The ex-Norm Wallace channeled Deuce roadster was one of the finest New England hot rods in
Tommy Foster was a Pontiac Division GM engineer whose channeled, baby blue '32 Ford was an HRM feature car on two occasions, once with a modified Flathead, the second time with a new 331-cid Cadillac "crate motor", purchased from Jerome Cadillac, his local dealer. Foster fitted it with a Detroit Racing dual-quad intake manifold. The top wasn't chopped but the windshield was remade without its top frame edge for a cleaner look. The Deuce's ivory and blue Naugahyde exemplified what custom interiors were all about, and the big Ford Crestliner steering wheel topped it all off. Foster stepped up to an eight-gauge Stewart-Warner accessory panel, a then-pricey $89.65 item available from Bell Auto Parts or SO-CAL Speed Shop. The '41 Mercury hydraulic brakes, 15-inch wheels with big 'n' little whitewalls, '50 Pontiac taillights, a rolled rear pan, with twin exhaust tips protruding, were just a few of the standard hot rod touches from that era. Foster sold his beautifully crafted roadster in 1978. It passed through several hands, and was completely disassembled before Pat Sleven restored it, with Foster's help. Kirk F. White, noted East Coast hot rod purveyor, acquired it next. It then passed to Harry Levy in Pennsylvania before Richard Munz, of Madison, Wisconsin, was able to acquire it and add it to his fabulous collection of new and vintage hot rods. The roadster was displayed at the first hot rod presentation at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1997, and it appeared at the 2002 Detroit Autorama, with Foster present to take a well-deserved bow. The Tommy Foster roadster is a distinctive mid-century rod that most old-timers (like me) recognize the moment they see it.
Joaquin Arnett, of Bean Bandits fame, chopped and sectioned this perfectly proportioned '3
Although the Northeast United States was a hotbed of hot rodding in the '50s and early '60s, Southwestern Virginia had its share of modified cars, as well. Restored after decades of storage, Bob Bateman's channeled Model A/V-8 roadster, so called because it rides on a '32 Ford frame, was a Hot Rod magazine feature in January 1961; no mean feat for a hot rod built completely across the country from HRM's Los Angeles offices. Bateman had drag-raced his roadster before turning it into a show rod. An 8-inch channel and a severely Z'd frame dropped the roadster into the weeds in proper East Coast fashion. Its classic button-tufted interior, with 220 buttons, was a rolling ad for Bateman's own Roanoke Seat Cover Shop. The '51 Olds mill was bored out to 338 cid, topped with a six-carb log manifold, and juiced up with a Chet Herbert roller cam setup. Metalflake paint, a "drawpull" grille, and quad headlights brought this car squarely into fashion until Bateman retired it in 1965. Discovered in 2003 by Roddy Moore, director of the Blue Ridge Institute, it starred at Blackie Gejeian's 49th Fresno Autorama and the 59th Grand National Roadster Show before being bought by noted San Francisco hot rodder, Al Engel, who generously shipped it back East for the Saratoga show.
Norm Wallace's Flathead is a textbook example of how to do it '50s style. Neatly run wirin
The one pure competition car in the exhibit is a '23 Ford Altered roadster, owned by Laura and Ron San Giovanni, Wallingford, Connecticut. This was the Cam Carriers competition car, and years after it dragged its last race, Ronnie Roadster restored the car and brought it to the AACA Fall Meet at Hershey, Pennsylvania, where, after a few years of upgrades, it won a First Junior and a First Senior in the racing car class. It was the first hot rod to "crack the code" at Hershey. San Giovanni realized that a documented hot rod was eligible for Class 24, and he paved the way for Kirk F. White, with the famous Ray Brown roadster, and many others to qualify for AACA recognition.
Fred Steele and Donn Spinney built this cute '20 Ford roadster out of a steel roadster body that was hauled out of Honest John's wrecking yard, in Thomaston, Maine, around 1958. Perched on a modified Model A Ford frame, this white-painted early example of a Fad T resembles an Ed "Big Daddy" Roth caricature. Powered by a three-carb '55 Chevy V-8, with Mallory ignition and fitted with chromed cast-iron "Ram's Horn" manifolds, the tiny T-bucket rolls on custom-chromed 15-inch steel wheels. Fred flat-towed this car to Los Angeles in 1962 where he joined the L.A. Roadster Club. Finished with a Tijuana tuck 'n ' roll interior, the roadster was photographed for a trio of '60s-era record album covers, by Hal Blaine, The Ventures, and The Tokens, respectively. Bob Collins of Woburn, Massachusetts, the car's present owner calls his ride "The Album T," and he's kept it exactly the way it was built, with the exception of an upgrade to a dual chamber Mustang master cylinder. Collins likes to display his car with the record albums, and why not?