Gordon needed a tire and wheel combination that could keep up with the performance and aesthetic upgrades, and chose Muroc II rims from Budnik’s Surfaced series. The rear 20x10s have 4 inches of backspacing; front 18x8s are backspaced 5 inches. Dunlop SP Sport 9000 high-performance tires measure 295/40R20 and 235/40R18.
The interior is a combination of Rods & Restos’ fabrication and Paul Atkins’ upholstery. The custom aluminum and leather dash is a cleaned up and contemporary spin on the stock ’56 dash, and is split by a fabricated center console that extends the entire length of the interior. Factory gauges were replaced with Classic Instruments. Rods & Restos also created the pedals and door handles, as well as the custom shifter and surrounding bezel, which also houses the ignition switch. The Budnik steering wheel is mounted on a column from Flaming River.
When the wagon got to Paul Atkins’ upholstery shop in Hanceville, Alabama, the Lexus SC400 buckets were covered in copper-colored leather with textured inserts. The door panels received the same treatment, and square weave carpet was laid on the floor.
Now, the humble Handyman rides like a Corvette and looks better than anybody who ever drove it through the Idaho woods could begin to imagine. “Neil Lea from Rods & Restos is the guy who made this project what it is,” Gordon told us. “I was very fortunate to choose a builder who bought into my vision for this project. All of the fabricators, body and paint men at Rods & Restos went way beyond normal to provide their best efforts. The real benefit to owning this car is the incredible people who I have become friends with during the 37 months that it was in progress.”
But that’s not the end of the story. Since it’s been finished, Gordon’s ’56 has been earning impressive attention. The year it debuted, the former workhorse wagon earned a spot among the Pirelli Great 8 finalists for the Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama, and was Goodguys’ Custom Rod of the Year. Talk about making a statement!