Let's face it; the world of hot rodding is male dominated. And as such, many a conversation will often start like this, "If I were to marry, my wife-to-be better like cars, me working in the garage, and it wouldn't hurt if she owned a gold mine." And then the laughter begins.
Well, turnabout is fair play. Tammy Ray, as the name would suggest, is female, passionate about street rods, and isn't averse to prepping her own car-a '33 SpeedStar phaeton. And (are you ready?) she does own a gold mine. Mr. Ray (Tony) finds himself in the right place at the right time, as Tammy took home 2010 top honors at the Detroit Autorama, winning the coveted Don Ridler Memorial Award-the Ridler. It doesn't get much better than this in the competitive world of show cars.
Working with Ted Thomas, of T&T Customs in Canton, Georgia, Tammy spent the last three years building her '33 SpeedStar phaeton with the Ridler in mind. Competing isn't new for Tammy as she began about 12 years ago with her T-bucket, given to her by Tony. Tammy would load Brianna (their daughter) into her car seat and take off to the shows. However, it wasn't until 2006 when competing became serious, going for the Ridler with her '33 SpeedStar coupe "Wild Rose", making it to the Pirelli Great 8. An accomplishment for anyone by any standard but all this did was ramp her up to "go for the gold", as she likes to say; and why not as the owner of Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega, Georgia? Here, if you wish, you can pan for your own gold. Imagine a group of hot rodders panning for gold? As it turns out the Georgia Gold Rush was the first significant gold rush in the United States. It started in 1828 in the present day Lumpkin County, near the county seat of Dahlonega a full 20 years before the California Gold Rush of 1848.
T&T gets credit for the garolite...
T&T gets credit for the garolite dash outfitted with Dakota Digital instruments and the waterfall center console that houses the Retrotek shifter. M&M Hot Rod Interiors used coffee-colored leather to apply to the four bucket seats, floor, and door panels.
A true play on words, "Gold Digger" refers to the fact that Tammy has dug for her own gold and has done it her way. Starting at the bottom, no pun intended, T&T Customs took the Alloway's Hot Rod Shop (Louisville, Tennessee) chassis and began their efforts on the 115-inch wheelbase phaeton. The rear suspension is based on a Winters Performance Products (York, Pennsylvania) independent quick-change with inboard Wilwood (Camarillo, California) disc brakes and 13-inch rotors, Aldan (Carson, California) coilover shocks. To say it is detailed and chromed to the max would be an understatement, but here goes. Greening Auto Company (Cullman, Alabama) took a 24-karat gold leaf (what did you expect?) and inlaid it into the rear gear cover and brake calipers while the rearend was ground smooth and then plated by Advanced Plating (Nashville, Tennessee).
The front suspension is based on a Heidts Hot Rod Shop (Wauconda, Illinois) IFS with Aldan coilover shocks, Wilwood calipers, and 12-inch rotors. The master cylinder and pedal assembly comes from Rugle while a 12:1 ratio steering box comes by way of Sweet. The Heidts A-arms and spindles were custom milled by Keith Arnold at T&T and he also fabricated the hood hinges, brake, and gas pedals.
You will find Foose Design (Huntington Beach, California) one-off double-sided wheels that were brought to life by Mike Curtis made to look like a drill bit that you might find in gold mining. These wheels measure 16x7 with a 31/2-inch backspace in front and 20x10 with a 3-inch backspace in the rear, wrapped with Pirelli rubber, 205/45R16 and 275/35R20. This duo also brought about the steering wheel, again with Greening applying 24-karat gold leaf to the horn button.
A Heidts IFS is used with...
A Heidts IFS is used with plating the handiwork of Advanced Plating, disc brakes from Wilwood, shocks from Aldan, and T&T getting the nod for the custom touches to the A-arms.
The Winters IRS sports inboard...
The Winters IRS sports inboard Wilwood disc brakes, and Aldan coilover shocks. Again the brightwork comes from Advanced Plating. Note the chromed custom exhaust and how it blends into the rear rolled pan.
The Chevy LS2 motor sports...
The Chevy LS2 motor sports EFI by Extrudabody with curved runners and custom valve covers that hide the coil packs. Look closely in the center of the valve cover and you will see a single, 1-ounce gold nugget. Hmmm, anyone looking?
The SpeedStar phaeton body comes from Rat's Glass (Friendsville, Tennessee) and traditionally sits on an Alloway HRS chassis. To the much reworked 'glass body is a custom built from garolite (aerospace plastic) hood with a Hot Rod Stuff aluminum insert. The much revamped bodywork and subsequent paint was aptly handled and applied by Arnold from T&T. The fenders were made anew as was the Lexan windshield, which was swapped out for a custom curved piece of glass by ProCurve Glass Technology (Hatboro, Pennsylvania). Sprayed over the body and frame is a custom gold mix paint by PPG (Strongsville, Ohio). The headlights and taillights both come from Greening.
The interior focal point is the garolite dash by T&T with neatly centered Dakota Digital (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) digital instrument panel and gauges. The center console resembles a waterfall and within it a Retrotek Speed (Hawthorne, California) Smart Shift handles the chores of selecting gears within the TH350 automatic. M&M Hot Rod Interiors (Holly Pond, Alabama) handled the stitch work using coffee-colored leather on the custom seating, door panels, and flooring. All of the custom-made pedals come from T&T with Paul Atkins Custom Auto Interiors (Hanceville, Alabama) door handles on the leather-covered door panels with painted inserts.
Not to be out shown, the powertrain comes via a T&T-detailed LS2. Appointments include a Meziere (Escondido, California) electric water pump, a custom brass and copper radiator as well as a custom intake manifold and electronic fuel injection system from Extrudabody (Freeport, Florida). The injector air intake tubes resemble long runners that are painted with chromed tips. Ryan Hood fabricated the valve covers, which hide the coil packs and if one were to look closely you would note there are two, 1-ounce gold nuggets on the valve covers as emblems. (Gulp! Imagine the value of your car increasing every day with the gold market!) The chromed and custom exhaust system is based on 15/8-inch primary tube headers and 21/2-inch pipe.
In the future, should you find yourself in competition with a gold digging women, best take note, others have tried and failed. Hey, turnabout is fair play.