Purpose-built hot rods have been the backbone of our culture for decades, ever since stripped-down roadsters first roared across the dry lakes. Fueled by an individual's desire to hit the streets, dragstrip, or salt, each one conveys the passion of a specific owner's hopes and dreams.
For Derrick Pesko, owner of Allstar Hot Rods in Waterford, Connecticut, it was the inspiration of seeing Clark Bates' #999 modified running on the muddy track for the Jalopy Showdown at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds in York Springs, Pennsylvania, a few years ago that sparked his magneto. Bates' modified encompassed plenty of hot rod ingenuity into its build, thanks to a grouping of parts costing no more than $999 and a build time with friends of only six days.
Using a simple formula, Derrick plugged in all the right parts, including a stock ’37 Ford
The completed car had plenty of old-time good looks and more than enough power to sling mud across the track, yet also look wicked at a local cruise night. Seeing all the fun that Bates had with the car based on its short budget, Derrick looked deep into his pile of spare parts in the shop one evening while hanging around with his pals from their car club, The Others. Seeing that the piles contained most of the basic goods to take on the build, Derrick made a pact with the gang that he'd build the Allstar Special modified in a six-week period (122 hours, hence the door number) and that he would let fellow HAMB members follow its construction from day to day online till the car debuted on the track. It was a pretty cool idea, but there was a lot of work to focus on to design the car and get it done while also running a business full time.
It's one thing to take on a build with lay-around parts, but to make them come together and be bitchin, that's where the magic lies. Derrick's dedication to traditional hot rodding energized the concept and he wasted no time laying out the bones to focus on building the rolling chassis. Starting with a long-forgotten A spine, he cut it apart, reversed and boxed the 'rails to better follow the body curvature, and added custom-fab'd crossmembers. Out back a '37 Ford rear filled with 4:11 gears was suspended in place by a pair of split '37 'bones accented by a Model T spring mounted ahead of the rearend while '40 Chevy truck shocks soak up the bumps.
To bring just enough attitude to the front of the car, a '37 Ford axle and spindles was anchored in place through a combination of split '37 'bones deftly matched to a Speedway Motors leaf spring mounted behind the axle. A pair of modified '40 Chevy truck shocks evens everything out while a dual-reservoir '66 Chevy truck master pushes fluid through steel lines to '48 Ford drum brakes at each corner. To get the chassis rolling, a set of genuine '36 Ford wires capped with Firestone/Coker 5.00x16s up front and 8.90x16 dirt trackers in back sealed the deal. With the chassis now rolling it was time for a classic yet budget-minded engine and transmission combination to be located.
The side pipe exits neatly through the side rail portion of the frame.
Fellow club member Doug Klett had just recently acquired a bone-stock '37 Ford sedan he was planning on updating and offered up the car's full driveline to the build. It was a perfect match, adding an original Ford mill to the mix. Since the engine was stock and a good runner, a decision was made to degrease it and give it a wake-up, thanks to some vibrant red gloss, and dress it up with some chrome acorn caps on the heads. A GM alternator was added for durability while a single Stromberg 97 carb is perched atop the stock intake crowned by a screen and a custom-fab'd mud visor. Derrick fab'd a custom exhaust from the stock manifolds back using mild steel with chrome straight pipes exiting through the frame just behind the split 'bones for a racy feel. Linked to a '37 Ford trans, a shortened torque tube transfers the power while a custom shifter changes the gears.
It was time to focus on the body so a call was placed to Wintec Fabrication in nearby Wallingford for one of their fiberglass '27 Ford lakester bodies to act as a base. To inject a serious amount of gow to the mix, the 'glass shell was first treated to a pair of custom-fab'd doors along with a working cowl vent, steel reinforced body, an aluminum belly pan, and custom floors. Moving forward of the cowl, Derrick modified a pair of original Model A hood sides to fit the application while also bending up a custom lift-off hood complete with a screen-vented blister to accommodate the carb height. The crowning touch for the front of the car was a modified Speedway Motors Curtis-style Track T nose trimmed to fit, featuring a hand-hammered curved mesh screen. With the body panels now all sorted out, the team at Allstar Hot Rods moved forward on bodywork, blocking everything to perfection. To personify the vintage feel of the modified, Derrick loaded his spray gun with Axalta (DuPont) Benny Blue and laid down the vibe, bringing the car to life. To add visual speed, a tri-tipped scallop was laid out across the nose and squirted in Axalta (DuPont) crème gloss. Bringing the final bit of dazzle to the exterior of the car, Charlie Decker of One Arm Bandit pinstriping in Windsor, Connecticut, laid out the lettering and numbers as well as the final stripes to the scallops.
Bare bones yet comfortable, the modified gets the job done with tasty vintage style. A das
In keeping with the theme of a bare-bones modified, Derrick kept the interior as basic as possible. He filled the '32 Ford dash with a custom insert packed with mismatched swap meet find gauges to cover the basics, including rpm, oil pressure, and temperature. A vintage Sprint Car–style wheel was perched atop a GM box converted to cowl steering for navigation while a set of modified Ansen pedals coax the beast's movements. Good friend Scot Cave laid out the wiring while Derrick fab'd up a pair of simple buckets covered in brown vinyl by CZ's Upholstery of Southington, Connecticut. For safety a set of vintage aircraft seatbelts were bolted in, accented by neat custom touches like a two-point rollbar, leather straps across the Model T gas tank, and a single '32 Ford military-issue rear taillight. Sealing the deal is a pair of hidden HID headlights mounted inside the grille shell to keep it all legal.
Standing back and studying the modified it's clear to see that Derrick nailed the look with a combination of stance, attitude, and style … all in 122 hours! The final accomplishment was making it out to the Jalopy Showdown and letting the mud fly as the car made its way around the dirt track. With the car completed and to make way for another upcoming modified project it recently moved on to its new owner Rich Hall of Torrington, Connecticut, who pledges to keep its legacy alive.
Just the Facts
Owner: Derrick Pesko
For plenty of scoot around town, a ’37 Ford Flathead V-8 looks right at home nailed to the
A ’37 Ford axle and spindles was anchored in place through a combination of split ’37 ’bon
Dig the wicked combination of a ’37 Ford rearend hung under a Model T gas tank, while a se