John Melnyk's '68 Valiant initially wasn't supposed to be in the lineup. one of two available alternates, John waited on the sidelines the first day of the competition until two of the contestants failed to show up. John exclaimed to us, "How many small-block Valiants do you have that run in the 10s?" Good point. He quickly jumped into the open space, but then the lagging two arrived. We didn't have the heart to take him out, so we bumped the participating total to ten rather than the original eight.
John built this car by himself. Everything. Hailing from Leduc, Canada, he found the car in decent condition after it had sat in a garage for ten years. The car was quickly disassembled, put on a rotisserie, and mini-tubbed. The phenomenal six-month resto-modding left him with a reliable driver that gets 18.5 mpg (better than this author's new Hemi truck), and made the trip on its own wheels. The stroked and bored 408 small-block wields a 4-inch stroker crank, Ross pistons, Eagle rods, and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake with ram-air snorkeling the cool air down the venturies of the Holley double pumper.
Unfortunately, after a formidable transmission-breaking run of 11.96, the transmission locked up, stationing the little A-Body in place. John had to be trailered off the strip. But even with only one pass under his belt, he showed us what a Valiant and a whole lot of guts could do.
Golden Third Gen
Larry Globbell's '73 Rally Charger is a sight to behold. Many take on a project and slave away at it for years, spending long weekends and nights alone in the garage. Larry brought in his whole family to help him in the restoration process. Found in a field by Larry's brother-in-law near their hometown of Snelling, California, the Charger became a daily driver until Larry was clipped in an accident. Larry pursued his would-be hit-and-runner, only to overshoot a turn and end up nose first in a turkey ranch.
Rather than putting the battered B-Body out to pasture, Larry and the whole Globbell family stripped the car down to bare bones, where it received a beautiful coat of the original gold-and-black paint scheme. Larry had his eyes set on one goal-the 2005 True Street Challenge-after seeing it in the pages of Mopar Muscle the previous year. Racing against the clock, Larry pieced the Charger back together as best as he could before rolling up to the judging booth. he showed up without a headliner since the original interior was still in the process of a restoration. But in perfect dad fashion, Larry stepped aside to let his son Chad take the hefty Charger down the strip.
Bill Bridges' '70 Hemi 'Cuda was one of the most photogenic cars we have ever seen. No matter what we did, we couldn't take a bad picture of his yellow E-Body. Bill bought this car from the original owner in 1975.
This 'Cuda has served as more than just a fun weekend ride. Bill has recorded an all-time best time of 11.80 at 118 in stock form. Getting the inevitable itch that we all get for faster times, Bill has since added several goodies to amp-up the 426 Hemi. A new camshaft, headers, and full exhaust have added to the boost in performance, but the car still retains its pleasurable streetability and road manners. The car has been repainted back to its original color because years and mileage can do their damage so easily. Aside from some other cosmetic and performance mods, such as rebuilding the 727 TorqueFlite, the car has retained its complete originality down to the functioning eight-track cassette tape player.