Home-Built Heroes: Three Hot Rods That Epitomize The Term

When we started the Home-Built Hero section a few years ago, it was no surprise that that it was an instant hit. If there is one thing we’ve learned by hanging out at cruise nights, car shows, and drag strips, it’s that car guys love to talk about their rides. Hey, we get it, we’re car guys too. Maybe that is why our Home-Built Heroes column is so popular.

Typically, we try to focus the column on a single ride, but this week, we decided to put together a grouping of reader’s hot rods that we feel are the epitome of home-built. The Home-Built Heroes page gives you guys the opportunity to be a part of what’s happening here, and we are continually asking you all to send in submissions about your cars. They do keep coming, and we appreciate that. But, we still want to see more cars.

Home-Built Hero

When Rick’s son gets old enough to turn wrenches, that will make three generations that have had a hand in the rebuild.

The Family Tradition

Rick Gongola started his email telling us his dad bought this ’74 Camaro a long time ago, because he and Rick’s mom really liked it. “He also got a good deal on it from a friend,” he quipped. “I don’t have any good pictures of me and my dad working on it, but I wish I did. They would be some good memories.”

Rick also told us that his dad started working on the car many years ago, and now, Rick and his son plan to keep the project going. “My dad started working on this car about 25 years ago,” he stated. “We have only been able to put a little bit of time and money in it over the years. It’s got a 355ci small block, Muncie four-speed, and 3.73 gears.

Fabulous Find

Some guys spend countless hours scouring the Internet looking for that perfect ride. But every once in a while, the perfect ride finds them. “I was looking for a Chevy muscle car with a back seat,” said Kevin Westbrook. “A good friend and co-worker knew about this car and that it was going up for sale.”

Home-built hero

Who wouldn’t want to drive this gorgeous hot rod Nova.

What Kevin ended-up bringing home, is this ’72 Nova, powered by a 468ci big block. Inside the cast-iron foundation, you’ll find a steel crankshaft with SCAT connecting rods and Mahle pistons. With a compression ratio of 10.5:0, this is a really streetable engine. A set of Brodix heads support the Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake and Quick Fuel carburetor.

Behind the behemoth is a Turbo 400 transmission with a 3,200-rpm stall torque converter, and finally, a Moser rear.

Fine First-Gen

It was way back in 1974 when Chris Ridgley bought this ’69 Camaro. Since then, not only has he brought the exterior back to a factory appearance, but added a few upgrades as well. Take for instance the suspension. Underneath you’ll find four-wheel disc brakes, subframe connectors, 17-inch Torque Thrust II wheels, 1-1/2-inch sway bar, coilovers, rack-and-pinion steering, and Slide-A-Link traction bars. Those suspension upgrades come in handy when you find out what comprises the drivetrain.

We start at the front by checking out the 377ci small-block filled with a steel crankshaft, Lunati roller cam, steel heads with bigger valves, and a Scorpion intake with a 750cfm Demon carburetor. Behind that is a bulletproof M22 four-speed transmission.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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