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Forge Invitational Musclecar Classic - No Forgeries At This Forge!

Priceless Muscle Gathers In Tennessee

Photography by Steve Magnante

Chip Wright's '69 Camaro was born as a 302-powered Z/28 but was delivered to Joel Rosen's Motion Performance in 1974 for conversion into a big-block Phase III drag machine. Records show the owner shelled out more than $10,000 to have Rosen's shop install a ZLX mill. What's that? Think of it as a basic all-aluminum ZL1 427 crate motor that's been fully blueprinted and filled with a hot solid cam, high-squeeze pistons, full porting, then topped by a Weiand tunnel-ram packing twin Dominators. It's unclear if this thing was built for sanctioned Modified Production drag racing or for midnight shenanigans on Brooklyn's notorious street scene. Either way, it's a solid low-10-second piece-then or now.

Tim and Pam Wellborn have a world-class collection of '71 Hemi Chargers at home in Alexander City, Alabama. That's why their latest acquisition-this unrestored '70 Boss 429-is a shock. But it's a Hemi after all. With a mere 4,790 miles on the clock, KK2097 is original and unmolested right down to the plug wires and hoses.

Originally built for sale in California, it has a unique evaporative emissions system that bolts to the driver side of the trunk floor-where the compact spare tire usually goes on 49-state Boss Nines. To protect the delicate plastic ductwork and vapor expansion tank under the trunk mat, Ford relocated the spare tire to the center of the trunk floor, above the rear axle hump. Several noted Boss 429 authorities got their minds blown at the sight of this California-specific spare tire location and the rarely seen smog goodies.

Dick Towers brought the former Rod Shop Dodge Hemi Demon from his Anaheim, California, shop and drew a constant crowd of admirers all weekend long. Built during the mid-'70s-a period of anti-Chrysler sentiment among the sanctioning bodies-it was initially campaigned in NHRA Pro Stock, but severe weight and displacement penalties on the Hemi made it noncompetitive. It was then raced in C/Altered, where the rule book was more liberal but victories carried less glory. Besides the full-tilt Hemi, this thing is packed with crafty tricks from nose to tail, including a chemically milled (aka acid-dipped) body shell, subtly narrowed fiberglass front fenders and grille, and a bunch of engine setback. Look closely and you'll see the stock bolt-on door handles have been replaced by flush-fit Challenger items for extra-high-speed aero points.

Don Grotheer was one of Plymouth's factory-sponsored golden boys back in the '60s. While he recently unveiled a modern re-creation for beating on, this is his original BO29 SS/B Hemi Barracuda, currently owned by Chuck and JoAnn Smith of Philadelphia, Tennessee. Don power-shifted this very fish to a runner-up spot at the '68 NHRA Springnationals against none other than Ronnie Sox. Ironically, Don crossed the finish line first but was too far under the national record and was eliminated. He hauled this car to many Plymouth Supercar Clinics-a traveling road show that spread Hemi and wedge high-performance gospel at Chrysler/Plymouth dealerships from coast to coast.

Rescued from oblivion in a Tampa, Florida, junkyard in 1987, this is very likely the world's first fiberglass-bodied Mustang drag car. Originally built by Ron Pellegrini in May 1965, the shortened body shell stems from the fact that Ron wanted to recycle his old fuel roadster into a door-slammer to grab a slice of the lucrative exhibition match racing pie. Since the roadster's wheelbase was 97 inches and the Mustang's was 106, Ron-the owner of Fiberglass Ltd. (a popular supplier of lightweight plastic body panels)-molded a custom body, and the Super Mustang was born. Powered by a blown Chrysler 392 Hemi, this wild contraption ran 8.9s at 171 mph in Supercharged/Factory Experimental (S/FX) competition. Though the body is the original, the frame was rusted, so a clone was made during the restoration. Today it is owned by Robert Schramm of Fort Myers, Florida.

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