A Jaguar S-Type R 4.2L engine...
A Jaguar S-Type R 4.2L engine was shoehorned into the engine compartment with barely enough room for the big heads or factory supercharger made by Eaton. Everything else is custom-made: from the polished stainless steel headers (can't get that over the counter!) that run back to Borla mufflers to the re-configured serpentine belt system (because some of the components, like the idler arm, stick out too far on the factory engine for a hot rod application, California Street Rod's Gary Hetrick had to create new parts to keep everything tight). A new engine wiring harness and engine management system was designed and built by Neil Vasada of Apex Speed Technology.
Most folks who read this magazine are nuts for cars. With varying degrees, their lives encompass a certain automobile parked in their garage and, if they're lucky, more than one car in that garage.
You don't find too many folks who have devoted their whole lives to cars, but such is the case when referring to Bob Rosenthal. At 82 years old, Bob has seen it all, from when his father owned a car dealership back in the '20s, to when he worked as a service writer and parts man, to owning and running dozens of dealerships in the past few decades (he currently owns 15 dealerships in and around the Washington D.C. area where he lives).
With this devotion in mind, one could probably understand the pain that was inflicted on Bob when a fire broke out at one of his Jaguar dealerships and five new cars burned up. Some of the cars were damaged more than others, and he was able to salvage the drivetrain from a Jaguar S-Type R (with a 4.2L V-8 and a factory supercharger), and he began looking for something to put it in.
His original thought was to maybe install the engine and trans in an XK, but he really liked the look of an SS-100, with the big headlights out front and foglights below. Not finding a suitable candidate, Bob turned to California-based automotive illustrator Steve Stanford with whom he'd worked with before. The idea they came up with was to start with a 1933 Ford roadster (which would be of the proper era) and build it with a prewar Jaguar look to it and use the parts from his burned-out car as a base. Stanford incorporated certain design elements found on the Jags (integrated foglamps, burl wood interior, stainless mesh grille insert, wire wheels) and expertly blended them to a '33 Ford roadster.
Bob then turned to Chuck Lombardo's California Street Rods (CSR) in Huntington Beach, California, for the build because they had previously built a '36 Ford roadster for Bob and he liked how it had turned out.
Though they were a bit singed...
Though they were a bit singed from the fire, the Jag S-Type buckets were used as a base for the interior. At 6-foot-5, Bob cannot be considered "small," so upholsterer Ron Mangus created the interior to fit Bob's frame perfectly. Covering the seats in Champagne-colored Jaguar leather, Mangus also laid out the dark green low-pile carpet. Seatbelts, though hidden from view, are aircraft style.
CSR has been building cars so long they could probably build your basic roadster blindfolded. Cars that have come out of their shop over the years have won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award and collected countless other prizes. But, as anyone who has been around new factory cars knows (those built in the last couple of years), the electronics involved to make everything work together is just getting more and more complicated. It seems if you disconnect the lighter or a dash bulb you can't start the car, so fitting all of this new technology into a hot rod took some doing, and CSR was not only up for the challenge, the spectacular results speak for itself.
Bob's dedication paid off last year when the car was finished and made its debut at the Grand National Roadster Show where it was a contender for the AMBR award. As you might imagine, a car-crazy guy like Bob already has an impressive assortment of cars (including at least a dozen '30s-era Ford, Packard, and Plymouth woodies), but his Emerald Green roadster is the latest jewel in the collection.