We’ve made it to another new year, and you know what that means – you’ll find more top-10 lists than Chevrolet made ZL1 Camaros. Most of those lists revolve around things like the best dressed or even the best shoes, but not many actually list anything important – you know, like car stuff. We didn’t want to have you guys feeling left out, so we decided that we should also put together a list of our own about important stuff – like cars.
Assembling this list seemed like a good idea, but the hard part would be choosing the twelve cars that should make our list. Yes, you heard correctly, we said twelve. We had to be just a little different, and how many Top 10 lists does the world really need? That’s why we decided on the number twelve.
We’re certain that some will question one or two of our choices, and there will be no escaping a certain level of wrath because we didn’t include someone. And that is okay. If we all liked the same thing, the hobby would get uninteresting really quick. But when it comes down to it, we can justify our actions by saying that every car we have featured throughout the year is worthy, but we could only choose twelve. Keep in mind, a great feature car doesn’t have be a perfect restoration or an over-the-top restomod. It should however, have a great story.
… a great feature car doesn’t have be a perfect restoration or an over-the-top restomod.
Even though we have chosen the twelve cars that we feel should be on the list, we didn’t choose the one that should top the list. We want to crown one feature car as the Chevy Hardcore 2016 Feature Car of the Year, and that’s where you guys come in. Comment below, check out our Facebook page, or just drop us an email at [email protected], because we are asking readers and followers to choose one of the twelve from the list that they feel we should crown as king.
So, without further ado, here are the twelve nominees for you to choose from:
Andy Millican’s 9-Second ’57 Chevy
We have seen a lot of 1957 Chevrolets throughout the years, but Andy’s street-legal dragcar is definitely one of the coolest. The Emerald Green paint was applied in the late ’90s, and is a color that was actually a GM option at the time.
Andy told us, “It came with a 671 blower motor that ran on a 110-octane racing fuel. You can’t stop at just any gas station to get that kind of fuel, and it’s not like I could carry a drum with me on long drives.” That’s why he had a 1,200 horsepower, 540 cubic-inch big-block engine that can live on gas-station-available Premium fuel built to replace it.
This car is a family affair for Andy, so it has seating up front for him and his wife, and he also had a seat placed between the rollbar down tubes so his two children have a place to enjoy the ride.
Judd Middlebrooke’s ’67 Camaro
Judd Middlebrook of Plant City, Florida, spends his work days as the manager of a collision repair shop. But, he does take time to build some really cool cars on the weekends. Judd was able to get this Camaro due to the unfortunate circumstance of someone else.
What Judd found was a complete car with the factory-installed six-cylinder engine and a manually-shifted three-speed transmission. The car was in relatively good condition, but was in need of a complete restoration. Judd said, “The car had very solid rocker panels, frame rails, and front subframe.” He immediately started the restoration, and spent the next 18 months – including nights and weekends, rebuilding the car.
Judd’s first-gen Camaro is definitely a Home-Built Hero, and after being on the road for almost 10 years, it still looks great. Those two reasons are only a small portion of why we included it in our list.
Fred Otto’s ’72 Chevelle
Fred Otto began his email to us by saying, “I’ve owned nothing but Chevrolet my entire life, and I still do. My father was a certified Chevrolet mechanic for more than 40 years, and he taught me everything I know.” When Fred was a scant 10 years old, he got his first glance at a new ‘72 Chevelle and knew that he would someday own one.
His originally six-cylinder-powered Chevelle was purchased from the original owner in Michigan, and the rebuild began immediately after getting it home. The six cylinder was yanked in favor of a 402 cubic-inch big-block, and he replaced the Powerglide with a rebuilt Turbo 350.
Fred has put a lot of time and hard work into the A-body, and he admits that there is a lot to be said for building your dream car. We can’t argue with that.
Derel Latta’s ’69 Camaro
As young men get older, sometimes their priorities sway from automotive endeavors to supporting a family. Luckily for Derel Latta, his wife, Jessica, was well aware of her husband’s love of cars right from the start.
Derel’s first-gen Camaro is affectionately referred to as “the other red head,” and Derel has reimagined the Camaro several times during the 17 years the car has been in the family. The family car is not only a winner, but even as good as the car looks, Derel is not shy about driving it. The odometer has accumulated 47,000 miles during his ownership.
He told us, “We’ve put many miles on that car. I take her out on weekends when there isn’t a show, just because it’s fun to drive and turns a lot of heads. We enjoy the out-of-town shows more than local, just so we can stretch her legs.”
Danny Prestwood’s 1955 Chevrolet Convertible
Danny Prestwood started his ’55 Chevy project by finding a car that was in great shape to begin with. The car was a driver, but in early 2010, a small repair snowballed, and turned into a big project. According to Danny, “There was a piece of chrome that wasn’t lining up right, so I took it to a friend to get fixed.” The quick repair turned into Danny deciding to have the car completely rebuilt.
It is readily apparent that this car is loaded with modern creature comforts, including a Sony stereo system with a touch screen and navigation, power windows, and Classic Instruments gauges.
Dale Brownfield’s ’62 Nova
When Dale Brownfield finally had the opportunity to get the car he always wanted, he bought a 1962 Chevy II Nova with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-speed. Unfortunately, on the 15 minute drive home, he quickly realized it was going to need some work.
Dale always wanted the V8-powered Chevy that he never got while in high school, and this rebuild-it-yourself driver was something he could work on and still enjoy on the occasional road trip. He planned to rebuild the car over time, but things don’t always work out as planned.
The restore-it-as-you-drive-it project outline eventually went out the window, and the process of a complete rebuild took over.
Ray Briggs’ ’69 Camaro
When Ray first located this car, it wasn’t rusting behind a garage, nor was it hiding in a barn. It was actually sitting at a classic car dealership in Lakeland, Florida. The car had already been partially restored, and in Ray’s words, “It was a very nice driver-quality car,” which was perfect.
He drove the car around town for the next couple of months until he decided it was time to give it some upgrades that reflect his personal touch. While there was nothing actually wrong with the car, a few subtle upgrades never hurt.
His plan for the perfect ride didn’t revolve around having a Pro Touring-style car or even a racecar. He wanted was a car that he could get comfortable in while sitting behind the steering wheel, and enjoy on long cruises. Accomplishing that makes this Camaro a perfect addition to our list.
Dave Belrose and Cindy Tabelin’s 1969 Nova
This 1969 Chevrolet Nova belongs to Dave Belrose and his girlfriend of 15 years, Cindy Tabelin. Technically the car is shared, but Dave says he actually built it for Cindy.
She bought the car in 2002, and it came with a six-cylinder engine and a two-speed Powerglide transmission. It took several years for the project to officially get started, and then it took two years of weekends and evenings to complete.
This car isn’t a trailer queen, as the couple drive it as often as possible. “Cindy likes to drive it, but it doesn’t have power steering. That makes it a little hard for her to turn.” Dave explained. “She drove it to some of the Hot August Nights shows, and I drove it to others.”
This car is a labor of love in more ways than one, and because both he and she enjoy it, that makes it a top of the list contender.
Frank Stech’s ’72 Chevelle
Way back in January of 1972, Frank Stech was a senior in high school. That was the year that he and his father went to Campbell Chevrolet in Blackwood, New Jersey, and ordered Frank’s 1972 Chevelle.
Frank’s dad wasn’t a big fan of musclecars, so the Chevelle wasn’t exactly what the senior Stech would have purchased. But, it was a more practical choice than the Corvette that Frank wanted, so dad conceded.
Frank says that the car will always be a part of his family, and he has a lot of great memories with it. But he did say, “If I could do it all over again, I would have ordered it with the functional-door cowl-induction hood, gauge package, and maybe the rear window defogger.” Hindsight is always 20/20.
JR Hughes’ ‘67 Nova
Some guys are lucky enough to still own their first car, and in 1977, JR Hughes bought this very 1967 Chevy II. Back then, the car was motivated by a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine, but within weeks, that got replaced.
The car retained a hot rod look for the next 20 years until JR decided it was time for a full-blown restoration. But those plans didn’t go as projected, and things ended up taking longer than he hoped.
Luckily though, JR was able to finally build the car of his dreams with the help of friends and family. JR smiled as he told us, “It was pretty cool, the day I was able to drop the car onto all four tires after it had been sitting for 15 years!”
The car’s good looks and his perseverance locks this little Deuce onto our list.
Mark Hassett’s ’69 ZL1 Camaro
Sometimes things work out for the best, and sometimes they don’t. For Mark Hassett, selling a couple members of his prized Chevy collection was required in order to claim ownership of this rare monster. So, you could say that this situation worked out for the best.
While Mark was attending the Second Annual Yenko reunion, he overheard two guys talking about a ZL1 Camaro that was for sale. Mark found the ZL1’s owner and confirmed what he had heard, and then he made arrangements to go look at this rare racer.
Mark told us, “This was the first ZL1 Camaro I had ever seen let alone try to buy.” He soon learned that this car was never used as a racecar, still has all of the original body metal and interior, and shows a mere 8,184 original miles on the odometer.” For those reasons, this is probably the rarest and most well-preserved ’69 ZL1 Camaro in existence, and definitley deserves a spot on our list.
Chris Suplick’s ’72 Nova
When it came time for Chris Suplick to settle on a car that could fulfill his sense of nostalgia, he made a good choice with this Nova. According to Chris, “I have always liked the Chevelle body style, but when I found this car, it was local to me, so I jumped at the chance to own it. I wasn’t actually looking for a musclecar at the time, but I see the Nova as a little brother to the Chevelle in regards to styling, so I thought ‘why not?’.”
When Chris bought the car, it was relatively solid and fun to drive, but served double duty before Chris took possession. As good as the car looked, apparently, the owner wanted to make sure that it was not all show and no go. While Chris doesn’t have any actual build-specs of the engine that was under the hood, he did tell us that was not very streetable.
Something not streetable isn’t exactly what he wanted, so he got some help and made some changes. The car was completly rebuilt in a matter of five months, and now that Chris is able to once again cruise his hot rod around town, he had this to say, “It is nice and light, which makes it a truly fun car to drive.”
Since this is a great looking driver, we naturally had to add it to our list.
There you have it, our twelve feature cars that are in contention for the Chevy Hardcore 2016 Feature Car of the Year. Now that you see the choices available, we really need to hear from you. You can let us know which car should be crowned king by either emailing us at [email protected], by commmenting below, or reaching out to us on our Facebook page. We look frward to hearing from you.