Parts for the E&J-type headlight...
Parts for the E&J-type headlight came from multiple sources, with Kirk making up his own LaVey-Crowley badge for them.
"Time passed and the lonely body sat. Each time I visited Seret's shop I'd mention that he should build something out of it. It looked cool just sitting there. Usually, during that same type of conversation, he would prod me to finish my DeSoto modified. This happened many times until Seret replied to my prodding with, 'Why don't you build the Nash?' I paused, but then kind of brushed it off.
"Sometime later the subject came up yet again. We discussed it further and volleyed the idea of combining the two stalled projects into one lakes/road race-inspired, single-seat hot rod. Design elements would be an aluminum nose and hood, one-off frame, full belly pan, spoke wheels, inline six, banjo rearend ... you get the idea.
"I was still a little skeptical (mostly of the idea of a single-seater) until Seret worked up a quick sketch of our combined ideas. I was now convinced. It gave me the spark I needed-the same one I got from looking at all those old pictures. The decision was made to gut my DeSoto and essentially start over. The build was on!
"We worked as a team three nights a week plus Saturdays for a little over a year. I took on the heavier-handed stuff like the chassis and suspension, while Seret's skills as an accomplished metal shaper shone through on the difficult compound-curve aluminum body panels formed from scratch. Add to that the one-off grille, a full belly pan, and 200-plus louvers and you can begin to really see what Seret is capable of. A check of Seret's website (www.seretcustoms.com) reveals he is not afraid of tackling any type of project, from hand-hammered aluminum hood blisters to reworking a vintage mid-engine crackerbox race boat.
"Being at swap meets nearly every weekend of the year, I kept finding parts I thought would be right for the car. Some of these parts leaned toward the unusual, such as the '51 Stewart-Warner marine gauge, which started out as a mechanical 3,000-rpm tach. It was reworked to be electronic and read up to 6,000 rpm. Other odd parts include the Bakelite rotary switches, the unknown sprint car steering box, and LaVey-Crowley headlights.
"Pre-existing parts filled the bill for some of our needs, but more often than not we had to create what we needed, and that can be seen from pretty much every angle on the car. From the one-off full-length exhaust to the fuel tank mounts and the unique etched brass dash inserts, if the question is, 'What on the car is scratch-built?' the answer is 'most of it'."
The modified made its debut at the L.A. Roadster Show in 2010, though not in the manner Kirk was hoping for. Having been invited to park in a special area, Kirk and car arrived a little late to the festivities only to have the thermostat stick shut while he was driving through the show's entrance, which caused the water to overheat and blow a hose, which blew coolant out the louvers, covering Kirk in the process.
It was an easy fix, and he's been able to enjoy his ride since, and has attended a few Goodguys shows as a participant (he even picked up a STREET RODDER Top 100 award at the Goodguys Pleasanton show last August). He plans for this summer to include a 2,500-mile trip that will take him through Washington State to two Goodguys show, the HotRod-A-Rama, to Bonneville, and back to the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton. Taken in a one-man modified, that should be quite a trip!
Armstrong lever-action shocks...
Armstrong lever-action shocks came on a variety of '50s-era European sports cars such as the MG.
A brass butterfly wing gas...
A brass butterfly wing gas cap came with the aftermarket tank from The Hot Rod Company, but Kirk semi-polished it to give it a vintage look.
The sight gauge on the fuel...
The sight gauge on the fuel tank is a military surplus item-one of many cool parts Kirk has collected over the years.