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2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

By Tori Tellem

Return Of The Super Bee

Everything old is the new black-so welcome back the Super Bee to a garage near you. A limited-edition version of the '07 Dodge Charger SRT8 will be the recipient of the Super Bee name, which debuted on Dodge Coronet models in 1968 and ended in 1971, the only year it appeared on the Charger. The new Bee is simply an appearance package with no performance upgrades beyond the standard SRT8.-Tori Tellem

Super Bee logos will appear on the front and rear fenders. The color? Detonator Yellow.

Specialty Equipment Market Association offers Scholarships in 2006

SEMA is offering scholarships for the best and brightest students engaged in studies leading to a career in the automotive specialty equipment industry or a related field. Second-year students in two-year universities or colleges and students in vocational or technical schools will receive $1,000. Graduate students and undergraduates with at least a junior standing at a four-year school will receive $2,000 to $3,000. All students must have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average and be enrolled in an accredited university, college, or proprietary program.

For more information about the SEMA scholarship or to download an application, visit sema.org or contact SEMA at 909/396-0289.-Douglas R. Glad

Camaro vs. Challenger

Curious to know which concept created the most verbal frenzy after the auto shows? It was the Chevy Camaro, which had 26 percent of "consumer buzz," according to Intelliseek, which analyzed more than a month's worth of online chatter. But Dodge's Challenger barely conceded the top spot; it garnered 24 percent of discussion, putting two musclecars at the top of the most-talked-about-vehicles list. As an aside, the Nissan Urge had 7 percent of the buzz-although we would be willing to wager that 6 percent thought they were in a different kind of chat room.-Tori Tellem

Interstate? We Say Inter-great!(OK, No We Don't)

The Chinese calendar is way cool-the Year of the Tiger. The Year of the Ox. The dragon. Even monkeys make the cut. And 2006 marks the Year of the Dog. Then there's the good ol' U.S. of A-2006 is the Year of the Interstate.

That's right. This you-don't-get-a-day-off-work footnote in our history acknowledges that this year the U.S. Interstate Highway System managed to turn 5-0. Quite a feat! Dwight D. Eisenhower was the man who got Congress to approve an interstate system. We suggest you take a moment of silence for this momentous occasion-and try not to think about monkeys.-Tori Tellem

Stolen Corvette Recovered-Nearly 40 Years Later

Alan Poster's convertible '68 Corvette was swiped from a garage in New York in 1969. But then 37 years later it was found-while on its way to a buyer in Sweden. Where it has been is anyone's guess.

While returned in decent shape, it did collect some war wounds along the way. Poster plans to restore it over the next couple of months, and GM Restoration Parts and Chevrolet have donated $2,500 in parts to help with the effort. As Poster told CNN, "It's going to be a labor of love, and I'm going to watch it too. I'm going to pay attention to it. I'm going to figure out why it came back and then make sure it stays."

Poster told Car Craft he owns a company called Reunion Blues (makers of high-end bags and cases for professional musicians) and has decided to rename the Vette with that same moniker. And he remains in touch with the NYPD, which is still looking for the perps-and is making progress.-Tori Tellem

School of NMCA

Students at the School of Automotive Machinists (SAM) have done some upgrades to their '95 Mustang Cobra, including a new paint scheme and beefing up the power department to get it race-ready for the new season. The students and their instructors will compete in the NMCA Hot Street class.Meanwhile, we got some updates from the Car Craft Street Race competitors. Mike Dezotell says things are starting to fall in place with his '88 Mustang. As of this writing, the engine was about to be bolted in, and the champion Mustang was due at the chassis shop for extra bars and to have a new hood fastened on. Also moments away from installation were a new intercooler from Reichard Racing and Bassini Xhaust. Scott Hovey is raring to go for another round of competition as well, with his '88 Mustang now out of the chassis shop and headed for graphics and a brand-new engine.To compete in or learn more about the Car Craft Street Race Class or NMCA racing series, visit fasteststreetcar.com. You can also sign up by calling 866/694-3475.--Tori Tellem

Get Your LSD Fix

Not that kind. We mean Lambo-style doors. Hey, there's an audience for 'em on a Mustang. Or at least the company behind them thinks so and therefore created this conversion kit for the '05 as a direct bolt-in (so no fabrication needed) that fits like factory. Go to www.lsd-doors.com if you're hungry for more.--Tori Tellem

Dyno Don Nicholson1927-2006

The sport of drag racing lost another of its greatest racers in January when Dyno Don Nicholson passed away at the age of 78. Nicholson was acknowledged as one of the pivotal drag racers of the 20th century. This is not a statement made lightly, since to this day Nicholson holds the NHRA record for final-round appearances in the most number of Eliminator categories, stretching from the now-defunct Street through Stock, Super Stock, Comp, Pro Stock, and even Funny Car. While most enthusiasts recognize his accomplishments behind the wheel of Ford products, he actually started his racing career and garnered his nickname while racing Chevrolets, earning his place as the first man to use a chassis dyno to help tune his cars.Nicholson was a major player during the rapid transformation of carbureted and gasoline-powered Factory Experimental cars to the first elemental blown, nitromethane versions of today's Funny Cars. Those early Funny Cars were literally the crowd favorites, yet Nicholson chose to return to his normally aspirated roots of Pro Stock in 1970. When we asked Nicholson several years ago why he abandoned the faster rides, his answer was simple and succinct: "Too many of my friends were getting hurt."

That wisdom eventually led to Nicholson winning the '75 IHRA and '77 NHRA Pro Stock championships, besting the best of that early breed, including such luminaries as Larry Lombardo driving for Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Bob Glidden, and Frank Iaconio. Ford race-engine builder and cylinder-head designer Jon Kaase notes, "When I was just getting started in drag racing, Dyno Don was my hero." So much so that Kaase eventually moved from Ohio to California to become Nicholson's crewchief during both the good and the more arduous years when the wins became more difficult to achieve.

The word "legend" is often used in eulogies and remembrances, and over the years it has lost its impact. But in describing Don Nicholson, it is the perfect term that stakes a claim alongside his accomplishments. Racers are the rare ones willing to take on the incredible physical, emotional, and monetary challenges that the sport presents. Despite this difficult path, Nicholson made drag racing his career and was very successful. For that, along with his gentle demeanor and effortless humanity, he will always be remembered.--Jeff Smith

The Ford Fairlane is Back

But only the nameplate returns (so called after Henry Ford's estate). What started out in 1955 as a swoopy offering and later developed into a stout musclecar is going to be reborn as a...minivan? All signs point to this particular Fairlane becoming a production model in '08. But a minivan? "We're rewriting the people-mover story" is what Ford reports. Ah, yes, now we remember why we don't read.--Tori Tellem

Cars

Our finest pleasure goes animated with the Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar flick Cars. The plot pitch is something like this: Race car meets sleepy Route 66 town where the offbeat folk live. Wackiness ensues! Classic cars and trucks and Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Paul Newman's voices? Sounds worth the $25 bucket o' 'corn.--Tori Tellem

7-Second Reads

*Ford is holding off on killing the Mercury brand.
*www.promodifieds.com is now www.promodifieds.us.
*It has been 25 years since Dick Moroso bought the Palm Beach International Raceway and renamed it Moroso Motorsports Park.
*The city of Los Angeles is suing the publisher of video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for including hidden sex scenes and not disrobing, er, disclosing their existence to buyers (thereby getting the adult rating). Guess we'll have to live with the hotness of Pong.
*Goodyear is using a carbon-fiber insert to reinforce the outboard sidewall of its new Eagle tire (real name: ResponsEdge Technology). The company says that as a woven composite fabric, it's often used in high-tech race cars and jet planes.
*The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says passenger cars and light trucks are racking up more miles than ever before; it's becoming the norm (they mean anticlimactic) to blow right past 150,000 miles, thanks to improved engines and engineering.--Tori Tellem

60 Years of So-Cal

To give a nod to So-Cal Speed Shop's 60 years in business, the NHRA Motorsports Museum recently ran an exhibit showcasing all sorts of good stuff, from the "Double Threat" '34 Coupe to the belly-tank lakester that competed at Bonneville in 1952 and ran a top speed of 198.34 mph. In fact, between 1948 and 1954, the So-Cal team set more than 20 records with project vehicles. Photos, trophies, and other items documenting So-Cal's legacy were also on display. As founder Alex Xydias noted, "The shop has generated a lot of history over the years. When I first borrowed $100 from my mother to start a garage, it never entered my mind that we'd be here today celebrating more than six decades of business." Xydias opened So-Cal on the day he was discharged from the Army Air Corps.--Tori Tellem

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By Tori Tellem
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