Hot Rod April 2021

Start running with HOT ROD - the biggest, baddest, car-guy magazine in the business! We bring you the broadest performance car coverage you'll find anywhere. From one end of the smoking¹ rubber road to the other. Barn finds, hot rods, rat rods, race cars, home-built super cars, land speed racers, the latest Detroit iron, and classic muscle - if it¹s hitting the streets, you¹ll read about it here first!

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12 Números

en este número

4 min.
in the rearview

Editor-in-Chief @john.mcgann It’s early January as I write this, and the pages of the calendar have finally flipped on 2020. Good riddance, in my opinion. I’d imagine a lot of folks reading this feel similarly. This was an unprecedented year for all of us personally, as well as professionally for your humble author and my colleagues at MotorTrend Group. Though it’s very tempting to leave 2020 in the rearview mirror where it belongs, I believe there are things to learn amid the difficult times. As a staff, we have had to learn to make a lot of online content with very few resources. Cost saving measures, as well as company restrictions on travel, meant we turned to our archives or hyperfocused on local assets for fodder to write about. That’s not necessarily…

3 min.
the hot rod archives

20 Years Ago April 2001: 132 pages, $3.99 A different take on the swimsuit-themed issues popular in the ’90s, this issue went retro with a pin-up aesthetic. No doubt this issue sold well and probably made a ton of money, as it was jam packed with ads from companies banking on getting their products into a big selling issue. The pin-up section spanned 14 pages, not counting the ads. Aside from that, this was a solid issue with lots of good engine tech. We especially like the Small-Block Shuffle build series that pitted a Dodge 360 against a 350 Chevy and a 351 Windsor. Tech Editors Steve Magnante and Terry McGean assisted three teams of students from Universal Technical Institute (UTI) to build two versions of each engine: one combination that maximized…

3 min.
birth of a legend: the 1974 penske iroc camaro

“There were no regulations for us to follow—we made up our own rules.” That was Jay Signori, Roger Penske’s project foreman, talking to Car Craft magazine’s Rick Voegelin about the birth of the original IROC Camaro in 1974. A full 10 years before Chevrolet introduced a production version, Penske’s shop, with assistance from Mark Donohue, was tasked with building race Camaros for the second International Race of Champions (IROC) season. In its first year, the IROC series used a fleet of identically prepared Porsche Carreras to test the driving skill of a multinational group of racers from various competition disciplines. While the series was a hit, and Donohue its inaugural champion, the Porsches proved expensive to maintain. As a more cost-effective alternative (and more relatable, at least to American racing fans), a…

9 min.
outrageous malaise

Chrysler has always been clever with the branding of their performance vehicles. You’re likely familiar with the Hellcat and the Demon as examples that stir the soul. If you’re into old-school Mopar iron, you have the Superbird, Road Runner, Super Bee, and Rampage as examples from the era. Yeah… we couldn’t resist putting that last one in there to see if you were paying attention. By definition, the word “rampage” describes violent or excited behavior that is reckless, uncontrolled, or destructive. Originally powered by a 2.2-liter inline-four rated at 97 hp spinning the front wheels, the last thing that Dodge’s mid ’80s mini pickup ever managed to do was excite anyone to the point of violence. Taking any Mopar from the malaise era and doing something meaningful with it requires an…

5 min.
reborn to a higher power

Plymouth decisively shed the Barracuda’s economy car roots with the introduction of the nameplate’s third generation in 1970. The completely redesigned car was built on the sportier E-body platform, and its crisp lines, high haunches, and stunning proportions combined to give the new model a beautifully aggressive stance. Though buyers could still configure a Barracuda for low initial cost by sticking with the base 198ci six-cylinder engine and few options, those with deeper pockets could also go to the other extremes, with a luxury-laden grand tourer or fire-breathing performer. Power-hungry enthusiasts could pony up for the Six Barrel 440 or 426 Hemi-powered ’Cudas, but those interested in more balanced performance had another choice: the now legendary AAR ’Cuda. In a six-week window, from March 11th through April 20th of 1970, Plymouth built…

5 min.
double vision

This story starts about 10 years ago, when Jeff Thompson got the urge to build a simple hot rod. “Nothing flashy,” he told us. “Just a really nice ’32 three-window coupe in the style of the late ’50s/early ’60s. Something with three pedals and minimal creature comforts.” The starting point for the project was a Brookville body he located in the Phoenix area. At the time, his brother, John, had a winter residence just outside Phoenix, as well as a large personal shop, where the body ended up. When John started to take an interest in the project, the brothers struck a deal. Jeff would provide the parts and the management of the project; John would provide the shop space and the services of Billy Cartwright, the talented fabricator who…