Unique Cars



Once a month Mark Dee writes an article for Roddin' & Racin' magazine.  Email Mark the story of your unique car and maybe you will be featured in the magazine! 





Blue Collar Exotic

Written By Mark Dee





Written By Mark Dee



In September I went to the Rodin on the River Car Show in Laughlin.  It was a great event with lots of unique cars.  I talked to a lot of Arizona boys who made the trip and they all had the same comment about the show.  They liked that  the show was right between two casinos!  They could walk to a casino and have an all you can eat breakfast, play a little poker and walk back to the show, then do lunch at the other casino and play a little Black Jack.   This is one of the most fun  car shows to attend!   As I was walking around my eyes caught this beautiful custom Ford.  The paint job was just perfect, and it had a very unique color combination.  When I saw it was an Arizona car I stopped  in to talk to the owner and here is what he said. 


“My name is Howard Blackburn, I own this 1941 Ford  2 door deluxe.  It has a Chevy drive train 350, with a Chevelle  rear end.  I have won many awards and trophies for best custom.  The roof is chopped, and it has a pleated interior.  The exterior color is candy mint green with 3 different pearls over that.  My entertainment is provided by a T.V. and stereo in the dash which might be dangerous but I try not to look and just let my passengers be entertained.   The car is heavy and drives like a hot knife going through butter.   For many years  I owned a shop  in Cave Creek and built many custom cars.  I decided to sell the shop and retire and I wanted a car that I didn’t build!   When I saw this car online and drove it, I had to have it, so I bought it and have been having fun ever since.   It’s been a blast to the past, fun car.  Everywhere I go people take pictures, ask the same questions and comment on the unique color and shape.   I take it to shows like this one in Laughlin because I like to drive it, not just let it sit in the garage.”


Do you have a unique car and story?  Email it to me at diber1000@aol.com  with a couple of photos and we will fit it in as a featured car.  On a side note,  I want to invite car clubs to our 3rd Saturday of the Month Car Show and Breakfast in Mesa.  Clubs can reserve parking spots, reserve tables for breakfast,  have a meeting, then cruise to nearby locations like  Goldfield Mining Camp, or Canyon Lake, both are only 20 minutes away from the car show.  Check out  www.carshowsaz.com for more info.  See ya at the show! 

This is my story.

Hey guys! Ever wanted to drive something exotic, like a Ferrari or a Lotus?  I have always wanted to drive something that was as fast, and good looking as an exotic,  but the truth is; they are out of my price range!  I think it’s  my Italian blood that makes me love the Ferrari most of all.  Even as a kid I wanted the low, sleek, fast, red machines, but alas, it was just a dream.  That's why they call them dream cars.  For you guys that have an exotic, don’t get a big head but remain humble and appreciate your ride and share it with others at car shows and by letting me drive them from time to time!  Just a joke boys!   Since I could not afford a fast, good looking exotic, I decided to build one myself.  So I took an ‘ 88 Fiero GT and ripped out the V6  and ordered an Archie V8 kit from Archie V8 and then purchased a Chevy 350 to put in.  The Archie V8 kit matches the distance and bolt pattern on the 350 to fit the 5 speed Getrag Fiero transmission.  The 350 has Hedman headers, an Edelbrock Performer  intake, and a 750-cfm Holley double-pumper carburetor. Also added was a Comp Cam  Xtreme Energy for a little more push.  The boys at Action Speed said the horsepower was around 370, and the car weighed in at just over 2,350 lbs.  Boys, this thing is a hot dog moving machine!  Not the fastest on the street but pulls 110 in the quarter mile!   The suspension was also torn out and replaced with tubular A-frames, polyurethane bushings and custom coil overs with adjustable height from RCC Specialty Products. This really gives the car a low, solid, stable ride around corners. With hours of labor, time and money put in the engine and suspension, it was time for the body shop magic.  Southwest Collision got rid of the door bumper guards and shaved the sides smooth, placed a reversed hood scoop for radiator air circulation and down-force and raised the spoiler in the back up seven inches. They painted it Lamborghini  Orange with six coats of clear on it and it's a beautiful thing.  Now I have raced it, shown it and when people see it they ask me the same three questions; 1. What is that?  2. How did you get the motor in sideways?  3. How fast is it?   I never get tired of giving the answers because it's my blue collar exotic!  All total I have around $20,000 in it, that's about the cost of a brake job for a Lambo!  But when I get on a lonely curvy road and hammer it down, hear the growl from the exhaust the G-force pushes me back in the seat, I throw the car through the left and right curves with aplomb and I feel the sensation of.... speed.  It's my fast, good looking, exotic!


ATTENTION CAR CLUBS, when you are planning a club event,  plan to come to our 3rd Saturday of the Month Car Show & Breakfast in Mesa.  We can reserve tables for your breakfast meeting, show your cars, then convoy to Gold field Mining Camp, or Canyon Lake (lots of curves)  both are around 20 minutes from the show and breakfast.  The car show is free and a great breakfast with eggs, pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice is only $5 bucks. 

Go to  www.carshowsaz.com  for more info. 


Written by Mark Dee


Mark Dee - Author
Mark Dee - Author



Written By Mark Dee



Car guys arise!  Yes, it’s that time of year when you get your car ready for the car show season!   I will be attending car shows looking for those unique rides to write about.  I am going to tell you about a unique car I stumbled upon, not at a car show but at a McDonalds restaurant.  I waited outside for a while waiting to see who the owner was and soon this tall gentleman came out and walked over to the car.  I introduced myself and asked him about the car and he told me his story.  He goes by the name Doc Kovaleski.  The car is one of 500 built by Saleen Automotive in conjunction with the famous race car driver Parnelli Jones.   The car is a tribute to Parnelli’s 1970 Boss Mustang who fought against the Penski Camaros who had won the coveted SCCA Trans-AM series in 1968 and 1969.  The Boss came out victorious winning the championship in 1970, not only against the Camaros, but the Javelins, Cudas and Firebirds that populated the racing field.  


This modern day tribute car has been carefully designed and engineered to produce over 400 HP from the Saleen factory.  The motor is modified to 302 cu. inch with forged aluminum pistons, forged aluminum heads and forged aluminum flywheel. Forged steel connecting rods and Saleen high performance cam complete the top end.


Additional features include  2.5 inch stainless steel dual exhaust, Saleen 8.8 inch rear differential with 3.73:1 gear, functional Saleen aluminum shaker hood and scoop with high performance air box, 5 speed close ratio Tremec transmission, Saleen Racecraft suspension system with Watt’s Link competition rear axle stabilization, N2 shocks and struts, front Mcpherson strut with lower control arm, Saleen specific rate front and rear springs, Saleen 14 inch slotted and vented front disk brakes with 4 piston calipers. Saleen 19″ aluminum wheels with Pirelli extreme performance tires  ( 19″ x 9″ front and 19″ x 10″ rear) All aero package including 1970 replica wing.  The car is also signed on the dash by Parnelli Jones and Steve Saleen.  I asked Doc how fast he’s driven the car.  He said, “Let’s just say that I have experienced velocitation.”  I said, “Velocitation?  Do you mean intoxication”?  Doc replied,  “When you’re  on a lonely stretch of  back road in New Mexico and you’re driving along at 150 miles per hour, when you slow back down to normal driving speed of 70 you feel like you’re going 40 because you have experienced velocitation.”   So what Doc was telling me guys, was he has had the car up to 150 mph. 


Doc is the original owner of the car, he bought it new in 2007 and he drives it almost daily.  He does attend car shows and will be showing the car at a couple of upcoming shows.  You can see the car at the following car shows:  The  3rd Saturday morning breakfast and car show at Farnsworth Hall, 6159 E. University in Mesa.  The show starts at 8 am,  check out  www.carshowsaz.com for more information.  Doc will also be at the Knights of Columbus car show Nov. 14th ,  All Saints Church,  1534 N.  Recker Rd.  in Mesa at 8 am.   You can come out and see the tribute car and bring your own car as well!  See you at the show! If you have a unique car and story contact me at diber1000@aol.com  and send me photos and a back story!