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Northern Exposure '03

Car Craft's Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota

Photography by The Car Craft Staff

First Effort

Everyone remembers his or her first car. For most of us, that meant an abused machine that probably succumbed to an ignoble and early death. Not so with Travis Howe and Crystal Oevering. Sharing a common interest in early Camaros, they pooled their high school graduation money to buy a seriously abused '69 SS 396 Camaro. Friends and family questioned this move as a waste of good cash. The two ignored these admonitions and focused on resurrecting the early F-body. The only break occurred in the midst of this thrash long enough for the pair to get married. After two years and roughly a $15,000 investment, Travis and Crystal have been rewarded with this beautiful big-block. Now all the family and friends want to do is go for a ride and tell them what a great job they did.

"This was our life for the last two years," Crystal said of the resto job. They had help with the outstanding paint and body work, but the Howes supplied all of the rest of the rehabilitation and detail. When asked if he questioned whether he could complete such a major project, Travis said "You can't be afraid of it. If you screw it up, you just go back and do it again." The Howes are now considering using this first transformation as a springboard to build a small family business out of their Minnesota home.

Dyno Challenge

One of the highlights of the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals series is the Castrol Syntec-sponsored Werx Performance mobile dyno. This year's Summer Nationals added Minnesota excitement to the series as the dyno challenge turned into a heated battle between Carl Finney and Bob Brynteson, both from the mosquito state.

To make this a little more interesting, we showed up with two custom Dyno Challenge jackets for the top two horsepower producers in two categories: Normally Aspirated and Power Adder. When the wheels finally stopped spinning and the spent nitrous dissipated, Carl Finney and his Rat-motivated '29 Ford Coupe had laid down a nitrous-assisted 904 hp and 828 lb-ft of torque to take the top spot. Bob Brynteson fell just short of Finney's effort with 890 horses also coaxed with laughing gas. But Brynteson edged Finney out on the motor-only side with 614 hp to Finney's 582. So, both Minnesota natives went home with a new addition to their wardrobe. Both participants also wanted to thank the T/N/T Raceshop of Blaine, Minnesota, for helping set up these impressive cars. Honorable mention goes to John Garner of Hobert, Washington, whose street-driven centrifugally supercharged '90 Mustang convertible punished the rollers to the tune of 670 hp.

--Marko Radielovic

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