Let’s start with the question most asked at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show about the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster recipient. “What’s with the No. 3?” We asked owner Bill Lindig of Houston the same question. “What’s with the No. 3?” The “Indy Speedster V-8” is a tribute to the great Indy roadsters of the past. Bill noted in his research that the No. 3 came up as the most frequent number on the winning cars. There you have it; one winning tradition begets another.

Hot rods take time—lots of time and this roadster was no different. My first “introduction” to the 2012 AMBR winner dates back almost 15 years when I first saw its highly developed makings at the 1998 Hot Rod and Performance Trade Show held in San Antonio (now in Indianapolis). It was resting within the Ford Racing and Performance booth under the watchful eye of Angelo Gimapatroni, then head of Ford Racing, who introduced us to Jackie Howerton, the owner/builder. The story on the Lindig roadster wouldn’t be complete without brief recollections on Howerton’s background—a hot rodders’ hot rodder, he conceptualized and brought to a “strong” representation the roadster you see.

We asked Howerton about his inspiration for the roadster. “My inspiration (since I had never built a hot rod) was to build a hot rod with a style from my background as a race car driver/fabricator. I wanted to be accepted into the hot rod world and hoped that building this car would do it. I wanted to make the transition from my racing life to my new hot rod life.”

Transition accomplished.

An abbreviated background on Howerton shows us that he’s truly a noteworthy race car driver/builder, having moved up to and competed in the USAC ranks in the early ’70s. Howerton won many races and was the Tulsa Speedway Champion, the Oklahoma City Speedway Champion, Muskogee Nationals Champion, and 5 State Champion during the 1970 season. He also won 60 feature events at Tulsa and Oklahoma City venues. He comes by his talents genetically; his dad, Angelo Howerton, was a driver in the modified and midget ranks and a midget champion during the ’50s.

Moving forward the “roller” found its way to Fred Fleet. Back in 2000 Bill saw the car in its reconstructive stage and knew if the opportunity arose he would “scoop” it up, which he did in 2008. (His decision took less time than it will take you to read this sentence!)

The sometimes prickly relationship then began between Bill and Pete Chapouris. Chapouris, the president of SO-CAL with his “eye” on how a hot rod should look, is never at a loss to express his opinion. (His track record would support his choices.) Bill a self-made and extremely successful businessman is also known for his definitive likes and dislikes. (There’s a great story of the Lindig/Chapouris partnership, which exists to this day, during the roadster build but we will save that for another time!) The strengths of these highly accomplished men (and hot rodders) are undoubtedly the keys behind the roadster’s truly successful outcome.

We asked Bill about his current plans for the roadster and he responded. “Following a few events in SoCal I intend to bring it to our country home in Kerrville, Texas, which is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Fire it up and drive, drive, drive; driving it on the curvy asphalt backroads. This race car–inspired hot rod with its torsion suspension is a fantastic driver. It puts your heart in your throat.”

We agree with Bill as our firsthand account will confirm.