Who: Ricardo La Costa IV
What: Eight-second Buick Regal T-Type
Where: Puerto Rico
Why: We mentioned in the Jan. '07 issue that there might be some drag racing action down in Puerto Rico. Ricardo is one of those drag racers, and he sent us some photos of his twin-turbo Buick T-Type. He also has an 11-second big-block Monte Carlo SS that he races at one of five different area dragstrips. Puerto Rico has a total land mass of about 9,000 square miles, only about three times the size of Rhode Island, yet has two NHRA, one IHRA, and two independently owned race tracks.
He Says: "You can go drag racing any day of the week."
Who: Bob Zeigler
What: '66 Chevrolet Impala
Where: Pemberton, NJ
Why: Bob built the entire car himself, including the reverse-manual valvebody TH400 transmission. Bob runs Ziggy's Performance Transmissions, building "ass-kickin' hp automatics" for cruisers and racers. He tubbed it and added the mandatory 33x21.5-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires, and his friend and Funny Car driver Pat Walsh bent the sheetmetal engine compartment panels and trunk floor. That's a small-block under the 8-71.
Vettes In Car Craft?
Who: Rocco Lionetti
What: '77 Chevrolet Corvette
Where: Mill Spring, NC
Why: Rocco is a retired shop teacher who woke up one day and decided to build a car. Since he couldn't afford a midyear Corvette, he bought a '70s body style in extremely poor condition. He had to enroll in a local community college autobody course just so he could get all the bodywork right. With the help of a lot of new friends and gallons of paint stripper and paint, he finally had himself a Torch Red Vette that he finished himself. Cool.
He Says: "My wife referred to it as 'the piece of crap in the garage.'"
Who: Todd Dotson
What: '67 Ford Fairlane
Where: Pueblo, CO
Why: Todd bought this 289-powered Fairlane sight unseen off of eBay, then had to trailer it home because of a broken steering box. He spent a summer rebuilding the front end and the engine with some Edelbrock bolt-ons for showing off. A 3,500-rpm stall-speed converter for the C4 followed those modifications as well as a set of 4.11 gears for the 9-inch.
We Get Letters
Dear Editor,I was flipping through the latest issue of Car Craft and reading your editorial on the parts store ("Front Man," Dec. '06) with a big smile. I used to work at that little speed shop off Pico where you ring the bell and get your bottle filled. I'm glad you discovered Ted's shop, which used to be a Service Center way back when.
When I came down from San Francisco for college, I had to find some way to maintain my '66 Mustang that I drove up and down the coast-from school to home and back. Ted provided both the education and tools to do some work out back in thealleyway. Of course a lot of my good friends nowadays are guys who lived on the Westside and fell into the Westside Performance trap, and we are still a pretty tight-knit community.
Bench racing aside, I just wanted to applaud the efforts of your editor in rediscovering the true essence of hot rodding in your editorial "backyard." It seems as though everything is a Foose or Coddington this-or-that built in some high-zoot Orange County shop by some rich old dude. It's time to recognize the guys who still know their s***, won't cave in to the high-margin junk parts, and will build something that the Discovery Channel hasn't spoiled-yet. -Regards from The Alley, Jimmy