Beneath the glamorous sheetmetal work sits a 347ci Ford Racing motor with roller cam. Cool
A show of hands, please: Who among us has dreamed of owning a full-on custom car, something so sexy and stylish that it begs to be eyeballed stem to stern, side to side, and top to bottom? We’re talking about a set of wheels the likes you’d expect from D’Agostino, Winfield, or Zocchi. You know, a showpiece for the show circuit.
I, for one, have infinitely lusted over Gene Winfield’s highly stylized ’50 Mercury, “Solar Scene.” Boyhood memories still bounce in my head about turning the page of a black-and-white issue of Car Craft to be greeted by a photo of the Solar Scene at a car show. The chopped Merc’s hood was propped up, and the driver door wide open, as if to welcome this particular 11-year-old gearhead to come in and have a sit. I especially marveled at how Winfield formed the wheelwells, and the floating tube grille mesmerized me for hours.
The all-leather interior has Classic Instruments gauges, a hand-formed console, cut-down s
Dan Coleman also had a dream about owning a custom car, and thanks to Brad Aregood of R-Good’s Autoworks in Arvada, Colorado, that dream came true last summer. Dan’s dream focused on more than just the car, though. Dan dreamt about owning a custom ’56 Ford that embodied the spirit of the car that he learned to drive in when he was a teenager. As he told me, “The car belonged to my uncle. It was a ’50s custom that was raked in the front with four-bar Lancer hubcaps and lakes pipes. The car was painted Honduras Maroon and was named ‘Sundance.’ That was the car I learned how to drive in at age 14 on gravel roads. Imagine how cool I felt.”
By the time Aregood finished Dan’s car, the dream was much more than just a tribute to his uncle’s ’56 Ford custom. Dan’s dream car became a bona fide custom show car, and was featured on the Rocky Mountain Rod & Custom Car Show poster last winter. And when you conduct a stem-to-stern inspection of this slammed Ford, you understand why it receives so much attention.
The genesis for its radical looks is found in the chassis, which helps set the car’s stance, compliments of an adjustable RideTech suspension. But before there was air, Aregood stripped the frame, grafted on a Fatman Mustang II IFS clip, frenching the four-bar’s lower draglinks into the framerails. He also stiffened the inner crossmember, and C-notched the frame’s rear section. The stainless steel exhaust pipes were routed close to the frame, and you have to look hard to see any exposed fasteners.
In fact, the entire car seems void of unsightly fasteners because Dan insisted on a superclean look, which Aregood provided. Same for the car’s wiring—to maintain the car’s mono-block look, Aregood spent hours routing wires where you otherwise wouldn’t expect them.
The car’s sheetmetal exhibits equal attention to detail. Both bumpers were chopped, sectioned, and even flipped in the case of the front bumper, to give a seamless appearance. Besides shaping the doors, Aregood rolled the rockers to further conceal the framerails and to serve as the terminus for the exhaust pipes on either side.
Naturally, the headlights received a slight frenched treatment, but it’s the taillights that warrant a second look. They’re from a ’64 Falcon, and you’ll notice that the trim rings are made of stainless steel that’s embedded into the car’s sheetmetal. This, of course, created a minor hurdle when it was time for Aregood to lay down the Dark Garnett paint.
Foose Legend wheels are wrapped with Michelin big ‘n’ little hides—225/40-18 in the front
There’s been a lot of hocus-pocus metalwork underhood, too, so that the Ford Racing 347ci engine doesn’t look so racy. Everything, it seems, was hand-formed by Aregood, but what really captures your attention is the induction. Listening to Aregood explain how he fashioned that beautiful piece of sheetmetal can make you dizzy, but then you have to ask: Where’s the master brake cylinder? “That, and the hydraulic clutch reservoir, are accessed by the two Hotmatch filler bungs on the firewall,” Aregood explains. The filler bungs are actually pop-up caps intended for motorcycle gas tanks. Nifty.
I’ve saved the best for last, and that’s the car’s interior. Aregood formed the center console and cleaned up the dashboard, plus he installed the backseat of a ’64 Thunderbird for rear passengers to snuggle in. He also cut the car’s original steering wheel down to 13 inches, which required a lot of work. “I spent about a week just getting that wheel right,” reports Aregood. The bucket seats are from a Cadillac Escalade.
Lift the rear deck and you notice the Sundance II script on the all-leather trim. The car
When it was time for trim, the crew at Autoweave finished everything—trunk included—in Spinneybeck leather, considered to be among the top makers of upholstery leather in the world. “Ron and Jimmy from Autoweave did a really special job,” Dan cites. And somewhere beneath all that plush cowhide are the sound system’s six stereo speakers and woofers.
Finally, Dan had the car’s name, “Sundance II,” placed on the dash and in the trunk. The name pays homage to Sundance, the car that belonged to his uncle. “I have to give special thanks to Uncle Dewey for building such a special car 50 years ago and then letting a 14-year-old kid drive it.” And that, my friends, is what dreams are made of.