If history stands correct, you’re never too young to step into the world of hot rodding. Regardless of whether you got your first introduction in the form of magazines, scale kit models, or by watching the bigger kids in your neighborhood doing engine swaps, one thing is for sure: Once you were influenced, it held you for life.

For Andy McDonald of Edgewater, Maryland, it was hanging out with his dad that turned on that magic light, indoctrinating him into a passion for hopped-up Detroit muscle. He was fortunate enough to grow up with a yard full of cars while sharing the quest with dear old Dad to locate as many Tri-Five Chevys and related parts as they could.

As he got older he began to frequent local dragstrips, like Capital Raceway and Maryland International Raceway (both in Maryland) to watch some of the top names in the sport tear up the quarter-mile. His main influences growing up included the Stone, Woods & Cook Willys Gasser, and the well-traveled Project X from Popular Hot Rodding magazine, as it underwent a dizzying array of engine combinations as the years passed by.

Another major influence was the ’55 Chevy driven by Harrison Ford in American Graffiti with its evil stance and radiused wheelwells, which further fueled the fire. By the time he was 14, his dad gave him a ’57 Chevy 210 model two-door sedan to get started on and worked with him to begin the rebuild, commencing with the mechanical upgrades. He continued to build and race numerous Tri-Fives as well as Camaros and other GM models but never forgot the adrenalin rush he got when watching Gassers launch off the line under the lights at the dragstrip.