No matter the season, classic muscle cars are always easy to fall in love with. With their high-horsepower engines, in-your-face styling and all-business demeanor, its no wonder these stalwarts of speed are a hit year round.
This October season, we've assembled a trio of four-wheeled bruisers, each hailing from the three brands of yesteryear Detroit lore and each sporting a paintjob drawn straight from the local pumpkin patch.
1970 Dodge Coronet R/T, Tim Kelly, Algonquin
Ask Tim Kelly what its like to slide behind the wheel of his 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T and the answer may be a bit frightening: "It's a crazy fast, white-knuckle ride!"
A power-modified 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine is the snarling heart and soul responsible for the wild nature of the Mopar classic. A six-pack multicarb setup, roller rocker arms, electric exhaust dumps and subframe connectors give this cruiser a bit more bite than your average stock example.
Tim found his Hemi Orange ride in Cedar Lake, Ind. "It needed new rear quarter panels, extensive bodywork and paint but it was a genuine Dodge muscle car and that's exactly what I wanted," the Algonquin resident said.
He set out to build a regular driver and that's what he ended up with, albeit packing a bit more punch. "When I purchased it, the engine needed to be rebuilt and I made sure to squeeze in some more horsepower."
After some wrenching, the engine's factory numbers of 375 were boosted to 450 -- just the right amount for getting to the area cruise nights in a hurry. Tim's also taken his R/T to shows, bringing home a class first-place finish at the 2012 Belvidere Mopar Happenings.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302, Patrick Mitchell, Elgin
Patrick Mitchell is a serious shopper. He originally tried to buy his 1969 Ford Boss 302 Mustang in the late 1970s but had to wait until 2002 to finally grasp the title.
"It sat one-half mile from my house with the engine blown and in pieces in the garage. The owner wouldn't take my offer," the Elgin resident said.
Adding insult to injury, a few weeks later Patrick saw the muscle machine sitting in a different friend's driveway. "My buddy already had a few Mustangs and was able to buy the Boss."
Patrick asked to keep him in mind should a sale arise. Eighteen long years later and he was the owner.
However, time hadn't been so kind to the vintage vehicle. It had been parked in damp storage, had a mismatched 302-cubic-inch V-8 from a Torino, rotting bodywork and mice in the headliner. A full restoration ensued and a decade later the Calypso Coral 'Stang emerged showroom fresh.
"The color just pops in the sun and really turns heads," he says.
Patrick's son Chad lent a hand with the rust repair and sheet-metal work while Jim Sheppard assisted with the engine overhaul.
"I've worked on cars my whole life but never a full restoration. There were many times I thought I was in over my head. Every time I walk in the garage and see it, I can't help but smile."
1972 Chevrolet Camaro SS, Rod Newberry, Hoffman Estates
The desire to own a street machine is strong. In fact, the initial order for Rod Newberry's 1972 Chevrolet Camaro SS came from overseas.
"A serviceman ordered the car through his military base's PX while stationed away on duty. The brand new car was waiting for him in New Jersey when he arrived back home," the Hoffman Estates resident said.
Years later, the Ontario Orange bow tie sportster spent some time in Arizona before landing in Roselle, where Rod made the purchase in 1997.
"Due to work constraints, I had quit racing cars. This Camaro was something to get me back into the hobby."
Seeing his brother use a 1970 Camaro in competition also provided motivation. "The goal from day one was to get quarter-mile times in the 12-second range," Rod said.
No easy feat considering the Super Sport classic demanded major work. The rear inner and outer fenders required replacement, leading to a frame-up restoration. For better straight-line performance, the original 350-cubic-inch V-8 was excised to make room for a GM-crate zz430 V-8.
Stopping duties fall on slotted and drilled front disc brakes while police-option finned drums are mounted in the rear. To prevent chassis flex, the subframe was welded together. Traction bars keep it planted during hard launches.
Now that the project is complete, Rod had his perfect track toy.
"The radio doesn't work but I don't miss it one bit. I prefer the sounds the car makes."