Its just a feel-good carclean and simple. Especially for Linda Scales, who got her first hot rod as a Christmas present from Kevin Care. He told us I could build a Hemi for my 34 or get her a hot rod. So theres my Hemi.
Kevins Hemi looks a lot like Lindas mew nostalgia 23 T. It was built at Total Performance in Hartford, Connecticut, using one of the T-bucket kits that Totals been building for 30 years. The basic glass body and frame kit is augmented by Totals diamond-tuft interior kit and one of the 25th Anniversary windshield kits. Kevin opted for all the polished chrome suspension upgrades including Wilwood discs, and had it painted a Fiat color called Sunshine Yellow. Power comes from a basic GM Goodwrench 350 with an Edelbrock intake and carb, and Total Performance headers. Totals Mickey Lauria told us the secret to keeping the chrome headers from turning blue is to coat their insides with axle grease and let it coke up to form a heat barrier. It smokes a lot at first, but he swears it works. Its an old Harley trick.
The T drivetrain is rounded out with a TH350 trans and a Ford 8-inch rear with 3.00:1 gears. The Wheel Vintiques steelies are wrapped in Coker bias-ply whitewalls because radials just dont look right. There are trim rings on both the inner and outer sides of the front wheels, which is a nice detail. In fact, the whole thing is nicely detailedso much so that it took a Best In Show award just after it was done.
We had a chance to buzz the bucket around New England, and its a blast. The Anniversary windshield is taller than Totals Performer window to keep bugs out of your teeth, but at night, it reflects the cars behind you and is a bit weird. The car only weighs about 1,700 pounds, which has its pros and cons. The downside is a bit of a stuttering ride, but the plus is spry performance in acceleration, braking, and handling. Despite a virtually stock engine, it spins the tires about 20 feet, and it spins em both evenly despite an open differential. You sit a bit high in the car for comfortable cornering, but the T holds the road well. If youre short enough, you could drive it quite a bit, and we spoke to the owner of a similar car who told us he routinely made 300-mile jaunts in his and got 18 mpg doing it. We enjoyed the bucket so much that were going to build our own nostalgia T in a few months. Stay tuned.