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Watford Rods put on a show

There’s nothing like the debut of a new hot rod to get tongues wagging and the imagination fired up at the start of the show season.  It’s fair to say Gary Chester’s fresh out, ’32  five-window coupe, with its pure hot rod flames expertly executed by Neil Melliard, did just that at the recent Watford Rods show held at Croxley Green,  Rickmansworth. 


A pair of coupe's cruising down the motorway makes a great sight and with those loud flames
 it's hard to miss Gary Chester's fresh-out coupe


It’s taken Gary over three years to get the car to its present state and it’s been quite a painful journey along the way.  Jokingly, Gary says, “When I bought it, I had the idea of a quick paint job to get it on the street, but it wasn’t that simple.” (see for a look back at what was involved in the transformation)    


ET front wheels and a Dan Fink grille insert evident in this shot 

Flush fitting rear lights and recessed number plate executed by Wayne Streams


Of course, now it’s on the street and looking a million dollars with its mile-deep black gloss paintwork and contrasting red Neil Tadman leather interior, those bad times are in the past and Gary can get on with the job of driving the ZZ4-powered, Barry Grant Six-Shooter  carb equipped  coupe – and picking up prizes.   Fittingly, Gary was a winner first time out with the car at the Watford Rods event, earning the Gibbs Lubricants award and trophy – and no doubt there will be more to follow.


Dan Donati’s high-tech ’34 Roadster was another car we hadn’t seen in the metal before, though we were aware of its Best in Britain status earned at last year’s National Custom & Sports Car show.  It was good to be able to have a closer look at the quality and workmanship of this roadster.  At the NC&SC show the car was displayed fenderless and open, but for practical reasons now sports fenders and a hardtop.  To our eyes at least, they seem to spoil the flowing lines of the car, but there is no denying the incredible amount of work that has gone into this rod.  Peering in through the tiny side windows you can also see the interior is quite stunning.   


Dan Donati's '34 has a totally different look in road trim


Well over 100 cars were on display on the Sunday at this compact venue, which always seems to have a convivial atmosphere and offers the chance for car owners to catch up over a burger – or two – without having to walk miles around a showground.  As usual, there was a good cross section of American motors on show, ranging from stock classics to resto mods, customs and hot rods.   At the end of the day, master of ceremonies, Steve Hudson, from Watford Rods was responsible for handing out the trophies and prizes, and as usual, the event was well run and organised by a dedicated team.  A special mention, however, goes to the person responsible for the excellent signposting from the M25 to the event – it was spot on.


Story & Photos: Andy Kirk


Show Winners

Tom Tidey, ’37 Chevy – NSRA pick

Gary Chester, ’32  Coupe – Gibbs Lubricants award

Dan Donati, ’34 Roadster – Best of Show

Robert Jaycock, Model  A –  the Hampshire Bygones Car Club award produced by Pete Tigg

John Prior, ’56 Chevy – Merit award

John Holmyard, Ford Zodiac – Watford Rods award

Andrew Kirk, 32 Coupe – Watford Rods award

Tony Moloy, ’49 F1 Pick-up – Watford Rods award

Paul Rutter, 58 Chevy Impala – Watford Rods award

Paul Carson, ’55 Chevy – Watford Rods award

Frank Caroll, Ford Popular – Watford Rods award


Tom Tidey's '37 Chevy four-door

Tough looking '55 Chevy's included gasser and pro-street versions. Paul Carson's blown small block motored version below took a Watford Rods award

Frank Caroll's Ford Pop was another winner

Part of the line-up included Tony Moloy's two-tone pick-up

Paul Rutter's gorgeous '58 Impala

Sun, rain, sun, rain - it was like that all afternoon

We took a special liking to this '67/68 Mustang fastback 

Hard to believe they built cars as radical as this Plymouth Belvedere back in the 60s -
a rolling sculpture!

We had to incude a photo of this Dodge Polara on rarity value alone

Robert Jaycock's chopped Model A with Model B grille and bonnet

Steve Hudson announces the award winners

Some of the many novel trophies created by Pete Tigg and Phil Earwicker

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