Without a doubt, the backbone of any Street Shaker build has to come from the formula used to create it. While some car owners might want to design a good-looking Saturday night special with a nasty cam and a wicked rake to cruise the local streets, others won’t be satisfied till they achieve far more with their ride. Those are the builders who inject copious amounts of horsepower and engineering into the mix with the direct intentions of putting their cars to the ultimate test at the dragstrip.

For Dave Dennis of York, Pennsylvania, growing up in a family that was active in drag racing provided plenty of influence to lead him down the right path. Seeing his dad regularly campaigned a hopped-up ’58 Corvette at the York US 30 Dragway in York, Pennsylvania, as well as cruising the local streets in a radical ’65 Nova SS provided plenty of fuel to keep the youngster concentrating on high-horsepower V-8s. For his first car at age 17, Dave brought home a ’66 Nova in need of plenty of attention and looked to his dad for guidance. Wanting to be a hands-on owner, Dave asked the questions and then went to it until the ’66 hit the streets with a 377-inch small-block Chevy mill linked to a four-speed trans. As the years passed, he held onto the Nova while still attending car shows and various drag racing events.

In 1989, his dad came across a Model A coupe with a nasty chop and channel sitting on a rolling chassis. The car was extremely rough but had potential so a deal was made and he hauled it home. For the next 11 years he continued to buy parts to assemble the car, but for some reason the project stalled and remained dormant in the family garage. One day Dave and good friend Jeff Martin paused to examine the coupe and determine just what it would take to bring it to life. Between them, the pair had a pile of weathered old parts that would enable them to complete the car. Dave made a deal with his dad and purchased the project from him in 2000 with the intention of completing it so they could hit the local dragstrip together. As Dave tells it, the car made its first pass down the quarter-mile with a 14.20 e.t., which he felt was terrible. The pair proceeded to make affordable changes, noting every upgrade, till the coupe ran a somewhat respectable 12.80 e.t. By continuing to dial the car in, he learned huge amounts from fine-tuning it, but still wanted more. A decision was made to do a complete teardown and start from scratch to bring the car to a whole new level from both a performance and visual standpoint. Working with his NHRA rulebook, Dave followed the outline of what it would take to bring the coupe to the next level and have it certified for 8.50 e.t.

Starting with the spine, Dave stripped it to bare bones and commenced by first extending it by 6 inches in front to give the car a longer and leaner look. The 2x4 boxed steel ’rails were then Z’d 6 inches fore and aft to get the car closer to the ground while custom crossmembers were also laid in place. Out back an Undercover 9-inch chromoly sheetmetal rear packed with 3.89:1 gears and Strange Engineering axles was suspended in place with Competition Engineering ladder bars while Koni double-adjustable coilover shocks soak up the bumps. Up front a Super Bell aluminum 4-inch dropped axle is anchored in place by a matching four-link combined with a transverse leaf spring, Panhard bar, tube shocks, and ’40 Ford spindles. To make sure there is plenty of stopping power, fluid is pushed through a Strange Engineering master via stainless steel lines to Strange four-piston calipers and 11-1/4-inch discs out back and Strange single-piston calipers with 10-1/2-inch Wilwood discs up front. Completing the chassis are a pair of 15x12 E-T Fueler wheels capped with Mickey Thompson street radials out back with 18x3-1/2-inch Radir 12-spokes up front, capped with Avon motorcycle rubber.