Top Muscle Cars at the Street Machine Summer Nationals

If you have a deep love for muscle cars, I can assure you that the 2017 Street Machine Summer Nationals in St Paul, MN did not disappoint. At times it felt like every first generation Camaro in Minnesota was at the show. But let’s not take away from the many glorious Mopars, Pontiacs and Mustangs prowling the fairgrounds. From your daily driver types to one-off show cars and everything between, muscle cars were plentiful. So let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the July 14-16 show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Top GMs

In the Show-N-Shine, Lyle Lindquist of Brooklyn Park, MN won the Daily Driver class with his 1963 Chevy Biscayne, along with Larry Cota’s 1966 Chevy Nova. Lindquist’s Biscayne sports a 502ci big-block Chevy, TCI Turbo 400, disc brakes and Air Ride suspension for that low-low stance. Alan Miller’s 1970 Chevelle also caught our eye, with its bronze Forgeline RBC3 wheels and matching roll bar. This Pro Touring behemoth utilizes a Speedtech chassis to carve corners with ease, as it did all weekend long on the autocross course. The powertrain is just as modern, sporting an LS3 and 4L80E trans. The Cedar City, UT native took home the Outstanding Car award. Don Kreger’s 1962 Chevy Impala took the Best Stance award. But what we loved was the W-motor tucked under the hood. Stand by for more on the Chevelle and the Impala.

Other notables include Rick Fast’s 1969 Camaro which won the Event Staff Pick as well as Bob Stalker’s 1967 Nova, Steve Smith’s 1986 Monte Carlo, 1969 Camaros of Bill Stern and John Anderson, Troy Boettcher’s 1971 Chevelle, and the 1966 Novas of Doug Thomas, Steve Marier and Randy Watson that all took home hardware.

Overall winners include Scott Buetner’s 1964 Chevelle for Best Engine Compartment, Travis Ugland’s 1969 Camaro for Best GM, and the 1968 Camaro of Chris Massaro that was the Street Machine Grand Champion.

Lanny Lolling’s 1987 GNX also deserves mention as one of the top GMs at the event given the rarity of the GNX and his affinity for actually driving it. Lanny said he has owned #153 for 11 years and averages about 1,000 miles per year. He said he swapped the turbo as well as the wheels and tires to preserve the stock pieces.

Jeff Harris is an honorable mention for such impressive stance on his 1964 Impala. A set of two inch lowering springs does the work. The engine is a 350ci small-block Chevy. He bought the car as-is because he loved the look so much (can’t blame him), but has been thinking about swapping the springs for air bags.

This LS-powered Buick GS is a little bit of a mystery since the owner was MIA as was the judging sheet, but it really got our attention for its subtlety and cleanliness. If you can help us locate the owner, please have them drop us a line via our website or Facebook.

Dan Rohrback’s 1969 Caprice gets our unofficial sprit award for running hard all event – we spotted him on the autocross course, Stop Box and the car show. Dan called it “almost a daily driver,” who drove it 5 hours from Aberdeen, SD. The Caprice has a 6.0L LS with a Borg Warner S475 turbo that pumps boost into an Edelbrock Pro Flow intake manifold. The drivetrain consists of a 4L80E and 9-inch rear, while the suspension is Ridetech’s Level 2. Tucked under the Torque Thrust style wheels are Wilwood 6- and 4-piston brakes. Perhaps best of all, this was his grandpa’s first brand-new car and it was his dad’s before he pulled it out of a barn two years ago and started building it.

If you want to hear more about the badass GMs that dominated the driving events, then head on over to the announcement of the winners from last week.

Top Fords

Jeff Schwartz had perhaps the crown jewel of the show, a 1967 Ford Custom 500. Those familiar with Jeff’s past rides will know that he and his crew at Schwartz Performance are famous for high dollar Pro Touring builds, so this 470ci FE powered driver is a bit of a departure. The goal was to have a fun car he could drive to the store when needed, and since overhauling this clean Custom he put more than 4,000 miles on it in a month – including driving here from Illinois. “I’ve always been more of a GM guy, but I thought this car was cool. It belonged to a Congressman,” said Schwartz. The baseline included a 3-speed on the column and a 289ci V8, but Jeff acquired a block out of a ’67 wagon and with a little bore and stroke – it went from 428 to 470 cubic inches. Survival Motorsports heads, a hydraulic roller and dual FiTech injection helped spin the rollers at the event to 458-rwhp and 462 lb-ft of torque through a T-56 Magnum six-speed and American Powertrain clutch. Merely bolt-on suspension was used along with an upgraded steering gear box to up the ante on this street machine.

Brandon Clemens held down the Ford camp in the Street Machine Challenge, besting a sea of GMs with a First place finish in the Muscle Car class. He claimed 60 points by taking First in the autocross and Stop Box (32.930 and 2.967 second runs respectively). The 1964 Galaxie of Mark Greutzman finished in a four-way tie for Third place.

The 1969 Mustang of Ray Maruska amalgamates many elements of 2012 in a smooth and seamless manner including the grille and lights. And, of course, it features a supercharged 5.4L Mod Motor.

The 1963 Ford wagon of Jim Koopman represented the blue oval well in the burnout competition, hitting the top three each night.

For more top Fords from the event, check out this story.

Top Mopars

If nothing else, Mopar fans can take pride that Aaron Miller had a commanding victory in the Dyno Challenge, as his turbocharged 2005 Dodge Viper spun the rollers to an incredible 1,495 horsepower. This was by far the highest number of the weekend out of the 150 cars that hit the rollers.

Greg Holmberg’s 1970 Plymouth Road Runner was too clean for words. Feast your eyes on that gorgeous engine bay, which cradles a 572ci Hemi. Greg is local to St Paul, from nearby Blaine, MN.

A local late model Mopar club simply overran portions of the show, which was quite impressive to see. Wall to wall Challengers.

Over 1,000 runs were made on the QA1 autocross course over the weekend, and we’d estimate that 50% of them were made by Kurt Chenoweth (and his son) in his 1970 Challenger. The low-slung E-body uses Wilwood brakes, Weld Racing wheels and substantial rubber to carve through the cones.

Mopars also had an impressive showing at the Stop Box. Keith Letarski’s 1969 Charger had the best time on Friday (3.117 seconds), and Chris Larson’s 2009 SRT Grand Cherokee not only captured Saturday’s top number (2.843 seconds) but one of the top numbers on the entire weekend.

Vanishing Point or Dukes of Hazzard? These Mopars are celebrities of the muscle car world and draw attention wherever they go.

Tucked along the many streets of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, there were dozens of classic Mopars from Challengers to Chargers, Valiants, Roadrunners, Furys, Darts, Dusters, and even a few Barracudas. But it was the 1961 Belvedere of Tony Netzel that took Best Mopar of the event. Several Dodge trucks and wagons also took home hardware.

If our coverage of the Street Machine Summer Nationals has you yearning for more, stay tuned for some video content while we count the days to next year.

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About the author

Scott Parker

Scott dreamed of being in the automotive media in high school, growing up around car shows and just down the street from Atco Raceway. The technology, performance capability, and craftsmanship that goes into builds fuels his passion.
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