After the bummer that was 2020, Holley has lit the desert on fire once again with LS Fest West’s triumphant return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway! That brief hiatus was obviously caused by unforeseen events relating to the Covid 19 pandemic, but much to the avail of thousands of LS-based auto enthusiasts, the Holley crew launched the massive party again in 2021.
The Street Muscle team is never one to miss a party, so we made the drive from Southern California to the dust-filled skies of Las Vegas. Day one of the show was highlighted by lots of smoke and dust! The 20-30mph winds made sure of that. Fortunately for us, the turnout was just as good as we’d hoped for. 2019 was epic, and you can read about that recap if you’re feeling nostalgic, here.
For now, check out our top five favorite cars from the 2021 show.
If you haven’t heard of AmericanMuscleHD on Instagram, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past ten years or so. Garrett Reed, founder of AmericnaMuscleHD has created an Instagram empire if you will. Over the past decade, Garrett Reed has amassed over two million followers on his Instagram page catering to, you guessed it, fans of American muscle cars.
Not only that, but he’s offered his fans a look at some exclusive car reviews before they hit the general public. He’s reviewed everything from the new C8 Corvette, Mustang GT500, Mercedes SLS AMG, to the brand new Dodge Ram TRX. If that’s not enough to prove his love for all things automotive, his personal collection might do just that.
Garrett has spent the past few years building a few project cars that have gained some notoriety, outside of those who follow his Instagram page. His Whipple-supercharged Caddilac Escalade EXT is one that would make any luxury-loving truck enthusiast drool. The blown 6.2l monster toes the line between raucous and refined extremely well. But that’s just his daily driver. The real star of the show is his 1984 Chevy Monte Carlo.
Many in the hot rodding community know Garrett’s Monte Carlo from the time it was stolen, recovered, and rebuilt. While on Hot Rod’s Power Tour, Garrett’s Monte was stolen from the hotel parking lot he was staying in, along with a few other cars. Fortunately, his beloved Monte was recovered and relatively unmolested. He set back to work to finish his build, and now it’s better than ever.
He partnered with the crew over at Sac Speed Shop in the Bay Area of Northern California to put the whole thing together, and it turned out amazing! It features a monster Whipple-supercharged LSX376 under the hood backed by a 4L80E trans and Currie rear end. The audio system in this thing will make you forget which way is up, too! All of which contribute to why we chose this as our favorite build from LS Fest West 2021.
You can read more about the specifics of Garrett’s Monte Carlo in the forthcoming full-length feature. For now, you’ll just have to drool over these teaser images.
Kayla Rundle is an up-and-coming YouTuber and certified car girl. Seriously, that’s not some kitschy term we’re throwing around. She’s the real deal when it comes to her cars. As we approached her magnificent fifth-gen Camaro SS/RS, she was walking away from it with her boyfriend in tow, and we foolishly assumed it was her boyfriend’s car. Fortunately for us, she forgave the honest mistake and subsequently proceeded to school us on what we thought we knew about the famed fifth-gen Camaro. She’s sort of used to it by now, anyway.
We were initially drawn to her Camaro because of the unorthodox color scheme. The gloss “sand” color, she told us, is an Inozetek wrap. The original color was white, but she opted for the striking color to stand out from the crowd. She also set the car atop a killer set of HRE wheels and hand-painted her calipers turquoise to further set her build apart. It’s those small touches that make this car memorable.
But, Kayla’s car isn’t all about looks, she also has a SS3 cam from GPI and a stellar set of Stainless Works headers. The car also features stout Driveshaft Shop 1000 hp axles, and Detroit Speed suspension components. The car gets its stance from a set of coilovers and a sticky set of Nitto rubber.
Kayla is an automotive design student and can be seen tearing up the streets of Southern California and Phoenix Arizona. Expect to see a lot more from her and her Camaro on her youtube channel and the forthcoming feature on Street Muscle Mag.
We’ve always been fans of late model GTOs, or should we say, Holden Manaro’s. No, no, no, this one is definitely a GTO. The reason we know that is because we spent a good amount of time talking to Michael Adams about his Goat. Although, it would be an honest mistake because Mike rode out to LS Fest West with the crew from Holden Parts USA – the foremost importer of legit Holden parts from the land down undah’. But, back to Mike’s sweet GTO…
Mike is a United States Air Force vet, and a passionate car enthusiast. While he couldn’t tell us much about what he did for the Air Force, for our lack of proper clearance, we did have the necessary creds for him to break down his build for us.
Mike bought the GTO brand new in 2007 as a dealer overstock. He’d been in the market for something LS-based since the early ’00s, and sort of missed the boat on the Camaro and Firebird he loved so much. While moving around in the Air Force, he saw the announcement of the new [for then] GTO in 2004. He wanted one in a bad way, but a deployment meant he’d have to wait.
Lucky for him, and us, because in our opinion he got the better end of that deal. Not only did he get to stack some change during that time, but Pontiac upgraded the GTO in 2005 with the new [for then] LS2 6.0. The GTO also got a host of restyled pieces like the iconic scooped hood, and dual exhaust diffuser. And, we didn’t know this, but apparently, those parts, and any parts from the American GTO command a premium. Mike told us a replacement headlight for his GTO would likely set him back $2,000 on the used market.
In any case, he doesn’t need to worry about that because he’s taken extremely good care of his Goat. In fact, he’s not only preserved it, but upgraded it, quite tastefully we might add. As far as exterior mods are concerned, Mike started things off from the ground-up with a set of majestic forged CCW wheels and set up the car’s stance with a set of BC Racing coilovers. The GTO also features ample amounts of carbon fiber from MaverickManCarbon.
As far as performance is concerned, Mike installed a Magnuson TVS1900 supercharger on his LS2. The supercharger remains smog legal since Mike now resides in Oceanside, California. Check back with us for the full feature soon.
4: Buick GSX Stage 1 Clone
This oughta ruffle some feathers. We saw this bright yellow Buick rolling around the grounds at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and since we were at LS Fest, it was safe to assume what it was packing under the hood. Unbeknownst to us, it was a clone, but we’re sure that doesn’t stop the owner from pissing off Buick purists. The GSX Stage 1 is one of the most beloved and underrated vintage muscle cars of all time, so to ditch the original powerplant for an LS is nothing short of sacrilege.
Upon closer inspection, we found the car was actually for sale. Even though it was revealed that the car is not a real GSX, we were still stoked to see someone did this. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to catch up with the owner, as they were likely being tarred and feathered somewhere. Luckily for us, the build/sale sheet told us most of what we’d ask the owner anyway…
So, for now you’ll just have to call the number and tell them how much you love their car, or maybe we can just help them with their sale.
5: Kyle Laramore’s 1966 Plymouth Barracuda
In the ever-growing category of cars that piss people off at LS Fest, we found Kyle Laramore’s 1966 Plymouth Barracuda. He was actually loading it up on his trailer when we spied it in the pits. He’d been making shakedown passes in his wicked fish over the weekend, and we just had to stop and check it out.
As one of the few Mopar representatives at the show, we wanted to hear his story. We’re glad we did, because his story is a good one. Kyle’s parents bought the car new in ’66 and it’s been in the family ever since. It’s changed hands a few times, going to a few relatives before Kyle got ahold on it.
When it came time to start restoring the car, he was faced with a bit of a quandry – he could either rebuild the tired 273ci LA that was in the car, or stab something new in between the shock towers…Speaking of which, that presented another problem. If he were to replace the engine with something else, it would have to fit in between those narrow shock towers. So, an LS made perfect sense…at least from a practical standpoint. If you’re a Mopar purist – perhaps not.
While Kyle was able to make the tough call to replace the stock powerplant with a 5.3l LS and LS1 intake, he also spent a good amount of time upgrading the rest of the car during the restoration. One aspect of his build we really loved were the Mercedes AMG seats he wired in. The cost of repairing the factory bucket seats and interior far outweighed the cost of his plush AMG seats – Mopar parts are expensive!
Lastly, as we wrap up our list of memorable cars from the show, we wanted to leave you with a few photos of honorable mentions. These cars were awesome in their own right and deserve a spotlight as well.
As always, keep checking back with us at Street Muscle Mag for the latest content in the muscle car arena, and we’ll catch you at next year’s LS Fest West.