“Voodoo” Larry Grobe’s cars hit you at the belly level. You can talk about the street level stance and the belt buckle–high rooflines you see on most of the hot rods and kustoms built at Voodoo Larry Kustoms, but we’re not being literal, we’re talking about impressions. And Voodoo Larry knows how to make an impression with a car—not by revealing things slowly and subtly, but by unloading everything all at once. You already know that. You experienced it yourself when you picked up this magazine and saw these photos of Voodoo Psychosis, Larry’s 1931 Ford Model A coupe. Or better yet, when you saw the car in person.
Larry said he got interested in this stuff after seeing American Graffiti when he was a kid. Within a few years, he was building his own cars. Now he builds them for other people and occasionally for himself at his shop in Elk Grove, Illinois. His bright green Voodoo Idol ’46 Ford sled, built in the style of Gene Winfield and the Barris brothers, earned a lot of attention a few years ago.
This time, Voodoo Larry wanted to build a traditional hot rod. He started by looking for Model A bodies on eBay. Most of them were “a lot of junk for a lot of dollars”, so he switched his search to complete cars, and found one for $4,500. The seller had purchased the coupe from the original owner 45 years earlier.
Larry sold everything except the body. After media blasting and some lower panel repairs, the coupe top was treated to a 6-inch chop. The visor was welded in place for a clean look and the firewall was reversed for more engine clearance. The grille and headlights from a ’32 were added. To create the decklid, Larry’s friend Jim at Lions Rod Shop punched 171 louvers into a fresh steel skin, which was then welded to a 1/2-inch square tube frame. More louvers were punched in the lower panel, where Larry installed nerf bars and the taillights from a ’36 Dodge. Up above, the canvas top snaps onto the perimeter channel. Rain channels were rebuilt from 1/4-inch angle.
At Flat Line Kustoms in Elgin, Illinois, Bob Sanford performed final bodywork and painted the two tones of green using PPG’s waterborne Envirobase paint. The light green is a ’46 Chrysler color and the darker shade is borrowed from an ’80 Mercedes. The scallop style is close to the old Pierson Brothers coupe from the early days of Bonneville. Larry finished it with pinstriping. The decklid was cleared, but unpainted to give it an unfinished look. Courtesy Plating and Polishing in Addison, Illinois, handled the plating jobs.
The chassis started with an aftermarket ’32 Ford frame. At Voodoo Kustoms, it was pinched 3 inches, kicked up 14 inches in the rear, and shortened 6 inches in front. The ’rails were boxed and strengthened with a custom X-member, plus front and rear crossmembers. Larry wanted the body to look channeled but wanted the Deuce frame to be visible underneath. He accomplished both by sectioning 2 inches from the frame from the firewall to the seats. The motor mounts were built to resemble the drilled front axle.
A suicide frontend, with a 5-inch-drop Magnum axle extending forward beyond the framehorns, and ’37-style dropped arm spindles let the car sit as low as it does—about 4 inches from the ground. The ’40 Ford wishbones, transverse leaf spring, and chrome Pete & Jakes shocks on ’56 F-1 pickup shock mounts complete the front suspension. The rearend is a 3.73:1 ’65 Chevy 10-bolt with a Posi. It hangs on a pair of QA1 coilovers and a custom tri-link setup Larry came up with.