David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/30/09 8:19 a.m.

When we started planning our first Challenge event back in 1999, we were afraid that only a few readers would show up. In fact, three staff members built cars just so there would be something resembling a field. How wrong we were.

Twenty entrants joined us at that inaugural $1500 Challenge—at the time the budget cap was only a grand and a half—and while not all of the cars were polished within inches of their lives, the field contained a healthy mix. Lightweight Hondas and turbocharged Dodges faced off against Z-cars and Mustangs. It was a glimpse of things to come.

Mike Guido’s Cosworth Vega-powered MG Midget was the class of the field at that first event. The engine swap was nicely done, and there was evidence of real engineering—or at least something close to it. He even sprayed a fresh coat of paint.

And right then, we knew that this event would be something special. If our readers were willing, able and clever enough to build these Challenge cars, we’d continue to host a gathering for them.

We just held our ninth Challenge, and to continue our yearlong silver anniversary celebration, here are 25 standout entries from the history of this event. These are the cars that have raised the bar, pushed the envelope, or just plain blown us away.

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