Extraordinary Hot Rods


When you still "nail the look" after breaking all the rules. It's not easy to come up with new ways to do that while pushing the envelopes of creativity and ingenuity, but we think the owners of these 2 cars sure did. 

First up is this '32 Ford Roadster. At first glance, you might not think it's extraordinary, but the devil is in the details. Give up? Don't worry. It fooled me too. It wasn't until I was looking at some these photos again, when I realized some of the differences. 
It's a bit hard to place a perspective on the size difference from just the photos, but what first caught my eye was the size of the steering wheel compared to the overall size of the car. Next was the exhaust. I originally "saw" a typical flathead exhaust with a siamesed center exhaust port. A closer look revealed something different.    

Fortunately I ran into the owner, Wayne Underwood, who gave me the details. This is no ordinary '32. It's a fiberglass, full chassis, 3/4 scale version that started out as a kit.

Power is supplied by an "off-road" Chevrolet V-6 of the 60° variety. Those of you who are familiar with that motor will remember it as the 2.8 liter used in the Citation and Celebrity. This crate version is 3.4 liter, has a hotter off-road cam, and is topped by an Edelbrock hi-rise aluminum intake with a small Holley 4 bbl. The headers are custom made, wrapped in insulating tape, and are equipped with custom fitted aftermarket motorcycle mufflers. Power is pushed through a Tremec 5 speed manual transmission and a narrowed Nissan rear axle.
Wayne had the help of a professional shop to do most of the assembly, but he made the copper overflow tank himself.

The early morning sun has a habit of making some reds look too magenta in photos, but the all leather interior is an incredible lipstick red and is a perfect match to the wheels.
The kits were originally sold by Chupp's Hot Rods of Oregon City, OR, but my search returned the business was closed when Arnold Chupps retired in about 2006. Read more about scaled down Classics here.

Next up is the rather amazing (and slightly unfinished) car from Cutworm Specialties Hot Rod Shop in North Carolina. Before anything else, it's really great to see someone under 50 involved in the hobby and that the appeal for this hot rod spans generations important to the future of hot rodding and the hobby of Classic cars.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jeb Greenstone, the owner of Cutworks Specialties and creator of this very modern, yet very old school approach to hot rods. "The entire car is handmade", said Jeb. "It's based on an early 30's Model A Ford."
"Power is supplied by a 1952 Ford Flathead V8 with a mild cam to make it a very streetable combination."
I hadn't noticed it a first, but the front suspension is a torsion bar set-up hidden within the chassis, an extreme departure from the traditional leaf spring set-up. The rear suspension is an air ride design, allowing the body to be dropped to the ground when parked, yet fully compliant while driving.
"How did you learn all of the skills needed to build this kind of a car", I asked. "I'm self-taught", answered Jeb. "I started out just wanting to build things for my own car. I decided I should put what I learned to good use. It's easy to find people who are good at one thing, say bodywork or engines, but it's really hard to learn all of the skills you need to do a car like this."
"The headlights started life as pistons from a Cummings diesel. The front axle is hand made, the rear axle is out of a Chevy S-10 pickup. The wheels are also done by hand." 

That may seem rather simple, but you need to remember wheels have to be perfectly concentric or you'll be bouncing down the road like an animated kangaroo.

I asked Jeb how he came up with the idea for the lug nuts. "I tried to find someone who made them, but couldn't find any, so I made them up myself. We sell them on our site, but I have a manual machine, so if we get too many orders, I'm in trouble."  
"This is the 4th car in the series. I built 3 in a row by myself in the last year. Let me tell you, as I'm pretty much a one man shop, I was exhausted. This one took about 6 months of time to build the car from start to this point."
I'm not the only one who appreciates Jeb's work. They had 2 cars on display at the October Caffeine and Octane show, they were as far away from the center of the show as you could get, yet they had a crowd as big as the space would fit. We would say the effort and concept are going in the right direction.  

Last in this group of notable hot rods was found "hiding in plain sight" at one of the recent Caffeine and Octane shows. We've had no connections with the owner so far, but we'd would like to, so if this is your car, please send us and email.