Being a retired ironworker from Wisconsin, you might say Roger Raminger knows his way around steel. And, as it just so happens, so do the guys at Big Oak Garage out of Hokes Bluff, Alabama. So when Roger, who now lives in Alexandria, Alabama (just 22 miles down the state highway from the hot rod shop), wanted a driver—something he could jump in and drive anywhere at any time, he found what he wanted at Big Oak.
Other than the radiator hose and plug wires, everything else on Roger’s 355 V-8 is polishe
Roger had located a running and driving ’48 Ford coupe and decided to go through it and see if the body was sound and if the chassis was square. Once the body was off the chassis he, being a structural welder by trade, added his own Kugel Komponents IFS and X-members.
The body was sent over to Greening Auto Company for a blast job, but everyone was not prepared for what was underneath the paint. “Surprised” would be the operative word, as they found lots of fiberglass applied directly to the metal, even in structural locations such as where the A-post connects to the cowl! And there was a lot of damage to the floor in the trunk area, too, although the doors and fenders were pretty straight.
M&M Hot Rod Interiors used the original ’48 Ford framework for the split front bench befor
Roger worked with Big Oak on the rebuild, one they started on by hanging the doors, bracing everything up, and eventually repairing and replacing all of the missing sections. The guys at Big Oak, chiefly Jimmy and Will Posey, Barry Alford, Gavin Graham, and Drew Bland, all contributed to the creation of the Roger’s new car, with each bringing something special to the table. Roger had supplied the ’48 chassis after he installed the Kugel IFS and X-members, but leaf springs were used in the rear in conjunction with a 9-inch (3.50:1). The rear drum brakes were retained while the fronts were converted to a Wilwood disc brake setup. Schott rollers, 17x7 and 18x8, were then wrapped in Goodyear rubber (215/50 and 235/60).
Carolina Machine Engine, located in Johnston, South Carolina, sells rebuilt and high-performance engines, and a 355 was ordered from them that would be dressed up with lots of polished aluminum. From the Holley carb and Weiand manifold down, about the only items not polished are the radiator hose, belt, and the ignition system from PerTronix. Custom metalwork was also performed on the radiator cover and fan shroud pieces, which were scratchbuilt. The small-block backs to a TH350 transmission, and connects to the rear via a driveshaft from Huntsville Drive Shaft.
The glovebox was added to the dash, as were A/C vents, pedals, and aluminum trim from Clay
The car body did need some rust repair, and Big Oak’s Jason Latham got after it by replacing the floor and rocker panels with replacement pieces from Bitchin’ Products. Big Oak changed many of the lines of the car, too, though not in an in-your-face way. They pie cut the hood, then stretched the hood peak onto the cowl. Both bumpers were sucked in close to the body, and the factory body lines on the front fenders were reshaped. Up front a new grille was scratchbuilt using 1/2-inch, half-oval brass stock mounted to the edge of each grille piece while out back new taillight housings were also fabbed. There was custom work done inside the car, too, with the creation of a new dash, which features a glovebox, which ’48 Fords did not have originally. Big Oak also mimicked a ’56 Ford gauge pod, adding it to the dash just forward of the CON2R steering wheel.
After Big Oak got the body the way they wanted it, Drew Bland sprayed everything with PPG’s Tangerine Go Mango paint. Big Oak also created their own trim pieces out of 1-inch half-oval brass stock that they shaped and then chromed before adding it to the car’s exterior.
Roger’s ride profiles nicely with a nose-down attitude, and the PPG Tangerine Go Mango jus
The upholstery was handled by M&M Hot Rod Interiors of Holly Pond, Alabama. They used the stock framework for a split-back bench seat up front and created their own custom backseat section, covering everything in leather and suede. Up on the dash, Auto Meter gauges were added to a custom engine-turned panel and the rest of the cockpit features aluminum accent pieces from both Clayton Machine Works and Billy Hutt.
Roger also owns a ’32 Ford roadster and a ’56 Chevy, but his ’48 first made its debut at the Goodguys Des Moines show, and then soon after it was at the Columbus show, where it won a STREET RODDER Top 100 award. You could say Roger has a wide range of styles to choose from when he opens his garage door, and he can at least be confident in at least one thing concerning his ’48 Ford: it’s now 100 percent steel, and it’ll take him anywhere he wants to go.