Buddy Marshall

'68 Dodge Dart

When talking with Buddy Marshall, you quickly realize what a fun-loving guy he is. His spirits are up, and he was very enthusiastic about competing in the challenge. His '68 Dart was equally as impressive, too. As one of his more than 40 Mopars, it's great to see that his appreciation for the 360-powered A-Body is so deep. He was constantly cleaning it up and was eager to get the car on the road for the street portion of our testing.

When asked what was under the hood, Buddy replied back that it was "a mystery 360." He found the car on Craigslist in excellent shape but the engine was blown up. That's when he got a sweet deal on the trusty LA that's in the car now. Buddy tells us that he hasn't even opened up since he's owned it. What he can tell you is that he and his friends Mile Williams and Paul Harrison installed an Edelbrock Torker intake manifold, Holley 850, and upgraded the ignition system with some MSD parts. They also upgraded the exhaust with tti headers and a Flowmaster exhaust system. Inside the transmission they installed a Cheetah valve body and swapped the rear gears out for a set of 3.55s.

Once we exited the MATS show field in the Dart and made our way onto the highway, we were pleased to hear the lull of a low-spun small-block as his Gear Vendors overdrive kicked in. His option for super stock springs and PST restoration parts made the car a joy on the roads. Inside the factory seats were comfortable, and the ride wasn't harsh at all.

Chad Demler

'70 Plymouth Cuda

It seemed like every time we tracked down Chad during the event, he was either behind the wheel of his marvelously restored '70 'Cuda, or he was just getting out of the car after making a pass down the track. His 'Cuda had all the details right, and the paint was smooth and clean. Inside, a set of custom floor mats help Chad keep his pristine carpeting in nice shape as he shifts the gears going down the street or strip.

When Chad popped the hood, it was like going back in time. Everything was there, and the addition of some aftermarket dress-up items didn't hurt it one bit. He cleverly disguised an Edelbrock intake manifold and carburetor. Everything inside the RB is stock, and so is the ignition system. The only other aftermarket additions are the Hooker headers and a 3-inch Magnaflow exhaust that round out this well-optioned 440.

On the road, the stock restored suspension was very comfortable. The 3.90 gears kept the rpm a little high, but Magnaflow exhaust kept the sound levels to a delightful and manageable level. At the track, Chad was getting the hang of sending the big-block power to the Radial T/A tires without causing a smoke show. He and his daughter are true car people, and even spent the weekend camping at the show with their Mopar.

John Copage

'70 Dodge Challenger

John and Barbara Copage own this Dodge that originally came with a 383 engine and was a retired drag car. Over the past few years, John has worked on getting the car into excellent shape so that he could enjoy it on the street and show off his hard work at the show circuit. As a red-on-red Hemi Challenger, of course it was cool.

While a 383 is a terrific performance platform, we can all agree that the Hemi is "where it's at." John digressed from his back-to-stock restoration for one small non-original alteration, a 472-cubic inch Hemi crate engine. It's supported by stock exhaust and electronics. John even sourced an original Hemi intake and carburetors. Behind the engine is a factory four-speed manual and a Dana 60 filled with 4.10 gears and a SureGrip diff.

Out on the sun-battered streets of Nevada, the Challenger scored high marks. John's smooth shifting combined with the smooth-riding suspension and entirely stock exhaust was the recipe for the perfect cruiser. With little motivation, John rolled into the throttle and unleashed some Hemi power, pinning passengers in their seat. Out on the track, John was another unfortunate one this year when his water pump belt decided it no longer wanted to stay together and caused the Challenger to puke some coolant. Thankfully, he caught it early and no damage was done. But that meant he only was able to make one pass before calling it a day.

Stephanie Williams

'70 Plymouth Cuda

What were you doing when you were 16 years old? Stephanie Williams was doing burnouts, autocrossing, and cruising around in her fresh '72 'Cuda at the 2010 Mopars at the Strip event in Las Vegas. Her uncle, Mike, and her father, Steve, conspired to build the car for her 16th birthday-which was last November. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to complete the car in time, so a new date was set: the 2010 Mopars at the Strip.

Stephanie came out with her family and a camcorder to document the lifetime experience for a school project. We hope she scores high marks like we gave her 'Cuda. The first thing you'll notice is the brand-new Moulin Rouge PPG paint and the photo-luminescent flake strobe stripe down that side that glows in the dark. Under the hood is a mild 340 with stock internals, a Hughes Racing cam, and an Edelbrock Air Gap intake manifold with a Holley 650 on top. The small-block sends its exhaust through a pair of Doug's headers with 3-inch collectors, a 2 1/2-inch Pypes X-pipe with cutouts, and two Flowmaster 40-series mufflers. Inside is a freshly restored white interior that is almost blinding.

On the road, you could just tell that Stephanie was excited to be behind the wheel. Her car dealt with the Vegas roads with ease with its mostly stock suspension, and thanks to the thick front and rear sway bars, the E-Body was smooth through the corners. At the track, Stephanie made her first ever passes down the strip. She didn't even stage with her back tires like most first timers!