The Af­ter­math

Rad Rides by Troy Con­ceals the Deal on the Mar­i­ani Bros.’ Tu­dor


The Mar­i­ani Bros.’ Tu­dor

re­call, quite a few moons ago, a par­tic­u­lar closed-cab pickup in bare metal that was the talk of the town (this was well be­fore the ad­vent of so­cial me­dia, so peo­ple were ac­tu­ally talk­ing …). This was back when that ro­dent rod in­fes­ta­tion was in its in­fancy, and thus the chopped

’34 Ford be­came both the an­tithe­sis for those who un­der­stood and the poster child for the mis­guided per­cep­tion of those who didn’t, but latched onto a catch phrase and ap­plied it to any­thing without shiny paint. It’s just a hot rod in the buff, folks, pure and sim­ple.

This was also a turn­ing point in time when so-called un­fin­ished (but fin­ished) hot rods be­came more socially ac­cept­able within the hobby— es­pe­cially when ex­am­ples started ap­pear­ing on the cov­ers of mag­a­zines. Builders started tak­ing ad­van­tage of the trend by hav­ing fresh projects pho­tographed in the raw for a fea­ture prior to paint and up­hol­stery— and gen­er­ally speak­ing, that tran­si­tion from naked to clothed (fin­ished) was usu­ally swift in or­der to meet dead­lines with pay­ing cus­tomers, and that meant the av­er­age per­son would only get to see the bare ver­sion in print (or dig­i­tal for­mat in this day and age). But Troy Trepanier and his Rad Rides by Troy team ap­par­ently have a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to that tran­si­tion process on cer­tain builds, one that takes the in­ter­ac­tive out of the vir­tual-re­al­ity world and puts it back where it be­longs—in the real-re­al­ity world.

Rather than take the Mar­i­ani Bros.’ Tu­dor straight back to the shop in Illi­nois for its fi­nal build stages fol­low­ing the 2016 SEMA de­but, Trepanier thought it might be a good idea for the shop to have it on dis­play at some of the big­ger na­tional events, start­ing with the Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show. This ob­vi­ously gave spec­ta­tors the op­por­tu­nity to see the Model A in all its bare-metal glory—

but it also al­lowed them to meet some of the build crew and find out all the par­tic­u­lar hows, whys, and what fors they’d been dy­ing to know. Rad Rides’ Adam Banks sum­ma­rizes the process like so: “As a shop we get to take a car, still in con­struc­tion, and dis­cuss all the de­tails per­tain­ing to that as­pect of the build. Then we get to take it around again once fin­ished and dis­cuss a whole new set

of de­tails. Whether some­one likes it bet­ter be­fore or af­ter, or both, makes no dif­fer­ence to us … we just en­joy shar­ing the process with oth­ers.” Of course peo­ple want to learn about the fab­ri­ca­tion, the me­chan­i­cal as­pects, and where they can buy those one-off wheels; they were also in­quired about the man­ner in which the raw metal sur­face was be­ing pre­served, and if they were go­ing to paint it at some

point, just what would it take to pre­pare the bare metal, as more often than not a pen­e­trat­ing oil of sorts was in­tro­duced to the sur­face … the same types of ques­tions ev­ery owner of bare metal hot rods can re­late to.

Af­ter six months of show ’n’ tell,

Rad Rides fi­nally put the Mar­i­ani sedan back on build sched­ule, as the upcoming 2017 SEMA Show—its fol­low-up de­but dead­line—was just around the cor­ner. That meant the shop had a short win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to blow the Tu­dor com­pletely apart to be­gin the tran­si­tion process of con­ceal­ing/ re­fin­ish­ing all the ex­posed metal, as well, si­mul­ta­ne­ously cre­at­ing the en­tire in­te­rior to suit. Adam, our in­sider info provider, had this to say about that: “The in­te­rior for the Model A was all done in-house at Rad Rides by my­self … I also did the ma­jor­ity of the fab­ri­ca­tion on the car. I men­tion this only be­cause do­ing both the fab­ri­ca­tion and in­te­rior in the shop en­sures com­po­nents are in place that greatly im­prove the qual­ity and ease of in­stal­la­tion when it comes time to fab­ri­cate the in­te­rior—items such as head­liner bow lo­ca­tion, tack strip re­cesses for wind­lace, and tabs for in­te­rior pan­els are all in­te­grated into the car dur­ing the fab­ri­ca­tion stages.

“The dash, all in­te­rior pan­els, seat frame and foam, gar­nish mold­ings, and in­te­rior trim are all built from scratch. The dash fea­tures a ’49 Packard in­stru­ment clus­ter with cus­tom ma­chin­ing by Lawrence Laugh­lin of Rad Rides and gauges by Clas­sic In­stru­ments. Laugh­lin also ma­chined the air con­di­tion­ing vents, fin­ish­ing out the Vin­tage Air Gen II A/C sys­tem, and the unique crown-shaped knob on the top of the dash that controls the func­tional cowl vent. The steer­ing wheel that Laugh­lin and I de­signed fea­tures hand-stitched leather grips and a four-spoke Indycar cen­ter­sec­tion.

The steer­ing wheel also fea­tures a unique quick-re­lease hub and tilt road­ster col­umn, al­low­ing for eas­ier en­try and exit of the car as well as im­prov­ing driv­ing po­si­tion. The seat and all in­te­rior pan­els are cov­ered with a hand-tipped to­bacco brown Ital­ian leather, with per­fo­rated in­serts and cream­col­ored con­trast­ing stitch­ing. The floor, lower door pan­els, and pack­age tray all use a brown Ger­man square-weave car­pet bound with leather match­ing the in­te­rior. The head­liner bows were cus­tom made and the head­liner pat­terned to align the seams with the roof insert’s raised beads. Do­ing so ef­fec­tively gave the driver as much head­room as pos­si­ble.”

Fig­ured since he was on a roll, I’d see what Adam had to say re­gard­ing the ex­te­rior: “That too was all ex­e­cuted in-house at Rad Rides—the body­work on the Model A was done by War­ren Lewis and Gary Childers, while the

paint­ing was done by Lewis, as well as fi­nal wet sand­ing and buff with the help of Zach In­gram and Ed Robin­son of Zrods in Knox, In­di­ana. The strip­ing on the body, wheels, air cleaner, and dash was done by lo­cal sign painter Tom Evans, who has done all of our strip­ing for years. The paint is a cus­tom mix Gla­surit Bronze Metal­lic on the main por­tion of the body and a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the same base with satin clear on the ac­cent pieces and roof insert.

The driv­e­train com­po­nents were all de­burred and prepped for paint by Rad Rides’ Brian Fer­gu­son. The en­gine, trans­mis­sion, and rear axle were also painted with a cus­tom mix dark gold Gla­surit satin. Many sus­pen­sion com­po­nents were blasted heavy with steel shot and pow­der­coated with a gold-bronze tex­ture to give them a cast look. Other steer­ing, sus­pen­sion, and driv­e­train com­po­nents were also pow­der­coated with a darker soft bronze metal­lic for dura­bil­ity. Plat­ing on the car is all bright nickel, done by Sherm’s Plat­ing in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia. All the sound dead­en­ing and car­pet un­der­lay­ment are prod­ucts from Dy­na­mat, keep­ing heat and un­wanted sound to a min­i­mum, while the win­dows in the car are bronze acrylic from AM Hot Rod Glass. Fi­nal as­sem­bly of our cars is a group ef­fort led by Troy; Alex Mar­ion did all the wiring and much of the me­chan­i­cal as­sem­bly on the car, with help from Dale Cherry from In­jec­tion Con­nec­tion for tun­ing; Casey Modert, Ian Wal­ton, Brian Fer­gu­son, and Gary Childers were all in­volved in var­i­ous as­pects of fi­nal con­struc­tion as well.”

It’s now 2018. The Mar­i­ani Bros.’ Tu­dor sedan has made its SEMA de­but in full dress, with a fol­low­ing ap­pear­ance in Pomona, where I fi­nally see it in fin­ished form for the first time. My initial thoughts? I’m not sure which ver­sion I like bet­ter. Without hav­ing a chance to ex­press my views, Adam had one last thing to say: “What we hear quite often about the car at this point are not al­ways ques­tions but com­ments about the fin­ished car ver­sus bare metal; be­cause it was fea­tured in print un­fin­ished, as well as the Ve­loc­ity Chan­nel’s hour-long spe­cial about it win­ning SEMA’s Bat­tle of the Builders—which was quite an honor to win and hum­bling that our peers choose us out of so many amaz­ing ve­hi­cles—peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with it both be­fore and af­ter. We get com­ments about how much they liked it raw, or how they were ner­vous about see­ing it fin­ished, con­cerned we would make some ‘bad’ choices on color. That’s ac­tu­ally a very en­joy­able part of do­ing a car this way.” Con­struc­tive crit­i­cism is one thing I can truly re­late to—not that I ever get much. But I do get what Rad Rides by Troy is do­ing, and like or not, hope you do too.

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