How a person is indoctrinated into the world of hot rodding, like many other things, depends on fate. Being in the right place at the right time certainly has something to do with it. Knowing someone who's involved usually fuels the fire. Or it can come over you in an unassuming and subtle way.
For Steve Garrison of Ellicott City, Maryland, it was the latter. Steve considers himself a "car guy" who grew up always enjoying various automotive styles and the classics; however he usually appreciated them from a purely functional form. It wasn't till his eldest son, Davis, received a vintage AMT Corvette kit model nearly a decade ago that his interests became aroused.
Enthused after completing the model, he came across another AMT kit, this time it was a '29 Ford roadster, which grabbed his attention like that of a Doberman eyeing a stew bone. The flowing lines of the A's body and its hot rod elements, which included a Flathead V-8 and wide whites on steelies, consumed Steve's attention, luring him in deeper. Subscribing to countless magazines, cruising the Internet regularly, and frequently attending car shows had now become a regular part of his life so it was easy to see the path he was beginning to follow.
Having built the kit and with his newfound energy in place, he attended the NSRA Nationals East in York, Pennsylvania, in 2006 to get a firsthand glimpse of a major-sized event. While there, he saw a neat traditionally flamed '29 Ford sport coupe with a chopped Carson-style top and countless elements he couldn't soon forget. Later in the year, he spotted the car was for sale on eBay and wasted no time offering high bid.
Once the car was home, he proceeded to drive it 3,500-plus miles in the first season. It was a perfect way to break into the hobby, and unfortunately, to also find out all of the shortcomings the car had. Not one to be discouraged, Steve continued to enjoy driving the car, but knew a full rebuild was not far off.
Steve had J&M Rod Works build...
Steve had J&M Rod Works build a 355ci SBC. Machined to perfection by Blueprint Engines, the block was filled with a crank and rods from SCAT while the slugs are from Keith Black, and stick is from COMP Cams. Topped with an Edelbrock dual-quad intake and a pair of Edelbrock Performer 500-cfm carbs along with the Stelling & Helling-style air cleaners, Offy valve covers, and lake pipes.
Frequenting local shows, he happened to meet up with Mike McDaniel of J&M Rod Works in Glenwood, Maryland. He had seen some of McDaniel's creativity on other hot rods and the two spent plenty of time discussing ideas for Steve's sport coupe. Appreciating many of McDaniel's ideas for the car, a deal was made and Steve delivered the car to J&M to launch its rebirth. Once the teardown got rolling, a number of other issues began to unfold regarding the chassis and McDaniel wasted no time in bringing them to Steve's attention. A decision was made to start the build with a fresh spine and a call was placed to Last Refuge Hot Rods in Dolores, Colorado, for a set of their Deuce 'rails to act as a base. McDaniel crafted the new frame utilizing a Welder Series front crossmember while crafting his own custom center and rear crossmembers. Adding a unique personality to the front of the frame instead of a spreader bar, he fabbed a neat drilled tie-in that was welded into place. With the frame complete, McDaniel assembled the front suspension starting with a Super Bell 4-inch dropped axle coupled to Magnum spindles, accented by SO-CAL Speed Shop's hairpins and batwings while a Posies Super Slide leaf spring and Pete & Jakes shocks keep it all comfy.