When growing up, having older brothers to look up to certainly has its perks-especially when learning about life and the pursuit of hot rods and horsepower. It didn't take long for Lou Mitri, of Monroe, Connecticut, to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, Joe and Dan, who were already knee-deep in wrench turning by the time Lou was 12 years old.

Lou was lucky enough to have experienced countless national drag racing events with his brothers at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, where that first whiff of nitro as Top Fuel cars staged at the lights captured his soul. With Joe working at the local speed shop, there were always project cars lurking in the driveway, so it didn't take long for Lou to adopt a '74 Nova while others his age were still hopping up their bikes. Working with Joe, the pair dove into the deep end of the pool by rebuilding the small-block V-8 while adding plenty of gusto to its personality. At the same time, Dan was building a 327ci-urged T-bucket and lost interest in the project, which Lou immediately scooped up. Completing the T in his senior year of high school, he was given approval to have the car on the ceremonial field during graduation ... talk about graduating with honors!

In a flash, years passed and before Lou knew it he was an adult with a family and plenty of responsibilities. Having built and sold a number of cool cars over the years, he never forgot the adrenaline rush he got from Milner's coupe in the movie American Graffiti. Knowing it was finally time to search for a Model A, he started to comb the local want ads to see if anything might turn up. His perseverance finally paid off when he spotted an ad for a bone-stock '30 Ford coupe located only a few miles from his home. Work commitments precluded him from being able to see the car during the day. Not wanting to lose the opportunity, he stopped by at night to see it. Looking at a car at night is kind of like viewing it through a pair of dark sunglasses ... you can see it, but it's not really all that clear.

Lou sealed the deal and once the car was home, he started noticing many of its inherent flaws. While the car was a decent runner, its body left a lot to be desired. Not one to be discouraged, Lou readily separated the body from the chassis and promptly sold off the original bones and four-banger to a restorer. For a rock-solid base to get started with, he wasted no time in contacting TCI Engineering for one of their complete Model A chassis packages. Wanting to build a traditional '60s-era-inspired ride that would handle like a slot car, Lou opted for TCI Engineering's polished stainless IFS with matching polished spindles, expertly matched with All-American coilover shocks and an antiroll bar. For a bullet-proof rearend, Lou installed a 9-inch unit from Currie, which he combined with a TCI Engineering parallel four-link, All-American coilover shocks, Panhard bar, and antiroll bar. To make sure there was plenty of stopping power, Lou installed hearty Wilwood 12-inch discs fore and aft, all being served through a Wilwood 7-inch dual power master cylinder. Dialing in a killer rake, a set of Coker smoothies were capped with aggressive Firestone/Coker Dragsters outback and complementing bias-plies up front.

Reliving memories of the drags at E-town from back in the day, nothing short of a wicked small-block would do the job, so Lou made a call to Smeding Performance for one of their 383ci Extreme stroker small-block Chevy V-8s. Packed with all the right goods, like a forged 4340 crank linked to forged 5140 steel rods topped with 9.8:1 hypereutectic slugs, the bottom end of the engine generates plenty of brute force. Crowned with a retro-styled four-pot induction from Barry Grant and capped with a squadron of Demon 98s riding shotgun, spark from MSD brings it all to life while Sanderson headers spit fire through a pair of MagnaFlow mufflers. To distribute all the horsepower, a TCI Automotive-built TH400 Street Fighter automatic box spins a driveshaft by FleetPride to sear the rear tires.