For Jack Maloney of Highland, Maryland, it was the mid-'50s and the surgery performed was on his very first car-a'48 Plymouth coupe. At the age of 17 it took plenty of foresight and fortitude to get up the nerve to chop the car, let alone face the consequences if it didn't turn out as envisioned.
After all of the metal scraps were swept up, Jack's '48 earned itself plenty of newfound attitude while also building his confidence to take on other modifications to the car. His parents, recognizing his talents, rewarded him with a brand-new Nailhead V-8 for the coupe upon his graduation from high school in 1957.
Plenty of custom touches like...
Plenty of custom touches like a flowing console, deco-inspired door panels, and soft green leather are all handiwork of Portage Trim. Other goodies include a Lokar shifter and a Budnik steering wheel on top of an ididit column.
It took a few decades for Jack to get back to his roots. He joined the ranks again with an 11-year build of a hopped-up '34 Chevy sedan, which landed him back in the hot rod realm. Having always wanted a drop-top, he took a road trip to the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2007 to do some product research. While there, he came across an all-steel convertible body offered by American Speed Company called the Speed33. The body held within it all of the values he had hoped for, including a hideaway top, side glass, and endless creative potential. Jack wasted no time in ordering the body and in the time it took for delivery he happened to meet the talented team of Phil and Jeremy Gerber of The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois. The initial meeting with the pair was all it took for Jack to recognize their extensive talents. Their design capabilities sealed the deal to move forward and start the build of an elegant, contemporary convertible embodying plenty of subtle changes and enough grace to make it a standout. With Jeremy at the helm, the trio mapped out a direction for the build to follow, starting with the chassis and suspension.
To create a base for a wicked stance, the team at The Roadster Shop fabbed up one of their signature '33 spines with IRS starting with boxed 10-gauge steel 'rails incorporating tubular dual-center crossmembers. After pinching the front, the rear was C'd while the rear crossmember was stepped. To keep the car glued to the tarmac, a fully plated and polished Heidt's open wheel Superide IFS was lowered in place, complemented by dropped spindles and outboard QA1 coilover shocks. Enlisting plenty of dazzle, as well as performance out back, a Heidt's Superide IRS with 3.90:1 cogs was matched to QA1 coilover shocks to soak up the bumps. A Wilwood dual reservoir master pumps plenty of fluid to all four corners where Wilwood 12-inch discs matched to Wilwood four-piston calipers do the deed. Giving the car one of its immediately recognizable facets, Billet Specialties Magnitude wheels in 20-inch rear and 17-inch front sizes wrapped in BFGoodrich low-profile rubber show off its perfect stance.
When it came time to decide on an engine for the car, Jack wanted a combination of performance and balance. His research led him to GM Performance Parts for one of their bulletproof ZZ 383ci stroked small-block V-8s. Fast Burn aluminum heads take care of business while an Edelbrock Performer intake breathes deep through a Demon 725-cfm carb. A Billet Specialties Tru-Trac system makes sure everything is in line while spark from MSD keeps the party going as spent gases are dumped through a set of Sanderson headers. Real hot rods have three pedals and Jack made sure his car could rip through the gears by installing a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed box supported by Centerforce internals linked to a 3-inch steel driveshaft.