Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ Scene - —STEPHAN SZANTAI

You’ve re­ally got to go, if you haven’t yet. Inau­gu­rated in 1950, the Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show (touted as the long­est con­tin­u­ously run­ning hot rod show in the world) oozes with hot rod his­tory. We should thank Al Slon­aker and his wife Mary for cre­at­ing this in­sti­tu­tion, orig­i­nally held in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. John Buck took over own­er­ship in 2004, mov­ing the three-day event far­ther south to Pomona. That first year in So­cal was a suc­cess with 300 ve­hi­cles put on ex­hibit.

Fast-for­ward 15 years. The 2019 GNRS gath­ered 500 eclec­tic cars set in seven build­ings, plus an­other 500 out­side (mainly on Satur­day) as part of the Drive-in dis­play. Many HRD read­ers started their visit with the Suede Palace, a hall de­voted to tra­di­tional rods and cus­toms. Across the way, Build­ing No. 9 hosted Ford Model As in all their shapes and forms: an­tique hot rods, for­mer GRNS win­ners, NHRA and SCTA record hold­ers, and so on. It was a sight to be­hold, thanks to 80-plus ve­hi­cles tan­ta­liz­ing the crowd, and wor­thy of a story in its own right, which ap­pears in this is­sue, page 52.

Stretch­ing for more than an eighth-mile, Build­ing No. 4 wel­comed dozens of pros in the in­dus­try, as well as the highly an­tic­i­pated ex­hibit of Amer­ica’s Most Beau­ti­ful Road­ster (AMBR) com­peti­tors, their own­ers vy­ing to put their name on the 9-plus­foot- tall award. Four­teen cars en­tered the field, with Ge­orge Po­teet ul­ti­mately com­ing out on top with his 1936 Ford road­ster (check out our May 2019 is­sue for fur­ther de­tails). The name sounds fa­mil­iar? Ge­orge is the man be­hind the wheel of Speed De­mon, the 450-plusmph, pis­ton-driven Bon­neville record holder. And like many GNRS vis­i­tors, he lives and breathes hot rods

MIRET’S MOR­PHINE: Both hot rods and cus­toms have shared the Suede Palace’s Best of Show award over the years. For 2019, a cus­tom came out on top, specif­i­cally Mor­phine, a colorful 1950s-styled ’54 Chevy owned by Roger Miret. Punk mu­sic fans might rec­og­nize the name, as he’s the vo­cal­ist for the band Ag­nos­tic Front. Based on the East Coast, he is also one of the founders of the Rum­blers Car Club.


LAKES TRIB­UTE: This great dis­play pays homage to Al Jer­auld and Wil­liam Grosvenor, who raced the Jer­auld’s Speed Equip­ment ’32 Ford at El Mi­rage dry lake. In­ci­den­tally, the photo on the board dates back to 1950. Bill Ver­hulst as­sem­bled a trib­ute to the 313C road­ster, us­ing a twin-carb’d flat­head and a ’39 Ford trans­mis­sion.

A FORD TRIO: Be­hind that sex­tet of carbs, a trio of 1920s hot rod Fords: Reyes Ran­gle’s 390ci Cad-pow­ered ’29, Vic Hager’s flat­head-pow­ered ’28, and Louis Stands’ ’27 Model T.

BEST HOT ROD: Satur­day’s Suede Palace award cer­e­mony cel­e­brated Port­land, Ore­gon’s Mike Coll­man, the win­ner of the Best Hot Rod tro­phy with his ’31 Ford Model A. We dig the 1960s show car in­flu­ence of this sui­cide-doored coupe, from the an­gel hair sur­round­ing it to the white in­te­rior and ac­cents.

TULSA ROAD­STER: De­signer and en­gi­neer Jackie How­er­ton teamed with builder Steve Moal to cre­ate the How­er­ton-moal Tulsa Road­ster for cus­tomer Bill Grim­s­ley. The deeply chan­neled and Corvette-mo­ti­vated ’32 Ford was a strong AMBR con­tender, look­ing ex­cel­lent with Sid Chavers up­hol­stery and shiny chrome pieces by Sherms Plat­ing.

SUR­VIVOR: Hous­ton Per­ci­val un­earthed quite a sur­vivor: a ’30 Ford Tu­dor parked in a Win­ters, Cal­i­for­nia, barn since 1952. While the body re­mains all stock, the nicely patina’d sedan runs a 239ci flat­head bolted to a Borg­warner T5 gear­box for com­fort­able cruis­ing speed.

SPORT COUPE: Chip Starr of Port­land, Ore­gon, is the proud care­taker of this time cap­sule, fea­tured in Rod&cus­tom mag­a­zine back in July 1963. Then be­long­ing to Robert and Richard Souza, the un­usual ’29 sport coupe re­lied on a “warmed up” 286ci ’50 Merc V8 equipped with Ed­munds heads, an Edel­brock triple-carb man­i­fold, and a Joe Hunt mag­neto.

OLD AND NEW: All the way from Ten­nessee, Ann and An­drew Bower joined the AMBR field with their top­less ’32 Ford, built by Dan Kerbo at Kerbo’s Kus­tom Klas­sics. While the body is fresh from Brookville, most ev­ery­thing else re­mains vin­tage: Deuce frame, 276ci Mercury flat­head, ’39 Ford Top Loader with Lin­coln Ze­phyr gears, Hal­i­brand quick-change, and so on.

MOST BEAU­TI­FUL: And the AMBR tro­phy goes to… Ge­orge Po­teet of Mem­phis and his ’36 Ford. The well­known col­lec­tor, hot rod­der, and Bon­neville racer worked with Eric Per­att at Pin­kee’s Rod Shop on this road­ster and mod­i­fied it with length­ened doors, re­con­toured front fend­ers, a stretched cock­pit, and more. This am­bi­tious project also re­quired 350 Cnc-ma­chined cus­tom com­po­nents.

UN­TOUCHED: This Old­spow­ered three-win­dow Deuce had a ton of peo­ple talk­ing, for good rea­son. It has re­mained un­touched since Ju­lian Al­varez bought it in 1973. He found it in Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, where it had been parked for 10 years. It re­tains all its early 1960s hot rod at­tributes: metal­lic paint over a chopped top, lou­vers, chromed steel wheels, and so on.

MODEL A DIS­PLAY: Build­ing No. 9 cel­e­brated Ford’s 1928-1931 of­fer­ings (aka Model As), in­clud­ing drag and lakes record hold­ers, AMBR win­ners (eight of them), his­toric hot rods, cus­tom cars, and tra­di­tional rods. Circle City Hot Rods helped Brett Miller build this ’31 Model A, fit­ted with a ’50 Ford flat­head, a C4 trans­mis­sion, and a ’36 Ford rearend. Pete San­tini and Den­nis Rick­lefs ap­plied the per­fect paint and pin­stripes, re­spec­tively.

LENA MAE: Cal­i­for­nia tin­kerer Ryan Rivers un­doubt­edly en­tered the most un­usual ve­hi­cle in the AMBR bat­tle, a 1924 Buick Model 24-Six-45 named Lena Mae. Un­der that an­tique ap­pear­ance hides a bunch of in­ter­est­ing pieces, in­clud­ing a ’52 263ci Buick straightei­ght hooked to a 700R4 trans­mis­sion. And let’s not for­get the 1923 Reo top chopped 8 inches. Rivers ad­di­tion­ally crafted sev­eral of the car’s parts: ra­di­a­tor shell and trim, valve cov­ers, dashboard, in­take and ex­haust man­i­folds, wheels, and more.

LIMELIGHTE­R: The “vil­lage” out­side the Suede Palace wel­comed a group of hand­some cars. Be­tween the Packard sedan and the red ’41 Buick, check out Bud Mil­lard’s Limelighte­r, a ’58 Chevy made by Bill Cushen­berry for Frank Gould. It won Best Cus­tom at the 1964 Win­ter­na­tion­als. Oz’s Kus­toms re­stored the chopped coupe to its for­mer glory.

TWEETY: Many had their eyes on Jim Govro’s chan­neled ’32 Ford road­ster in the AMBR com­pe­ti­tion. Tweety Bird is a gen­uine sur­vivor and was fea­tured in HOT ROD, Nov. 1958. The Austin, Texas, res­i­dent cre­ated the car in 1951, though he ul­ti­mately con­tracted Rex Rod & Chas­sis to re­store it in time for the GNRS, com­plete with a 331ci Cadil­lac V8 as­sem­bled by Keith Tardel.

RECORD A: Mul­ti­ple lake rac­ers sprin­kled Build­ing No. 9, such as the Holmes, Kugel & Mcgin­nis ’29 A built in 1975. A 258ci twin-tur­bocharged and Hil­born fuel-in­jected SBC pushed the lakester to set the E-blown Fuel Road­ster record at 245 mph.

HIS­TORY LES­SON: Also scattered through­out Build­ing No. 9 were icons of hot rod­ding, three of which are vis­i­ble in this one im­age: In the fore­ground is the Bill Niekamp road­ster, which won the very first AMBR tro­phy. On the right edge of the frame is the Ala Kart, which won the AMBR twice in a row in 1958 and 1959 and sold mil­lions of plas­tic model kits for AMT. Just vis­i­ble in the back is Jim “Jake” Ja­cobs’ rolling col­lage of a tub.

BARE FORD: Artist Coby Gew­ertz de­signed his ’34 Ford with Tim Con­der be­fore en­trust­ing South City Rod & Cus­tom with the con­struc­tion. No­tice the al­tered front fend­ers and se­ri­ously set-back 331ci Chrysler Hemi. Gew­ertz got the Hal­i­brand mag­ne­sium wheels from his dad, an ex–funny Car racer.

SEARCH­ING: Cur­rent owner John Barnes is still search­ing for ad­di­tional his­tor­i­cal info about his three-win­dow ’32 Ford. So far, it ap­pears that the heav­ily chopped coupe had been drag raced in Pomona around 19511954 be­fore be­ing chan­neled and fit­ted with an aero­dy­namic nose­piece.

SWOOPY: Glenn Mcelroy’s Speed­liner took in­spi­ra­tion from the renowned Nor­man E. Timbs Buick, which was de­stroyed in Mal­ibu’s wild­fires last Novem­ber. Mar­cel and Luc De­ley’s tal­ented hands crafted the swoopy alu­minum body on Mcelroy’s rear-en­gine twoseater. MOONEY: Based on a ’25 Ford road­ster, the Mooney-simp­kins Spe­cial was built in 1949 by Fay Mooney Sr. of Bak­ers­field, Cal­i­for­nia, a year be­fore win­ning its class at the Oak­land Road­ster Show. Mo­ti­vated by a 270ci GMC en­gine, the dirt track racer also ap­peared in HOT ROD, Jan. 1950. Paul Mooney has taken own­er­ship. ROCKET: The ma­jor­ity of the ven­dors in­vaded the large Build­ing No. 4. Ross Rac­ing Engines dis­played Bob Grat­ton’s five-win­dow ’32 Ford built by Hil­ton Hot Rods. Lack of a hood al­lowed the crowd to ad­mire the su­per­charged Olds Rocket V8 as­sem­bled by Ross.

KANDY DEVIL: The GNRS brings en­thu­si­asts from all over the world. Tris­tan Louwaars of Tris­tan Kus­tomiz­ing, Hol­land, poses proudly with the Kandy Devil, an Sbc-pow­ered ’53 Chevy he built for Vin­cent Wolfs (of Bel­gium). Their ad­ven­ture proved a bit stress­ful, as the car only cleared U.S. Cus­toms the day be­fore the show opened!

FRESH: Less than a week be­fore the GNRS, Eric Justus’ Deuce was still in a thou­sand pieces, the paint barely dry on the (real) body. The lat­ter came from an older “smoothy” street rod project; but Justus and his friends brought it back to 1932 specs, even redrilling holes where the fac­tory put them. We plan to fea­ture the car in Hot Rod Deluxe in the fu­ture. FORTY CUS­TOM: Neat ’40 Buick, eh? Owned by Steve Pierce, the coupe fea­tures a ton of cus­tom al­ter­ations: ’39 Ford head­lights, mod­i­fied hood, chopped top (4 inches in front and 5.5 in back), molded rear fend­ers, ’41 Cadil­lac bumpers, and rare Lyon hub­caps that nicely com­ple­ment the Wash­ing­ton Blue paint.

TRIB­UTE PONCHO: Now the prop­erty of John D’agostino, the ex– Richard Zoc­chi chopped ’62 Pon­tiac looked its best in Build­ing No. 5, which was ded­i­cated to cus­tom cars. Zoc­chi built the 389-pow­ered Grand Prix in 2002 as a trib­ute to an iden­ti­cal model (restyled by Gene Win­field) he owned in 1962.

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