treated to a new clutch and Hurst shifter. Out back, the Dana 60 rear was fitted with a Sure grip, 4.10 gears, and Moser axles.
While this is a stout combination, Pat had a little trouble getting down the track. Tire spin and trouble shifting netted a 15-second pass, which is certainly not indicative of what this car is capable of. Even so, Pat placed fifth in our challenge.
Though spinning tires kept us from seeing this Road Runner's true potential, Pat did manag
We love the pro street look of Pat's '69 Road Runner. This is a cool street car that defin
At nearly 500 ci, this big-block has the power to easily fry the big Mickey Thompson tires
Whether on the track or on the street, Lauren Mestas of Albuquerque, New Mexico, loves to
'68 Dodge ChargerTwenty-year-old Lauren Mestas of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the youngest competitor in this year's true street challenge. from a family of Mopar enthusiasts, there was really no other choice than Mopar when Lauren told her family she'd like a car to cruise and race.
In addition to racing, Lauren's family raises puppies. One day, when delivering a puppy to their neighbor, he asked if they would be interested in an old Dodge in his yard. Upon seeing the '68 Charger, Lauren and her parents quickly agreed the car would suit their needs and struck a deal to trade two puppies for the car. Why can't we find deals like that?
Though Lauren was too young to drive at the time, her parents fixed the car up and gave it to her when she turned 16. That same year she won the first race she entered, but then tragedy struck. The next time she went to the track, Lauren wrecked the car. That accident began the process of rebuilding the Charger. Lauren's mom tackled the interior, while Lauren and her dad worked on the body damage. When complete, Lauren decided to paint the car the bright silver metal flake color it wears today.
Knowing she'd never be satisfied with a stock 318, Lauren convinced her parents she needed more power to move her Charger. A 440 block was obtained and bored .030-inch oversize to accommodate Kieth Black pistons. Aluminum rods were utilized to keep reciprocating weight down, and a stock cast crank spins in the journals. A Mopar Performance .484-inch lift hydraulic cam was installed, and the factory iron cylinder heads were rebuilt and topped with an Edelbrock intake and Holley Street Avenger carburetor. The TorqueFlite was overhauled by Lauren's dad, and a 2,400-rpm stall converter was added. The 831/44 rear houses street-friendly 3.55 gears.
Lauren says the car is part of the family, and it represents love of family, faith, courage, and hard work. Some of her best memories are from working with her parents to rebuild the car after her accident. We commend Lauren and her family for their efforts, and congratulate her for getting back to the track after the accident. Lauren's solid 15-second elapsed times earned her a sixth place.
Though originally a 318 car, Lauren and her dad built a 440 to give the heavy Charger more
Though not the fastest car in the challenge, Lauren was certainly the most consistent. In
The interior of the Charger was complete and in great shape, so a thorough cleaning and ca