Now this is an eye-popping...
Now this is an eye-popping roadster if I ever saw one. I guess this is the result when a couple of guys with vision (and one with more than his share of talent) put their heads together.
When it comes right down to it, we all have a pretty good idea of just what we want in a hot rod. Take this cool roadster for example. In the mind of its owner, Don Raker, this one had to be a hardcore traditional with the look of an early '60s show car-not one of those over-the-top cartoon cars of the day, but a good-looker that would be as at home on the street as it would be under the lights and wrapped in angle hair. And, as you can see, the result was a complete success.
The story behind this '29 began in the not-too-distant past. Don happened to be shootin' the bull with his pal, hot rod builder Rich Oakley, and naturally the subject of Don's future project came up. Rich's North Carolina-based shop, Retro Rides by Rich, is known for some of the coolest traditional-style hot rods around (I featured my first Oakley-built rod around eight or nine years ago), so it wasn't much of a stretch for the casual conversation to turn into concrete plans for a build; heck, if anyone could relate to Don's vision, Rich certainly could. It wasn't long before Rich got back to Don with an artist's rendering of his take on the project, and Don signed off on it right off the bat.
Dig that crazy shifter. The...
Dig that crazy shifter. The '29's interior is every bit as impressive as the rest of the car, and the color combination of the upholstery, along with the turned dash insert, serve to perfectly pull together every aspect of the car.
The '29 began as a vintage Anderson Industries 'glass body and not much else. Rich began work on Don's ride by fabricating a neat low-slung rectangular- and round-tube frame as a foundation. It was designed so the car would have a ground-scraping stance without the need to channel the body very far over the framerails. This was accomplished by designing the frame to accept the suspension above the 'rails rather than below, as is almost always the case. Rich laid out and assembled the perimeter frame per his design, and then drilled and sleeved the front 'rails for a cool traditional look.
Up front, a Super Bell axle is supported by a Speedway Motors transverse spring and custom radius rods, then fitted with a pair of '40 Ford spindles, Pro shocks, and disc brakes. A VW bus box and column was used too, as its size and unique mounting assembly worked perfectly for the under-slung frame. Out back, a Chrysler rearend was mounted to the round-tube portion of the frame using coilovers and custom-fab'd Retro Rides four-bar and Panhard bars. A Mustang master cylinder, custom plumbing, and a quartet of Radir Tri-Ribs wrapped in wide whites transformed the frame into a roller, readying it to accept the driveline and body.
The Vintage 'glass body was meticulously prepped, blocked, and readied for paint. Rich mixed up an eye-popping green candy color using Sem transparent toners. An early '70s SBC was freshened, painted, and traditionally dressed with a pair of vintage Cal Custom valve covers, an Offy four-deuce intake topped by a gaggle of Rochesters wearing Speedway Motors scoops, and a pair of modified Speedway Motors headers. A Powerglide two-speed auto backs up the muscular Mouse motor, and a custom-made driveshaft completed the driveline.
Rich then fitted the '29 body with a machine-turned aluminum firewall insert as well as a matching dash insert. He also used a cut-down '32 grille shell and grille. A pair of Dietz headlights and '50 Pontiac taillights, along with a period-perfect helping of green and white upholstery, go a long way in finishing up this awesome example of one rodder's vision and another's traditional skill and expertise.
Don's gotta be pleased as punch with this baby-I know it really knocked my socks off when I saw it for the first time, and I'm betting you folks are just as impressed.
The traditionally dressed...
The traditionally dressed SBC is as stout as it is good lookin'. Check out the detail and use of traditional accessories.
Don's roadster is impressive...
Don's roadster is impressive as heck from any angle, and it's replete with cool touches and a ton of traditional-style details.
Here you can see the round-tube...
Here you can see the round-tube portion of the roadster's chassis, as well as the coilover suspension, Moon tank, and signature attention to detail that is a hallmark of hot rods coming from Retro Rides by Rich.