After seven years of the STREET RODDER Road Tour, the 2002 version (co-sponsored by Motorsports Direct and Eagle One) has evolved into arguably the best of the bunch. All the earmarks of a topflight street rod are present in its performance, comfort, fit, and finish, with just a touch of attitude. But, don't take my word for it, just ask the one, the only, Road Tour Chauffeur Jerry Dixey. He has the seat of the pants feeling, literally, for all of the cars, including this year's.
So, what is it? It's both an open as well as a closed car with a foldable soft top and removable hard top. The ride is based on an independent front with a coilover rear suspension. Coupled to this is the latest technology in radial tires. Creature comforts abound with amenities such as an air conditioner and heater, plug and play stereo, just the right number of digital gauges monitoring every mechanical whim, and a plush leather interior based on an individually adjustable bucket seat, which is linked to the latest in overdrive-automatic transmissions.
We are talking comfortable. Could street rodders become softies with these creature comforts and weaken their constitution? Whatever happened to the days of solid-axle cars minus windows and with barely adequate tops (no side curtains, of course?). Poorly padded and even more poorly designed seating was also a sign of the times. Added to this would often be an engine that consumed loads of fossil fuels (dripping almost as much oil), a tranny that ground ample amounts of metal, and a rearend that would serenade you as you traveled down the highway?
Well, those days are still here but for those who have experienced enough wind in their hair, bugs in their teeth, and backside soreness associated with too many miles and not enough buffer, there's an alternative. In our case, this year's Road Tour 'vert built by California Street Rods (Huntington Beach, CA) features a fiberglass phantom '39 Ford convertible from Coast to Coast (Alberta, Canada) painted in PPG (Strongsville, OH) Kobalt blue basecoat/clearcoat.
The black powdercoated frame is equipped with the latest in independent front suspension from Heidt's Hot Rod Shop (Wauconda, IL). To it you will find Aldan (Carson, CA) coilovers in front and AFCO (Boonville, IN) coilover shocks in back, Wilwood Engineering (Camarillo, CA) front discs, a Master Power (Moresville, NC) power brake system, and Barry White Street Rod Repair (Placentia, CA) line clamps. The rearend is a Currie (Anaheim, CA) 9-inch with 3.54 gears and drum braking. Steering is a combination of Flaming River (Berea, OH) rack-and-pinion and U-joints all worked by their steering column topped off by a Colorado Custom (Ft. Collins, CO) wheel. Colorado Custom also supplied the 16- and 18-inch wheels wrapped with Nitto (Cypress, CA) tires. In front are 205/50R16s and in back are 295/45ZR18s.
Inland Empire Driveline (Ontario, CA) supplied the driveshaft that couples the rearend to the TCI (Ashland, MS) AOD tranny. In turn, the tranny is mated to the Ford Racing Performance Parts (Dearborn, MI) small-block V-8. The 302-inch motor is equipped with an Edelbrock (Torrance, CA) intake, Hedman Manufacturing (Cerritos, CA) primary exhaust tubes with Magnaflow Performance (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) pipes and mufflers, Demon (Dahlonega, GA) four-barrell carb, MSD (El Paso, TX) distributor and wires, Powermaster (Knoxville, TN) alternator and starter, March Performance (Westland, MI) engine pulleys, and Billet Specialties (Burr Ridge, IL) engine accessories, such as the air cleaner and valve cover breathers.
The responsibility for keeping all matters cool falls to a Walker Radiator Works (Memphis, TN) radiator with a Cooling Components (Proctor, AR) shroud-wrapped fan while the overflow tank duties belong to a Dan Fink Metalworks (Huntington Beach, CA) polished aluminum canister. The remote tranny cooler is a Flex-a-lite (Puyallup, WA). Of course, that only accounts for the engine and tranny. What about the rodder's inside? Inside, the nod was given to Vintage Air (San Antonio, TX) for the air conditioner and heater assembly. Other creature comforts include the plush leather seating from Tea's Design (Rochester, MN) equipped with seatbelts from Juliano's (Vernon, CT). The remainder of the interior and top kits came from Time Machine Unlimited. The rearview mirrors came by way of Valley Auto Accessories (Fowler, IL). The dashboard is part of the Coast to Coast package, but the dash insert comes by way of Lokar (Knoxville, TN). Lokar also supplied the throttle and brake pedals, shifter, emergency brake assembly, and interior door handles. Other interior appointments include window glass from Coast to Coast with a power window mechanism and windshield wiper kit from Specialty Power Window (Forsyth, GA). The keyless door entry (and ignition) comes by way of Watson's StreetWorks (Bozrah, CT) and the emergency mechanical door release is an Itsashokar (Boaz, AL) unit.
On the electrical side, Haywire (Joplin, MO) supplied the wiring system for the entire project, which included wiring for the Alpine Electronics (Torrance, CA) stereo system, headlights from Vintique (Orange, CA), and the flush mount LED taillights from Lambert Enterprises (Norris, TN). All that "juice" comes from an Optima (Aurora, CO) battery that rests inside a Bitchin Products (El Cajon, CA) cast aluminum box. It takes a lot of people and a whole bunch of effort to build a car, especially within the short amount of time required by the Road Tour schedule. Now would be good time to thank all those manufactures who helped and especially to California Street Rods who pulled this project together. Again, thanks a bunch from those of us at STREET RODDER.
Colorado Custom wheels covered with Nitto hides and a very chopped looking soft top from T
Colorado Custom steering wheel rests on top of the Flaming River polished tile steering c
The Coast to Coast dashboard is outfitted with a Lokar dash insert, which in turn is equip
Tea's Design supplied the leather covered buckets, which in turn are equipped with Juliano
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