It's hard to follow a successful freshman debut, no matter what the endeavor. Sometimes folks have just enough juice to burn brightly for only a moment, finding it very difficult to keep up the pace and energy with a follow-up effort. Music history is full of one-hit wonders; sports figures are sometimes on top of their game one year, only to be forgotten the following season.
It is no different for those car builders who are trying to vie for attention in the street rod aftermarket. "You're only as good as your last car" could be the phrase that will lead some to either obscurity or household name status.
It's hard enough to get people's attention one time let alone again and again but, for Will Hudson, folks are starting to come around for a second look.
About two years ago Will made a splash on the hot rodding scene with a two-tone Copper and Root Beer '50 Ford coupe. Though in business for seven years, the Ford put Will and his father, Homer, on the map, and helped the duo find a little bit of fame.
But what about a sophomore try? Based in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee (a tiny town of 5,000 people about 20 miles northeast of Knoxville), Will had met Billy Morgan at a local car show. Morgan had asked Will to look at his car, a 1962 Chevy Impala, and see what it needed. Will's first thought was 18- and 20-inch wheels, but Morgan didn't want to go all-out on the ride, but did agree on a RideTech suspension system.
Hudsons made the custom air...
Hudsons made the custom air intake for the GM Goodwrench crate 350 along with the inner fenders for a clean and uncluttered look. The engine is aided by an AFCO aluminum radiator, Taylor wires, Sanderson Headers, and Flowmaster mufflers. A TH350 trans takes care of the gears.
Hudsons Rod & Customs upholstered...
Hudsons Rod & Customs upholstered the entire car using black leather, highlighted with chrome eyelets.
The use of flat black as opposed...
The use of flat black as opposed to gloss gives the car a menacing, albeit industrial, appearance.
Morgan drove the car around for another year before coming back to the shop for a more aggressive rebuild. Will then contacted illustrator Eric Brockmeyer for some renderings that would give Morgan an insight as to what his Chevy could look like. Brockmeyer came up with 10 drawings and the pair settled on one that featured a green paint scheme highlighted with flat black accents and copper pinstriping.
Many of the design elements Will incorporated into the '50 were adapted to the Chevy. Flattened black paint and a smooth look (industrial, not '90s swoopy) were two of the ideas found in both cars. But the Impala is a whole different car altogether, and Will already had a base to work from with the RideTech suspension setup and a set of 2-inch dropped spindles. Having the right wheels to go along with the right stance is important, and the spokes of the 18- and 20-inch rollers (Junk Yard Dog wheels from Coddington) were painted a flattened copper shade before being wrapped in Riken rubber.
A general cleaning up of the exterior, such as shaving bumper bolts and filling vent holes to removing the back-up lights and using all red lenses out back, made for a cleaner appearance. The door handles were left intact, though they were painted flat black. Other than the bumpers and the grille, no other chrome is visible on the car's exterior, and even the lip around the rear fenders was tucked in to be less obvious. Up in the engine compartment, new, smooth inner fenders were fabbed and attached to simplify the look of the engine bay.
The color choice for the sedan, dubbed Grenade Green, complements the copper accents found elsewhere on the car. There is a factory stamped reveal that runs the length of the car down the side from front to rear, designed to give the car a look of motion even when standing still. Will chose to split that design and run a smaller wedge-shaped painted accent (albeit in flat black) that accentuates the speedy look even more so. To further separate the green paint sprayed by Jonathan Goolsby from the flat black accent that splits the car top to bottom, Kirby Stanford added a subtle copper pinstripe.
With the car painted Will dropped in a GM Goodwrench crate engine, topping it off with a custom air cleaner that is color-matched to the car's exterior and the engine's intake, which is highlighted with a copper nose piece.
The steering wheel was made...
The steering wheel was made from pieces of a '55 Chevy wheel that was cut apart and reassembled. A Dakota Digital gauge cluster informs the owner of what's going on with the vehicle's vitals.
Used as accents throughout...
Used as accents throughout the interior of the car, burnt and perforated metal sections were added in the floor and door panels. The dome light was moved to behind the floor piece to subtly illuminate the interior when the door is open.
A .50 caliber bullet is used...
A .50 caliber bullet is used as a shifter for the TH350 transmission.