You've probably heard about those folks who have been out of hot rodding for a while and then get back into the hobby after decades of inactivity. On the other extreme, you can also find folks who built their hot rod decades ago and still own them. But Bill Post, from West Des Moines, Iowa, takes a little from both columns.
Bill was 16 when he purchased his first car back in 1972, a '55 Chevy two-door hardtop, and he still owns the car. By 1977, he'd attended the NSRA Nationals in St. Paul (in a T-bucket) and got permanently hooked on hot rods. Both of his brothers, Russel and Donald, have acquired many rods over the years, and collectively the trio has owned nearly any type of muscle car or rod you can name, from Mustangs to Corvettes, and from Chryslers to Model As.
In the early '80s, Bill had built his first street rod, a '38 Chevy truck, which he then sold for parts to build a T-bucket. The idea was to build a pair of twins-one 402 big-block T for Russel, and a small-block copy for Bill.
The work started in August of 1984 when Bill took a long weekend and fabricated the chassis for both vehicles, which soon yielded a pair of rollers. The brothers reinforced the 'glass body of Bill's car by hand-laying fiberglass on wood around the interior. The floor, made from 3/4-inch plywood, was also 'glassed in to accomodate a three-inch channel over the frame, and 3/4-inch plywood was 'glassed to the interior firewall, too.
By the spring of '85 Bill had met his future wife, Tammy, and work slowed on the projects. Bill's T was relegated to the corner of Russel's shop, nearly complete with the body mounted, windshield installed, motor and tranny dropped in, and the radiator, headlights, and more already mounted.
This engine was out of a '67 Nova owned by Al Chindlund of rural Alta, Iowa. It had been drag raced in the early '70s at Humboldt County Dragway in Humboldt, Iowa, and Bill purchased the short-block from Al's brother, Norm, in 1985.
The '67 Chevy 283 was raced back in the '70s at local Iowa racetracks, but Bill purchased
By 1985 Russ had finished his car, but Bill's sat while he gathered up what little parts he still needed. This included the pre-'16 Model T steering wheel, which is an original maple wood rim purchased at a swap meet for $15.00 in 1984 and refinished by Bill's neighbor, Ralph Lane.
When Bill and Tammy got married, Russ thoughtfully gave the honeymooners a Stewart Warner speedometer for a wedding present-one of the few things not listed on the couple's registry! But don't let it be said Tammy didn't want her man working on a hot rod. She did, but the priorities in Bill's life were shifting, and the T got lower and lower on the list.
Changing jobs from being a welder/fabricator to a becoming a firefighter was a big change for Bill, but throw in a major house remodel and moving to West Des Moines, and you can see where some of the time must have gone. The T was never far, though, even as it became something of a shelf to stack things on in Bill's garage.
Twenty years later, life was going well for Bill and Tammy, and they decided they'd like to get the car finished, so they hired Russ in September of 2005 to finish the assembly.
Russ worked on dialing in the drivetrain, doing the needed wiring, plus painting the ride in December of the same year. Tammy and Bill had decided on the color by looking at paint chip cards at The Body Parts Store in Des Moines. The color caught Bill's eye and he just knew it was right, and he adds the final choice had nothing to do with it being Tammy's favorite color.
Bill and Tammy got their car back in the spring of '06 and took it to Pro-Stitch Upholstery where the pleated off-white vinyl interior and marine-grade carpet was installed (as Bill's car doesn't have a top, he needed to use weather-resistant material). Mike Johnson and Beth Bedell are the proprietors and they work out of a modest shop out in the Iowa countryside. Bill says they're great people and they do good work.
The pair also stitched up the boots around the steering column, shifter, brake pedal, and E-brake in a black vinyl. They also made a removable pouch, located under the dash, in black vinyl and they finished off the edge around the body with hidem welt and a stitched vinyl bead.
When it came to the wood dash, Russ had talked with Glen Bauer of Alta, Iowa, about cutting down an appropriate piece of wood. Glen said "I have just the piece of wood for that project," and went on to say that he had this unusual piece of Spalding maple that he was saving for one of the "Post Boys" projects.
With the final assembly done, the couple was then able to debut their brand-new, 22-year-old hot rod at the Goodguys Heartland Nationals in July of 2006. Now at a point where he can devote some time and effort into building hot rods for himself, Bill has gotten his own home shop up and running and is not only working on a '35 Ford Tudor slantback for himself, but a '34 Ford roadster for Tammy, too. With a smile, Bill says these cars will not take 22 years to finish and, when retirement comes around for Bill, he'll still have his '55 Chevy to keep him busy. See? Life does come full circle if you wait long enough!
Set up on a 102-inch wheelbase, Bill's bucket-T looks shorter than it really is. Coker Cla
Because he has no top for his roadster, Bill had to use marine-grade carpet and off-white