The great part about This Guy's Garage is we all get a chance to see the cool stuff that's sequestered away in private garages all over the country, and to get there, you don't have to leave the confines of your comfy chair. This month, Johnny Bailey knocked our socks off with this great photo of his shop—not so much for the surgery-like lighting or even that bitchin' blast cabinet but for the cars. Johnny told us he was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and at the impressionable age of 17, he had the pleasure to witness some of the East Coast's premiere A/FX racers in action—guys like Ronnie Sox of Sox & Martin, Billy West who drove the Virginia Twister, Hubert Platt, Malcolm Durham's Strip Blazer Chevelle, and even Richard Petty. "It turned me into a car-crazy teen, and not much has changed over the years." He moved to Tucson with his wife, Viola, in 2005, where he is retired and just having fun building cars. That just might be the car crafter's version of the American Dream.
A. Johnny purchased this 1965 Dodge Coronet from A/FX racer Billy West. According to Johnny, the car had very little corrosion, so he only had to replace some floor panels and patch the firewall. He has moved the front wheel forward 10 inches and the rear 15 inches. There's a Dana 60 in the rear, using an S&W rear clip with Chrysler Super Stock leaf springs. The engine is a 426 wedge motor with a 440 Source stroker kit, displacing around 480 inches. It sports Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads and intake and a Comp Cams valvetrain. Instead of an automatic, the Dodge runs an 18-spline Hemi four-speed. "I just have to find time to finish it," Johnny says. "I have all the parts." We should all have projects like this to finish.
B. You've probably already identified the yellow roofline as a 1941 Willys. Johnny built this car in 1990, back when he still lived in North Carolina. It sports an originally fuel-injected 5.0L Ford small-block. He removed the EFI, added a carburetor, but retained the AOD automatic and splined it to a Ford 9-inch with 4.56:1 gears. He and Viola took an extended three-week trip to Phoenix in this car, and he reports it got 20 mpg for the entire trip. Nice.
C. This is Johnny's brother-in-law's 1962 Chevy pickup stepside with a No Limit frontend kit and a four-link, 9-inch rear with Alston coilovers. The engine is a 383ci stroker small-block Chevy hooked to a 700-R4 overdrive. Johnny says they've installed a big rear window and had to replace almost all of the sheetmetal. "The only original metal left is the cab and the bed," he says.
D. You can see the influence of the early A/FX cars in most of Johnny's cars, but it doesn't get wilder than his '66 Barracuda. He has moved the front axle forward 20 inches, while the rear has been pushed up 8 inches. You can see evidence of the front stretch in the insert panel in the fender. The front clip is a basic Pinto setup grafted to the original framerails with a Chris Alston Chassisworks rear four-link with coilovers and a 16-point cage. The engine is a 472ci Hemi crate motor with a Don Hampton 6-71 blower setup to put out 5 psi of boost. Johnny says he wants to keep the boost low to stay out of detonation. Instead of the injector hat, it will run a single 950 Quick Fuel carburetor. There's a 727 TorqueFlite behind the motor, along with a Dana 60 with 3.91:1 gears. Remember the Hurst Lightning Rods? It was an automatic shifter that looked like a trio of Lenco shifter rods. That's what he will use to control the trans.
E. On the far side of the shop is a 1970 Porsche Targa 911 that looks out of place with all the A/FX cars. It belongs to his friend Paul and will be converted back to street use after spending most of its life as an SCCA road racer.