Sometimes we forget that some guys just want to have fun with musclecars. No racing, technical buildups, or careful wax therapy. Just fun. We remember on a not-so-long-ago magazine timeline when we fully embraced the hugeness and wretched excess of the Pro Street car because of its ultimate fun-ness. Street machines have always been a way to get noticed, from the vintage pinstripe icons of the '50s to the new TV heros on Rides. Maybe we have changed. Repeated trips to car shows have developed our immunity to outrageousness, so we can't see the fun sometimes. But that doesn't change the fact that some guys are still building and buying 'em, and this one demanded we notice.
The story of this car will force you to love it with us or hate it. Driver Joe Trymucha actually owned the car for two months before he stopped at a gas station and learned about our Car Craft Nationals from a panting gaper. He had never been to a car show before, he had never built a car with his own tools, and he hadn't owned a musclecar since 1972. Yes he bought instead of built, and the dichotomy of owner and builder contrast the fun-guy versus in-depth technical builder like black on white. Joe bought it for fun, and that's all. We grilled him like a tuna on rye to get the next step. Nitrous is it? Blower and deuce quads? Monster Kenwood? Sideways and on fire at the Friday night wheelie contest? Nope. His persona matches the car to the point that looking at the car and talking to him at the same time causes retina shutdown. Never have we seen a guy more stoked about a car. And that's saying something. His nervous energy made us shake, but when he's behind the wheel, it's calm blue water. "I'm happy to just drive the car at the speed limit," he says.
The builder is the other type. His name is Myron Ray Hendershot, an electrician who fulfills the other half of the community that must build cars to the logical extreme and drive them in the same vein. His '64 pickup has an 8-71-huffed big-block with carbs bristling that vents power like a reactor. He's run the Javelin hard to a 12.90 at 110 at Brainerd. He is the mastermind behind the narrowed 9, squawking-yellow paint, and big-cammed iron-head mill. He imagines and builds flip-top Mustang IIs and fiberglass Lamborghini Countachs then drives them fast. When we talked to him, he was calm and well spoken with a mind full of the reasons and technical panache behind his cars. All of them built and not bought. He sold the Javelin to make room for his next build.
There is room for both of these guys in this hobby. In fact, we need them, and we're glad that these two met in the universe like pieces in a puzzle. Cosmically speaking, the Car Craft Nationals might just have saved the world.
Car Craft Q&A
CC: You say that you're a gambler in your bio. What's that about?
Joe Trymucha: I gamble for a living around the country and around the world. I just got back from Venice, Italy, where I won $8,000 in a casino there. I just bought a Corvette with the money.
CC: Any plans for this car?
JT: I will own it until I die. To me it's perfect. I love it and I don't plan on wrecking the nice lines of the car by changing something.
CC: Is this the first AMC you've owned?
JT: My girlfriend had a Gremlin in high school. Back when I was young everybody built Mustangs and Chevelles and were uninterested in AMCs, so I never owned one. This car changed my mind.
Car Craft Q&A
CC: You said you did all the work on this car yourself. Did you make the wheeltubs as well?
Myron Hendershot: I do those my own way. I actually cut the floor from the rocker panel to the trunk floor and weld-ed in 2x3 steel to make a frame. The area behind the back seat to the wall in the trunk is all open area. It works great for installing a full exhaust because you don't have to squeeze mufflers between two tubs.