Gary's son, Josh, from Rocky Mountain Street Rods, showing hard-core roadster spirit.
Anyone who builds a hot rod has to believe in time travel. After all, what is a hot rod if not a machine for going back in time to some chronological spot in mid-20th century America-and then coming back to the present day with a cool souvenir from the trip? In the time they've been in business, Rocky Mountain Street Rods in Arvada, Colorado, has built quite a few of those time machines.
Rocky Mountain has only been around for approximately six years, but co-owners Gary Salter and Bill Rush each have decades of experience in the hobby end and the business end of hot rodding. Gary, the owner of this 1932 Ford Highboy roadster, has been participating in this stuff for most of his life, starting in his high school days in Denver. When the shop was brand new, Gary's Deuce was the first hot rod project to be completed there, built under the careful supervision of Gary Vahling.
The repro Auburn dash is finished in off-white (same as the '40 Ford steering wheel and '3
When Gary Salter found the roadster, it wasn't a complete car, but it was a complete basket case. The prior owner was a local rodder who had probably started out with all kinds of plans for the Brookville-bodied roadster, but eventually lost interest in the project.
Gary had all kinds of plans too. "We always wanted to do a '32 without a hood," he remembers, "and we really wanted to give this car an old-time look." As the finished product proves, you can build an old-time hot rod with new-time parts. The body is Brookville steel and the frame is from Cornhuskers, but the perfect selection of exterior hardware and suspension parts, plus the open engine compartment and a '58 Chevy OHV engine with all the right accessories, skinny pie crust Firestone tires on steelies, and just the right amount of 'striping, root Gary's roadster deeply in the late '50s.
Gary took the look one step further with his choice of paint and upholstery. Oddly enough, the elements that get the most attention on this car are the ones that were his toughest decisions during the buildup. He needed to keep the paint color period-correct, but also wanted to do something different than red or black. Maroon fits right in between and also happens to look great. A little bit of bright red was used on the Lincoln rims and on some of the chassis components. "The red steelies only happened because some of our friends said it wouldn't work," Gary says.
Not all of his friends approved of the upholstery either. "It was a risky decision," admitted Josh, Gary's son, who also builds cars at Rocky Mountain Street Rods and who worked on the roadster. But the plaid fabric is actually bona fide '40s seat cover material, and is one of the many elements that has helped the roadster gain a lot of attention at shows all over the West, including Blackie Gejeian's invitation-only Fresno Autorama in March 2010-not to mention this feature story in STREET RODDER. That shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone reading this. We're always looking for ways to travel back in time and Gary's highboy just happens to be going in that direction.
The painter saved some red for the block and heads of the stock '58 Chevy 283, and some ma
The Brookville roadster body was sent to Craig Weber and Brad Aregood at R-Good's Auto Wor
Most of the undercarriage goodies were shot red to go with the rims. Gary Mussman at Cornh