Rick & Donna Duty | Gallatin, Tennessee | 1955 Chevy Handyman
In 1955, Chevrolet had a station wagon for everyone from the highly stylized Nomad to the ultra-utilitarian Handyman. Interestingly enough, both ends of the spectrum make great hot rods. The Handyman is completely void of chrome trim and while that may present a challenge to even the best bodyman, the simplified look gives the car a real hot rod flavor. Under the PPG Viper Red hood you'll find a nicely detailed 350 breathing through a great double-snorkel air cleaner. What little trim came on the car remains and the smooth one-piece bumpers add to the simplicity theme. Inside factory gauges remain in service while Vintage Air cools the cavernous interior. The bench seat is covered in tan leather and a tilt column includes the shift lever for the 700-R4 tranny. The proper stance was achieved with CPP drop spindles, springs, and brakes, while AFCO supplied the adjustable shock absorbers. It all rolls on Summit Pulsar wheels that measure 15x6 and 15x10 front and rear, respectively. The big Mickey Thompson 28x12x15 rear tires let you know that his Handyman was built to haul.
Ben Smith | Evansville, Indiana |1931 Ford Coupe 'de Livery
When we first saw Ben Smith's slammed Model A we weren't certain exactly how he achieved the look, was it a Sedan Delivery with a coupe window? Not hardly, this Model A began life as a Tudor, then the rear window was cut and moved forward until it had coupe-like proportions. In the process the lid was dramatically lowered and the body was channeled. The paint is PPG Rescue Green and black that splits at the belt line and incorporates scallops on the roof. Power comes in the form of a supercharged flathead Ford coupled to a T5 gearbox. A '51 Ford dash is filled with Auto Meter gauges while tan and black Naugahyde covers the seats. Suspension was pirated from a '35 Ford up front with Buick brakes mounted with a Wilson welding kit, Speedway Motors supplied the shocks. The wheels are Jimmy 9 wrapped with Coker tires. It's a fine piece of packaging and in the very best hot rod tradition; this one is homebuilt.
Charles & Deborah Hammack | Dolphin, Virginia | 1948 Ford Anglia
Being at a show like the Hot Rod Reunion makes you notice dragstrip-flavored cars and this one stopped us in our tracks. From the mile-deep House of Kolor black and raspberry paint to the wheelie bars hanging out back this Anglia shouts performance. Under the hood you'll find a 351 Windsor that now displaces a whopping 438 ci. A B&M shifter handles the gear selection in the C4 tranny while red leather covers the small bucket seats, portions of the rollcage, and the door panels. The custom console and dashboard are meticulous and Dakota Digital gauges monitor the big Ford motor. Mustang II front suspension employs coilover shocks and Wilwood disc brakes while out back a 9-inch Ford is located via four-bars and Chassis Engineering coilovers. Huge Mickey Thompson tires wrapped around Centerline wheels fill the tubs.
Jim Evans | Hammond, Indiana | 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline
Jim Evans has been around hot rods his whole life, including spending a few years as a factory drag racer for Chrysler, driving some of the famous Sox & Martin cars. No longer racing, his attention has been turned to a string of great street cars, including this fine Fleetline. Done in the finest early Chevy tradition the car retains the 235 Stovebolt-six coupled to a five-speed tranny. The shifter is a modified '36 Ford item and the stock seat is covered in factory fabric—and we can testify it is as comfortable as your couch. Stance is everything with a fastback and the Mustang II front suspension rides on a set of ShockWaves while leaf springs and lowering blocks handle the rear. Steel rims wrapped in Coker wide whites complete the look.
Joe Mudd | Leitchfield, Kentucky | 1955 Chevy
We spotted an interesting trend at Bowling Green, hot rods with inline-six motors. This yellow 1955 is a study in simplicity, a subscriber to the “less is best” school of hot rodding. Outside the body remains virtually stock and being a post car it has none of that fancy stainless steel around the windows. The only departure from stock is a pair of slick, one-piece bumpers. Even the rims are basic steel painted body color. The chassis is restored to perfection and modified with front and rear sway bars and disc brakes. But those wide rear wheels reside in mini-tubs that hint at horsepower. However when you open the hood that's what you get, a hint of horsepower, with the 250 six-cylinder still in place. The valve cover has been brushed to bare metal and clearcoated and everything else is rebuilt to stock specification and coupled to a 700-R4 transmission. It was the interesting mix of unusual parts that made us smile when we looked the car over.
Mike Pretorius | Wabash, Indiana | 1934 Ford Coupe
There is still no better color than black on an early Ford hot rod, and we offer the depths of the DuPont paint on this car as proof. The original '34 Ford came from the factory with elegant good looks so there was little need to change anything on the outside of the five-window. The stock four-piece hood, door handles, and cowllights all remain right where Henry put them in 1934. Under the hood a 302 Ford crate motor is fed by an Edelbrock carburetor. A classic hot rod needs classic suspension and to that end a Super Bell dropped axle is found up front with disc brakes from the same company. Out back parallel leaf spring provide the proper stance and a good ride. Inside the car you'll find supple tan leather over the bench seat, and if you're wondering what that round thing in the center of the dashboard is wonder no more, it's an ashtray out of a B-52 bomber. Seems this coupe was originally built in San Diego by a young man airman in 1966. When he was servicing a bomber he noticed the ashtray and thought, “Now that would work well in my 1934.” Pretorius reports that the USAF stamp is still on the back of the ashtray to this day.
Barry McFadden | Nicholasville, Kentucky | 1948 Anglia
When we think of Anglia thoughts often turn to huge scoops and wild paint, but Barry McFadden had a decidedly different approach for his diminutive hot rod. He opted to keep things on the conservative side, at least cosmetically. Untold hours were spent fitting body panels and insuring they were laser-straight before the PPG dark green metallic paint was sprayed. Under that body a full frame was built with Mustang II front suspension featuring Aldan coilover shocks and ECI disc brakes. ET 10-spokes wrap BFGoodrich rubber up front while out back ET Fueler wheels bolt to the dramatically narrowed 9-inch Ford rear. Wilwood rear disc brakes complete the stopping power. When it came time for go-power the conservative approach was abandoned. A built 454 big-block Chevy motor is tucked in the engine bay coupled to a 700-R4 transmission. Somehow there is room for the Vintage Air compressor on the front of the motor. Inside the English Ford you'll find a leather wrapped bench seat, a Lokar shifter and a covey of Auto Meter gauges mounted in a beautifully formed custom dashboard. The leather wrapped steering wheel is the crowning touch. While this car may conjure up memories of drag races gone by, today it is strictly a street rod.
Chris & Rose Lowe Vincennes | Indiana | 1962 Plymouth Valiant
Stuffing a big motor in a little car is almost the very definition of a hot rod, but this is a combination you'll seldom see. Take a 1962 Valiant and shoehorn a 605-inch Hemi under the hood. Feeding the monster motor is a Demon 1090 carburetor and the Jeffco tranny is shifted with one handle for each gear. Other than the pro-stock–style hood and a little gentle shaving the body remains stock and the House of Kolor two-tone Tangerine and Red candy paint is period perfect. The front suspension is an independent suspension from Kugel Komponents with ShockWave air shocks, while out back Alden Coilovers handle the suspension. The front Mickey Thompson tires measure 15x3 while the rears are Drag Radials 325/50-15. Billet Specialties made the wheels. Inside the car bucket seats are wrapped inside a full 'cage and Auto Meter gauges monitor the Hemi. The most fun with this car is to watch the reaction of people when they walk up and see that big Hemi under the hood of this little econo-car.
Rob & Lisa Kohlbacher | Riverside, Ohio | 1964 Ford Fairlane
It is hard to deny the Thunderbolt flavor on this House of Kolor Sunset Orange pearl Fairlane. From the screened inboard headlights and stinger hood to the wicked stance this is Ford shouts performance. Backing up the look is a big Ford 460 hooked to a Hurst activated top loader four-speed. Fast cars should be light so fiberglass front fenders and hood help in weight reduction while the Mustang II front suspension and ladder bar rears suspension provide the stance with QA1 coilover shocks. American Racing Salt Flats wheels up front combine with Cruzers wheels on the rear to provide a traditional flavor while inside you'll find a full cage, a custom console and factory gauges still in service. Kumho rubber measures 165/80-15 front and 275/60-15 rear. This was Rob's first car and it has been reworked several times over the years and today it serves as a calling car for his rod shop.
Larry Small | Stuarts Draft, Virginia | 1963 Chevy II Gasser
In case you haven't notice the Gasser Wars of the '60s are raging again, both on the street and on the 'strip. Under the heading of "Most Believable Gasser" we offer this white Chevy II. Everything about the car is spot-on for a '60s gasser from the eight-stack electronic fuel injection between the Edelbrock aluminum heads to the simple white steel wheels, this car shouts gasser and yes, the car is 100 percent street legal. A straight-axle up front employs Pete & Jakes shocks while out back leaf springs, slapper bars, and Pete & Jake's shocks are found. The rear wheels are custom-made deep-dish rims while the front wheelwells are filled with period-perfect white headers and American Torq Thrusts. Coker tires are found on all four corners. Inside the car the simple Nova bench seat is dressed in red vinyl with a steering column mounted tach and a trio of Auto Meter gauges under the dashboard monitor the 327 under the hood. The radio delete cover adds to the gasser look as does the red metalflake Cal Custom–style steering wheel from Speedway Motors. The Hurst Quarter Stick is hooked to a Turbo 350 and a vintage helmet sits on the sit just behind the shifter to complete the illusion. When it comes to street-going gassers few are more believable than the Valley Chevrolet "Casa Nova."