DELAWARE, Ohio (Nov. 5) – After years of wishing, multi-time drag racing champion Mike Coughlin is one step closer to the hot rod of his dreams.

Coughlin located a 1971 Vega GT in Michigan, and has commissioned Woody’s Hot Rodz of Bright, Ind., to fix it up and give it the yellow-and-black touch.

“I’ve always been into the smaller Chevy cars,” Coughlin said. “My first car was actually a Chevy Monza and the Vega GTs have always been a favorite of mine, especially when I was growing up and first getting into cars.

“I’ve sort of had my eye out for a Vega for years and we stumbled across this one up in Michigan. It was a one-owner car that was in great shape. Normally, the cars up north have rust issues but this one had all the original bodywork and it was perfect.”

The Chevy Vega has a history in the Coughlin family. Coughlin family patriarch Jeg Sr. raced a Pro Stock Vega in the early ’70s and even raced a Funny Car with a Vega body.

Mike Coughlin said, while he considered drag racing his new hot rod, it’s going to be destined for more personal service.

“I bought it and kind of sat on it while I figured out what I was going to do with it,” Coughlin said. “There was a thought of racing it but in the end we decided to make it into a nice street car that we can really enjoy. We’re just getting started on it now.”

Chris Sondles, owner of Woody’s Hot Rodz, said the old Vega will get a new life when he’s finished with it.

“It will be transformed into a full Pro Touring rocket,” Sondles said. “It will be powered by a 620hp, GM Performance LSX 454 crate engine, and backed by a Tremec T-56 six-speed. The tiny package will be glued to the ground by a full Art Morrison Max-G chassis that will feature a Woodward power rack, AME Sport IFS control arms, and a fully adjustable three-link rear.

“Components for this awesome ride will come directly out of the JEGS catalog, and include Wilwood brakes, Strange shocks, axles, and gears, Weld wheels and BFGoodrich tires.”

Coughlin is eager to see the final product.

“Chris Sondles and his guys at Woody’s have done cars for us before and their workmanship is exceptional,” Couglin said. “I can’t wait to see this thing go through the process and what it’s going to look like on the other end.”

Popular Hot Rodding magazine will get the first peek of the reconstructed ride.

“Popular Hot Rodding is extremely pleased that Woody’s Hot Rodz and JEGS have chosen us to be the first to feature the JEGS Pro-Touring Vega,” said Johnny Hunkins, editor of Popular Hot Rodding. “A huge motor, a world-class chassis, killer brakes, gummy tires, and light weight are the perfect formula for an E-ticket ride, and that’s what PHR is all about.”

The public will get its first up-close look at the machine next summer 2011 at the 14th Annual PPG Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, July 22-24 .

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