2023 Most Improved Car

Here are the candidates for the Gents end of year 2023 MOST IMPROVED CAR award. Scroll down to see what our Gents sisters and brothers have been up to.

Have your special project hiding in the garage? Let us know and we’ll share it with our membership. As your project car progresses, we’ll update your entry with any new photos you send our way and share with our Gents members so everyone can see what you’re doing. Before and after shots are always good. Submit photos to d.carriveau@att.net We know it takes time to complete a car project. If you entered last year, enter again this year and show us your continued progress or improvements.

Your stories and photos will help us to vote on our 2023 Most Improved Car contest winner sometime in November. Happy project and GOOD LUCK.

Bob Milton’s 1974 Dodge D-100 Adventurer Pickup

In the rough.
Nearly fifty years of use have taken their toll on the interior

Bob’s been making good progress on his Dodge Adventurer. New paint! just pops!
Interior leaves no question to the school Bob holds his allegiance .
Neat and Tidy
Nice work, Bob!

Tony Whitcomb’s Custom 1991 Chevrolet S10 Tilt-Bed

Tony has provided the following information on the details of this build. One thing’s for sure, Tony’s finished S10 will be a unique head turner. The finished truck will have the ability to tilt its bed 45 degrees. Tubbed five inches to accommodate thirteen inch wide tires. Bored frame, tilt bed, custom engine cover with intake tube, two-inch rise hood, smooth front bumper. Next projects are interior and paint completion.

Engine block in place.
Sub frame and rear end added
Engine appliances and cooling system components in place.
Front clip aligned and assembled.
Tilting bed will be a unique feature of this truck.

Curt Donner’s 1965 Griffeth Ford 289 400 Coupe

Jack Griffith was a Ford dealer on Long Island, N.Y. in the ‘60s.  He received Shelby’s Cobra bodies and chassis from the U.K. and then loaded up trucks and sent them out to Shelby.  Griffith also raced Cobras and one of his employees drove for him.  That driver was Mark Donohue.  So sitting around the shop with these small European AC bodies stuffed with American V8s, Jack was presented with the idea of doing something similar with the T.V.R. Grantura car.  A U.K. fiberglass bodied, tube framed coupe with independent suspension on all four corners, but a 4 cylinder engine.  He got T.V.R. to send “roller” bodies on the chassis and convinced Ford to send the Ford SB V8 engines.  Jack created the Griffith 200 with the 200 h.p. 289 V8, Toploader 4 speed and Salisbury rear end.  A real rocket.  A similar setup as the early Cobras.
Jack then addressed some of the complaints about the “200” and came out with the “400”, better suspension, the HiPo 271 h.p. K code 289, Toploader 4 speed and the Salisbury rear end, and a re-worked rear body shape, actually similar to the Cobra Daytona.  The Griffith 400 became instantly successful, but scary if you didn’t know how to drive it.  They are NOT very well known because Jack was only able to produce 59 Griffith 400s due to a dock strike that paralyzed the ENTIRE EAST COAST!  He could no longer get his “roller” T.V.R.s from the U.K. and his Griffith Motors Co. died, killing the Griffith 400 production as well.
But that was NOT before the Griffith 400 had earned the nickname of “the Cobra Killer” due to it’s lighter weight, excellent suspension and high performance Ford V8 in a 2100 lb. car compared to the 427 Cobra that weighed in at 2355 lbs..
Routine Griffith 400 numbers include:
0 – 60 4.2 seconds165 m.p.h. top speed (notice the rod connecting the top of the windshield to the top of the dash to keep the windshield and top of the roof connected at top speed!)13.3 Qtr. mile103 trap speed

My Griffith 400 is #31 of the 59.  The “project” for this car consists of me deciding to pull out the original # matching engine to preserve it and installing a Blueprint 302 SB Ford with 370 h.p.  It should be done in a few weeks.  In time for car show season.  It has been restored and I have quite a few awards and trophies the car has won prior to my ownership.  These pictures show original engine in the car.  This first picture is the day it arrived at my house last Spring and got unloaded.

Curt Donner’s Superformance 427 “Street” Cobra Replica

I ’m having some work done to it down in Irvine, CA.  As you may know, companies like Superformance are NOT allowed to sell you a completely assembled car here in the U.S.  So you have them build you a “roller” and then you get to install the drive train.  This whole “build” has taken quite a long time.  Starting with ordering the build at the factory in Capetown, South Africa.  That took about 5 months before I got some “inspection” pictures.  Then getting it in to a shipping crate (see pictures) and loaded on to a Cargo ship for the trip to Long Beach, CA.  That took about 5 – 6 weeks.  THEN, as you may know, many of the world’s ports were and are closed down or at least backed up for many reasons.  My Cobra was on the container ship anchored off of Long Beach for about a month.  I should finally get it shipped up to me within the next month.  Here are some pics.

In the container with another Cobra.  Mine is in front.
Seeing the light of day.
Ready for engine.
Engine installed here in the U.S. in Irvine, CA recently. . . . Everyone wants an original side oiler with huge horsepower.  As you know, that engine was cast iron and HEAVY and made the 427 harder to drive.  The originals came with 410 h.p. which is what my Roush 347 SR is rated at.
I am going for that “Street version” look how Shelby built them at his facility at LAX.  From there, customers could order all the “other” stuff . . . bigger engines, roll bar, hood scoop with rivets, side pipes, SC dash layout, Hallibrand wheels, etc.  Notice that I have sourced a guy that makes the original style Sunburst wheels that I have mounted on the original size tires.  All four tires were the same size giving that extra space in the rear wheel well.  Just about everyone wants to fill that up with big fat “meats”.  Not me, keeping it original if I can.
No shifter or e-brake installed yet.

Rick and Gayle Milward’s 1925 Ford Tall T

Two years ago when this Covid-19 pandemic started and everything was shut down including all our car shows, Gayle and I pinched every dime we had and put a new set of Hoosier tires on the car. We tried to get them broke in a little and put some miles on them, and that’s when everything started, one thing after the other. The T started back firing through the carbs really bad, gauges stopped working and even my flood lights didn’t work anymore. We started with new flood lights and while installing them, smoke started coming out from under the dash, and I figured, where there’s smoke there’s soon to be fire. We cut all the power off, pulled the battery, and it was time to leave it parked and start doing some new improvements. Over the winter we had it completely re-wired from all old tube fuses, and all the old wiring, to all new wiring and wire harness, and new fuses, and then had the new flood lights installed. With my little melt down I lost all my stereo, including speakers , and my ahooga horn stopped working too. Thanks to a raffle the club had, I won a new set of speakers and installed them and purchased a new Bluetooth compatible stereo to be installed in the T by Car Toys, and I even had a new Ahooga horn installed.  Then we took the T in to have it completely tuned up with the carbs being totally rebuilt and new kits installed in them and timing reset to where it’s supposed to be set to run property. After having that done, Gayle thought a new look to the carbs would look great so she purchased a set of new K&N air cleaners for the carbs, the tall ones, for our Anniversary. Wow did it make the motor look so much bigger and tougher. We’ll after the T has been absent from car shows and the calendar shoots for the last two years, we are really excited about the 2022 season. 

Thanks for viewing,                 Rick and Gayle

Before Covid-19 2019 
New Hoosier meats
New Hoosiers
New Flood Lights
Old tube style fuse board and harness
New wiring, wire harness&fuses 
New stereo installed by CarToys
New K&N Air Filters10”TallOnes 
After improvements 2022

Jason Williams’ Charger

Looks like the competition is getting tough for most improved car. So I’ll throw my hat in the ring. My Charger is undergoing some major upgrades I’m the power train department. Currently it is down in Kennewick with kaizenspeed where it is having the factory 392 rebuilt with all new forged pistons and rods along with upgraded camshaft and hellcat valve train components. Once that is complete the edelbrock eforce supercharger will be installed and it will get a custom tune on there dyno. Once it’s back in a few months it will also be reviving a set of electronic exhaust dumps for on demand noise. Factory dyno numbers had it just under 440hp to the tires. With theses upgrades I should see numbers in the 600hp range. Pictures attached 

Looks fast even when parked!
Hang on!

Here’s an update on Jason’s Charger project:
“Here is a bunch of pictures of all the work done on the car the last four month. Fully forged internals bigger cam custom tune and of course the Blower! Made 439hp at the wheels when I dropped it off now it makes 583hp. Which means probably around 640hp at the flywheel. Runs like a new car to with working AC and a great stereo. Also all the old pistons and rods were donated to be trophies for the thrifty show.”

There’s the proof in the pudding!

Mike Pringle’s Ford F150 4X4 Tribute Truck “Uncle Marv”

Mike Pringle sent this story and photos about work he has done on his truck once belonging to his uncle Marvin.   It can best be described by Mike himself:
Ok let’s do this! Here is vehicle #1 for 2022 member project/most improved/points/plaque chaser or whatever the flavor of the month is. Thank you Dean I have a new phone and no current home computer and this method works best for photos. Please feel free to edit and place pics where they go. This is my life and hobby. 1995 Ford F150 4 X 4 XLT Xtra cab 5.8 Tribute truck. Some of the pre covid members may recall my aunt and uncle at the member picnic at Sontag Park, they also come to a few shows and they had over 40 vehicles when I was a child. When they got 40k on them, they picked out a new one. 40 Fords to 442’s to RX7’s to short wide GMC 4×4… well, let’s just say they are my favorite aunt and uncle. Our P also fixed his golf cart, thank you Steve I think you’re awesome. Anyways the fire dept had to go pick my uncle up as well as myself and step-dad and others. I had been sending my boys over to buy his truck for years, we knew it needed a water pump and had been parked after “maybe you shouldn’t drive anymore” dents-10 years ago. 27 years old 130k miles. I wanted to help at the time and I didn’t think there was much time left so that’s how I got this idea. I decided to build a “Tribute Truck” in honor of my Uncle Marvin Iverson and when they go to their annual Northport WA Labor Day Celebration, he rides in the truck in the parade. He has to live long enough to be there and I have to finish it. This plan was invented when my 2018 truck sold for more than I paid. It was a business deal had to happen in one day to beat year end for tax reasons and it was the one day away bank timing this year. We get some time off at the end of the year where I work so I went for it. 8 days off, broke studs in block all that Ford’n stuff. Finished last day off, went to work and loaded customer orders in it and headed to Island Park ID Jan 3rd for a tradeshow, delivering there to customers. It was very cold and parentals as well as siblings and others including aunt and uncle think I am crazy, but I rode it 1300 plus miles at .58 a mile working. I have another 1500 on it since. All labor myself and son Rockne. You can tell how thrilled he is when I let him know how privileged he is to be learning these things. New water pump, thermostat, battery, paint tray, plugs, wires, cap and rotor, all hoses but heater, belt and belt tensioner, oil and filter, TPS sensor and O2 sensor. I notice it’s leaking now between the timing cover and block so I get to do it again, after 4×4 is not needed. Plan is to build a factory appearing “Highboy” that Ford never made in 1995. I had the windows tinted and I had a license plate made. I have all 4 wheel moldings and that will fix most of the dents. I have a new Rough Country 2 1/2″ rear level front with all 4 springs and QA 1 shocks and QA1 steering stabilizer. I will do the wear items and likely poly superflex bushings. Take care and have a great 2022! Anybody want to go to Northport this fall? More to come.
I should tell in the story, my son and my buddy Anthony took it over to my uncle’s house as soon as it was on the road again, made him cry. Me too.
At any angle Mike’s truck looks clean and ready.
Looks comfortable for that long haul.  Mike and son Rockne did all of the work themselves.
Nap Time
Mike’s Uncle Marvin
Mike’s restored truck wears these plates to honor his Uncle Marvin.
Here is the 95 Ford after the 2nd rear end removal to get the desired look, subtle and factory appearing “Highboy” lift.   I have completed door seals, wheel moldings and tinted windows in addition to the lift with all springs no blocks.  Alignment and white letters out then paintless body repair and a polish and all by Labor Day for the goal.
September 2022 Update….Job Complete

I met my goal with Uncle Marv and his pickup “Marvy”!  Here are the pics of the Northport Labor Day Parade. Final list: Initial engine repair water pump belts thermo tensioner.  Then we did Rough Country 2 1/2″ lift kit with all 4 springs-did the rear twice to level lol.  Rough Country front stabilizer, replace wheel moldings, turn around the tires for lettering, windows tinted, paintless dent repair and a multi process paint polish by yours truly. I got his 1983 3 Wheeler shined up and in the back, it was a really fun day.

Jim Larson’s 1952 Ford 8N Tractor & 1956 Ford F100 Duo

Jim has been restoring this beautiful little Ford 8N tractor back to factory specs. He’ll be pulling it with his stunning 1956 Ford F100 stepside. The truck displays the attention to detail and Jim’s skills.

Jim Larson’s 1952 Ford 8N tractor and 1956 Ford F100.
Jin Hauls that little 8N around with his 1956 Ford F100.  A perfect match!
A perfect gentleman farmer combination.
Clean shop, clean restoration1
Pretty but all business!
Jim’s little 8N took a ribbon at the Interstate Fair

Dale McHargue’s 1974 Dodge Dart

This project’s story is best told by Dale himself:

Upon retiring I needed something to tinker on…and to spend money on!  I bought this ’74 Dart a while back and tried to figure out what to do with it, since it was a rust bucket.  After it was sandblasted, I started cutting out the front floor pans and the trunk floor and built the trunk floor to accommodate the fuel cell.

While doing that I bought a 360 cubic inch engine and had Gibson Performance do the machining and stroke it out to a 406.

Engine Parts:

  • Scat crank
  • SRP Pistons
  • Scat I-beam rods
  • Comp cam
  • Edelbrock aluminum heads
  • Air gap manifold
  • Quick-Fuel carb
  • MSD distributor

In the back end I relocated the leaf spring brackets and installed super stock leaf springs; 8.8 rear end and mini-tubbed the wheel wells.

On the interior I deleted the back seat and added a firewall between the trunk and the interior.  I bought used racing seats, a B & M shifter, tach, gauges, switch panel, carpet, and I fabbed up the door panels and headliner.

I replaced the K member that was set up for disc brakes and replaced the master cylinder with a power brake system and had to install a vacuum pump.

The body was pretty straight – all I had to do was fill in the area where the roof met the B pillar and where the marker lights used to be.  The body was primed, and block sanded.  The color is called Turbine Bronze, and everything was done in my garage except for the paint.

Journey’s start

Nice job, Dale!