Tag Archives: Las Vegas

55 Chevy Shoebox Drag Racer Restored

It was hard to miss this car hauler and Chevy at the SEMA Show. It was sitting out front, naturally, and drew a good collection of onlookers. Between the gold paint job and some obvious patina, this combo was a natural magnet for car aficionados.55 Chevy and Hauler

55 Chevy Drag Racer

The 55 Chevy is in drag race trim, sporting a front straight axle and a 327 with a Borg Warner four speed with 5.56 gears. Turns out it was bought by the driver, Van Heck, when he was fifteen in 1963. In 1967 it was set up for drag racing with a chrome straight axle.

55 Chevy Right FrontThe interior sports white metallic diamond pleats. Hilborn injection was used for more power and classic Hooker headers were also used. That’s a fiberglass front end to help cut the weight on the shoebox Chevy. The pictures show the extensive amount of chroming that Heck used on this racer’s rear end suspension parts.55 Chevy Rear End

The car raced intermittently until one fateful day in 1976. After breaking the drive shaft and done for the day, and loaded up the car on the hauler. On the way home, the hauler was involved in a crash wrecking the front end but still able to make it home. After that night the car and truck were put into storage.55 Chevy Left Rear


Heck died in 2006 and his estate sold the hauler and racer to a gentleman Larry Frees who has gone to great lengths to restore this combination to its glory days. It’s nice to see someone recognize the historical relevance of an “average Joe “Saturday night racer and spend the effort and time to make it right. The parts and workmanship are period correct and Frees even went to the length of having the lettering done by the same gentleman who originally did it.55 Chevy Right Rear

More background on this restoration can be found on Frees’ site.

What do you think? Thumbs up?


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69 Camaro with a Potent Power Plant

At the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada you get to see all sorts of ingenuity in action. Sometimes you scratch your head and say why, and other times you say why not! Not all the action occurs behind the red velvet ropes at this trade only event. Many great rides are viewed by the public on the sidewalks surrounding the Las Vegas Convention Center. 69 Camaro Side ViewThis white 69 Camaro was found on the sidewalk outside the arena and the first time with the hood down it looked nice but…Camaro 69 Discreet Hood Down

Camaro withTwo LSX Engines

Once the hood went up, so did the horsepower on this monster! Camaro Engine BayThat is not a mirror behind the engine, that’s two LSX engines mated together. That friends, is one fine engineering feat. We’ve seen it done before, but this setup is over the top. Done well and nicely planned out.

1500 Horses for this Camaro

This humble ride was produced by Gary Higginbotham of American V8 Classics and Customs from Alpharetta, Georgia. He mated two 427 cubic inch engines to produce a combined 1200 horsepower. But that wasn’t enough; he added a shot of NOS to each engine for an extra 150 horses on each engine, so totaling 1500 horsepower from this power plant.Engine Close Up 69 Camaro

Keeping it altogether required forged JE pistons, a Comp Cam, a Collies crankshaft and ARP bolts. The smooth white body rests on an Art Morrison frame and the interior pictures show how far into the cabin the second engine rests. 69 Camaro InteriorA automatic transmission, 4L60E, hooks up to a Corvette differential – and for kicks you might as well have a view of that from the trunk, right?69 Camaro Rear Differential

So with the hood down you see a great 69 Chevy Camaro, in bright white paint. A nice car but with no indication of what rests under that hood. Pop the hood up and you are darn sure guaranteed some parking lot on-lookers!

What do you think?



Chevrolet SEMA-Corvettes+COPO Camaro

Chevrolet always has a strong presence at the yearly SEMA show held in Las Vegas. Besides the factory presence on the SEMA floor, many enthusiasts bring out their personal designs based on Chevy products and have them at various vendor’s booths and displays.

Chevy Bowtie

But before the SEMA show even opens to the public, Chevrolet holds a media event the night before and gives the press sneak peeks at various models. Here we’ll present our four favorite performance Chevy cars

COPO Camaro

We have been HUGE fans of the COPO Camaro and love Chevrolet’s commitment to the drag strip by providing these cars in limited production, with only 69 being handmade each year. Past versions were mentioned here.

COPO Camaro

This year’s version was enthusiastically received and has lots to applaud. The 2015 version of the COPO Camaro on display at the SEMA Show featured a white exterior with gray and orange accents including an all-new style of COPO graphics – and was fitted with a 350 “LSX” V-8 engine topped with a 2.9L Whipple supercharger.

These production race cars are fitted with a pre-approved NHRA roll and a full on racing chassis and suspension components – including a solid rear axle system in place of the standard independent rear axle.

Racers can select from a variety of supercharged and naturally aspirated LS-family engines based on their racing NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes, including the 350, 396 and 427 naturally aspirated engines and a supercharged 350.

But you can’t just waltz into a showroom for these beauties, you have to enter into a lottery and hope you are one of 69 selected.

Jimmie Johnson’s 1971 Corvette

NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson resto-modded a vintage 1971 Corvette with both exterior and interior updates, plus an all-new Gen V LT1 crate engine. The crate engine is rated for 460 horses. Jimmie came out in person to tout this powerhorse.

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson chose a Super Magnum six-speed manual transmission also offered by Chevrolet Performance. Johnson’s resto-mod Corvette also has an updated chassis, with adjustable coil-overs replacing the original front and rear suspension components, for more precise handling. A set of C6 Corvette Z06 brakes were bolted to this Corvette to help slow it down in record time. The 18 inch wheels help to emulate the rally wheels of the day.

1971 Corvette Driver's Side

Kiss’ Paul Stanley 2015 Corvette Stingray

Frankly the exterior treatment of the Corvette left me wanting more, but I can’t deny that during the show plenty of folks were checking it out. This red beauty had the Z51 package added to it; so it came rolling in with a dry-sump oiling system, electronic limited-slip differential, monster front brakes and a cooling package for both the differential and transmission. The transmission is an eight speed paddle shifter bolted to a 6.2L Gen V LT1 engine, rated at 460 horsepower and 465 pounds of torque.

Blue Devil

For Corvette aficionados, they can name off all the historic and record breaking cars. so a few tears welled up when the Blue Devil drove out.

ZR! Corvette

The ZR1, nicknamed the “Blue Devil,” is the first of the cars swallowed by the famed Corvette Museum “sinkhole” to be restored. You know, the hold in the ground that ate up eight Corvettes?

Technicians from Chevrolet took it under their wing and fixed some body panels, cracked doors, some broken glass and some bent control arms. The first public viewing for this iconic Corvette was here and then it was going to be whisked away back to Bowling Green, KY to be put back on public display.

So tell us which car makes your heart flutter?

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Barrett Jackson Auction Tops Records in Las Vegas


Congratulations to our friends at Barrett-Jackson who took Las Vegas by storm with another record setting auction at Mandalay Bay on September 25-27, 2014. During those three days Barrett-Jackson had the largest number of vehicles in their Las Vegas history, with more than 700 vehicles offered up with sales exceeding $33 million.

Besides the volumes of cars, being Las Vegas meant plenty of celebrities and quasi-celebrities were there. Last year was packed with stars and more were seen this year

Barrett Jackosn in Las vegas
US flag at Barrett Jackson

Charity Cars at Barrett-Jackson

As is the case for all the Barrett-Jackson auctions, some cars were auctioned off to benefit specific charities. The auction house always waive their fees, so the full amount goes to the charities. You might have heard that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat sold for $825,000. In addition another group matched that bid so the local charity received $1,650,000! Rick Hendricks bought that car, like he has bought numerous charity cars at the auctions. That’s the most money raised for charity from one car at any of the Barrett-Jackson auctions ever.

Las Vegas welcome sign
Welcome Car Auctions

Future Auction Coverage

This auction also marks the end of the Barrett-Jackson auctions being broadcasted by the Fox Networks. After years of being on SPEED and Fox, in 2015 the auction will now be covered by the Velocity Channel, part of the Discovery brand.

Can’t wait until January when all the auctions converge in Arizona! What about you?

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SEMA Car Cruise Ignited

SEMA’s Friday Night Cruise

SEMA Cruise

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is the car show of all car shows, held in Las Vegas each year.  But because SEMA Show is a trade show, only qualified attendees may go past the security guards.

Friday Night Cruise

But one of the secrets of SEMA is the cruise out on Friday night.  For years the Las Vegas locals would hang out at the driveways of the Las Vegas Convention Center to see the cars and trucks roll out from the convention floors.SEMA Cruise 32

A few years back, SEMA latched on to this phenomenon and made an official event for the cruise starting at 4 PM on Friday, the last day of the SEMA Show.  Last year was a hoot as we mentioned in this article.

SEMA does it right with bleachers brought in specifically for the cruise.  Mix in a DJ, an emcee and some personalities like Chip Foose and you have all the makings for a fun event.  Chip Foose at SEMA Cruise

And nowadays every event needs at least pone drone sighting!SEMA Cruise 38


SEMA Cruise 2014

SEMA just announced that for this year, the vehicles will cruise over to a lot at the “Linq Promenade“, where the public is invited for one last change to check out the cars.  SEMA is calling this event the SEMA Ignited and promises to be a nice event with manufacturers getting one more chance to promote their products, cars and gear.

While not all the thousands of vehicles inside the SEMA Show go out in the cruise, those that do make for an awesome display of lights and sounds.

Here’s just some of our favorite car shots from last year’s Cruise

Which is your favorite?

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Studebaker and Suburban Featured in Hot Rod Magazine

Studebaker rearHot Rod magazine’s August 2014 highlighted two cars that we first saw at the SEMA Show.  Funny how some cars just stand out and end up being touted by all?  Out of the thousands of cars at SEMA, some just naturally are just dang drop dead perfect and deserve detailed views and attention.

66 Suburban

Our friends at Hot Rod Magazine For August, 2014 devoted three pages (page 108-110) on Mr. Gasket’s Lime Crush – a 66 Suburban.  We gave you our view of this awesome build here.  Great attention to detail and just about every body panel was massaged to some degree.Lime Crush Low Shot

51 Studebaker

In the same issue, they take a look at a 51 Studebaker owned by Dennis Varni.  It too was at the SEMA show and drew plenty of admiring glances in its prime aisle spot.  Eight pages don’t do it justice, so we had to add our pictures too.

The Studebaker actually passed through three sets of hands before completion.  It sits on an Art Morrison frame.  A Ford 427 engine has fuel injection and uses a GM 700R4 transmission.  The wood work is spot on beautiful.  Lots of onlookers took double takes trying to figure out if Studebaker ever made a woodie!

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Count’s Kustoms Boat & 35 Chevy at Barrett Jackson

Kounts Kustoms7Count’s Kustoms painted a Laveycraft speedboat to match a customer’s 35 Chevy Master coupe in season one of History Channel’s Counting Cars.  It isn’t often you see a boat, trailer and classic all painted with the same paint scheme but it was sold at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale in January, 2014.Kounts Kustoms1

Package Deal

The trailer, boat and Chevy sold in a package deal.  One bid won all three items.  After all what would a seller do with a boat trailer after he sells the boat?Kounts Kustoms6


Count’s Kustoms

Count’s Kustoms is a hot rod shop based in Las Vegas and featured in a reality series on the History Channel.  The show focuses more on the people and their stories than the actual builds.  We had the chance to meet the Count and his shop’s manager Kevin at SEMA and they were genuinely nice, friendly folks.

Guess the customer was tired of the trio and opted to sell the set at Barrett-Jackson and play up the association with the Count and Counting Cars.


1935 Chevy Master Coupe

The Chevy coupe had the matching paint scheme of white flames on a baby blue sheet metal.  It had a tube frame and is powered by a Chevy 502 with a Mustang front end and a four link rear suspension.Kounts Kustoms5

The boat had been out of the water for a while and was a display model.  Overall all three pieces sold for $45,100 (with commission).  To my eyes the seller got a nice ride with a boat and trailer to boot.  As long as you liked the paint scheme it was nicely bought for and a bargain, especially given its connection to the Count !Kounts Kustoms3

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