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Larry Erickson – Ford’s Diehard Deuce Fan

Larry Erickson

Without doubt, one of the major attractions (if not the major attraction for many dedicated rodders) at the recent Grand National Roadster Show was the marking of the 75th Anniversary of the 1932 Ford.  We were fortunate enough to meet up with Larry Erickson, a Chief Designer for Ford’s Strategic Design Group (the same team that brought us the ’05 Mustang), who played a pivotal role in the whole event.  Here, he reveals exclusively to DRCReview how the exhibition progressed from a pipe dream to a festival featuring the most influential Ford hot rods ever assembled.

How did the 75th Anniversary of the Deuce come about?

The Grand National Roadster Show annually has a Hall of Fame.  The folks put on a lunch every year, and get together to talk about neat old cars, and stuff like that.  I was out here one year, to be part of that event, and was walking through the buildings.  I knew the 75th anniversary of the ’32 was coming up, and one of the things I’ve always liked about hot rodding is how the really good old cars still influence people, year after year. The Ray Brown Roadster of the 1940s/’50s, for example, influenced people then, but it also influences people now, and will continue to do so.  Through recent efforts, some of the history of these old hot rods has been recognised and the cars restored, so I thought about whether we could find 75 significant 1932 Ford hot rods.  You can find 75 Ford hot rods, but can you really find 75 memorable hot rods?

Ray Brown's distinctive Buick green Roadster is powered by a 284 cu. in. Mercury flathead, sporting Eddie Meyer speed equipment, for whom Brown worked.  It was driven regularly on the street and and at the dry lakes where it achieved 125.70mph - not bad for a home-built roadster.  Brown sold the car in 1948 and it changed hands again in 1991 when Kirk F. White purchased it with a view to complete restoration.  Jim Lowrey Sr. and Jr completed the full nut and bolt restoration work with help from Brown.  The car is now owned by the Peterson Automotive Museum. 


So were you the catalyst for this project?

Yes, and then I bounced it off a couple of people.  The first was Dave Boulé.  I met Dave through some previous work, and he thought it was a really good idea.  He was instrumental in recognising the gravity of it all to begin with, and then we bounced the idea off a circle of friends, like Bruce Meyer and some other key people, to find out what they thought and whether they would  be willing to bring their cars.  So we decided two years ago to do this, and as the plans gathered momentum, two more key people, Greg Sharp and John Clinard, came on board.   

At the special Preview Reception for the event, Edsel Ford II was presented with his own personal Deuce jacket by the key people responsible for the exhibition.  From left to right, they are; John Clinard, Edsel Ford II, Greg Sharp, Larry Erickson and David Boulé.   

We then had to come up with a list of cars, and what started out as perhaps the most straightforward part of the deal turned out to be much more complicated than anticipated.  We thought, we can’t make this list ourselves, so we decided to enlist a panel of 25 people who had credibility.  We picked a cross-functional group of rodding enthusiasts, from people like Bob Larivee Sr and Blackie Gejeian, to constructors like Roy Brizio, Boyd Coddington and Pete Chapouris, as well as people who built cars across the country – not just in California – like Dave Simard on the East Coast and Barry Lobeck from the Mid-West.  We also wanted to branch out, to get some writers and journalists, so we contacted Robert Genat, Tony Thacker, Kev Elliott, Ken Gross and others.  We asked everyone to tell us what their 75 most influential cars were.  Steve Coonan, publisher of The Rodder’s Journal, was also on that committee, and I got a call from him saying “I don’t know if I can come up with 75.”  Three months later, I got another call from him, saying, “I’ve got 142!” 

Although this looks like a 1950s vintage hot rod, Ken Gross's roadster is less than 10 years old.  Part of the Illusion is the fact that no components date beyond 1950.  Gross, an author, journalist, and former director of the Peterson Automotive Museum, admired the works of early hot rodders like Doane Spencer so much, that he decided to create his own tribute car.  Dave Simard put the flawless Roadster together with a 304 cu. in. flathead equipped with SCoT supercharger fed by twin Strombergs. 

So we took these lists, and amazingly, Greg Sharp found photographs of all of the cars selected. We put them together on a huge board, and ended up with 474.   We then took that list of cars and sent it back to everyone.  We didn’t tell them who had voted for what.  We said, “Just give us the final 75.”   

Part of the impressive display wall of the chosen few

Some time later, we did the final ballot.  There were a few cars that we knew would get almost all of the votes.  These included the American Graffiti Coupe, The Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe, the Orange Crate Sedan and Ray Brown’s Roadster. We were a little worried at first that there would be too much of a West Coast influence, but we have ended up with about 10 channelled cars, which tended to be more East Coast.  

The Clarence "Chilli" Catallo coupe was seen by millions when it was exposed on the cover of the The Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe" record album. Chilli started work on this car when he was just 15 and drag raced it around Michigan soon after with a 'blown' Olds motor in place.  The extensive body modifications, including the channelled body, were completed by the Alexander Brothers' at their Detroit custom shop.  Chilli then moved to California to study and ended up working part-time at Barris' shop. Further work on this radical and futuristic car (at the time) included a chopped roof and blue pearl paint with white scallops by the owner.  Chilli sold the car in 1961 and it was restored by Chilli's son Curt. 

Orange Crate, created by Bob and Terry Tindle was something of a construction masterpiece at the time.  Bob purchased the car in 1959 with a chopped top and moulded rear fenders.  He dropped in a six-carb Oldsmobile motor and went drag racing.  Later, he had machinist/chassis man Keith Randol fabricate a new tube chassis equipped with sportscar suspension and a Halibrand quickchange rear end.  Randol was instructed to make the body tilt upwards at the front, but retain the opening doors.  As for motivation, Dick Maris put together a bored and stroked 417 cu. in. Olds motor with Potvin blower and Hilborn injection.  It was heavily chromed and painted Mandarin Orange.  The orange Crate caricatures were added and thus equipped, the rod won Best Competition Car at the Oakland Roadster Show.  Many may still remember it as a 1/24th scale Revell model.  It was purchased by Ted Gord in 1975.    

We published the list at this show last year, and the big thing there was a lot of people said, “I think you should include this car too,” but no one said, “I think you should take that car off,” so we knew we had a strong list of contenders.   Then we had to find out how many of the 75 cars still existed. We thought we’d get 40 cars, and at one time we had 61, but there are 59 on show here.  

In some cases, we have two examples of specific cars or newly created cars.  For example, no one could find Veda Orr’s Roadster, but then a guy in western Michigan called me and said, “Would you mind if I did a recreation of that original car?”  We were just four months away from this show, and I said, “If you can do it, yes, please.”  The car you see here is that recreation, which amazingly, was completed in just four months.   

Veda Orr was one of the few women to race on the dry lakes prior to the Second World War and set records.  In 1937 she went 114.24mph and in 1946 had pushed this up tp 122.78mph in her heavily modified '42 Merc flathead powered Roadster. Her original race car no longer exists, so what you see here is a very faithful reproduction by long-time rodder Paul Beck, who reflects fondly on her achievements. 

What was also interesting was that two different people called me wanting to build the same car.  The first guy gave me the impression he just wanted to hustle for free parts, and I said, “No, we’re not getting involved.”  Then the second guy, Paul Beck, whose car is shown here, called me, but after hearing what the first guy wanted, I thought to myself, I have no time for this.  I said to Paul, “Why do you want to build this car?”  He said, “I read an article about Veda Orr producing a newsletter for the American forces during World War II, which she sent to all of the car guys – about 750 of them – who were away fighting.  She did this in her own time, for no financial reward.”

Paul then said, “You know, when I went to Vietnam, none of my car buddies ever wrote, and nobody went to any trouble at all, and when I read about Veda doing all of this, I thought somebody ought to remember who she is.”  So I said to Paul, “Okay, go ahead and build the car and we’ll show it.”  I think he worked himself into hospital to get it here on time, but he did a phenomenal job.

Only 2,911 Model B-50 Sport Coupe's were produced in 1932 and the body style was dropped for 1933. Using a fixed soft top instead of the five window body gave this model a unique style. Tom and Harry Jackman used the rare body (on the left) to create their Sweepstakes tropy winning hot rod at the San Diego Custom Car Show in 1969 when they were just 16 and 17 years old.  The car appeared in Hot rod magazine in 1959 when it was black and again three years later. It was powered by a 312 cu. in. Ford Thunderbird Y block equipped with an Edelbrock dual-quad manifold.  It was rebuilt three times by the brothers and in its final guise was painted brilliant Candy Wild Cherry with contrasting silver upholstery.  Unable to buy back the original body, the Jackmans purchased another Sport Coupe and recreated the car with Candy Cherry paintwork for the show (on the right) 


The other repeat car is the Jackman Brothers Sport Coupe. That’s the original body in black, sitting on a new chassis, and the purple car next to it is the recreation.  Harry Jackman built the original car with his brother when he was about 15.  Recently, Harry tried to buy the car back from its current owner, but he didn’t want to sell – it was important to him, too – so Harry called us to ask if he could build another version, to show at the Anniversary, and agreed to build it just like it was originally.  We agreed, and he got the same group of friends together who built the original car – they’re all a little older, mind you – to piece together a recreation, and it looks just great.  Amazingly, and we didn’t know it until later, the original car is on show here, too.  There are lots of great stories like this to tell. 

Phil Kendrick's Tudor sedan was a Car Craft cover car in 1958 and later featured in Hot Rod (April 1967).  Formerly painted bright orange, the chopped, bobbed and rakish profile of this Tudor made a very strong statement at the time.  It was originally equipped with a flathead, but the motor was later swapped in favour of a triple-carb 265 Chevy. The car featured a chrome firewall and virtually everything underneath was also chromed to perfection.  Jeff Beck acquired the car circa 1974, but by then it had been painted pearl yellow and had "super prune" lettered on the back.  Jeff brought it back to the UK, but the climate was not good to the car and so he sent it to Roy Brizio for safe keeping.  The car was eventually sold to Frank and Joey DeMarco in the mid eighties.

How do you think the exhibition has come together?

I’m a visual person, so I tend to focus more on everything that goes right or wrong from a visual point of view.  The photo displays, the typefaces of the lettering, the way the cars are lined up and displayed, it’s all important to me.  I’m really pleased at the way the exhibition has come together, but it’s been one huge team effort.  It’s no exaggeration to say that David Boulé and I have discussed aspects of this exhibition on the phone every day for the past two years.  David is incredibly organised, and it’s been a great experience, although none of us wants to see another Deuce for quite a long time!

The Berardini Brothers' Tony and Pat, got involved in drag racing in the 1950s with this '32 and a '29 Roadster. Pat painted it and added distinctive flames, and Von Dutch striped it.  Equipped with a stroked 314 cu. in. flathead, the brothers achieved considerable success on the strip.  Adding a special Isky 404 camshaft gave them a winning edge - hence the numbers on the side of the car.  In 1955 the '32 was sold to Jeano Lacoste and he rebuilt the car with a Hemi, mag wheels and bright yellow paint.  Some time later he added a 6-71 blower and set an A/Gas record at 11.61/136mph.  Lacoste sold the car in 1968 to Rudy Perez minus the engine, who added a Chevy motor and a white interior and used it on the street - eventually racking up 185,000 miles.  Today the car is owned by collector Roger Morrrison, who had Dave Crouse put it back to original form.


Is this a Ford-sponsored event?

Two years ago, we approached Ford Racing, which supplies a lot of crate motors for these cars, and asked for their support.  I’m pleased to say we got it, and we also received endorsement from Edsel Ford, from a corporate viewpoint.  It allowed us to go forward. It’s not a big corporate deal, though, and no one person is specifically on payroll for this project.

Well known hot rodder Tom Pruffer created this infamous hot Deuce which was featured on the April 1990 cover of Rod & Custom magazine.  It featured a tunnel-rammed 468 cu. in. big block Chevy, a finned and polished Halibrand Champ Quickchange and rare 10x16 inch ET mags out back with equally rare 4x14inch Real wheels up front, all adding to that classic  hot rod stance.  The body was chopped and reworked by Marcel, Dan Fink added a louvred hood and Rod Powell layed down the distinctive flame paint job.  The car is now owned by Bruce Meyer.      


I can’t see Ford selling many cars from this event, so why do it?

A company’s brand equity is driven by a lot of things, and this event does affect what people think of Ford.  It’s a responsibility to take care of a legacy.  If these were all Mustangs, then maybe we would sell one or two, but Ford has such a strong heritage that events like this really do add to the overall “halo” effect.

Tony La Masa's channelled green Roadster was an August 1960 Hot rod cover car, but before that it was owned and built by Ray DeFillipi in the early 50s. DeFillipi had it painted red and equipped with a flathead (the channelled body necessitating a hood blister to clear the carbs) but Masa later installed a stock Corvette 210hp motor and single four-barrel carb.  The car was displayed in this form for many years but then disappeared.  It was discovered late 1996 in a garage and in good condition, but was retrimmed, repainted and rechromed in just three weeks to enter the first hot rod class at Pebble Beach in 1998, where it placed third.  The car is now owned by 3 Dog Garage.


Can you explain how you feel the rodding styles here have changed over the years?        

A lot of it falls into realm of technology.  If you look at the Edelbrock or Henderson/Guldahl Roadsters of the 1940s and ’50s, they are high up in the air.  At that time, guys weren’t dropping axles, as there weren’t parts available, but then when you move into the ’60s, the aftermarket was coming on strong with a variety of bolt-on parts, including tyres, wheels and mechanical components.  There was more choice, and suddenly, you could put attitude into a rod by lowering it, omitting parts, chopping and channelling bodies, and it was easier to achieve something more radical – the ability to influence the style changed dramatically.


Vic Edelbrock Sr. purchased this car in 1938.  He was part of the "Road Runners" club who raced on the Muroc dry lake. Vic was an innovator who liked to try out his ideas for head designs and manifolds on his own car.  In 1939 he came up with the "Slingshot" manifold, which proved so popular that he ended up founding the Edelbrock Corporation, to help supply demand. In the late 40s, Vic sold his Roadster to Eddie Bosio who turned the car into a showpiece that won the AMBR title at the 1956 Oakland Roadster Show. Some years later it was sold to Jim Ladley, and after his death, the car was returned to the Edelbrock family.  Roy Brizio then  returned the car to original specification.  The Roadster is owned by Vic Edelbrock Jr. and the Edelbrock Corporation.


We also went through a sort of resto-rod period in the ’60s, after the Ed Roth era, when a lot of people realised the real value of the Deuce’s shape.  In the ’80s, the Southern California economy was huge, and there were a lot of guys out there with Porsches and Ferraris, and all the other stuff, but they wanted more.  This was the start of the billet movement.  It was an embracing of the craftsmen of the era.  Suddenly, rather than just basic hand tools, they could use milling machines and other more specialist tools to enable them to create previously unattainable components, rather than the simple, bolt-on items we’d been use to.  I loved many of those billet creations, although people tended to mix billet with traditional parts, often ending up with less-than-appealing results.

John Buttera made a name for himself in the 60/70s building funny cars and dragsters for an elite group of customers.  After tiring of this, he decided to build himself a low and fenderless hot rod coupe and almost overnight started the billet craze. He used Deuce Factory rails topped by a steel Coupe body chopped 51/2 inches.  He fabricated his own independent front suspension using tubular A-arms and coil over shocks and added a Halibrand quickchange centre section matched to Jaguar driveshafts, then added Koni coil overs in a custom-built cradle, his own uprights and bearing carriers.  Power came from a 340 cu. in. Plymouth topped with rare Weslake heads, Weber carbs and Billet valve covers. He later added his own design of billet machined wheel centres and started a revolution for such products.  Today, the car is owned by James DeSanto.

Then, after the billet thing, came the low flyers in England.   I think that’s where people realised what it was all about.  It was a big visual difference, a change, a gesture. The rat rodders have now picked up on this, and have created cars laying on the ground, cartoon-style.

So do you think the British low-flyers trend has been a big rodding influence?

Absolutely.  The very thing that created hot rodding was necessity – if you didn’t have enough money to go out and buy a Ferrari in 1951, you went out and made your own version of one.  Hot rodding has now reached this high-tech peak, but what I like about the low flyers is that you can have fun with old-style cars without spending a fortune.    Looking at the bigger picture, I actually think this is one thing that will save hot rodding, because it is stripping away and getting back to the essence of the hobby.  I think there will be a post-rat rod era, and I think it will run to the extreme.  There are things here made out of buses, but I don’t thing that’s anything to do with rat rodding.  It’s more about seeking attention.

What I really like about hot rodding in England is that it’s less about who you are, and more about what you are into.  I heard a quote from a musician – Clapton, or whoever – some time ago, and he was talking about being into rock and roll as a kid.  He’d go into his favourite record store and buy some cool R&B record in a transparent envelope, and then wear it like a badge of courage.  If someone else knew what it was, then that was the right person to talk to.  You separate yourself by discussion or debate, and I think hot rodders always do that.  Every time rodding hits one of its “up” periods, a lot of people climb on and it becomes fashionable, but then it has a way of stripping itself out. 

Brian Burnett was not only the owner of a Ferrari dealership in Northern California but also a keen hot rodder.  So it should come as no surprise then that with a little imagination, his idea of a traditional looking hot rod with Ferrari power came to be.
The build was entrusted to Dick "Magoo" Megugorac, who was given the task of shoehorning in the longer (than a V8) Ferrari V12 motor and equipping the car with lovely Borrani wires and an original Du Vall screen.  A Westcott 'glass body was used and the frame stretched four inches to accommodate the motor.  The Deucari was awarded AMBR trophy at Oakland in 1979.  Today it is owned by Ed Hegarty.     


Do you feel hot rodding is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment?

The rat rods, the reality TV programmes, are all ramping up interest, and more than ever, people are less prepared to accept “I can’t do that.”  They want it done.  Look at how many people go for cosmetic surgery, so they’re sure as hell not going to flinch when it comes to modifying their cars, added to which, the aftermarket is becoming more adept at adjusting to new trends.  The reality TV programmes really are a big influence, though. Most high schools used to have metalworking and woodworking shops, but now none of them have such facilities, and yet the people you talk to who do offer such facilities say the kids are really excited at the moment by what they see on TV.

Doane Spencer picked up his first award for this amazing Roadster in 1947 (Best Appearing Car at the Pasadena Reliability Run) and ever since, it has been a source of inspiration for hot rodders around the globe.  He built his car to drive and race and because he was an incredible fabricator, engineer and stickler for detail, he would constantly change the specification.  On receiving the second ever Du Vall screen, he cut it apart and rebuilt it until he was happy with the shape.   He toured the country in this car and raced it at El Mirage too where he ran 126 mph with a warmed over flathead.  The car was purchased by Bruce Meyer in 1995 who entrusted the complete rebuild to concours condition to Pete Chapouris.  The car then went on to win the Hot Rod class at Pebble Beach in 1997.  

Do you have a personal show favourite?

I had a chat with Ford’s Vice President about what was the greatest ’32 Ford hot rod ever, and we have different ideas.  He likes the Doane Spencer car, because its been cleaned up and has so many neat touches, but if you think more about a ’32 Ford, and hold on to what it was originally about, then for me, it has to be the McGee/Scritchfield roadster. 

Bob McGee began building his ultimate Roadster after returning from World War II. He purchased a $10 body and then added many unique modifications like hidden hinges, a full length deck lid that eliminated the lower panel above the fuel tank, a three-piece hood and an aluminium dash borrowed from Indy car technology of the time.  The car featured an early dropped front axle and a Z'd rear frame to reduce height at both ends.  The windscreen was chopped by 11/2 inches.   The unusual flathead motor incorporated solid copper Federal Mogul heads, a Pierre Bertrand cam, dual carbs and Spalding ignition.  McGee drove the car almost daily until 1954, when business took him to Hawaii and he put the car in storage.  He sold it to Dick Hirschberg in 1955 who was persuaded to sell it on to Dick Scritchfield one year later.  The car was extensively modified under Scritchfield's ownership and ran 167.2 mph at Bonneville with a tunnel-rammed 350 cu. in. Chevy under the hood.  In 1989 the car was sold to Bruce Meyer who had So Cal speed Shop restore it to 1948 specification, complete with red paintwork and tan upholstery.  

Story: Andy Kirk & Graham Jones
Photos: Andy Kirk

A selection of '32s on show together with brief details are given below  

Ed Stewart drove this '32 highboy powered by a Mercury flathead in the early post-war years. It had a Lincoln transmission, shaved door handles, filled grille shell, faired door hinges, custom louvred hood, aluminium tonneau for racing and one of his own brand of dropped and chromed front axles.  Ed figured out how to re-curve beam axles to lower the front end of early Fords.  The car was completely rebuilt by Ed's son Bob in 1987.  Today, the car is owned by John Mumford. 


Jerry Kugel's Bonneville Roadster actually started out as a salt flats racing five-window Coupe owned by Marland Sefton. After a sprint car crash which claimed Sefton's life, the car was moved on to Jerry Tucker, who had always wanted a Roadster, so the roof was removed.  Jerry Kugel and Lowell Holmes then purchased the car and completely rebuilt it.  Originally they ran with Hilborn injected small-block Ford motors of 260 and 289 cu. in. and achieved 178 mph on the salt.  Kugel then designed his own fuel injection system using Hilborn parts and a helicopter throttle body and dropped in a 427 cu. in. motor. Thus equipped, in 1967 he ran over 200mph at Bonneville - the first unblown gas Roadster to do so.  


Andy Kassa's three-window Coupe was a very influential East Coast hot rod of the 50s. Originally fitted with a filled and chromed Deuce grille and full chrome wheelcovers, the car made its debut at Madison square Garden in 1954.  While Channelling was a popular East Coast trend, a chopped and channelled body was rare as it left very little room inside.  However, Kassa threw caution to the wind and went as low as he could go. The motor was a '48 Mercury flathead dressed to the hilt with four carbs and those distinctive dual air cleaner tops.  The car is shown here in its final form.  It's owned today by Gary Mekita.


This full fendered Roadster appeared on the August 1961 cover of Rod & Custom magazine with gold paintwork and white upholstery. Back then it was owned buy Neal East, but it was originally built by Bill Woodard of California complete with its triple-carb 265 Chevy.  Neal sold it to college student Bill Moeller, but after it was stolen and recovered in a trashed state, it changed hands two more times, ending with restorer Paul Seivers.  After a full concours rebuild, the car again graced the pages of R & C (Nov 1995), and has since been purchased by collector Richard Munz.


Troy Trepanier has built a number of knockout cars over the years but perhaps none more so than this very low highboy Roadster.  It appears from a bygone era and looks simple and subtle in execution, but it actually debuted in 2004 and is far more than just a bolt-together pile of components.  The frame has a three inch kick-up at the rear and two-inches at the front.  It was notched, narrowed and fitted with new crossmembers.  A Brookville body was modified to fit, with the rear wheel apertures raised two inches to accommodate the tyres, and the windscreen was chopped two inches, plus a longer hood was required.  The car is motivated by a flathead dressed from the past but with an electronic fuel injection system designed to look like an old Hilborn system.  The car is owned by Roger Ritzow.


Fred Steele's Roadster is the epitome of the East Coast hot rod with its heavily channelled body, hammered top, purple paint, four-carb flathead, chrome firewall, flipper hubcaps and whitewalls.  it was built as long ago as 1958 and was another magazine cover car. Fred owned it for around fifty years and during this time the car went through a couple of restorations.  Today it is owned by 3 Dog Garage. 


This car really needs no explanation, suffice to say Tom McMullen's Roadster remains an inspirational hot rod.  The car has been in magazines (Hot Rod 1963), on album covers, in the movies and on TV.  The fenderless, blown Roadster created real impact in the rodding world.  Ed Roth designed the flame job and added the striping, McMullen added a Moon tank up front for practical reasons, fitted a 'chute at the back because it was required for lakes racing and bolted on mag wheels because they were lighter and better for racing, where the car spent much of its time.  Roy Brizio recently restored the car to 1963 specification.   


Phil Cool's Deuce Hiboy was the height of 'cool' when shown at the 1978 Oakland Roadster Show, where it won AMBR.  Cool had always wanted a high performance rod and got his wish with a 'blown' 427 Chevy stuffed between the boxed chassis rails of this bright orange rod.  It had a Muncie 4-speed and an Olds rear end all hidden by traditional and subtle bodywork - something of a rarity for the era.  The Steve Archer fibreglass body featured a 23/4 inch chopped screen. The car had four wheel disc brakes covered by Halibrands front and rear.  The car is now owned by Shirley A. Meland.


Gary Kessler was a big drag racing fan and wanted his Roadster to have the attitude of a Funny Car. At the rear Kesler added an Olds axle with ladder bars to a chassis reinforced with tubular crossmembers.  He fitted a dropped and drilled '34 axle up front and fabricated his own radius rods.  He dropped in a hot LT-1 350 Chevy and a four-speed and added Buick finned drums. To get the attitude, he went for 16 inch diameter ARE rear wheels shod with drag slicks and 15 inch diameters up front. Its appearance made a big impact at the 1972 Street Rod Nationals. Today, the car is owned by Donald Ward.

John Siroonian acquired this Roadster in the late '70s.  Before that it had been rodded and raced way back into the 1950s. Siroonian gave instructions to Don Thelen's "Buffalo Motor Cars" to build him a show winner, and that's exactly what he got, when in 1981, the car won AMBR at the Oakland Roadster Show. It was a distinctive car with its smoothed body and chopped screen, made all the more so by the Candy Apple Red paintwork and unusual choice of Gurney-Weslake heads atop the small-block Ford V8.  The car is still owned by John Siroonian.


Believe it or not, this Ford Victoria was once the high ridin', gasser-inspired, Peacock Metalflake blue rod owned by Don Thelen, which appeared in the December 1967 edition of Hot Rod.   Back then it had ARE five spokes, a narrowed Olds rear axle, Hurst-equipped four-speed and a big 444 cu. in. Lincoln motor.  Underneath, the car was fully chromed and thus equpped it toured the show circuits.  Today, it has a more restrained appearance and is owned by David and Laurie Miguel.


The Walsh/Walsh/Cussack Roadster ripped over the Bonneville salt at 221 mph back in 1997 to set a record and give driver Justin Walsh membership of the exclusive Bonneville 200mph Club.  It's powered by a 'blown' big block Chevy, originally intended for a boat, stuffed inside a specially modified Wescott fibreglass body.  


Ford's SOHC 427 motor was developed specifically for NASCAR and then saw use in dragsters and funny cars.  It was never intended for hot rods, but no one told Mike Martin about this.  Somehow he managed to squeeze the monster motor between the frame rails of a three-window Coupe.  It was bolted up to a modified Ford C-6 auto trans and got the power down through a Hallibrand rear end.  Originally, the car was fitted with ARE five spokes, but it still has its rolled rear pan, frenched tail lights and brilliant PPG yellow paint.  Today the car is owned by Sidney Allen.

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