You've probably seen it before: wives riding shotgun to their other half while they cruise the fairgrounds in his hot rod. What you won't find in that situation is Bob and Gina Adams. The couple has their own '32 roadsters, and the two vehicles are about as different from each other as you can get.
Bob has been involved with hot rodding in one way or another for as long as he can remember. When he was a 14-year-old kid, he lived with his family in Royal Oak, Michigan, and would ride his bicycle over to the famed Woodward Avenue to watch the muscle cars cruise by. Though he graduated high school in 1967, Bob was already driving before he was legally allowed to do so. Watching the Big Three come by Woodward with factory race cars and prototypes are some of Bob's favorite memories of his youth. Gina grew up a little later than that, when Mustangs and Vettes were the hot cars to have, and she really identifies with that era.
Bob had already began collecting hot rods (he now owns a '27 track roadster, a custom '48 Chevy truck, a '64 Chevy Impala 409, a '34 Ford cabrio, a '39 Ford coupe, and more) before they met, but soon Gina really got into the whole hot rodding experience, including the social aspects.
They agreed it would be great if she had her own car to drive to the runs with their rodding friends, so they began to look around at what they could have built. Having been friends and customers of Ohio's Barry Lobeck for many years, the Adams contracted him to build a '32 Ford cabriolet using one of the Dearborn Deuce convertibles as a base.
Bob, on the other hand, was continuing on with his collection, which already contained a couple of roadsters, including a Flathead-powered ride that was outfitted with Du Vall windshield. One thought was to build another roadster that would be a distressed version of his expertly detailed Deuce. But fate intervened when, a few years ago at the Louisville Nats, he came across a primered, traditional-type 'glass roadster for sale that had been built in Kansas.
With a build style that already said "vintage," Bob decided to take the car even further in concept to the level of "long lost, barn-find hot rod." Over the next couple of years, Bob scoured the swap meets and garage sales looking for items that he could add to his roadster to make it look even older.
With both cars now complete, the Adams take their roadsters to events all over the Midwest, each behind the wheel of their own car, which enables them to have their cake and eat it, too!
The engine in Bob's cruiser is a 360-inch Cadillac backed to a Hydramatic trans. An Edelbr
The lineage of this roadster started in Leavenworth, but then went to Florida where rodder Gary Moore started the process to make the roadster look more traditional, and then finally to just outside Detroit, Michigan, where Bob Adams perfected the look. Some of the work was easy (a simple handmade pitman arm connects to a Schroeder steering box mounted under the dash), and some of it required a bit more attention (finding a dented, rusty panel and bringing it home to beat on it some more before sectioning it into the perfect 'glass door (that's right-the whole car is actually fiberglass).
There really isn't a smooth section of body within eyeshot, mostly because Bob added rust shavings to the paint he sprayed. Then, with a little bit of sand and mud caked on, you get a 60-year-old patina! The look fools most onlookers, with only some thinking it was a recent build. But hardly anyone will come up and say "Why did you do that to a fiberglass body?" Quite the opposite. There was one event where an older gentleman swore up and down he'd seen the car way back when, so Bob quizzed him to find out what he supposedly knew.
During the build, Adams would find parts and pieces at various swap meets to add to his ride, and he feels that time was some of the best spent "working" on his roadster. Bob became adept at distressing the parts and, as some might observe, may have gone overboard when going to the lengths he did. Using old cloth tape from his dad's garage and strategically leaving it on the car is one thing, but to drill out the 'glass body and dimple the hole with Bondo to make it look like bullet holes is just genius.
Many of the parts on the car are decades old, but in the case of the grille shell, Bob had
For a guy who has a nice collection of glossy, litter-free vehicles in his oversize garage, having so many people gather around such a ratty roadster sometimes baffles Bob. But they all see the same thing: either a diamond in the rough (and in need of saving) or, for those who actually know Bob, believe it to be the "before" version of one of his restorations (Oh, he'll fix that later!).
... and Hers
After deciding on the type of car Gina wanted, a trio of drawings was produced to help identify the look. The major styling cue of her roadster would be the same that carried the look of the Mustangs through multiple decades: the side scoop and spears. Barry Lobeck's shop in Ohio located some '66 replacement quarter-panels and then went about grafting them into the steel Dearborn Deuce sides. The scooped sides not only fit the quarters, but fade forward into the door, which made modifying some of the doors mechanicals imperative.
The rest of the build is what you'd come to expect from one of hot rodding's pioneers: a clean and precise assembly with a handful of subtle adjustments to make the car truly unique to its owner. In this particular case, a steel Brookville three-window Deuce dash was installed instead of the standard roadster's dash (which does not have the working glovebox door that the coupe's dash does) and recessing the taillights are just two of the items customized at Lobeck's.
When it came time to paint the car, green was the only shade Gina was interested in. Being her favorite color (things in the house carry the hue, as well as some of her clothing), Bob and Gina checked out what PPG had to offer and found a lime that had a fair amount of gold running through it. Contrasting dark green leather was found for the interior, which features a Wise Guys bench seat with fold-down armrest and purse-like door flaps that conceal more storage.
Not too interested in having some junkyard motor power the roadster, Ford Racing was contacted for one of their 302 crate engine that was tested at 360 horsepower, which was backed to a Tremec five-speed (that's right-three pedals for the lady). The valve covers were modified at Lobeck's to carry three mini-spears, a look carried over from the car's side scoops. A minor styling cue that helps keep the Mustang theme alive are the Cobra wheels from Wheel Vintiques, which were shod in BFGoodrich rubber in 15- and 17-inch diameters.
Having already driven the 200-plus miles to the Columbus nationals in 2007 (where it made its debut), Gina has had no problem rolling up a few thousand miles on the odometer, and Bob finds he has to ask her if he could borrow the car for local runs as she's highly protective of it. You can find both of the Adams on any given hot rod weekend enjoying the hobby, and it's easy to spot Gina: she's usually the one out in front.
Bullet holes in a 'glass car? It's amazing what you can do with a drill and a little bit o
A bench seat out of an old school bus fits right in with the decor of Bob's interior, and
Vintage steel signs were used as patch panels wherever possible (Bob says locating them at
A few hammer marks leave dents that make the new gas tank seem old, plus the vintage licen
A Maverick 8-inch, transverse springs, and tube shocks can be found under the rear, while
Little accents unique to this car are found both fore and aft-from the recessed '48 Chevy
Lobeck's paid special attention to the interior of Gina's ride, and goes as far as saying
Growing up when Mustangs and Vettes were in their heyday, Gina wanted a little Mustang inf
The stance is unmistakably Lobeck, but the color came from Gina. She likes green and, afte