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Hot Rod

Hot Rod

December 2020

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 Nummer

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4 min
remember when 400 was a lot of horsepower?

Editor-in-Chief @john.mcgann I do. As a kid, I remember family get-togethers where the guys would inevitably begin talking about cars they owned and wished they still had. Invariably, the eyebrows would raise and admiring glances would be directed at my dad when he spoke about the 1969 Corvette he owned when he and my mom met. It was a Tri-Power 427 with a four-speed and the plaque on the console read “11.0:1 compression and 435HP and 460 lb-ft of torque”. I remember an uncle once saying that driving the car was an intimidating experience and marveling at the gallon of gasoline he saw the carburetors gobble up as the engine was started with the air cleaner off. That prodigious shot of gasoline would have been delicious-smelling Boron, the premium fuel sold at…

5 min
unearthing a time-forgotten fleet of rare muscle cars

Check out this exceptional find, recently exhumed in Tucson, Arizona. This “Fab Five” belonged to Mark Spear, a gearhead with a taste for muscle cars, who passed away last April at the age of 71. His love of cars came from his father who worked at a local Ford dealership in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When Mark turned 21 in 1970, the elder Spear turned his son on to quite a bargain. A customer had traded in a ’68 Shelby GT500 KR, a soon-to-become iconic Mustang equipped with a stout 428ci V8. The KR was rated at 335 hp, although later independent tests reported that the engine made well over 400 hp. Mark had to have it, and so started a lifelong journey with the four-speed car, one of a little over 1,000…

3 min
rusty rental

As rusty as it is, and as ugly as it is, there is so much good here,” said Rick Parker as he and his team from Signature Auto Classics, in Columbus, Ohio, were working with pickaxes and shovels to dig out a 1966 Shelby G.T.350-H that had been parked in a backyard for nearly 40 years. The registration on the plate expired in 1981. The entire car had sunk into the mud and might not have been worth the trouble except it was a real Shelby, one of the 936 G.T.350-H models that Shelby-American produced in the Rent-A-Racer program. Most being automatic, these rental cars were once deemed slightly watered down and thus not destined to be as desirable as a basic four-speed 1966 G.T.350. Perhaps the wondrous black-with-gold paint stripe…

1 min
2,000 cars at 6th quarantine car cruise in socal!

It’s the sixth time around for what has become the Quarantine Car Cruise, and so far, it shows no sign of slowing down. Founded by Motor Trend Group tech center manager Jason Scudellari (@week2wickedjason) and Hek Valdez (@hektattoo), it has become a staple for gearheads who want to get out and drive. The pair were cruising their trucks one day when they met Patrick Wagenbrenner, who does social media for Keystone Automotive Operations, a large aftermarket distributor. The three started talking and decided they should post about a cruise to see how many would show up. The first real cruise had a respectable 35 cars, but as the event continued and the weather got better, the turnout skyrocketed. They were even able to get Ken Johnson (@classicsdaily, @boostednova, @ken) involved. He…

7 min
fuel delivery showdown

We were a bit skeptical of the direct injection (DI) 5.3L L83 engines when they first started showing up in the salvage channels. After all, the 5.3L LM7 was a proven engine-swap powerhouse for those on a budget; this meant the new DI L83 mills had some very capable shoes to fill. The 5.3L LM7, and other LS variants, are currently the go-to choices of the performance world. Although it can be argued that position had as much to do with price and availability as the actual performance. The Gen III and Gen IV 5.3L engines offer impressive performance, especially compared to the small-blocks they replaced at GM. Making them even more desirable was the fact that sizable power gains were just a cam swap and valvespring upgrade away. And…

10 min
7 key things to consider when building a performance short-block

We spent a couple of days at JMS Racing Engines, in El Monte, California, talking with owner Mike Johnson and his machinists and builders to get the scoop on what makes a successful budget performance-engine build. We’re assuming that you’re starting with an engine that is in good condition and hasn’t had more than one overbore, you plan to reuse as many of the stock components as you can, upgrading to higher-performance pieces as your budget permits, and you do the disassembly and reassembly yourself. As with any complicated process like this there are plenty of myths to bust, and just as many procedures to follow. We’ll break everything down into bite-sized pieces. Devise a Plan We cannot stress this enough—the most important part of any engine build begins with a good…