March 22nd and 23rd, 2014 marked the first annual Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals in Pomona, CA, sponsored by Lucas Oil and O’Reily Auto Parts. The show went off without a hitch bright and early Saturday morning till Sunday afternoon. This show definitely had something for everybody, with lots of activities for participants and spectators. Instead of a traditional show where spectators park their rides for the day, cars were constantly on the move here. There was a cruise route on the grounds, an autocross course, free dyno testing, and even a burnout competition. There were plenty of manufactures on hand as well, such as TCI Engineering, Dynojet, Wheel Vintiques, and Edelbrock just to name a few.
All day long throughout the show grounds you could hear engines screaming as they pumped out the horsepower. This was a neat set up that Dynojet had as the dyno itself was actually a special built trailer. The cars would line up, roll onto a set of ramps and up onto the dyno. A two man team would go around securing the car at all four corners onto the dyno and attaching sensors to the engine. A Dynojet technician would then hop in, run the motor three times and get a final number. There was no shortage of cars and spectators at this event either. We wondered how many people had bets with their buddies on what their car would dyno.
The TCI Engineering autocross event was filled with cars and there was a crowd around all day long. People loved watching as cars would try their best at completing the course. The course itself was very tight and almost a kidney bean shape where participants would take two laps at a time. The runs were generally in the 30-40 second range, meaning every minute there was another participant on the course pushing their car to its limits.
This event was open to all participants that entered the show, as long as they passed a tech inspection. The tech inspection mainly just made sure the car was in good working order and that the driver and any passengers had a helmet. We saw everything out there competing – from a late 70’s four door Impala, to a straight six Mopar. There was even a 70 C-10 that looked like it was just off the farm, but squealing the tires none the less and having fun.
Show ‘N Shine
Throughout the entire shows cars were parked in a beautiful setting under trees and buildings. Every kind of caliber of car was on hand, from 100% unrestored originals, works in progress and even professionally built cars like those built by Chip Foose. There was plenty of cars on hand as well, a great turnout, especially for the first annual show. While walking around the show we picked out our top three cars from the show and showcased them for you.
Our Top Chevy Picks from the Show
#1 1970 El Camino SS
This 1970 El Camino was towards the end of an aisle, somewhat out of the way. However we were drawn to this car and had to check it out. While talking to the owner, Bob Delong of Moreno Valley, CA, he told us that he has owned the car for about four and a half years. We asked Bob what he had done to the car. “I’ve replaced the motor, transmission, brakes, the entire driveline, everything but paint.” The car had already been painted when Bob picked up the car, so he didn’t know what the exact color was.
When Bob started the restoration a non-numbers matching 396 cubic inch big block resided in the engine bay along with a four speed M21 transmission. “Now it has a built 468 with a five speed” he said while laughing. “I can still hear the radio now at 70 mph.” Another upgrade that he made was to convert the factory bench seat over to a set of bucket seats. “My son was pretty upset with me, he said ‘how’s a girl going to sit next to you now?'”
The ’70 Elky SS is a real tribute to Bob’s youth as well. He use to have an original SS 70 Elky with a four speed, “But then I got married and had a kid, so I sold the car.” Now that he’s older, he knew that he had to have another SS Elky. His favorite part of the car is taking it to shows and talking to other car people. His only regret is that he can only afford one car. “It’s a very expensive hobby.” We agree, but there’s no shame in only owning one super clean ’70 SS!
#2 1966 Nova
Black and straight as an arrow with a bright red interior and chrome rims that filled the wheel wells of this 1966 Chevy II Nova. Grabbing our attention from 100 feet away, and we had to take a closer look. Now you might be looking at the pictures and telling yourself, that’s a ’67 Nova, not a ’66. You’re correct, but also wrong. We asked the owner, Gary Bunker from Las Vegas, NV what the story was behind the ’66 tags and ’67 front end. “I like the ’67 fenders and headlight buckets better and wanted the matching billet grill. Since I built the car, I did what I wanted to do to the car to make it my own.”
The car is fresh on the show scene with Gary only owning the car about eights months so far, with the first five months being restored. We asked him why a ’66 Nova? What made this car so special? “When I was at shows looking for another car, I saw that ’66 and ’67 Novas were very rare, you would only find one or two at a show, sometimes none” said Gary. “This is a muscle car, this car reaches all ages. This is a car that the younger crowd appreciates, something that their Dad may have had, not what their grandfather may have had.”
This Nova may look somewhat stock from the outside, but that laser straight sheet metal hides a lot of work. The engine is a 383 stroker backed by a 700R4 transmission. The suspension is all from TCI Engineering, with their coilovers in the front and a coilover four link rear suspension. The rear end is still a factory 10-bolt, but has been narrowed with drilled and slotted Wilwood brakes all the way around. A full red leather interior was stitched up and finished off with a Vintage Air unit to keep cool in the Vegas heat.
This car was built to drive, not for racing. In the three months the car has been done, he’s put over 3,000 miles on the car. “We’ve driven the Nova to San Diego, Palm Springs, Utah and even Arizona.” Gary definitely enjoys the car and isn’t afraid of getting it on the road, that’s what we like to see!
#3 1968 Camaro
Out on the autocross course one car kept catching our eye. This car wasn’t a show car, in fact it shows sign of racing abusw. What we loved about this 1968 Camaro was all the battle scars on the car and that they weren’t afraid of a little scratch or two. This car was turning one hot lap after another, beating a lot of the competition.
This car turned out to be owned by TCI Engineering, who sponsored the autocross. This car handled like it was on rails, making easy work of the autocross course. This Camaro has been the test bed for TCI their development of the F-Body suspension line. The car has seen literally thousands of laps on tracks all over Southern California.
The car is powered by a 355 cubic inch small block, with a carburetor. The SBC is backed by a 700R4 transmission that goes through a Currie 9″ rear end. This might be an old school power train set up, but don’t let that fool you. This car screams and keeps up with the best of them. Naturally the car has a complete TCI suspension underneath, with one of their torque arm suspension systems in the back. A set of RideTech coil overs adorns the front and rear suspension as well.
Only a few days before the show they were thrashing on the car to get it done. The front clip was one of their set ups from five years ago and they wanted the latest technology on the car. While they were at it, they added a set of AMD aluminum fenders and hood to help with weight. The paint was so fresh on the front of the car it hadn’t even been buffed or waxed yet.
Overall this show was one for the books. We can’t wait for next years Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals!