If you're a regular reader of STREET RODDER you likely know that once each year we showcase what we feel are cars that best represent what's happening in the world of rodding. We call the coveted "one" the STREET RODDER Street Rod of the Year. To be eligible you have to be chosen for a SRM Top Ten (which will get you a pretty slick SRM Top Ten jacket) at one of the six selected Goodguys Rod & Custom Association events over the year. (If you forgot the selected six in 2003, they were: Indy, Columbus, Puyallup, Kansas City, Pleasanton, and Rhinebeck. And if you are curious as to the chosen six for 2004, checkout the listing at the end of this article or in our Happenings column.) As with any selection it may not be perfect, and someone (or better yet, someone's street rod) will probably be left out, but we persist.

The staff of SRM feels the cars on the following pages are outstanding street rods that depict some of the trends we found in the rodding world this past summer. So, sit back, prop up your feet, make sure to put down the remote (that's a tough one), and get comfortable, as the ride through these pages is one not to be missed.

The 2003 Street Rodder Street Rod of the Year 1929 Ford Roadster (race car-style)

There's no doubt build styles featuring that Lakes Modified, Sprint Car nose, or Track T look have become popular over the past few years. Knowing this, we believe you will agree that Bruce Leven from Hobart, Washington, hit the mark with his Flathead-powered '29 Ford highboy roadster, which is complete with bellypan, race car nose, and swoopy headrests.

The chassis is a tube frame by J&L Fabrications that sports a Magnum axle, '37 Ford spindles, SO-CAL Speed Shop Buick-style front brakes (drum looking, disc, Wilwood, functioning) and hairpins, a Durant mono-leaf spring with Carrera shocks, custom Pitman arm, and Schroder spring car steering. In back, the suspension is based on a drum brake-equipped Halibrand V-8 quick-change with 3.89 limited-slip gears, four-bar, Carrera coilover (180-pound springs) shocks, and a Panhard bar.

Power is supplied by a 284-inch Ford Flathead built by Tatom Custom Engines of Mt. Vernon, Washington. The Flatty features Navarro aluminum heads and intake along with a Stromberg 97 three-two-carb setup and a Vertex magneto. Mallory supplied the fuel pump, filter, and regulator.

The body is based on a steel Brookville '29 Ford Model A featuring '28 doors (no exterior door handles) with many modifications. The cowl is pie-cut and raised, tapering into the hood and grille. The cowl was also reshaped to resemble a '32 Ford roadster in order for the handmade Brookland windscreens to find a home. J&L Fabrications hammered out the grille and carb surround on the hood from stainless, while the hood itself, the nose, the headrests, and all scoops and blisters were made from aluminum. The hood and sides are '33 Ford in style from Rootlieb while the double opening hood hinge kit comes from Dan Fink Metalworks. The doors have been lengthened 2 1/2 inches and flush mounted with stock hinges and latches. Now that was a trick. The lower body has been reshaped and the rear wheel openings have been modified and rolled into the full aluminum bellypan. The taillights are '42 Ford with a J&L fabbed rear bumper. Byers Custom and Restoration of Auburn, Washington, sprayed PPG basecoat/clearcoat in a blue and white scallop theme over their own bodywork.

At the corners can be found one of two tire and wheel combinations. For the rodding events there are Wheel Vintique wires measuring 5x15 and 7x16 with '34 Ford hubcaps and '40 Ford trim rings. The Coker rubber is sized at 5.00-15 ribbed tread in front and there are 8.90-16 dirt track tires in back. On the street you will see P.S.E. 6x15 with 195/60R15 radials in front and Kidney Beans measuring 8x15 with 275/60R15 radials in back.

The bench seat was hand-fabricated at J&L complete with a flip forward backrest. Bill O'Donnel of Seattle, Washington, aptly handled the Connally leather for the seating and Mercedes Benz wool for the carpeting. The modified Deuce dashboard is outfitted with Classic Instrument's 5-inch Classic Series gauges. Co-conspirator in this project was Dan Peterson of Hot Rod Enterprises in Auburn, Washington, who also helped with the final assembly.

1937 Ford Cabriolet

Sam Magarino of Sussex, New Jersey, with his Lobeck V-8 Shop (Cleveland, OH)-built '37 Ford cabriolet was another considered for the Street Rodder Street Rod of the Year, as it typifies everything "we" like about a street rod. There is craftsmanship, innovation, and drivability. What more could you want in your own street rod? (For the complete story on the '37 Ford cabriolet be sure to look back at your Oct. '03 SRM.)

At the 2003 Detroit AutoRama this rod managed to take home the following honors, Outstanding Custom Rod, Outstanding Display, Outstanding Paint, Outstanding Interior, and a first in class. It was also selected as a Great Eight finalist. Oh yes, it captured its Top Ten award at Goodguys Indy where the competition is always incredibly steep, as many of the summer's new cars are debuted at this show. It should then come as no surprise why this car received serious consideration as a potential Street Rod of the Year.

1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe

George Poteet of Memphis, Tennessee, is the proud, and we do mean proud, owner of this well-done and one-of-a-kind black '32 Ford five-window highboy coupe. The car was built by Dave Lane at FastLane Rod Shop out of Donahue, Iowa, and features both subtle and not-so-subtle medications. Having said that, probably the most interesting and noticeable (to some but not all!) feature was the use of Ford roadster rear quarter-panels on the coupe. The lines along the rear quarters are very pleasing to the eye and an outstanding touch. (Hmmm, how come Henry didn't think of this?) (For the complete story on the '32 Ford highboy coupe be sure to look back at your Winter '04 Street & Custom Rodding Illustrated.)

Without doubt a winner, this rod also picked up a Top 40 at the 2003 Holley National NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, as well as the Street Rod of the Year award from the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association at the Nationals in Columbus. All that remains now is to see George puttin' some miles on it. Maybe this coming summer we will find him on the road with wind in his hair and bugs on the windshield.

1934 Ford Pickup

Possibly the best street rods are the ones that start out as a dream and then come true. Such was the story for Paul Brewer of Hamilton, Ohio, as the completion of his red chopped and channeled '34 Ford pickup was certainly a realized dream. The pickup started "life" after Brewer attended a car show at the ripe old rodding age of 10. He saw a little chopped and channeled red pickup and the seed was planted. It was then only a matter of time. (For the complete story on the '34 Ford pickup be sure to look back at your Mar. '04 SRM.)

In 1983, that would be 24 years after seeing his "dream" for the first time, he purchased a cab and began collecting all of the obligatory parts. Hey, it only took two decades and hour upon hour to bring his lifelong dream to fruition, but here it is. We had to consider this truck for the Street Rodder Street Rod of the Year as it reflects the current nostalgia trend we are thoroughly in the midst of and because it displays extraordinary craftsmanship that rivals the best in the industry.

1933 SpeedStar Vicky

Johnny Freund of Nashville, Tennessee, has had his share of street rods and one can always be sure that whatever he has will push the proverbial rodding envelop. Such is the case with his '33 Alloway-SpeedStar Vicky (one of the very first). The car was built at Alloway's Hot Rod Shop in Louisville, Tennessee, and typifies the Alloway stance and craftsmanship. And yes, it's a driver--although we must admit you do have to be a bit careful when driving over all matters of immovable objects. It's low! (For the complete story on the '33 SpeedStar Vicky be sure to look back at your Dec. '03 SRM.)

This street rod made the consideration list because it has impeccable character while at the same time representing many of the trends we see in today's rodding world. For instance, it features an ultra-modern powerplant in an LS1 engine, four-wheel independent suspension for the ultimate in ride and handling, Wilwood disc brakes at the corners, 18s and 22s for rollers, and the smooth, oh so smooth look that has been with us for the past 10 years or so. This street rod deserves its place on the list for consideration as the Street Rodder Street Rod of the Year but more importantly it represents many of the trends that we are currently enjoying in our hobby.

2004 STREET RODDER Top Ten Events

Event

Location

Date

4th R&C Nats Del Mar, California April 2-4
13th Heartland Nats Des Moines, Iowa July 2-4
7th Goodguys Nats Columbus, Ohio July 9-11
13th East Coast Nats Rhinebeck, New York Sept. 17-19
11th Southeastern Nats Charlotte, North Carolina Oct. 29-31
7th Southwest Nats Scottsdale, Arizona Nov. 20-21
Past STREET RODDER Street Rod of the Year Winners

Winner

Owner

Car

1996 (see May '97 SRM) Eric Peratt 1934 Chevrolet woodie
1997 (see May '98 SRM) Ken Bentz 1932 Ford five-window highboy coupe
1998 (See May '99 SRM) Mark Anderson 1935 Ford five-window coupe
1999 (See May '00 SRM) Bob Lowe 1932 Ford highboy roadster
2000 (See May '01 SRM) Jim Fountain 1929 Ford highboy phantom Vicky
2001 (See May '02 SRM) Barry Lobeck 1932 Ford highboy cabriolet
2002 (See May '03 SRM) Bill Baldwin 1940 Ford phantom pickup