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Viva Las Vegas! (part 2)

After a long road trip from rainy Seattle to Las Vegas we were ready for some fun in the sun. Since I wasn't driving the race car, I cruised around on the golf cart and checked out all the show cars and race cars and as usual I was attracted to the unfinished stuff. There were a couple of cars that really stood out.

When I first spied this machine my eyes just about fell out of their sockets. It's the perfect blend of old and new. It's actually Herb Mc Candless' 1968 Dart, repainted to look just like it did in the day. It should, it was painted by the guy who did the first paint job.�The work was orchestrated by SS/AH racer Randy Hopkins. Herb had no idea about the project until he saw it as it looks here. It brought tears to his eyes.

We don't need no stinkin' vinyl cutter! You've got to love this hand paint job. This "panel" paint scheme really would suck like disco music if it weren't for the flawless execution. It's got every dated technique in the book thrown at it--gold leaf, drop shadows, pin stripes, marble, and whatever you call that stuff on the b pillars, hood, and decklid but it works and I love it. Check out the stock dash pad. The interior is stock grandma Dodge Dart. Herb quick shifted his way to low ten second quarters in this office before he sold off the car and joined the Sox and Martin team.

The car was set up as an automatic when I took these pictures. It's going back to a four speed, of course.�Rumor has it that Herb will make a pass in it, maybe at Indy.The modern SS/AH Hemis are cool running eight second quarter miles at over a buck fifty but are they cooler than this?

With the fancy rolling stock and wheelie bars it looks ready to race but it's really far from it. Aside from the fact that it has no motor or transmission, the '68 Hemi Darts and Cudas have evolved to the point where they are basically pro stock cars with '68 skins to be competitive and safe. This one hasn't been state of the art for decades. That makes it cooler in a way because it looks like something that a mortal could build and race. Randy Hopkin's car was parked next to it, ready to run the Hemi Shoot Out and it was a totally different creature, as were all the other modern SS/AH cars.

You might not recognize this Challenger because the last time you saw it it had a red white and blue paint job on it. It's one of two carbon fiber prototypes built for Mopar. The other one was the show car that blew the carparazzi and the general public away, convincing Mopar to finally start building a bitchin' pony car again after only twenty five years. Mopar honchos David Hakim and Jon Clark got this one and are building it as a "super stocker". It's got a late model injected 392 Hemi, automatic transmission, and a Dana 60. Even though David made some high eleven second hits in it, it's fundementally even less finished than Herb's Dart. It is quite possibly the coolest unfinished car on the planet. Godspeed to you, gentlemen!


This is my car and it's always unfinished. We had lots of fun bringing it down to Vegas and racing it. We got a best time of 11.59 @ 115 mph with our experimental 480 cubic inch pump gas stroker motor. We got to the third round and brought it home in one piece. We really couldn't have asked for more and we will certainly be back next year. Now we're going to yank the 480 and install our latest Max Wedge for some NHRA Stock Eliminator action. Is any car ever really finished? 

Along with flogging all manner of Mopars down the 1320 and on the roads of his top secret island hideaway, Chris Barnes is also the originator of Wagons of Steel Magazine. Check it out at: www.wagonsofsteel.com

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