What makes a car truly unique?

In the world of hot rods, it can be a whole host of things. Maybe it has one-of-a-kind modifications. Maybe it’s rare. Maybe it includes standard accessories or a trim package that’s not often seen on that model vehicle. Maybe it’s so original that others barely recognize it.

Whatever your definition, unique cars have the unique advantage of turning the heads of the most novice and expert of car folks alike. And the Hot Rod Power Tour is no stranger to unique rides and the individuals driving them across its week-long, multi-state trek.

So without any further ado, here are the Ten Most Unique Rides we spotted at the Norwalk, Ohio leg of the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour at Summit Motorsports Park.


1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible

1953 Packard Caribbean convertible

When you’re one of only 750 of a specific vehicle produced, you’re already unique. Not content with its already rare status, owner Bob swapped an LS engine in this 1953 Packard Caribbean convertible. It also sports a Ford 9” rear and 4L65E Transmission.

Bob inherited the car from his father when he passed away. His father had worked on the Packard, but it was still in rough shape. Bob built a complete custom chassis and did all the metal work on the car himself. He had custom coil-over covers made with “Packard” etched in them. He has driven the Power Tour before, but this is his first time in the Packard.


1937 Chevy Coupe Pick Up

1937 Chevy Coupe Pick Up
This ’37 Chevy is beautiful. But, as unique as the pickup bed appears to be, it was actually a factory option on this car. Chevy introduced the Coupe Pick Up in 1936 as a depression era-vehicle meant to appeal to buyers who needed both a car and pickup. The Coupe Pick Up was available until 1942, when domestic car production halted for World War II. Very few original Coupe Pick Ups remain today.


Chevy Nova Hatchback Hutch

Chevy Nova Hatchback Hutch
Like the tent on the back of this Nova? You might find it hard to believe it came straight from the factory like this! It was even advertised by Chevy as “The Nova Motel: Low Daily Rates.” We can believe it in 1974 because, well, hippies. This particular Nova is one of a few of these special vehicles still on the road.


1948 Divco Milk Van

1948 Divco Milk Van

Why is it unique? Just look at it! It’s a 1948 Divco UM 8 “rat rod” milk truck sporting the Clover Leaf Dairy Company emblem. If you look closely, you’ll notice even the wheels match the color and sport custom “Divco” caps. We dig it.


“Project Condor” 1949 Chevy 3100 Pickup

Project Condor 1949 Chevy 3100 5-window Pickup
On display at the Trick Flow booth, Project Condor is a 1949 Chevy 3100 5-window pickup powered by a 442ci LSX and Trick Flow CNC LS3 Heads with LS7 Rockers. Condor also features new Trick Flow R&D in the intake manifold. The project was born out of an interesting philosophy—to design a performance-based suspension system from scratch.



BMW E30 with LS
Another vehicle on display at the Trick Flow booth, the Smokey’s Dyno & Performance BMW E30 “Project GMW” places an LS engine in a BMW E30. The result is a 560hp monster that went 153 mph at the East Coast Timing Association Ohio Mile last month. The E30 also wears Trick Flow GenX 245 CNC-ported cylinder heads, a FAST LSX Intake, and FAST fuel rails with 60 lb/hr Trick Flow fuel injectors. Smokey’s plans to add two turbos once the car reaches its goal of 600 horsepower. Wow.


1959 Edsel Villager Surf Wagon

1959 Edsel Villager Surf Wagon

Why is it unique? Well, for starters, it’s an Edsel. And it’s driving across a large portion of the country. In fact, this is American Powertrain’s 1959 Edsel Villager Surf Wagon. It’s unique as it is, let alone the fact that American Powertrain swapped in a 5-speed Tremec T-5…two days before it left for the 2012 Power Tour. Awesome stuff.


Rutledge Wood’s 1949 Chevy Step Van

Rutledge Wood 1949 Chevy Step Van

We know we’ve talked about it before, and before that, and before that…but what can we say? We’re proud! Summit Racing helped Rutledge Wood and American Resto Mods on the ’49 Chevy Step Van build last year. It was completed in time for SEMA 2013, displayed at our booth at the Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama in April, and Rutledge took it on both the 2013 and 2014 Power Tours. Whether you prefer the British or American versions of Top Gear, Rutledge is a legit car guy. Speak with him for a couple minutes and tell me I’m wrong. He has an energy and passion for the hobby, collects cars himself, and loves building unique projects that drive attention…then he drives them around the country.

Rutledge could no sooner park the Step Van at the Summit Racing booth before being surrounded by dozens of attendees. The crowd quickly grew even larger, and Rutledge responded by grabbing a stack of cards and hosting an impromptu meet-and-greet autograph session at one of our tables. He’s a car guy, but he’s also a class act.


Kicker 1950 Studebaker Champion

Kicker 1950 Studebaker Champion
This 1950 Studebaker Champion is the first vehicle Kicker designed and built for a SEMA show. It debuted in 2013, and features an LS3, 4L65E trans, and Strange 9-inch rear. The color is black cherry, the wheels are copper-colored 20” Daytons, and the Studebaker’s legendary cone was customized in copper. Being built by Kicker it, of course, features a massive sound system in its trunk.


1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

Who doesn’t love a good wagon? The Vista Cruiser is already cool by nostalgic family standards, but throw in an Edelbrock/Lingenfelter Edition E-Force supercharged LS3 to give this 1970 Olds 650 horsepower, and you’ll blast your way through a family road trip or Power Tour before the kids in the back can ask if you’re there yet!


Certainly there are hundreds of really unique vehicles on each leg of the Hot Rod Power Tour, and we know we missed tons that we’d love to have spotted and included in this list. If you saw any, share your pictures with us on Summit Racing’s Facebook page.

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Author: Sean Cutright

Sean Cutright is the OnAllCylinders.com Managing Editor.