Hot Rod Deluxe - - Contents -

Amer­ica’s new­est Most Beau­ti­ful Road­ster, changes to the Hot Rod Re­unions, an auto shop class builds a TROG racer, and on the scene at what we hope won’t be the last Mooneyes Xmas party at Ir­win­dale.

The 69th an­nual Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show did not dis­ap­point, with the Rolling Bones’ 20-plus hot rod dis­play and the un­mis­tak­able Suede Palace com­ing to mind (more on these sub­jects in our next is­sue). Tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors also swarmed Build­ing No. 4, which housed a record 15 pre-1938 to­p­less ve­hi­cles vy­ing for the tall Amer­ica’s Most Beau­ti­ful Road­ster (AMBR) tro­phy and the $10,000 check pre­sented by the L.A. Road­sters Club.

With HOT ROD Deluxe’s con­tent be­ing par­tial to his­tor­i­cal hot rods, we all won­dered how the James Bobowski-owned Eddie Dye ’29 Ford would per­form in a very chal­leng­ing field. (The road­ster ap­peared in the pages of Hop Up in March 1952.) Spoiler alert: It didn’t win.

The honor ul­ti­mately went to the Martin Spe­cial, a ’31 Ford road­ster on a ’32 frame now in its third in­car­na­tion since the early 1980s, thanks to the vi­sion of owner Dave Martin. Some might re­mem­ber that he raced it in bare metal at well over 100 mph in the Sil­ver State Classic Chal­lenge in Ne­vada.

Dave teamed with Scott Bonowski of Hot Rods & Hob­bies (Sig­nal Hill, Cal­i­for­nia) to cre­ate a strong AMBR con­tender that takes some cues from the 1950s Kur­tis Indy race cars. Moal Coach­builders worked on the tor­sion front sus­pen­sion, whilst Tom Malloy’s crew at Ed Pink Rac­ing En­gines as­sem­bled the 500-horse small-block Chevy. Bolted to a Rich­mond five-speed gear­box, the chrome-less V8 fea­tures Brodix alu­minum heads and a Borla fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem. Neat de­tails in­clude the race-inspired Evod rims, along with the Win­ters Per­for­mance quick-change. The whole pack­age and the in­sane de­tail­ing truly made Dave’s en­try a wor­thy win­ner. —STEPHAN SZANTAI

PUNCHED: Close to 100 lou­vers adorn the rear lid, although most vis­i­tors missed dozens more punched in the bel­ly­pan.

SHAR­ING SIZE: Dave Martin (left) and builder Scott Bonowski can take this award home, but the 91⁄2-foot-tall per­pet­ual tro­phy will stay with the pro­mot­ers, a.k.a. Rod­shows. Its wooden base will now re­ceive a 69th plaque list­ing Dave’s name.

FAST, TOO: There is no deny­ing the Martin Spe­cial of­fers great pro­por­tions. And it runs fast, too. Rodela Spe­cialty Fab­ri­ca­tion made the fantastic ex­haust sys­tem, which trav­els through the frame.

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