Just the Facts
Year: 1932
Make: Ford
Model: Sedan
Owner: Dr. Rick Shindell
State: Arizona

While the rest of the country braces for a long, cold winter, it's roadster weather in the Southwest. Since January 19, 1950, West Coast rodders make the annual trek north to the Bay City of Oakland for the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS).

From its inception until 1963, winners of America's Most Beautiful Roadster award (AMBR) were, for the most part, homebuilt rods and daily drivers. Rich Guasco still drives his 1961 AMBR winner. He and his 1929 highboy make several annual cross-country treks on the Goodguys cruise to the Nats. Dennis Varni is another AMBR winner who drives his 1992 winner, a 1929 highboy on Deuce 'rails, back and forth like it is a rental car!

In 1962 George Barris won with his "Twister T". Although a dedicated show car, it still possessed a street rod pedigree. LeRoi "Tex" Smith's 1963 AMBR winner, a specialty-built Hot Rod magazine project car called the "XR-6", was a radical departure from tradition. This futuristic rod was built under the guidance of Smith who procured the talents of such notables as George Barris, Gene Winfield, Steve Swaja, and Tony Nancy. Each contributed his talents to the post-traditional appearance of the XR-6.

The GNRS eventually migrated south to its new home in Pomona, California. Over the past few years homebuilt hot rods have, once again, emerged as contenders for the AMBR trophy. Although not an AMBR contender, this 100 percent homebuilt Deuce sedan won Second Place in the Altered Street Sedan Class at the GNRS.

As a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Rick Shindell's finely honed skills and hand-eye coordination constantly bring newfound mobility to less fortunate children. As a hot rodder Rick applies these skills in his small, well-equipped, cramped machine shop. He loves nothing better than spending hours surgically crafting a piece of aluminum into a throttle linkage or fabricating an intricate bracket for his or his buddies' projects.

This particular project began with a pair of American Stamping rails and a thrashed sedan body. Rick stretched the rails 6 inches, incorporating a Model A rear crossmember with a custom-built centersection. Using a suicide front perch, he coaxed out an incredible 120 inches in length, improving the ride over the stock 106-inch wheelbase.

Rick designed a one-off front axle, had a blank laser cut to his specs, then machined and drilled it to its present configuration, which also includes the matching set of front and rear radius rods. Speedway friction shocks dampen the ride and add to the early competition look. One concession to driveability includes a pair of Wilwood disc brakes. A 1960s-style, white Mooneyes steering wheel tops the Speedway column and directs the sedan through a Vega cross-steer box.

The quintessential drag racing engine best suited to this rod's street/strip persona is a 1957 Chrysler 392ci Hemi mated to 354 heads topped with Imperial valve covers. For reliability the internals were left stock. A contemporary EFI disguised as an early, traditional Hilborn injection system, enhances the Hemi's mild manners. A Joe Hunt ignition fires the fuel; a set of short Sanderson zoomies dump spent gases. It's all backed by 1965, 727 torque-flight transmission using an Art Carr linkage controlled via push buttons.

Don Marks and Monte Pixler mated the 1940 Ford torque tubes with a machined quick-change case made by Monte. It spins Real Rodders rims shod with fat Towel City slicks. A Model A buggy spring, MG friction shocks with the aforementioned, owner-built radius rods square the third member to the frame.

Don Marks and Dave Hill magically made a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Don replaced the lower third of the sedan's body, and Dave crafted the steel top insert. When prepped for paint, Gary Saari was called on to cover the sedan in an eye-popping shade of Honda Kiwi Ice Green.

With the body being prepped for paint Rick spent countless hours carving out various components to include the gauge cluster plates, overhead radio pod, speaker screens, park selector handle, A/C control box, accelerator linkage, and a tach pod. He cut the Moon tank in half, turning it into a battery box prior to mounting it Gasser style over the front spring perch. One brilliant adaptation: routing the A/C through the rollbar by cutting slits in the metal to direct the flow of cold air over and around Rick and whoever rides shotgun. Ingenious, functional, and totally invisible.

Glenn Kramer of Hot Rod Interiors (Phoenix) skillfully stitched up the Kirkey Modified racing seats, interior panels, and headliner in lime green Enduratex and pearl white. Black loop pile carpet covers the floor. The gas tank, radiator, fan, and the all the A/C components are tucked under an upholstered compartment where a rear seat should be. Stewart-Warner gauges monitor engine vitals. The complete package provides the sedan with a badass attitude, causing the guy in the next lane driving that Camaro to have some serious doubts.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Phoenix was a hotbed of hot rodding, with notables like Chauvin Emmons, Dave Hill, and Ron Olmstead cruising Central Avenue. (All had rods featured in STREET RODDER over the years). Soon-to-be Doctor Rick Shindell watched all this from his 1960 bug-eye Sprite, and quickly traded his ascot and driving gloves for something with a bit more bite. Still bitten by the incurable hot rod disorder, the good doctor and many in this group still craft some of the best homebuilt hot rods that cruise the Valley of the Sun.

The doctor's prescription for success: We think he nailed it!