Grant's Pass, OR
We're always on the lookout for cool stashes of cars and parts for this department, so when we travel we put the word out. Contributor Scotty Gosson is local to the southern Oregon area where we traveled for the Medford Cruise a few months back, and he brought us by Performance Fabrication, the all-purpose hot rod shop of Steve Fitchie. Fitchie is a native of NoCal's Bay area but moved up north for more space and tranquility. Fears about finding work have proven completely unfounded, as you can see by the sampling of stuff under construction when we stopped by.
A. '56 Nomad: This one has a radical full custom round-tube ladder frame, designed and built by Performance, which mounts a Dutchman independent rear suspension and custom tubular front suspension. It's too bad you can't see it. They also chopped the top 1 7/8 inches (that's the amount that made it look right) and raked the windshield. The drivetrain will come from an '05 Corvette.
B. '51 Chevy pickup: A full aftermarket frame mounts a Dutchman IRS, supported with air springs, though using a rocker arrangement that allows the bags to mount horizontally. Front suspension is custom using Chassisworks hardware. The cab has been chopped 2 inches, and the fenders are welded to the cab, as is the '90 pickup bed, so that all panels flow together when complete. More Corvette drivetrain stuff here as well.
C. '63 Nova convertible: By comparison, this one is mild, with "only" a Chassisworks front suspension clip and Fab 9 rear axle, plus a '98 Corvette LS1 and a 4L60-E. Again, body and paint were done by Performance Fabrication as well.
D. '68 El Camino: This is the shop parts chaser, currently in for a simple makeover consisting of custom paint, a new interior, and a suspension tune-up. It'll have a small-block, a 3,000-watt stereo, and 18s.
E. Rat Truck: Mostly for kicks, the shop crew pieced together this truck from cast-off bits of other projects. The Ford cab is merged with fenders of another, now unknown model, and the bed is fabricated. Steve says they did the whole suspension in one Saturday and had only 30 hours in the truck before it was moving under its own power. Doors and black primer are next.
F. '66 Nova SS: This is a former project done for a customer who brought it back after two years for an update. Two-tone paint is part of the revamp, as is an Air Ride system and a set of 18s for the rear. The front will stay with 15s mounted to a Chassisworks suspension clip.
G.'67 Camaro: This one's for the Pro Touring set. The factory big-block SS/RS will receive a C4 Corvette suspension front and rear, using 18-inch Corvette wheels from a later model. A centrifugally blown and aftercooled 454 will power it through a 4L80-E trans.
H. '66 Chevelle: This is another racer that's going back to the street. It's a full-tube chassis with a Funny Car-style 'cage that will now have a Chassisworks Mustang II-style front suspension with coilovers, a four-link in the rear, and a new-design fiberglass front end that incorporates the entire front clip into one piece. A blown big-block will power it.
I.'68 Chevelle: This car is owned by Steve Fitchie and has been passed around a small circle of his friends for many years. He describes it as a Pro Street car that's being redone to include some street-rod flair. The stock front suspension has been moved up 3 inches, the rear is a ladder bar, and a 14-point 'cage ties it together. A full custom interior will provide the flair.
J. '59 Edsel: This car came to Performance from SoCal as a fairly clean stocker used for movie rentals, but the new owner wanted an updated street machine. It now has a Ford 5.4L overhead-cam V-8 from a truck, requiring a custom stand-alone harness and fuel system. Performance also did the paint, upholstery, disc brakes, and custom fuel tank.