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What does a 25-time NHRA national record holder do when he has time off from drag racing?

Uncategorized 13 hours ago

Phil “Cooz” Cocuzza grew up in the coastal New Jersey community of Toms River. He headed up a popular rock band and built fast cars before entering the Navy in the mid-’60s. Phil found himself back home in New Jersey in 1968 after serving his country wondering what to do next. He opened a Corvette shop and focused on what he loved doing most—drag racing—and he became darned good at it.

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In 1978, Phil moved to Southern California and purchased a successful automotive parts business. He liked what he was doing, but he wanted more, “I decided to get back to my roots with a business called Corvette Connection in the San Fernando Valley before branching out to classic muscle cars and changing the name to California Muscle Cars.” Phil has since moved his business to Acton north of Los Angeles seeking a quieter life with his wife, Kim, where he continues to build fine automobiles.

In the wake of 25 major NHRA national records and 16 Wallys as a professional drag racer, Phil found himself faced with a family medical crisis. He put drag racing aside to focus on family and a lifelong ambition that would keep him closer to home, this Washington Blue 1932 Dearborn Deuce highboy nostalgic roadster.

“Steve Young, a close friend of mine who was chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum, and I discussed building a hot rod,” Phil tells us. Phil was at The Petersen sitting on a park bench outside when he met Pete Chapouris of SO-CAL Speed Shop. Phil adds, “I shared my plans for the Deuce with him and he promptly hauled out his business card along with a cell number.”

Phil quickly found himself meeting terrific people, “I put a list together and called Pete at SO-CAL who shipped parts to get me started. Rudy Martinez, who owns Modern Performance Classics, introduced me to Sal Solorzano, VP of Total Cost Involved Engineering, who helped get me on the right track.

“The Dearborn Deuce body was chosen for this project, a precision steel body with a windshield, side glass with power windows, and an awesome folding convertible top that stored nicely,” Phil tells us. He went to the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona to get ideas. “I walked around the show soaking up all that I could, noting some of the best ideas as I went along.
The very last car I saw there was a 1932 Dearborn Deuce. I introduced myself to Bud Root, who owned and built the car. I had a million questions. He was very helpful. He gave me his cell number and invited me to call at any time.

“Bud introduced me to some of the best car builders in the street rod business,” Phil relates. “There was Jack Hagemann, who is a world famous sheetmetal expert. I brought my Deuce to Jack’s shop in Morgan Hill, California, where the body was massaged with great attention to detail; the hood, sides with 20 louvers, the transmission tunnel, and the rear roll pan.” When the body was complete Phil looked to Sanderson Headers in the San Francisco Bay Area where custom headers were made along with a ceramic-coated exhaust system.

Sanderson was right next to Roy Brizio Street Rods, which was gracious enough to allow Phil to park his trailer there while Sanderson did the exhaust system. Another great talent was Sid Chavers who did a remarkable job on the Italian Honey Saddle interior.

When Phil brought the Deuce home to Southern California, he and friends Kirk Peeler and Larry Wissmann went to work on the final stages. R & C Custom Auto Body’s Rigo Castenada in Palmdale, California, and Joe Camacho of Magoo’s Rod Shop prepped the body and laid down PPG 1935 Ford Washington Blue.

There were polished stainless brake and fuel lines to be bent, flared, and installed. The GM Performance 383ci crate engine was disassembled and blueprinted by Gregg Jacobson of PHD Speedcenter in Bakersfield, California. Phil opted for a hotter cam and a classic Edelbrock Tri-power manifold with a trio of Rochester 2-Jet carburetors. A TREMEC five-speed with 0.83 overdrive vectors the 383’s brute torque to a Currie aluminum 9-inch diff with Detroit Tru-Trac 3.90:1 cogs. A Super Bell axle was employed in front. Those are custom modified 1939 Ford taillights.

Phil and a handpicked team of passionate professionals worked feverishly to create a Dearborn Deuce beyond anyone’s expectations. Its first time out at the 2015 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, Phil’s Deuce took runner-up in the Modified Street Roadster class consisting of 70 competitors.

Sometimes it takes a dream, a vision, to bring a person home to their very roots. Phil’s Dearborn Deuce is the result of belief it could happen. He amassed the best talent to conceive a lifelong dream and one heck of a retirement plan. What’s more, he’s back to drag racing, proof you really can have it all.

The post What does a 25-time NHRA national record holder do when he has time off from drag racing? appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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Cliff Findlay’s Bubble-Burster 1962 Bel Air Sport Coupe

Uncategorized 13 hours ago

In 1962, Chevrolet was transitioning from shapely space age designs to what they refer to as a more rectilinear (less curvy) look; but not without giving its most notable achievement next to tailfins—the bubbletop—one last supporting role on showroom floors.




What was once the maker’s top-of-the-line model just a decade prior, the car used to introduce Chevy’s all-new V-8 in 1955 had slowly been resigned to taking a back seat to their new king of the road, the mighty Impala. But prior to its down-ranking to a less-optioned economy model, the Bel Air was afforded its swan song in the form of the 1962 Sport Coupe hardtop. The last of the bubbletops, the car that got the previous year’s Impala SS hand-me-down roof, also got the all-new, dual-quad 409, the very beast that inspired a legendary song to be written about it, not to mention many a legendary drag racer to capitalize on it and that lesser-equipped body package wrapped around it.




It should go without saying that over the years the value of all versions of the 1962 Bel Air Sport Coupe have steadily risen in value (believe there was one last year that rolled through Barrett-Jackson fetching a quarter-million!). However, when it comes to hot rodding, oftentimes purity and preservation are thrown straight out the window. Case in point: Cliff Findlay’s bubbletop, taken to the extreme by Ironworks Speed & Kustom, with its namesake hardtop and exterior sheetmetal the few remaining stock (or close to) identifiers.

If the Ferrari Grigio Scuro Gray on the outside is any indication of what lies beneath, while Cliff’s Bel Air isn’t powered by a Berlinetta V-12, the aluminum LS2 that now resides where an old iron W-motor would have sure looks like it belongs in an Italian supercar. Built by EVOD Industries (yep, they do more than just one-off wheels and accessories), the Gen IV Chevy 6.0L looks nothing of its original Corvette breeding, thanks to the design work of Kurt Urban and Eric Turner who gave EVOD the blueprints to create the elaborate cross-ram intake system sitting prominently atop. Tucked underneath are the intercoolers feeding the pair of 62mm TiAL Sport Garrett turbos visible behind the AutoRad core support unit mounted on intricate headers fabricated by Chad Wait, as well as a Holley Dominator EFI. By all means, this is definitely not your average LS engine—hell, we’d be surprised if the casual observer even knew what the real “heartbeat” was beneath all that exoticness.

Ironworks didn’t stop with the powerplant (nor start for that matter) when it came to non-stock derivatives that now comprise Cliff’s Bel Air. The foundation for which it sits upon is completely custom built, featuring Corvette C6-based suspension up front and a four-linked 9-inch out back, each set up with RideTech adjustable coilovers and 14-inch Wilwood brakes. The new chassis, with a set of 20- and 21-inch brushed, titanium-coated HRE wheels mounting Michelin Pilot Sports, gives the Chevy a real low, real nice static stance—one of the things Cliff, despite his 6-foot-8-inch stature, insisted on!

Void of factory trim, emblems, and so on, the exterior modifications have been described as “just tightened up gaps with custom head and taillights,” according to Ironworks. Be that as it may, below Hugo Cruz’s paintwork are hours of gap tightening on top of panel-perfecting, bumper-squeezing, meticulous prepwork. The aforementioned bumpers, along with the minimal, accenting trim, wear the same brushed-titanium coating (all done by Pacific Coast Powdercoating) as the wheels, while the roof, grille, and rear tail panel offset the body’s Ferrari gray with a satin black finish. The lighting is yet another unique touch, not that it’s modern LED based, rather, the method in which the front LEDs are utilized: integrated into 5.25-inch component speaker housings (the rears are custom-fit Lotus Elise).

A far cry from the original cloth and vinyl trimmings, the Bel Air’s interior by Sid Chavers emits a much more appropriate setting than any OE-optioned ensemble could, at least in this particular situation. The bright red and black leather strategically complements everything from the custom-built center console, the one-off machined aluminum dash, and even the pair of Mercedes SL500 bucket seats scored off eBay. Housed within that custom dash, just behind the leather-wrapped Budnik wheel, is the gauge cluster built specifically for the cause (featuring analog and digital instrumentation) by Dakota Digital.

Cliff Findlay’s Bel Air is not your average bubbletop by a longshot—and that’s absolutely OK … it’s just what the owner ordered!

The post Cliff Findlay’s Bubble-Burster 1962 Bel Air Sport Coupe appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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Used-vehicle prices falling amid glut

Uncategorized 18 hours ago

Car sales in the U.S. have been rising for seven consecutive years now, and it’s denting the value of whatever is currently parked in your garage or driveway.
Source: Automotive News – swapmeetclassified

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At GM, Maven car-sharing unit's ambitions come into focus

Uncategorized August 21, 2017

A dealership car-sharing program represents one more step toward what Maven CEO Julia Steyn has called a “holistic mobility platform.” The idea is a one-stop shop for emerging mobility services.
Source: Automotive News – swapmeetclassified

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Infiniti Prototype 9 invokes history, fantasy

Uncategorized August 20, 2017

With the Prototype 9, Infiniti imagines a 1940s racing heritage for a brand that did not debut until 1989.
Source: Automotive News – swapmeetclassified

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The quest for automotive super glue

Uncategorized August 20, 2017

Researchers at Michigan State University and the American Chemistry Council’s automotive group say they have developed a breakthrough in bonding mixed materials.
Source: Automotive News – swapmeetclassified

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ARP/Street Rodder Ti-Five Nationals Road Tour Part 3

Uncategorized August 19, 2017

By Thursday evening 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevys were seen everywhere in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A walkthrough of the parking lot at our headquarters Holiday Inn and the Sloan Convention was like walking through a giant car show. Tri-Fives were everywhere and in all configurations, from stock restorations to full-blown gassers. The owners were passionate about their vehicles and the spectators in attendance at the hotel were just as excited to see all the beautiful rolling stock.

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The action shifted to Beech Bend Raceway on Friday morning and the track and surrounding areas began filling up very early in the morning. Over 90 vendors, 250 race cars, and Tri-Fives as far as you could see gave folks in attendance plenty to do. The racing began mid-morning and continued all day. Jeff Lutz debuted his latest 1957 Chevy to the crowd at noon on Friday. While the times of his passes were kept secret, the word in the pits was that he had no problem hitting 225 mph on the first run. Fun runs continued all day Friday. By Friday evening the Lokar Top 25 vehicles were announced. With all of the beautiful vehicles in attendance it had to be a very tough job to pick out 25 of the best.




Saturday the crowds and the fun continued. An overnight rain left some puddles but the skies quickly turned blue Saturday morning. The racing continued on the track and spectators covered the grounds. The official car count hit 2,600-plus by noon and we were taking part in the largest Tri-Five Chevrolet event that has ever been held. After the awards were announced the moment that so many had been waiting for had arrived. The 2017 Danchuck Tri-Five Nationals giveaway gasser was going to a new home in Maine.

It had been a great week in Bowling Green on the Danchuck Tri-Five Nationals Road Tour. Taking part in the largest gathering of 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevrolet vehicles in history was the icing on the cake. Be sure to take a look at the video for a good overview of the event activities.

The post ARP/Street Rodder Ti-Five Nationals Road Tour Part 3 appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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ARP/Street Rodder Autopalooza.org Road Tour Part 1

Uncategorized August 19, 2017

The American Tri-Five Association Danchuk Nationals wrapped up an amazing two days in Bowling Green on Saturday evening. Sunday morning it was time to begin the Autopalooza.org Road Tour with our street rods pointed north to Detroit. There were 38 rods registered for the tour and some of the folks had attended the Tri-Five Nationals with us. Our first stop on Sunday was the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati. We have stopped at this fantastic museum on previous Road Tours and it is always a hit. The signs on display cover a wide range of eras in signage. The neon signs are always the most popular with the Road Tourians. If you are in the Cincinnati area be sure to stop by the American Sign Museum.




From Cincinnati it was about an hour drive to Butch’s Cool Stuff in New Carlisle, Ohio. We were greeted by owners Sandy and Terry Keplinger and company founders Butch and Carol Bunn. Butch’s Cool Stuff offers a wide range of custom car and hot rod products, including engine and transmission mounting kits, suspension parts, headlight rings, grilles, and some of the coolest gas pumps and globe accessories on the planet. The food was ready when we arrived and we all enjoyed some great barbecue and hospitality shown to us by the Butch’s Cool Stuff folks. Many thanks for a great way to start our Autopalooza.org Tour.

Next up we make a stop at Motor City Solutions in Taylor, Michigan, and then we visit the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum and stop at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing. We are just getting started.

The post ARP/Street Rodder Autopalooza.org Road Tour Part 1 appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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Whatever Happened to Kustomizing?

Uncategorized August 19, 2017

Whatever happened to customizing newer cars? How did such a popular trend in car building come to a screeching halt? In the 1940s through 1950s, turning a car into a “mystery car”—one that contained body mods, shaved emblems and door handles, and grille changes so that it was not identifiable—was part of our hot rod lexicon. HOT ROD, and especially sister publications Motor Trend and Car Craft, were founded on featuring customized cars and showing you how to sling lead to do it in your own garage. In the late-1950s, newer cars customized with wild Larry Watson and Dean Jeffries paint jobs helped eliminate the need for major body changes, partially due to Detroit’s flamboyant styling matching or exceeding anything customizers could conjure. Panel painting and wild, scalloped designs helped to hide a car’s styling, which was always part of the basis for customizing.

But then in the early 1960s, the art of customizing just stopped. Maybe it was because of Detroit’s newfound cleaner designs? It would be hard to improve on a 1961 T-bird or 1963 Riviera, right? Or maybe the big-block Fords, fuel-injected Chevys and cross-ram Mopars shifted the focus from low-and-slow to quarter-mile madness?

This snapshot of Larry Watson’s 1972 Ranchero in front of his Hollywood paint shop shows his attempt at reviving customizing on new cars in the 1970s. The front end was extensively modified, the taillights were changed to Ford station-wagon units, Candy Red paint was beyond anything that came on stock Fords, and it was severely lowered—all classic 1940s-type customizing tricks. When was the last time you remember seeing a customized late-model car from the 1960s to 1970s?

The post Whatever Happened to Kustomizing? appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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Dodge Launches the Sticky New 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Uncategorized August 19, 2017

Everyone was guessing the new Dodge Demon was going to be all-wheel-drive or a pure rear-wheel-drive track car designed to assault the new Z28 and GT350 in the turns. Not so fast. In an epic sleight of hand, Dodge passenger car head Tim Kuniskis instead revealed a wicked 840hp drag car, both shocking the Internet prophets and kicking home-plate dirt on those wacky fuel economy standards looming on the horizon.

The head fake came from those fender flairs that extended the car’s overall width by 3.5 inches and made the Demon look like it was ready for the skid pad. When the curtain was pulled, the big tires were actually drag radials instead of what you’d expect from a handling car, and in racing trim, the Demon uses 18 x 4.5-inch skinnies on the front that aren’t so good on the giant slalom.

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For those of you who were expecting to drive the new Demon at Laguna Seca, here’s your track car. The 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody has all the power of the supercharged 707hp Hellcat plus a set of 20×11 inch “Devil’s Rim” split five-spoke aluminum wheels with 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero tires, plus handling trickery like tunable electric power steering. The larger contact patch and suspension tweaks lower the track times (road course that is) about 2-seconds per lap. On the skid pad, the car was whisper close to 1.00 g with a 0.97, and it still runs 10.9s in the quarter mile and tops out at 195 mph. The brakes have gigantic Brembo 15.4-inch rotors and six piston calipers.

Outside, you are going to find the standard Dodge muscle car cues like the power-bulge aluminum hood with center intake and dual heat extractors, Air Catcher headlamps that feed cold air into the airbox, and the front splitter from the Demon and the rear spoiler from the Hellcat.

Inside the car you get the road course toys. First, the flat bottomed steering wheel is there to remind you of an F1 or similar racing machine, and the SRT Laguna leather performance seats make sure you don’t fall out during the high-g cornering. Those parts add to the already performance-heavy features like the 8.4-inch touchscreen that lets you scroll through the drive modes, and a brazen 200-mph speedometer.

In the end, it’s still a Hellcat, an incredible car, plus it’s a little faster, handles a little bit better and looks absolutely fantastic. If you aren’t a drag racer and need to own the ultimate in American performance, this is the obvious choice from the Dodge guys.

The post Dodge Launches the Sticky New 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Source: Hot Rod

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