GRAND NA­TIONAL MODEL A DIS­PLAY

His­toric Hen­rys fill Build­ing 9 at the GNRS.

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Contents -

TRIB­UTE. Most Deluxe read­ers are fa­mil­iar with the Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show and its iconic Amer­ica’s Most Beau­ti­ful Road­ster award. While the AMBR con­tenders usu­ally get the most at­ten­tion, for the last dozen years the GNRS has also de­voted a hall to ex­hibits with a spe­cific theme. This showwithin-a-show started in 2007 with the Deuce’s 75th An­niver­sary, un­doubt­edly a high­light in the show’s nearly seven-decade his­tory. Many oth­ers have fol­lowed since, such as Cus­toms Then and Now, Trib­ute to the Bon­neville Salt Flats, and last year’s mus­cle car dis­play. For 2019, Build­ing No. 9 was solely de­voted to 1928-1931 Ford au­to­mo­biles, aka the Model A.

The un­judged ex­hi­bi­tion, spon­sored by C.W. Moss Ford Parts, was the brain­storm of Brian Bauer and Karpo Murk­i­ja­nian, two in­di­vid­u­als well-known in our scene. Brian has owned his street­driven A road­ster since the 1970s, a sur­vivor that com­peted in the first NHRA Na­tion­als at Great Bend, Kansas, in 1955, be­fore set­ting nu­mer­ous track records, in­clud­ing at Li­ons. Karpo has the same affin­ity for drag race his­tory, hav­ing re­stored the Mon­dello & Mat­sub­ara Aa/fuel Al­tered Fiat Topolino with Pete East­wood, as it looked 50 years ago.

Brian and Karpo worked up an ex­ten­sive list of po­ten­tial guests, which they com­bined to cre­ate the most im­pres­sive group of Model As ever as­sem­bled. The job wasn’t easy by any stretch, since they had to track down own­ers of some of their wish-list cars. Though they could not lo­cate all of them, they didn’t have to worry about fill­ing any empty spots con­sid­er­ing their long wait­ing list. Ul­ti­mately, they had 107 spots avail­able, and 107 cars showed up. The place oozed with hot rod his­tory, from past AMBR win­ners to mag­a­zine cover cars. It was a sight to be­hold.

1. En­ter­ing the hall, vis­i­tors were greeted by a group of for­mer AMBR cham­pi­ons. Many will rec­og­nize the Bill Niekamp blue road­ster, which won the first com­pe­ti­tion in 1950. But who re­mem­bers its neigh­bor? Jerry Wood­ward built and still owns the Thun­der Rod, which has not changed much since its AMBR vic­tory in 1957, though he added the su­per­charger later.

2. Galpin Speed Shop dis­played the Bill Likes ’29 road­ster, also known as the Edel­brock Spe­cial. Bill worked as Edel­brock’s shop man­ager dur­ing the post­war years. Back in 1951, the dry-lakepreppe­d Model A on a ’32 frame posted a speed of 153 mph in the B class.

3. Drag rac­ing en­thu­si­asts as­so­ci­ate Rich Guasco with the fa­mous Pure Hell, a nasty road­ster that he drove to many Fuel Al­tered vic­to­ries dur­ing the 1960s. He also owns a piece of hot rod­ding his­tory in the shape of this Model A, which he started driv­ing at age 13 in the 1950s. It won the AMBR com­pe­ti­tion in 1961 and graced the cov­ers of Speed Me­chan­ics, Mar. 1958, and HRD, May 2013.

4. Next to Guasco’s road­ster is John Corno’s AMBR win­ner, which Russ Meeks built with a tilt body (length­ened 4 inches) that cov­ered a ’68 Olds Toron­ado V8. More al­ter­ations came in 1986, such as the hand-built stain­less steel chas­sis. Ore­gon res­i­dents Ro­man and Judy Basz­niak cur­rently own the fa­mous road­ster.

5. Bill Grant im­pressed the crowd with his ’28 road­ster, aka the Muroc Road­ster, when he and builders Terry and David Stoker en­tered the 2017 AMBR field. To the sur­prise of many, it re­tains stock (but mega-de­tailed) me­chan­i­cal brakes, to­gether with a se­ri­ously hopped-up ’32 Model B en­gine. It now comes equipped with a vin­tage Miller over­head con­ver­sion and Ze­phyr in­take man­i­fold. The car’s full story was in our July 2017 is­sue (bit.ly/2y3spze).

6. Based on a ’29 road­ster chan­neled 5 inches, Chuck Kriko­rian’s Em­peror won the AMBR com­pe­ti­tion in 1960, with help from Ge­orge Bar­ris. Among the unique touches, note the nose piece by Bar­ris Kus­tom and the 406ci ’57 Cadil­lac V8 with six carbs. The Ge­jeian fam­ily cur­rently owns this piece of show-car his­tory.

7. Build­ing 9 housed a bunch of re­cently built hot rods tak­ing cues from our scene’s early days. Take Rudi Hille­brand’s red ’31 coupe for in­stance. It runs a 268ci ’50 Ford flat­head V8 fit­ted with Navarro heads and an Ed­die Meyer Hol­ly­wood in­take man­i­fold. Next to it sits the mildly chopped coupe owned by Mike Her­man of H&H fame, which gained some oomph cour­tesy of a Mccul­loch su­per­charger.

8. Tom Lieb is the owner of Scat En­ter­prises, which has been spe­cial­iz­ing in af­ter­mar­ket crankshaft­s for decades. He bought his well-known ’29 road­ster in 1958. He had Pete Chapouris’ So-cal Speed Shop redo the car in 2007, fea­tur­ing a cab stretched 3 inches, and en­tered the AMBR bat­tle with help from Jimmy Shine in 2016. Mo­ti­va­tion comes from a ’49 59AB flat­head.

9. Bur­bank Chop­pers Car Club mem­ber Verne Ham­mond un­earthed quite a sur­vivor dur­ing one of his nu­mer­ous vis­its to the Pomona Swap Meet, in the shape of the Ken Black­well Street Jewel built in 1958-1959. Based on a ’29 road­ster, it ap­peared among a few other cars on the cover of HOT ROD, Nov. 1961. The Old­spow­ered road­ster was a cover car again in our Nov. 2014 is­sue (“Street Jewel Shines Again”; bit.ly/2jmwkpk).

10. Note the un­usual front fen­der treat­ment on Rob De­honey’s ’29 road­ster. Rob be­longed to a group of young fel­las who hill climbed in San Fran­cisco in the 1930s, and the car has re­mained in the same fam­ily since. Other un­com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics in­clude late ’30s Plymouth bumpers and grille, plus an Auburn wind­shield and dash.

11. The Tom Morris ’29 road­ster was built in 1948, then raced at the dry lakes and dragstrips, be­fore be­ing parked in 1955. This jalopy is the real deal, with its ’48 Ford flat­head, ’40 Ford trans, Tom Morris-made cast quick-change rear, and Crest­liner steer­ing wheel. In­ci­den­tally, it ran 110 mph at Bon­neville in 1953 in the C Road­ster class. Our cover story on the car, “Re­nais­sance Man,” ran in the Nov. 2018 is­sue (bit.ly/2hgekx2).

12. Jay Dean of Nos­tal­gia Ranch in Cal­i­for­nia had two of his hot rods on ex­hibit at GNRS, a tro­phy-win­ning ’32 five-win­dow coupe shown in the Suede Palace and this neat ’28 Model A painted ’32 Alfa Romeo Red. Sit­ting on a cus­tom frame, the chopped and chan­neled road­ster re­lies on a 365-horse 327ci GM en­gine.

13. Although it never ap­peared in the TV show, they call it the Drag­net Road­ster be­cause Jack Webb posed in the com­pany of the ve­hi­cle, then owned by Tom Pol­lard, on a HOT ROD cover in 1955. Richard Loe is the cur­rent care­taker of the relic. It hasn’t changed much since its flamed 1968 re­paint.

14. Long­time lake racer Jim Travis broke a cou­ple of records at Bon­neville with his ’29 road­ster, specif­i­cally 124 mph in X/GR (1969) and 113 mph in X/STR (1970). And yes, the L.A. Road­sters club mem­ber still owns the car to­day, which he drove daily for years. The triple-carbed 297ci ’48 Merc en­gine re­ceived a Clay Smith cam. Be­hind it re­side a ’39 Ford trans and a ’48 Ford rearend.

15. Billy Crewl be­came good friends with Jack Calori, who owned a dis­tinc­tive Model A rec­og­niz­able thanks to its two­piece wind­shield and up­swept ex­haust pipes. This re­la­tion­ship led Billy to cre­ate a trib­ute of the road­ster in ques­tion, seen here. It uses a ’28 body bolted to a ’32 Ford chas­sis, a ’46 Merc mo­tor, and a deep, owner-ap­plied black paint job.

16. Clark Crump put his Model A coupe on ex­hibit in the Four Ever Four Cylin­der Club booth. Bob Ke­hoe, a re­spected Bon­neville 200 MPH Club mem­ber, owned the ve­hi­cle for years. He bought it as a stocker in 1998 be­fore hop­ping up the four­banger with an over­head con­ver­sion.

17. Many peo­ple had their eyes on James Bobowski’s ’29 road­ster from New Jer­sey when he en­tered the 2018 AMBR com­pe­ti­tion. Orig­i­nally built by the Ayala Brothers at Gil’s Auto Body in 1950, the now re­stored road­ster did not win. In­ter­est­ingly, it had al­ready gained recog­ni­tion in the 1950s, hav­ing raced at the Bon­neville Na­tion­als (1951) and hav­ing ap­peared in Hopup mag­a­zine (1952) as well as the movie The­livel­y­set.

18. John Mum­ford has amassed an amaz­ing col­lec­tion of hot rods and cus­toms over the years, such as Sam Bar­ris’ ’49 Merc and the Ala Kart, seen in these pages as well. Add to the list this ’29 pickup with ’49 Cad V8 power, which was fea­tured in HOT ROD, Apr. 1962, when the car was owned by David Dias. Great stance can be at­trib­uted in part to the frame be­ing kicked up 5 ⁄

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2 inches at the rear.

19. East Bay Speed & Cus­tom beau­ti­fully han­dled the restora­tion of Mickey Himsl’s ’29 truck, which he has owned since the early 1960s. Some might even ar­gue it’s bet­ter now, with ad­di­tional chrome and de­tails. It goes down the road cour­tesy of a 265ci ’48 Ford 59AB flat­head mated to a ’39 Ford gear­box.

20. Jim Ja­cobs cre­ated quite a com­mo­tion when he brush-painted his ’28 phaeton with friends dur­ing a 1987 Goodguys event. The car then shared the cover of Rod&cus­tom (Dec. 1988) with Pete Chapouris’ ’32 road­ster known as Lime­fire. That red paint is still on the unrestored body to­day, though it has since been plas­tered with old cut-up HRM ar­ti­cles.

21. To put the Ala Kart into per­spec­tive, let’s just men­tion that AMT sold more than a mil­lion scale-model kits of the ’29-based truck. Win­ning the AMBR con­test in 1958 and 1959 cer­tainly helped put the ve­hi­cle on the map. Richard Peters col­lab­o­rated with Ge­orge Bar­ris on this build, re­mem­bered for its fu­tur­is­tic ap­pear­ance at the time, with ’57 Chrysler quad head­lights molded into a cus­tom nose. John Mum­ford is now the proud owner.

22. Bill Kenz’s Odd Rod, based on a ’31 truck, ran 140 mph at Bon­neville in 1949. The July 1949 HOT ROD cover star con­sisted of two Model A frames welded to­gether, plus two engines with two clutches con­nected with a cus­tom drive­shaft. Fel­low Coloradan Mike Nicholas re­cre­ated this cool trib­ute.

23. Run­ning 159 mph with a ’29 Model A at Bon­neville was no easy feat in 1954, but that’s what the Wil­liam Brothers did, thanks in part to a healthy 241ci Hemi V8. The road­ster re­ceived plenty of at­ten­tion from the me­dia, too, in­clud­ing HOT ROD, which fea­tured it in the Dec. 1954 is­sue. The car went into stor­age in 1956 and re­mained un­touched for 50 years, un­til Tom Mcintyre saw fit to add the well-pre­served road­ster to his col­lec­tion. The road­ster is yet an­other HRD cover car, its tale told in “Com­mon Ground,” Mar. 2018; bit.ly/2og7apc.

24. In Jan­uary 1963, HOT ROD put a neat red ’29 Tu­dor on its cover, with owner Don Grant pulling the 265ci Corvette en­gine out. Don still drives it reg­u­larly 56 years later, although he has re­placed the steel wheels and chrome caps with Amer­i­can Rac­ing rims. The sil­ver and black paint has been dressing the shell since 1972.

25. The Chris­man fam­ily had drag rac­ing leg­end Jack Chris­man’s ’29 sedan on ex­hibit. He raced it in the 1950s, with a flat­head V8 and a 331ci Chrysler Hemi, be­fore sell­ing it in 1956. In 1998, the fam­ily got it back af­ter it was in stor­age for 32 years. Jim Travis, whose yel­low road­ster can be seen in this ar­ti­cle, re­stored the Tu­dor beau­ti­fully.

26. The Lam­brose/ia­cono team drag raced the ’29-based 99 Jr. from 1954 un­til 1957, us­ing a derelict ex– dry lake road­ster. Yet, un­like most builders who re­mained faith­ful to V8s at the time, they used a GMC six-cylin­der fed by a 50/50 mix of alcohol and nitro, good for sub-11sec­ond e.t.’s at about 125-130 mph. Neil O’kane now owns and re­stored the road­ster, which had only lost one race in three years of com­pe­ti­tion.

27. Tony Nancy has been known to pro­duce top­notch drag cars, and his 22 Jr. is no ex­cep­tion. Weigh­ing un­der 1,600 pounds, the ’29 road­ster fea­tures a Kent Fuller chas­sis, mag wheels, and a su­per­charged Buick nail­head V8, net­ting 144 mph over the quar­ter­mile. Penn­syl­va­nia’s Ross Mey­ers has the Apr. 1960 HOT ROD cover car in his cus­tody now.

28. Some vis­i­tors likely won­dered what this ’32 coupe was do­ing in a sea of Model As. Well, look closely: This isn’t a Deuce but a ’31 coupe fea­tur­ing more than 100 body al­ter­ations. It was parked next to a bone-stock Model A to dis­play the work per­formed. Greg Zulim bought the ve­hi­cle in 1964 at age 14 and mod­i­fied it over the years, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a ’58 Buick V8 with a 6-71 GMC blower.

29. “From Pa­rade Wagon to Hot Rod in 4 Weeks” claimed a sign next to Scott Wil­liams’ 1930 woody wagon from Min­nesota. The treat­ment in­cluded a se­lec­tion of tra­di­tional hot rod com­po­nents, in­clud­ing a dropped axle, juice brakes, and Hal­i­brand quick-change. The four-banger re­ceived a se­lec­tion of clev­erly picked pe­riod good­ies as well, from the Weiand head and Cra­gar side cover to the Ze­phyr in­take man­i­fold and dual Strombergs.

30. Tom Leonardo dis­played his ’29 Model A, orig­i­nally built by John Athan in 1937 us­ing a $7 road­ster body and a $5.50 Deuce chas­sis. The car also par­tic­i­pated in one of the last El Mi­rage races be­fore WWII, where it ran 108 mph. Years later it ap­peared in the movie Lov­ing You, driven by a young Elvis Pres­ley.

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