Event Coverage From The Piston Powered Auto-Rama

The concept behind the Summit Racing Equipment I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama is simple, if it’s powered by an engine that uses pistons, it’s going to be on display. That premise brings out an epic mix of custom vehicles, hot rods, show cars, muscle cars, and much more. We made the trip to Cleveland, Ohio to see what was on display at the 2024 edition of the show, and here are a few of our favorite rides.

Greg Dudash’s 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

Greg Dudash’s Roadrunner known as “Magnum Force” is a totally rad time capsule of a build. The car was painted in 1984 by Bob Meyer and it still looks fresh. The 383 cubic-inch mill lives in a luxurious engine bay that’s been molded and filled to look super smooth. There’s plenty of polished stainless steel fasteners that can be found all over the car. All of the wiring has been tucked away to give the car an extremely clean look.

Tom Kurak’s 1963 Pontiac LeMans

This LeMans was built by Tom Kurak in his garage. The chassis has been strategically modified so a set of mini tubs could be squeezed into the Pontiac. Under the hood, you’ll find a rowdy 428 cubic-inch Pontiac engine that makes some serious power. A set of KRE heads that have been ported by Dave Bisshop, and a Pontiac Super Duty bathtub intake top off the engine. Behind the engine, you’ll find a Janis Stage III transmission and 9” rearend. A custom ladder bar suspension and QA1 shocks can be found under the car.


The George Conrad Collection

George Conrad brought just a taste of his massive collection to the I-X Center. The Mustangs that were on display were impressive and George even brought a Ford GT to boot.

Marty And Cindy Setser’s 1965 AC Cobra

Backdraft Racing built an amazing 1965 AC Cobra replica for Marty and Cindy Sester. This snake takes what the AC Cobra was to a new level. Under the flip-up hood, you’ll find a Ford Racing 351 Windsor crate engine that’s been matched to a TREMEC five-speed transmission. A BMW M3 sport front and rear independent suspension was added to the Cobra to help it hug the curves. Marty and Cindy ride in style thanks to the comfortable leather interior inside the Cobra’s cockpit.

Brad Swaney’s 1971 C10

Brad Swaney really went all out and built an awesome 1971 C10. The stock frame has been heavily modified with stepped-in front frame rails, the track width of the truck has been narrowed two inches, and it has a hand-built center frame stiffener. Classic Performance Products tubular suspension parts give the truck a great stance and help it handle like a sports car. Brad kept things simple when it came to the engine with a classic 454 cubic-inch big block Chevy. Brad and his dad Mike took care of all the paint and bodywork for the truck. The duo shaved the drip rails, removed the fuel spout, smoothed out the roof seam, removed the stake pockets, and much more. This was all done before they sprayed the custom Axalta paint.

Donald and Sally Clark’s 1972 Dodge Challenger Rallye

Sometimes you just need to keep things simple and that’s the approach that Donald and Sally Clark took with their 1972 Dodge Challenger. The Mopar wears a vibrant coat of HEMI Orange paint. The Challenger came with a 340 from the factory, but that has been replaced by a 416 cubic-inch stroker motor. A 727 TorqueFlght transmission and 8 ¾ rearend back the big stroker motor. The engine roars through a fully polished and ceramic-coated exhaust.

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J.D. Newmire’s 1969 Z28 Camaro

J.D. Newmire’s “Captain Blue Devil” Camaro is a well-thought-out build. The Camaro rides on a Roadster Shop SPEC chassis that’s highlighted by Strange Engineering shocks at each corner. Wilwood brakes help bring the Camaro to a stop. Inside the Camaro, J.D. used TMI Pro Series Sport Seats, Dakota Digital gauges, and Vintage HVAC components. The Camaro is powered by a 6.2-liter LS engine that was built by Lingenfelter Performance. A Design Performance XS intake manifold and 103mm Nick Williams throttle body help the engine breathe deep.

Tom Woelfle’s 1967 Chevy Nova

“Granny’s 1967 Chevy II” is a great name for Tom Woelfle’s Nova, because on the outside it totally looks like a car your grandma would drive to church. The Nova had just 39,000 original miles on it before Tom got ahold of it, and boy was this car a total cream puff. Now, the Nova is powered by a Blueprint Engines 396 cubic-inch small block that cranks out 515 horsepower and 509 lb/ft of torque. Tom rips the gears thanks to a TREMEC five-speed transmission. The car rides on a CCP front suspension and Cal Trac rear suspension.

Paul and Darcy Terlosky’s 1967 Impala Wagon

The “Hot Rod Taxi” that Paul and Darcy built is our kind of public transportation. The wagon is powered by a GM ZZ4 350 engine that’s topped off by a Weiand supercharger. Under the wagon, you’ll find an air ride suspension and a full set of Wilwood disc brakes. Inside the wagon, you’ll find a custom interior and bumpin’ stereo system.

James And Jeff Hose’s 1997 Z28 Camaro

James and Jeff Hose built “The Warrior” as a true pro street machine. This Camaro may look like a Pro Mod, but it’s totally street legal and driven all the time. Jeff Church at Church Fabrication took care of building the car, and Bob Pinkerton laid down the PPG Prizmatique paint. The 510 cubic-inch big block wears an 8:71 Littlefield blower and has a hit of nitrous plumbed in for good measure. Rossler built the TH400 transmission that sits behind the rat motor. The 4-link suspension works with a Mark Williams modular rearend. The Warrior has an impressive trophy collection, including a Great 8 award from the Detroit Autorama.

Ron Dawson’s 1932 Ford Coupe

There’s no wrong way to build a 1932 Ford. Ron Dawson’s 3-window coupe has been stretched six inches and painted a slick shade of Mercedes Silver. The custom frame was built by Bobby Alloway, and is home to a 496 cubic-inch Chevy mill that’s backed by a TH350 transmission. The Billet Specialties wheels are home to a set of Wilwood brakes. Inside the Ford, you’ll find a custom lipstick red custom interior.

Michael And Christine Brancato’s 1937 Willys

This all-steel 1937 Willys four-door sedan was converted to a sedan delivery model and boy does it look sharp. The Willys rides on a custom tube chassis that uses a Mustang II front end and custom 4-link suspension in the rear. For color, the body was spayed with a PPG Silver base coat before the custom crushed mirror mid-coat and flames were laid down. The Willys is powered by a 502 cubic-inch big block Chevy that’s topped off with an 8-71 Weiland supercharger.

Nick Browing’s 1992 Ford Mustang

Nick Browing’s Mustang is a killer street machine that’s still rocking a Ford engine under the hood. The 347 cubic-inch Ford mill receives a dose of boosted air from a Vortech supercharger. Nick rides in comfort thanks to the A/C system that’s still functioning. The Mustang received the five lug wheel conversion and rides on a set of 17-inch chrome pony wheels.

Dave and Shelley Zuber’s 1967 Camaro

If you’re looking for the textbook definition of what a Pro Street build should look like, Dave and Shelley’s Camaro is a perfect example. The Camaro has been painted a Cranberry Red that’s highlighted by a gold leaf hockey stick strip and ghosted checkerboard design by 840 Designs. For horsepower, the Camaro is powered by a Mike Janis-built 565 cubic-inch big block Chevy that makes 850 naturally aspirated horsepower. A healthy shot of nitrous helps the engine crank out 1,050 horsepower. The car was built on a S&W tube chassis with a Mustang II front end. Inside the Camaro, you’ll find a custom leather interior and touchscreen stereo that’s equipped with GPS.

Lee Fritz’s 1933 Ford 3-Window Coupe

There’s nothing cooler than a hot rod that’s been built to be a rowdy ride. Lee Fritz built this 1933 Ford 3-Window coupe himself and it’s a wicked machine. A 445 cubic-inch Ford engine lives under the hood and has been matched to a C6 transmission. In the rear, Lee added a Ford 9” rearend that’s filled with 3.50 gears and Traction-Loc differential. T&T Custom sprayed the hot rod in a radical shade of orange for Lee. The interior of the Ford was done by Lee.

Dan Lukanec’s 1964 Buick Riviera

When Buick released the 1964 Riviera, it probably didn’t think it would end up looking like the car Dan Lukanec has built. This Pro Street Buick now rides on a tubular front suspension, and 4-link rear suspension that uses a set of QA1 shocks. A supercharged 468 cubic-inch big block Chevy now powers the Buick and it’s backed by a TH400 transmission.

Joe Swezey’s 1969 Nova

The muscle car era created some awesome limited-run cars that have become legendary. Joe Swezey’s DANA Chevrolet 1969 L/78 Nova SS is one of these cars. DANA offered these cars as a stripped-down Nova SS with a bench seat and the 396/375 horsepower big block. These Novas were known as the “Bench Racer” model and came with some of the rarest options ever. The Bench Racer would be sold with options like a TH400 CX transmission, dual exhaust, positraction rearend, and much more.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. Brian enjoys anything loud, fast, and fun.
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