LEGENDARY CHEVY II FIBERGLASS FASTBACK | BILL THOMAS’ BADASS BUILD FOR CKC RACING

The amazing story of Bill Thomas’ Race Cars badass (pre-Charger) Chevy II / Nova Fastback, bought by CKC Racing Team back in 1964 for $2500! Supposedly it has survived and resides somewhere in PA after changing hands–

“Up until that time, the fastest car I had ever driven was a Corvette. That Chevy II used to do some incredible wheelstands, which made it a handful to drive. There was no way you could get off the throttle and get back on it again once it stood up on the back bumper, and it used to do that a lot! I remember one time at Houston Raceway during a match race with Dickie [Harrell], we both stood our cars up on the back bumpers, and the crowd went absolutely wild. Another time, I bent the front axle so badly on re-entry that J.E. had to use a floor jack and a torch to straighten it out just so we could load the car back on the trailer.” –Driver, Cal Callier via

1964 Callier Kristek orange car team's Chevrolet small-block-powered AA:FD ran 190.00 Bill Thomas Race Cars '64 A:FX Chevy II powered 427 Z11 carbureted big-block

1964, Callier and Kristek posing with the “orange car,” the team’s Chevrolet small-block-powered AA/FD that ran consistently at 190.00, and the team’s new Bill Thomas Race Cars ’64 A/FX Chevy II powered by a 427 Z11 carbureted big-block. Photo by Peter Peters via

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PHOTOGRAPHY OF MATTHEW PORTER | PORTRAITS OF FROZEN ENERGY

It’s shocking to me that I missed these incredible “created” images by Brooklyn photographer Matthew Porter when they came out.  These epic Muscle Car shots are the stuff of every machinehead munchkin’s daydreams, and have the ability to still give a grown man that “hell yes, fist-pumpin’ feeling.” They’re pure unbridled fantasy of the best kind.  Interviewer Rosecrans Baldwin described them as, “…a studied spontaneity, a way to make portraits of frozen energy, of time put on pause.” Indeed.

Let’s cut the crap here and boil it down– bitchin’. There’s also a captivating series called “High Lonesome”, which Porter describes as, “sort of an absurd mash-up between the Hindenburg and the American West.” Here’s the interview and images from The Morning News–

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Burnout #2, 2006  –image © Matthew Porter

In many of the pictures, there’s an affection for wide-open spaces and grandeur, even myths: big skies, flying cars, floating blimps, cowboys. Do you find photography well suited for capturing big ideas?

Overall, I would have to say no. I’ve had to use quite a bit of Photoshop and travel to different parts of the country to make those images. It would be easier if I could make the work from scratch, or appropriate the imagery, but because I’m interested in authoring my own source material, I need access to the subject. Sometimes I feel like photography is not the best medium for the work I’m making, but I’m determined.

The flying cars have garnered a lot of attention. Where did they start for you? Are you still interested in them?

I was inspired by ‘70s road and car chase movies to make something with muscle cars, but I couldn’t get away from a documentary style project. Then I happened to see the end of the Starsky & Hutch remake, where the car freezes in mid-air while lens flares splash over the hood, and I realized that’s what I wanted. Then it became a problem of how to do it on a small budget.

I like them because they represent iconic moments that have very little with telling a story. No one ever talks about how Bullitt is a police procedural, but I see stills from the car chase reproduced all the time; the imagery is vivid enough to remain, and they play directly to the imagination. When I get an opportunity to install work somewhere, I like the flying cars to function the same way, so they should never be shown all together. I’ll probably continue to make them, maybe one every year for a while.

Blue Ridge Parkway, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

Empire on the Platte, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

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AUTO UNDERDOG AMC | WALLY BOOTH’S GROWLIN’ GREMLIN STREET CRED

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Wally Booth Press

AMC Pro Stock press for Wally Booth & his Gremlin X

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That’s right, it’s a Gremlin– without a doubt one, of the ugliest, least respected, aerodynamically-challenged cars ever produced on American soil.  Wisconsin-based AMC had never been known for beautiful design or muscle, and so their entry into the muscle car market in the 1970s was seen as a classic tale of– a day late & a  dollar short.  When AMC signed Wally Booth to head the AMC Pro Stock effort, despite that there were virtually no aftermarket components for AMG engines, he and engine-building partner Dick Arons transformed the brand’s staid grocery-getter reputation from the ground up into that of a genuine performance powerhouse– all from scratch.  Needless to say, everyone on the racing scene quickly took notice, as the red-headed stepchild to America’s “Big Three” automakers worked tirelessly with the little they had, and started to kick some serious tail.

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Wally Booth's Gremlin X

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THE ’66 DODGE CHARGER | MY FIRST TRUE LOVE/WHEELS

 

The 1966 Dodge Charger, a muscle car legend.

1966 Dodge Charger– 426 Street Hemi engine option available that produced well over 425 bhp.

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I bought my ’66 Dodge Charger off a guy up the road for $750 when I was 18. She’d sat there a good long time, but this was Arizona– dry as a bone, so no body rot. Came home hitched to a tow truck– and I know my mom wasn’t too excited about the new lawn ornament. The old 383 V-8 needed a rebuild, and body was a little dinged– but she was unmolested and all original. So what if it didn’t run yet– she was mine. If only I had held on to her– but I ran outta time, money and energy. More than that– I had a girlfriend with plans to move us down to Tucson to attend the U of A. Never should’ve let her go– the Charger that is. It still pains me, but what’s done is done… Guys, listen to your gut and hold on to a good thing. Like your dream car.

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The 1966 Dodge Charger

The 1966 Dodge Charger– the fastback that’s full-sized and fully loaded.

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The 1966 Dodge Charger was introduced on New Years Day– a late but lethal answer to the Mustang and Baracuda fastback frenzy.  Based on the Coronet, the Charger came packed with serious muscle that few street cars could compete with.  The ’66 Charger debuted one of the most legendary and talked-about engines ever– the 426 Street Hemi.  The Hemi engine had been available in prior years, but the 426 Street option was designed for exactly that– performance on the street.  Rated at 425 bhp, some say it actually produced closer to 500 bhp.  That dog will hunt, son.

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The Goat That Launched A Million Muscle Cars | Pontiac’s Legendary GTO

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John Delorean Pontiac GTO

John DeLorean led the charge behind the GTO– the car that put him on the map forever and started the American muscle car revolution (pictured here with a Pontiac Firebird). Folks at home, don’t attempt to adjust your screen– DeLorean really was that big, measuring in at a little over 6′ 4″.

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My stepdad and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, he was crazier than a… well, let’s just say he was wound pretty tight.  He was a mean, swearin’, rough-lookin’, physical s.o.b., and needless to say– the neighbors didn’t bother us much.  He’d keep empty coke bottles rolling around in the cab of his pickup, and if he didn’t care for someone’s driving– wham!— he’d blast ’em with a bottle.  And this is back when Coke bottles were glass.  His signature look was long dark hair tied back with a faded bandana, a crazy long beard, and even crazier eyes hidden under dark aviators.  He had a 50 lb. dumbell that he’d do curls and rolls with until his tattoo-covered forearms were the size of hams.  He was a machinist with arms and hands that were already hard and toned from wrenching all night on the graveyard shift.  He was just a tough mother.  If he had a soft side in there, he never showed it to me.  That would be weak– and he didn’t do weak.

Aside from all that nonsense, there was one thing we did share a love for– fast cars.  He was a GTO man.  GTO “Judge” to be exact– he loved his “Goats” as they were called back then.  He’d tell stories about his old Goat he had as a kid, and when I was about 13 he got another– a ’69 GTO Judge with a souped-up 455 cid V-8 and a 4-speed manual tranny.   I remember riding in that car, trying to control my laughter as it hopped like a crazed rabbit– the car had so much freakin’ power it couldn’t keep up with itself.  That GTO was the best thing he had goin’ for him in my eyes.  That and his Harley.  I wish he hadn’t sold it, but there was an ultimatum on the table– either the Harley and GTO went, or mom did.  They went, mom stayed– but eventually they split-up.

I couldn’t help from thinkin’– man, that’s gotta burn some.

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The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge-- the ultimate American muscle car.

The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge– the ultimate American muscle car. The GTO moniker was stolen from you know who– Ferrari.

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