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There’s another trend sweeping the car hobby and it may be one of the most interesting visual sights you’ll see at a car show.


Put a number on a car and it’s like an instant injection of steroids for the meekest-looking old car.


They go from coat-holder to street brawler in seconds.



History is a great way to take a car from a blank piece of paper to work of art.


’57 Chevys don’t really need any help in the PR department because they are part of 50s culture in a huge way, but put some racing history in the mix and a ’57 Chevy becomes a monster.


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This ’57 Chevy was a tribute to the legendary Smokey Yunick’s ride and one thing was clear about this extremely cool tri-five Chevy. This beauty is going to suck all the spectators away from every other car at any 5-6-7 Chevy car show on the planet.


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Smokey would be proud.


Black Widow ’57 Chevys were another force on the track back in the day because they dominated NASCAR back in 1957. This Black Widow tribute was a classic example of how cool these cars look in racing colors.


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Ford was well represented at the track back in the day and this ’66 Fairlane GTA is a great example of an NHRA track car recreation. The slightly weathered look really worked for this blue oval because it looked like a former race car that sat for a long time after a decade on the track.


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In reality, this was a 390 cubic inch street legal driver and any day a car like this GTA shows up on the street (or at a show) is a good day.


Who says you can’t graft on cool? This ’66 Ford suggests otherwise.


This ’63 Ford F-100 XL truck is another tribute to a legendary racing vehicle. The original version campaigned in the B/FX class and did really well. This brute has a 532 cubic inch monster under the hood and you can bet it’s going to win People’s Choice at a lot of shows.


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This ’69 Daytona was the real deal racer back in the 70s. “Big Willie” Robinson was a force on the streets of Los Angeles in this big, bad Mopar and he spearheaded sanctioned racing at a time when people were dying in high speed crashes on city roads.


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The Daytona was his signature ride and it’s truly a piece of cultural and racing history-the cool factor is infinite.


Corvettes have always been a factor at the track but this ’53 Vette may be one of the earliest examples. It was called a NASCAR unit and it was built to save the Corvette from extinction because the car was on the bubble for weak sales. Vette guys owe a large debt of gratitude to this historic car for giving it a racing pedigree.


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This ’68 Corvette was a later version of the same concept-win at the track and in the showroom. This was one the first new for ’68 Vettes and it had the mammoth L-88.


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This car had it all—it was a COPO and it was owned by the legendary James Garner under his American International Racing team. If this Vette doesn’t attract fans like moths to a light at every car show, there’s something wrong with the natural order of things.


The racing look (real or tribute) can muscle out the most vanilla ride and make it a rock star overnight because more car guys relate to cars built for a purpose over a car built for show and no go.


Jerry Sutherland

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