Page 1












36584 32648

VOL. 3, NO. 3







Todd Ryden


ot long ago, I had a photo shoot lined up to cover a ’34 Chevy pickup. You can read more about the truck on page 34 of this issue, so I won’t go into too many details, but it’s a true vintage hot rod, and its story is the main reason why I decided to shoot it as a feature. Upon my arrival, Jack Irons, the guy who revived the pickup, tossed me the keys and explained he was on home lockdown due to medical reasons. I didn’t want to pry, nor was I sure about driving around the area looking for a nice background in someone else’s street rod. He assured me it was easy to drive — it’s just a truck after all — and to have at it. Also, he told me to drive it like a hot rod! I climbed in and slammed the steel-covered wooden door with a sound only an old hot rod could make and got comfy. With the clutch engaged and the three-speed trans in neutral, I tapped the three carbs a couple times, twisted the key, and the solid lifter 327c.i. fired instantly to life. Even dead cold, the thing idled nice — a testament to Jack’s tuning ability and having everything spot-on. With a wave and a head nod to say, “Okay, I hope I don’t wreck your truck,” off I went. As I settled in, I realized how right Jack was; this truck felt good. I mean really good. It cruised right down the road, felt solid, and looked the hot rod part that it was built for. Within a couple miles, I was Jack with grandsons Luke and Arie. crawling through the small downtown side streets of Ortonville, Michigan, without a worry about lugging the truck down to a stall or locking up the four-wheel drum brakes. Not only was this ’34 easy to drive, it was fun. A lot of fun. With the downtown photos wrapped up, I headed out on a country road to find where the truck was originally built into a hot rod. The barn was still standing where a young hot rodder by the name of John McGinnis added a 265c.i. V-8, the three-speed, and even the rear end from a ’55 Chevy. That was in 1958. Even with the worn Michigan two-lane road, the truck cruised right along. It felt eager to be out for a drive, and maybe it was having as much fun as I was. By now, I felt like I’d been driving the truck for years and recognized it’s every crick, rattle, and bump. The temps were mild, the sky clean, and the cool breeze coming from the open cowl vent overpowered the warmer air coming up by the shifter. It was the most fun I’ve had driving an old car in ages. Upon my return, Jack came out of the house to meet me in the garage. If he was nervous about me being gone 90 minutes with his hot rod, it didn’t show. In fact, he seemed excited to hear what I thought about driving the truck. We chatted quite a while longer in the driveway, mostly about the truck. As you’ll see in the story, there’s quite a history behind the ’34, and the conversation continued about just how much fun he’s had with this project. I’m pretty sure he said it was one of the most fun builds he’s ever done — and Jack has done a lot of cars. He also let me in on his upcoming quintuple bypass. Here’s a guy that was working up until just a few days ago, then came home at night to work on hot rods. Quite a shock to hear he needed an operation of that magnitude and we were standing out in his driveway shooting the bull and talking cars. In fact, he actually put off a trip to the hospital so I could shoot the car for the story. We shared some texts and exchanged build photos over the next few days before the operation. A couple weeks later, I received the message there were some complications afterwards, and things weren’t looking good. Unfortunately, they didn’t get better. What I’ll always remember about Jack is standing in his driveway listening to the stories he learned about the old Chevy and how much he enjoyed not only getting it back on the road, but meeting the people who knew the truck’s history. His last build wasn’t just another barn find, but a piece of local hot rodding lore that sparked a lot of lost memories and connected old friends — and connected some new ones. Godspeed, Jack.

Editorial Director

Todd Ryden

Senior Tech Editor

Jeff Smith

Tech Editor

Richard Holdener

Copy Editor

Cindy Bullion


Hailey Douglas


Paul Graff

Digital Editors

Elizabeth Puckett Jonathan Ertz

Contributors Barry Kluczyk David Sanchez Louis Kimery Michael Harrington Chadly Johnson Kenny Kroeker Advertising/Subscriptions Ivan Korda For advertising inquiries call 901.260.5910.

Street Rod Life is published quarterly to promote the growth of street rodding as well as recognize the parts and services from participating manufacturers. The magazine consists of dedicated information from partner companies with the mission of disseminating unfiltered editorial on companies, products and services directly to street rodders and fans. Editorial content and advertisements for each issue can originate from partner companies participating in the magazine. Street Rod Life is a hybrid of content that was originally published at and original content that was created for this quarterly print magazine. Magazine distribution occurs through direct distribution from parent company Xceleration Media, its partner companies, and marquee events throughout the year. Street Rod Life is a property of Xceleration Media. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent from Xceleration Media. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.

Cover ON THE

Kenny Kroeker captured Ryan Hill’s ‘29 pickup as evening settled in across Hawkestone, Ontario, Canada. Quite a build for a first timer! Check it out on page 16.



















36584 32648


VOL. 3, NO.

Todd Ryden

Staff Operations Director Shawn Brereton










Poteet and Trepanier’s better idea





Hopped up pickup truck

Minnesota reels in the cars

Rescuing a 60-year-old project A rookie’s Salt experience

Poteet and Trepanier’s better idea Cruising in Somerset

This ’36 is still in the family

Drive it like a hot rod

What’s up in the rodding world Cool sites, tech, and info

Car guy pics, posts, and tweets Back to Bonneville


Have a beer, watch Eric work Rodding north to the border Legend Larry Nolan

Where to be and when

Garage-built in Goodrich

Cool videos you need to see Ready for your feature?

Even more features, videos, & event coverage 2 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3



Hopped up pickup truck




Setting up your new fuel tank Cool your power steering

The proper steps with RideTech Is there a Triple Crown for parts Q-Jet tuning tips

From EZ to XFI with FAST

SUMMER NATIONALS Minnesota reels in the cars

MOPAR MASTER Baer’s new Remaster

Parts Store PowerMAX Plus Starter Powermaster....................................... 58 Concours Pro HVLP Paint Gun Kit Eastwood............................ 58 LS30 5W-30 Oil Driven Racing Oil............................................. 58 ’57 Chevy Floor Shift Column ididit.......................................... 59 Carbon Fiber Universal Mirrors Ringbrothers........................... 59 FE Ultra-Gold ARC Rockers COMP Cams.................................. 60 Billet 10-71 Supercharger BDS............................................... 60 Polished Hot Rod Shocks Ridetech.......................................... 60 Twin Three Instrument Sets CON2R......................................... 61 VTC Module for Coyote FAST..................................................... 61 Retrofit Hydraulic Roller Lifters Crane Cams........................... 62 Hot Rod Flat Acrylic Paint Summit Racing............................... 62 LS Dual Valve Spring Set Lunati............................................... 62

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How to blueprint your clutch setup






Goodguys now goes to 1987 and older We’ve heard the rumors most of the season, but it’s finally been made official — Goodguys Rod & Custom Association will now accept show cars through 1987 models! Square bodies, Grand Nationals, and Trans Ams, come on down! The jump to 1987 is the first time Goodguys has raised the year eligibility for their national events in 23 years. Some of the diehard rodders may be grumbling at the thought of parking next to a 5.0L Foxbody Mustang, but we think this is going to be a great chance to see some different rods, along with a new twist on performance. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about these “modern” hot rods.

Custom Pinewoods

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance of SEMA brought grudge racing to the NSRA Nationals with their annual Pinewood Builders Challenge. The Challenge pits builders and manufacturers in a custom Pinewood race car build-off and race. As you would expect, the cars are far from your ordinary Pinewood build. The cars were raced during the Nats, with RideTech taking home the manufacturer’s title and Blake Meaux of Mo’ Muscle continuing his streak to become the three-time Champion. The best part about the program is each Pinewood car will be auctioned off during the upcoming SEMA show, with all of the proceeds going to the SEMA Cares Charities. Learn more at:

Preserving the pictures of Petersen

When Robert E. Petersen founded Hot Rod Magazine in 1947, little did he know he would go on to chronicle the history of the American car culture and hot rodding. Today, the photography archives of Petersen Publishing, a priceless catalog of history, are archived at the Petersen Automotive Museum. SEMA recently announced a new initiative with the museum for the preservation of the Petersen Publishing archives. The project will be a multi-year commitment to digitize Kawasaki, SEMA Chairman of and metatag more than one Wade the Board million photo frames. “We are proud to support this important project that documents and preserves our heritage,” said SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki. “From the early days of land speed and drag racing to technical articles to coverage of the first SEMA Shows, it’s all there in these archives, and we are excited to work with the Petersen [Automotive Museum] to share this history with the public and our members.”


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3



A beauty of a roadster

The Renaissance Roadster, owned by Buddy Jordan, was named America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod by Goodguys. The aluminum-bodied roadster is based on a ’33 Ford coach-built by Steve’s Auto Restorations. Earlier in the year, the car captured the Ridler Award and is now on the list of Goodguys’ Top 12 cars of the year.

More space for McLeod NSRA McLeod Racing moved all of its manufacturing and offices into a new building in September. With the larger facility, McLeod will be able to better accommodate customers with more products stocked and ready to ship. “This new building is awesome and will make our operations run smoother with increased production,” McLeod Racing’s President Paul Lee said. “It will be a big move since McLeod has been in its current location for over 27 years.” The company was founded in 1971 and is a leading manufacturer of performance and racing driveline components, including clutch kits, flywheels, hydraulics, and more. The move will keep McLeod near their southern California roots in Anaheim. For more info, check out

Person of the Year

Congratulations to Joe Petlick of Motorstate Distributing on being named the NSRA Person of the Year! A hot rodder since his teens, he has long been a supporter of our hobby and involved in the industry for more than 35 years. When he’s not working, chances are you’ll find him in the garage tinkering with his ’66 Chevelle, ’60 Corvette, or cruising his ’39 Ford coupe. Petlick was presented the recognition by the NSRA’s Jerry Kennedy and joined on stage by his wife, Diane.





The internet is loaded with automotive info, but weeding through all of the ads and weak sites makes it tough to find quality answers to your questions. We’ve put together a few suggestions that have helped us with a project or we simply found fun to read through. If you have any great websites, forums, or social media groups to share, let us know!

WEBSITES Everyman’s Cave

You may have had a peek at Cook’s Garage in our coverage of the West Texas Roundup outside of Lubbock, but you can check out more — or even rent the place — on their website. It’s ideal for car events, family reunions, and even weddings (in our opinion).

Caddy Scope

Ever wonder how to tell the difference between a 472, 500, 425, or 368 Cadillac engine? How about swapping a 472 into a ’55 Caddy? The Cad Company site has plenty of info, but if you can’t find what you need, just give them a holler.

Euro Rodding

One Serious Road Trip

Travis (Royboy) Scanlin will be embarking on a trip that’ll take him through 48 states in his ’63 Galaxie and Canned Ham camper in tow. Check in on his website for updates and plans as the journey draws near this fall.

Spend some time surfing through some European street rods with the European Street Rod Association. The ESRA was formed in 1995 as an umbrella organization for European countries with street rodding interests.

GROUPS/FORUMS Bonneville Racer

Not being at Bonneville (again) had us groping for info online, and when we came across the Bonneville Land Speed Racer group on Facebook, we breathed a sigh of relief. Great discussions, pictures, and info about all things LSR. land speed racer

Surplus of Cool Stuff

If you’re in search of early ’60s speed parts, vintage tools, and pre-’49 vintage hot rods and projects, check out Rodders Surplus. The site is chock full of goodies that will get you fired up to buy stuff you don’t necessarily need, but really want. surplus

Wheels and Hubcaps

If you’ve just never gotten into the whole 18-inch wheel thing, this Facebook group is you. For those that dig the simplicity and sleeper style of steel wheels and factory hubcaps, dial up this dedicated group of ’72 and older rods.

Only the Parts

This public Facebook group is all about buying, selling, and sharing Ford Coyote-related parts. Need a complete engine, fuel pump module, long tube headers, or a flexplate? You’ll find them here without weeding through tech and tuner talk. and hubcaps

Street rodding news at your fingertips Street Rod Life is making it easy for you to receive rodding news no matter what media platform you choose! Whether you prefer a desktop computer, tablet, or phone, we’ve


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

got you covered with daily updates about the street rodding industry. Check out Street Rod Life online or through your favorite social media platform. parts swap









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Get social with us — find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Be sure to hashtag #StreeRodLife on all your favorite car show pics, garage projects, and just plain ol’ cool stuff that we all dig. You can also give us a shoutout @StreetRodLife to share something, and we might even repost it! #STREETRODLIFE AS SEEN ON FACEBOOK 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division welcomed us to a very special event that corresponded with the Woodward Dream Cruise. Chip Foose was the featured guest, along with 10 other top automotive painters from around the world. It was an amazing experience, and we covered it all on Facebook with galleries and video.






“Hold my beer and watch this.” Only a little leg hair was singed during this extreme flame thrower test run.

Every event we attend receives a lot of Instagram and social coverage — be sure to follow us see the action.




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Rod Shot

Chadly Johnson got this beautiful sunrise shot of Bob and Brenda Kellison’s ’29 Roadster before they headed to the starting line for Bob’s first run at Bonneville. It may have been Bob’s rookie run, but the #471 roadster is a landspeed veteran, having run from 1979 to 1992 and reached up to 211 mph. You can read more about the story on page 44. Check out more of Chadly’s work


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3




VIDEO PLAYLIST There is no shortage of cool videos to watch online, but finding quality street rod stuff can get tough. Here are a few of our favorites that you can see at

To watch all the videos below, head to:

Vintage AHRA Championship Jay drives a V-12 ’55 Chevy

We’ve seen Gary Kollofski’s amazing shoebox at events, so it was cool to watch Jay Leno check out the Hemi-headed 730c.i. engine. Gary explains the build, the power, and then they take it for a cruise.

Swapping rear gears

If you’re planning on changing the gears in your rear end, this video from JEGS will give you an idea of what you’re in store for. Not quite a step-by-step, but a detailed overview that shows some common tools and tips.

Everything about the new ’32 At more than 30 minutes long, this Ford promotional reel from 1932 goes into extreme detail about the new Model T and the Flathead V-8. There are all sorts of cool cutaways and amazing details.

Eight weird ones

This video shows eight truly bizarre vehicles ranging from the space age-looking ’53 Manta Ray, a Chrysler Thunderbolt, a Dodge Deora, Amphicars, and other surprises.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

They never mention the year, but it must be late ’60s for this footage of the AHRA World Points Championship. Dick Harrell is interviewed about his big-block ’66 Chevy II, and you’ll see the Doug Nash Bronco, Gas Rhonda, and others. Cool stuff.

Weld measures backspacing

With today’s extra wide and large diameter wheel offerings, accurately measuring the back spacing of a wheel is imperative to the fit and finish on your rod. The experts at Weld Racing Wheels walk you through the proper way.

Sleeper ’30 sedan

We love sleepers, and this plain Jane ’30 Ford sedan is awesome. Big Oak Garage did a chassis upgrade on a fairly stock Model A and a few minor upgrades underneath to handle the power from a built 302c.i. Ford with FAST EFI.

Concept cars of the future

This video is full of cool photos of concept cars the Big 3 dreamed about, but never brought to fruition. There are a lot of fins, aero designs, cockpit interiors and you get a look at the future that didn’t quite add up.

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What to expect during a photoshoot Editor’s Note: We get a lot of questions about what it takes to get your car in the pages of Street Rod Life, which led to a conversation with automotive photographer extraordinaire Michael Harrington. Mike shoots oodles of features and event coverage, so he’s perfect for the subject about shooting cars. Check out his work at @highgeared on Instagram or at


ongratulations! Your car has just been selected for a feature shoot in a magazine! Now what? As with any situation in life, there are fluid variables involved, such as the location, time of day, weather, vehicle mobility (we hope they always roll down the road), indoors or outdoors, just to name a few. First things first — have your car cleaned up and looking good! If there are enough days, or hours before a shoot, having a clean vehicle will help expedite the process. There have been times where the photographer has had to spend upwards of an hour cleaning the vehicle. Try to envision the photo shoot as if it were a first date — shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. Ok, now that we are polished and dusted, how long is this going to take? Again, the whole variable thing comes into play. If the vehicle is being shot in a studio, there is a great chance it is a full-blown production, which could easily take a day or more. Typically, and thankfully, most photo shoots will occur in the car’s natural habitat: on pavement, at a racetrack, and the like. Keep in mind that even these situations can take a minimum of two to three hours. There really is no set of rules: if the vehicle is going to be used for one angle, then expect a far shorter shoot time. If your vehicle is slated for a full four- or six-page feature, then it’s all dependent on the photographers’ workflow. Ahh…workflow, just what does that mean? Well, let’s compare it to fishing shall we? Some fishermen may finesse the line with a top secret hand-tied fly, gently enticing the prize-winning fish to the surface. Other fishermen my use power bait, sit

Remember, it’s your rod that’s the star of the photo shoot. You will likely be relegated to tire cleaner, and maybe even reflector-boy.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

If your car is being shot indoors or in a studio, you’ll probably want to plan for a full day of hanging around. A full-fledged studio shoot might not be as glamorous as it sounds…but it’s still worth it!

on the bank in their easy chair, crack open a tall one, and hope for the best. Some may throw dynamite into the water and scoop up everything that dredges to the surface. The end goal being that there is fish in the frying pan. For a photographer, the end goal, no matter their individual workflow, is a finished set of photos to hand off to the editor. (As for the editors and art directors, that is a story for another day.) So, what do you, the vehicle owner, do during these photo shoots? Glad you asked (even though you really didn’t). Be prepared to do some strange things, and have strange things asked of you by the person with the camera. “Ok, back up here, but turn the wheels this way. Perfect. Okay, lay down so we can’t see you, but keep your foot on the brake pedal.” It sounds strange, but the photographer will ask you to move the vehicle in a variety of different ways; some may even seem like microscopic movements, and will seemingly make no difference at all. In some cases (meaning all), you may be asked to “volunteer” to hold a reflector to help bounce light onto the car. This will also lead to a number of different movements, positions, and direction from the person with the camera. Through it all, the main thing, of course, is to kick back, have fun, and let the photographer do their thing. Chances are they have been honing their craft for years, can picture exactly what they want, and have a plan for how it will look in the magazine pages. Bring a lounge chair and some refreshments, because that photo shoot may take a couple hours. And it will all be worth it when you open that new issue and see your street rod in print or online. SRL







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This pickup was built with parts, pieces, and sweat WORDS: Louis Kimery PHOTOS: Kenny Kroeker


nce upon a time, it was almost a prerequisite for young North American males to learn the fine art of speed shifting and power tuning a Holley. It was a cultural rite of passage to know your way around an automobile, and if you didn’t make the grade, your status among other young gearheads dropped as well. Possessing a driver’s license meant acquiring a newfound freedom of mobility, and being able to “cut a good light” at the local drag strip would only enhance your automotive cred among your peers. There was a slice of time when it seemed every young man was into cars, whether they were wrenching on them or not.

16 Vol.Vol. 3, 3, No.No. 33 16  STREET STREETROD RODLIFE LIFE 




No sense in covering all the details of the rear suspension when it looks this good.

Alas, that was then, and this is now. Look around at any big automotive event, and you’ll see plenty of enthusiasts. But, finding one under 40 at a street rod-centric event can sometimes be like finding Waldo. So, how do you get the newest generation of automotive enthusiasts interested in cars their grandfathers drove, while their friends are driving the latest imported hot hatches? The best way we can think of is by way of example, which is exactly how Ryan Hill came into hot rodding and

fabrication. Ryan, of Hawkestone, Ontario, Canada, was introduced to the wonderful world of vintage tin through his father, Larry. Larry provided a life-long environment of do-it-yourself automotive projects, which helped nurture Ryan’s idea of what makes for a cool car or truck in this case. Through his father, he grew an appreciation for old cars and the time-honored craft of building a hot rod from a pile of cast off parts. At the ripe old age of 20, Larry found a ’29 Ford

Ryan dropped the body about 4 inches down over the chassis to produce a lower stance from the non-chopped cab.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Ryan built and covered the custom seat in blue vinyl and built the shifter. Stewart Warner gauges and a Mercruiser Marine tachometer monitor the Y-Block’s performance.

pickup body at a local flea market, and it was game on for Ryan to create his version of a hot rod pickup. While attending Wyotech, Ryan assembled a custom chassis for the truck and then spent the next five years gathering the parts and pieces. His goal was to build a ’50s-style hot rod flavored with the same sort of ethic that might have fueled a similar build six decades earlier. The power plant, a ’50s-era 239c.i. Ford Y-Block, is nearly stock save for the vintage Fenton intake manifold and

A pair of vintage BLC Guide head lamps illuminate the roadway.

Ryan kept the vintage Y-block fairly stock on the inside with a bit more cam, a trio of Holley 94s, and Geardrive headers. Note the Mercury valve covers, generator, and vintage Polamatic ignition driver.

a trio of Holley 94 carburetors. A set of Geardrive headers were used, and the Mercury valve covers contrast nicely with the white engine block and firewall. Two of the newest pieces on the entire build are the T-5 trans from an S-10 pickup and the 9-inch Ford rear end.

Almost everything else was as old and crusty as their mid-20th century origins would suggest. The front suspension consists of a drilled and dropped (4 inches) I-beam axle and a set of split wishbones, just like times past. A ’32 Ford grill shell greets onlookers with a

recognizable hot rod visage, and keeps the bugs off the radiator. The aft section of this truck features a shortened ’29 Ford bed finished with Mercury-stamped tailgate that Ryan fabricated. For those that live south of the border, a useful factoid to remember is that since 1946, Ford marketed many pickups throughout Canada as Mercury trucks. So, should you encounter a Mercury truck at an event and become confused (as has happened to me), thank your neighbors to the north. When it came time to mate the truck body to the chassis, Ryan gave the hauler a 4-inch channeling job to keep everything on the low-down. He also added a filled steel visor, and left the top open

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The front suspension consists of a set of split wishbones, a 4-inch dropped axle, and a pair of ’40 Ford drums. Wheels are also of ’40 vintage wrapped in Firestone.

with exposed wood bracing. There is no flooring in the bed, as it would have been a shame to cover up the detailed chassis and suspension work. Stopping this vintage hot rod truck is left to the stock drums on the 9-inch rear, and a set of ’40 Ford backing plates fitted with finned aluminum Buick drums up

20 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 20  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

front. Traditional all the way. The rolling stock consists of ’40 Ford 16-inch steel wheels at each corner, wearing 4.5-inchwide Firestone bias ply wide-whitewall rubber in front, and similar 7.5-inchwide skins out back. Ryan enjoys the metalwork, mechanical, and fabricating parts of building, but

when it came time for paint, he turned to the expertise of Rick and Paul Elder. They took care of the original steel and laid down the Washington Blue paint that came straight from the 1929 Ford paint chart. Five years on and Ryan Hill declared his slick ’50s era hot rod officially finished

After half a decade of building the Model A, it’s time for Ryan to rack up some miles!

and promptly hit the road! The pickup chugs right down the road, and Ryan has had it at the cruises and shows supported by the Toronto area East London Timing Association, which lent support and inspiration throughout this project.

Ryan is quick to point out his father had been a driving force behind the build and provided endless hours of labor and support on the project. His mother, Pam, also pitched in encouragement and help in the garage.

So, there you have it. If you want to see younger hot rodders, pay it forward and lead by example. If you plant the seed, expect it to grow. We can’t wait to see what Ryan is planning for his sophomore build. SRL



Baer Goes Billet Baer’s new Remaster now for Mopars WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden


or many street rodders, braking performance may not be as high on the “must have” list as it should. Even if you’re building a cruiser and aren’t concerned with 100-0 mph stops and making laps, you still need to think through the complete brake system and the components you plan to use. One of the most important parts of the brake system is the master cylinder. In fact, when you really stop (get it?) and think about it, the master cylinder is truly the heart of the brake system. It has a reservoir to hold the brake fluid, and it converts the mechanical effort from the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure to activate the brake calipers or drums. It also plays a decisive role in your vehicle’s resulting pedal effort, modulation, and the overall braking effectiveness of the system. To simplify its operation, the cylinder contains a piston that is pushed through a bore when pressure is applied to the brake pedal. Within the cylinder, there are small ports that direct the fluid to the proper brake circuit. As the piston is pushed into the cylinder, it pressurizes the system and calipers with brake fluid. Baer finally introduced their own master cylinder to complement their line of four- and six-piston calipers and performance braking components — and it was well worth the

Who thought a master cylinder could look so good? Baer did.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

wait. The team started with a clean sheet, as well as a block of billet aluminum. The entire master cylinder is CNC machined for absolute precision, not to mention super cool looks. It was designed to be as compact as possible to solve fitment issues, and the outlets can be had on the left or right side of the unit, saving a lot of plumbing issues right off the top. We happened by Baer’s Phoenix, Arizona, facility when they were wrapping up an installation of their new Mopar Remaster on a ’69 Dart. (They had also just installed a prototype S4 disc brake kit behind the Dart’s 15-inch wheels, so Mopar fans can watch for that soon, too!) Even if you’re not stepping up to one of Baer’s high-performance disc brake systems, you can still use a Remaster. The looks alone should be reason enough, but the compact size, screw down caps, and versatile outlets really make the choice simple. Baer now offers the Remaster for GM, Ford, and Chrysler applications, in three different bore sizes. Also, if you’re working with a special color under the hood, Baer offers custom powder coating to create a master cylinder for any unique application. SRL

Selecting a Bore Size

We really like the feel and fit of the screw-down reservoir caps and seals. Mopar fans will smile at the sight of the four-bolt flange machined onto the Remaster, so they can bolt one directly onto their Pentestar hot rod.

Selecting a master cylinder is not only important for the operation of the brake system, but it will also have an effect on the pedal feel. This is where knowing the pedal ratio and the force used will come into play; however, for most street rodders, it can be narrowed down to a couple sizes. Baer offers two different bore sizes for their Mopar Remaster; 15/16inch and 1 inch. (For Chevy and Ford applications, there is also a 1 1/8 inch.) Their rule of thumb is to use the 15/16-inch for manual brake systems and the 1 inch for vacuum power assist, but it’s best to review your entire brake system, vehicle, and driving style. Keep in mind that a larger cylinder bore creates more fluid volume, while a smaller cylinder produces more pressure. If you’re going to have a very short pedal ratio, a smaller cylinder may create a brake system with little “feel” or modulation. Conversely, a softer, longer pedal may be slow reacting and take too much movement to effectively slow the vehicle.

Baer developed a set of banjo bolt adapters going into the master cylinder, which really cleans things up and looks good!

Check out how neatly the proportioning valve installs beneath the Remaster. This optional assembly is unobtrusive, yet remains easy to adjust. The polished master cylinder looks pretty good too.

For Mopar owners, here’s what you need to know about the mounting area of the Remaster.



FUELING AROUND Tanks Inc. gives you options when it comes to fuel storage and supply WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden


here comes a time for every street rodder to make a major decision when building their project: Carb or Electronic Fuel Injection? This is where we found ourselves when we called Tanks Inc. to purchase a new gas tank for our ’40 Ford. Truth is, at this point, we weren’t 100 percent sure which way were going to fuel our engine. More than likely, it will be with a carb to keep the costs down and the technology simple, but in the back of our mind, we sure like the thought of a self-learning EFI system. It was time to make a decision.

Fuel tank options: Carbureted fuel pump pickup, EFI setup with an in-tank pump, tube-style fuel level sending unit, and the old float/arm assembly. Which is best for you?


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

The reason you need to make a choice at this point is because Tanks offers a pickup tube assembly for engines that will be running a mechanical fuel pump, or an assembly that allows you to mount an electric fuel pump in the tank for EFI applications. Also, making the decision between EFI or a carburetor will allow you to plan for properly plumbing the fuel system with high-pressure lines, fittings, the type of filter, and routing. If you are planning on running fuel injection, either with a factory EFI system or an aftermarket unit, planning ahead is key. Yes, an in-line pump can be added to

a frame rail to supply the required 40-60 psi for EFI, but this is not an ideal setup. The pump will be noisy and run hot, and most pumps are designed to push the fuel, rather than pull and push. In short, running an in-tank pump is the best setup for EFI systems. We’re getting ahead of ourselves though, because first we have to choose a tank. Tanks Inc. offers a long list of street rod and muscle car applications in a nicely coated stamped alloy, as well as several stamped stainless tanks, and even a few polyethylene molded units. The tanks are designed

In most cases, depending on the depth of the tank, you can choose between a tube-style fuel gauge sending unit and the old/arm float-style unit. The tube assembly (bottom) has a float inside the tube and is ready to drop in. The swing arm assembly requires setting it up for each application.

We opted to spend the couple extra bucks on the tube-style sending unit to save the time and aggravation of the float assembly. A gasket and hardware are supplied, and note that the five bolt holes only line up one way.

After measuring the depth of our new tank (8.5 inches), we cut the feed and return lines to fit. Tanks recommends about a 1/4 inch from the bottom of the baffle. Also, cut the lines on a 45-degree angle.

The carb style fuel pump pickup installs easily and is supplied with fasteners and a gasket. Also, if you ever decide to make the move to EFI, it can easily be replaced.

The carburetor pickup assembly (bottom) is simple with two 1/4-inch NPT inlet/outlets and a vent. The EFI assembly (top) has a dedicated outlet, the pump, pre-filter/sock, and a return line. Both pickups require fitting the lines for each application.

The electric fuel pump pickup takes a little more assembly work, including cutting the lines to length, securing the pump, and wiring. It’s not difficult, and detailed instructions are supplied.

One very important component supplied with all of their new tanks is a vent assembly. This oneway valve vents the tank and must be mounted above the fuel filler.

to bolt in place of the stock units, have a recessed mount for the sending units, and are supplied with new straps when required. We opted for the alloy version for our ’40 sedan. Now, back to the decision about EFI or carb. Since the tank of a ’40 Ford mounts on top of the frame rails, it’s nearly impossible to remove once the body is bolted back onto to car, so it’s very important to figure this step out at this juncture. (If we do end up going with the intank pump, we’ll add an access panel in the trunk floor.)

Another item you’ll need to decide on when ordering a new tank is the style of fuel level sending unit needed. Tanks offers sending units that function with popular aftermarket and factory-style gauges, including units with the following resistance ranges: 0-30, 0-90, 10-180, 73-10, and 240-33. They also offer two-style assemblies: a swing arm/float style or a tube sending unit. In our opinion, the tube design is the only way to go. It requires no assembly, eliminates erratic gauge readings, and is simple to install. (Truth be told, the last

swing arm unit we installed has never read correctly due to operator installation.) The tube unit does cost about $50 more, but it’s money well spent for ease of installation and accuracy. Tanks offers these units for tanks with depths of 5 to 24 inches. So, what did we decide to do? We still don’t know our final driveline or fuel system, so our indecision is your benefit, as we’ll show you both fuel pump modules. Once we finally make up our minds, we’ll be covered either way, thanks to Tanks Inc. SRL

The gas tank of a ’40 Ford car sits on top of the frame rails and is secured by four 3/8-inch course cage nuts that are installed. The tank is 1.5 inches deeper, providing two more gallons of capacity for a total of 16 gallons.

Source: Tanks Inc.;



Three days of non-stop street machine chaos in St. Paul for the annual O’Reily Auto Parts Street Machine Summer Nationals WORDS: Todd Ryden


PHOTOS: Shawn Brereton

ummer in Minneapolis and the surrounding northern states goes by quickly, so when it comes to putting some miles behind the wheel of your street rod, July is go time. Of course, it certainly helps that one of the coolest shows of the summer takes place in St. Paul — the Street Machine Summer Nationals! For anyone that thinks this is just another lawn chair car

Rob Worden owns this slick ’57 New Yorker, which cruises with 392c.i. of Hemi power.

26 26 

STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

show, you need to think again. As a matter of fact, you may as well just leave the chairs in the garage because there is a lot more to take in around the fairgrounds. We’re talking the QA1 autocross track, stop box challenge, burnout contest, a sprawling vendor midway where you get to talk one-on-one with the tech experts, a bikini contest, and if you’re up for it, a dyno challenge! This year, they even hosted a qualifier for the SEMA “Young Guns” competition, where the under 27-year-old winner automatically qualifies for the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition and gets free airfare to the SEMA Show to see their vehicle featured on the show floor! All of this street machine fun took place in the beautiful Minnesota State Fairgrounds, located right between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Rodders converge from Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Illinois, and of course Canada to take part in the annual summer event, which brings in an array of different cars to enjoy. From restorations to modern takes on pro street badness, classic rods, and cruisers, you get to see it all. Be sure to make plans for the 2018 season at SRL

Nova wagons, like this ’66, make great cruisers with plenty of room to pack up for a weekend. Just ask David Burke of Pingree Grove, Illinois.

We think the stance of John Kelliher’s ’31 is just right, and it’s nice to see (and hear) the rumble from a Ford in a Model A sedan. Kelliher competed in the SEMA ‘Young Guns’ competition.

Yes, that is a Cummins diesel packed under the clearanced hood of a Pontiac.

Jerry and Janet Gruwell cruised their ’57 Chieftain down from the northwest town of Brooklyn Park. The custom Poncho has been nosed and decked, has a cushy snow-white interior, and is powered with a stout 406c.i. Pontiac.



Congratulations to Austin Haynes of Johnston City, Illinois, who took home the SEMA ‘Young Gun’ award with his ‘70 Chevy C10 after first winning a pre-qualifier at the Du Quoin Street Machine Nationals. We say it was worth the trip!

There’s always a nice gathering of AMC products at St. Paul.

Our tech editor, Jeff Smith, was on hand to present awards, including the Street Machine Challenge winners. Here’s Dan Howe, who won the late model class in his ’84 Monte Carlo.

Hot rodding TV spokesperson and enthusiast Courtney Hansen was on hand with the SEMA Action Network to explain the challenges facing our hobby and the importance of the RPM Act. Check out

Richard Czaczkowski of Thunder Bay, Ontario, took home the Power and Performance News Editor’s Choice award with his ‘67 Mustang. It’s stuffed with a 521c.i. Ford under the hood, with Holley EFI and TCI 6-speed 4L80E trans on the brand-new build.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Dig those fenderwell headers on Warren Wingness’ ’64 Barracuda. He didn’t leave any details on the engine, but from the looks of the roll cage and barely legal rear tires, the Plymouth was built to go.

Some mild custom touches have been done to Pat Boone’s split-window ’Vette, but the car is still numbers matching and only has 38,000 miles!

Burnout winners for 2017!

You never know what will step up in the burnout competition.

The aggressive Bootlegger cams are designed for hot rodders who play by thier own rules. Building on technology from the popular VooDoo® Series, Bootlegger Camshafts are the most powerful street cams ever produced. With a tight 108º Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) there's more torque for taking off, especially when paired with a 104º intake centerline. This potent combination starts opening the valves earlier to greatly improve low-speed torque and midrange power, creating a “useable range” for those who actually drive hard. HYDRAULIC ROLLER & FLAT TAPPET CONFIGURATIONS LS, SMALL & BIG BLOCK CHEVYS

Sure, there are plenty of cams that make big power at the very top of the tachometer, but blasting off the line, downshifting, and on-and-off driving along twisty roads requires power down low. After all, everyone knows you can’t catch the Bootlegger.





STREET ROD LIFE AWARDS AT ST. PAUL Gearhead Powerpack Giveaway Before each of the four Street Machine Nationals, the editor of Street Rod Life and our other titles all choose a car to win the Gearhead Powerpack Giveaway. The award nets the owner a pass for the weekend, a prime parking spot by the Xceleration Media booth, and several great product coupons from COMP Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Zex Nitrous, TCI, and more. At the St. Paul show, the winner was Don Sorensen and his hot ’32 Ford Coupe. The 3-window jumps right out at you with the Viper Red urethane sprayed by Unique Body and Paint of Blaine, Minnesota. You miss the suicide doors since there’s no handles, but inside is a detailed interior with ’04 Jaguar buckets blended with black leather stitched by Black Dog. A welldressed Vortec 350 coupled to a 700R4 makes driving the coupe a kick, and you can find Don at events across the area.

Editor’s Choice Editor’s Choice was a tough one to make this year, as there were so many cool cars and trucks from which to choose. In the end, we found ourselves hovering back to Russ Peterson’s big, bright ’50 Buick. Russ, of Ramsey, Minnesota, bought the Buford as a stalled project that was painted (in a scorching 2014 Mustang Yellow Blaze), but just a shell. As a member and volunteer of the Minnesota Street Rod Association, Russ is no stranger to finishing a car or two (he also has a slick ’47 Chevy Fleetline Aero sedan with a supercharged 5.3L LS). Once in his shop, Russ got busy on the ’50, choosing an LS/4L60E driveline plugged into a Painless harness and flashed ECU. The front end is a worked over first gen Camaro setup with a triangulated 4-link and 10-bolt out back. The whole thing sits on air bags for just the right stance, and the interior is credited to Interiors by Fred. When Russ rolled into the Summer Nats, the Buick only had 400 miles on it, but he’s been racking up more as the summer marches on. Russ received a custom-built metal plaque from our official award partners at FastLane Metalworx.

Participants cruised the grounds all weekend long.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Nothing beats modern power in an old Mopar.






It is a well-known fact that many companies can go through the motions of grinding camshafts. However the horsepower ultimately delivered by a camshaft is determined long before it ever reaches a grinding machine. At COMP Cams®, nothing escapes our thinking. From research and design to testing and manufacturing, when it comes to your next camshaft and related valve train components, no detail is too small. This is what sets us apart and the reason the top engine builders put their trust in our products and technical expertise.


Engineered To Finish First.





P.S. - Keep it Cool Power steering fluid stays cool under pressure WORDS: Todd Ryden


s street rodders, we’re all guilty of taking components that were made for mass transportation use and expecting them to live up to more power and over-the-top use. OEM parts, and even worse, their replacements, were designed to get people from Point A to point B with as little cost to manufacture as possible. A case in point would be a stock automatic transmission. You wouldn’t expect to take a trans that was made to handle a light load and 175 hp to carry a muscle car with 400 hp. Another prime example are brake pads and rotors. You wouldn’t expect a set of cheap replacement pads and rotors to last a few laps on a road course, right? With the influx of pro-touring cars and autocross participants, it’s easy to weed out what parts work and what’s not up to task. One area we’ve been seeing a lot of scuttle about lately is the power steering system and the fluid used. During an autocross event, it’s not uncommon to see or hear rookies experiencing trouble with their power steering feeling tough or inconsistent. This can be due to the fluid building up heat in a system that just was never expected to be run that hard or required to turn a huge, sticky tire patch. Driven Racing Oil is no stranger to identifying issues with “normal” fluids and oils. After all, they cut their lubricating

teeth on the super speedways and tracks with long-endurance, screaming high-rpm NASCAR racing. Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that is pumped to high pressure and into the steering mechanism, either a rack or gearbox. It is directed to either side of a piston to push one way or the other to ease the steering effort. That seriously oversimplifies the operation, but when it comes down to it, power steering fluid, just like trans fluid, has its temperature limits. At too high of a temperature, the fluid breaks down, becoming ineffective. And when that ease of steering effort becomes inconsistent at speed, things can get dangerous. Driven’s power steering fluid is a unique synthetic formula that operates at a lower temperature compared to conventional fluids. Not only does it maintain a cooler temperature when treated to the same pressure, it offers anti-wear components that keep the mechanical parts of the steering system in better working condition. The fluid offers exceptional low temperature flow, which helps reduce drag on the pump and any intermittent assist effort at the steering wheel. The synthetic formula also helps maintain a consistent line pressure, producing a more uniform steering feel throughout the range of operating conditions, from parking to zipping around a hairpin.

“Six years of competitive autocross: Two motors, four transmissions, and three rear ends. One power steering system.” - Rodney Prouty

32 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 32  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

If you plan on doing a lot of laps on a road course or autocross track, you need to consider a fluid cooler, such as these models from Flex-a-lite. Note the choice of either -6 AN fittings or 3/8-inch barbed fittings.

Flex-a-lite offers these handy Gator-Clips that provide a secure mount over the copper tubes, so you don’t need to go through the cooler fins.

Rodney Prouty has been running autocross events for a number of years in his LS-equipped ’68 Camaro and understands the demands placed on the power steering system. “I still run a GM Type II pump, but I’ve added a cooler, magnetic filter, and make sure to run Driven Power Steering Fluid,” he says. “I have run six years of competitive autocross with two motors, four transmissions, and three rear ends, but only one power steering system. Fluids are the lifeblood of your car, why would you trust anything but the best?” Running an external cooler as Rodney suggested is an important part of keeping your power steering system running smooth. Just like an automatic transmission cooler, routing the PS fluid through a small cooler will help immensely, plus there will be extra volume of fluid available. Flex-a-lite offers a number of sizes and shapes of external coolers.

Factory power steering pumps just weren’t built to handle laps and spirited driving. Flaming River offers an all-new pump designed by KRC that is a direct replacement for the common GM Type II pump and engineered to handle high-rpm performance.

Rodney Prouty has been running his ’68 Camaro on autocross tracks for six years with the same power steering system using Driven fluid.

Keeping the fluid cool and within their operating parameters just touches the surface of power steering performance and longevity. When it comes time to get serious, you may want to look at purpose-built power steering pumps, such as those from Jones Racing Products, KRC, or Flaming River. However, you need to walk before FLUID TYPE


Driven 6 Competition 6


you run, and in the case of power steering performance, start with a high-quality power steering fluid, such as Driven, to handle the demands of modern day street rodding. SRL Sources: Driven Racing Oil,; Flex-a-lite,; Flaming River, flamingriver. com Jone Racing Products,; KRC,


3.25 171 3.25 160

PRESSURE 125 125

Driven 9 3.5 180 125 Competition 9 3.4 190 110 Driven 11 3.4 190 125 Competition 11 3.4 200 110 This chart shows the temperature differences between Driven’s Power Steering Fluid and the nearest competitor. The test was done at 6, 9, and 11 minutes of running at low pressures. You can see the results. STREETRODLIFE.COM 


34 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 34  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3


TRUCK This truck has spent its entire life in one small town WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden

Editor’s Note: The history of this hot rod ’34 Chevy pickup takes place in one small town, covers the course of 83 years, and draws in quite a cast of characters. I even found myself connected to the original builder, but I never knew it until this story came about — and it’s quite a story. Unfortunately, there’s a sad ending. Just before we went to print, Jack Irons, the man behind the restoration of the truck, died of complications from a heart surgery. He leaves behind Lisa, his wife of 39 years, sons Jack and Darren, and grandkids. He loved racing, restoring, and working on cars and was always ready to lend a hand and help friends with their projects.


rtonville, Michigan, is about 50 miles north of Detroit and 25 miles from both Flint and Pontiac. In short, it’s one of many suburbs on the outskirts of the OEM automotive world. Back in 1934, it was an area where many people settled to farm, while having the prospect of working in the auto factories. Hans Thomsen and wife Kristine came to the states from Denmark in 1920. Eventually, they settled just outside of Ortonville and, in 1934, bought a new Chevy pickup from the local dealership, Lewis Sevener Chevrolet.

See the red barn in the background? That’s where a young hot rodder named John McGinnis swapped a 265 Chevy, three-speed trans and rear end from a ’55 Chevy into the ’34 back in 1957. STREETRODLIFE.COM STREETRODLIFE.COM 


The headlights were sourced from a ’47 International truck found in a Flint junkyard during the original build. The top-mounted turn signals allowed John to shave the factory fender-mounted signals.

The wall behind the pickup is now the firehouse of Ortonville, but it was once the dealership where this pickup was sold (twice) as a used car. It was sold new at the original dealership’s location about 50 yards away.

In 1954, the Thomsen’s received $105 for the truck on trade for a used ’46 Pontiac from the same dealership, which was now owned and operated by Linford Owen as L. Owen Chevrolet. The dealership sold the ’34 to another local farmer, but it showed up on the used car lot of Owen Chevrolet again in 1957. This is where a young hot rodding man, John McGinnis, enters the story. John was returning to Ortonville from his senior trip and saw the ’34 from the window of a Greyhound bus. He knew the dealership, as well as Mr. Owen, so he called him about the truck. To John’s dismay, Mr. Owen told him the truck was already sold to a local farmer, but he would see if he could arrange another truck for the farmer so John could get this ‘34. A few days later, John got the truck at a cost of $75.

This was in the late spring of ’57, and by the summer, he had it apart to swap in a complete drivetrain, a 265c.i. V-8, three-speed trans, and the rear end from a ’55 Chevy. John also swapped in a dropped front axle and added hydraulic brakes from a late ’30s Chevy. He even had the front windshield and grille molding chrome plated. By September, John was ushered off to college. He would have preferred to stay home and play with cars, but his dad explained that cars could wait until after he earned his degree. Once the school year ended, John went to work for Owen Sunoco and continued building and modifying the ’34. Tragedy struck later in the summer when John’s father was killed in a car accident, which put an end to building the hot rod ’34. In the fall, he continued his studies.

The gas tank and many suspension components were simply cleaned and put right back in place. Somewhere along the line, the gas tank was sprayed red, along with the rear end and drop axle.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Jack chose to leave the original ’55 Chevy master cylinder that John installed in the summer of ’57. Note the vintage Sun Tach Driver.

John and his mom moved into town, which meant he lost his work space and storage for the truck. He worked out a deal with friend Lou Palshan who stored it for a bit, but the deal was never finalized, so another friend, Jim Ashby, bought it and transferred the title to his name in 1962. It seems that Jim didn’t do a lot to the truck, but he did swap the 265 engine with a very new 327, the same one that is in it today. Jim had a friend connected with Chevrolet engineering, and the engine was said to have come straight out of

Jack had the original seat wrapped in a diamond pleat vinyl with a touch of metallic to brighten it up. The wood floor, shifter, and column were all done in the late ’50s, along with a couple of the gauges. Jack cut and installed the gauge panel.

the Tech Center. There are no markings on the deck area, and the engine had 11:1 slugs in it, along with a solid lifter valvetrain. It seems as though Jim had the truck running with the new engine, but it was never really on the road and remained quietly parked in his barn in Ortonville. Enter mega gearhead Jack Irons in 1985. Jack caught a glimpse of the ’34 while helping a friend pick up something from Jim Ashby’s house. Jack asked if the truck was for sale, and the response was a quick “No.” The same Q&A carried on everytime Jack saw Jim, for the next 30 years to be exact. Fast forward to 2015 and Jack runs into Jim in town, and this time, Jim’s answer was yes. A price was given and accepted, there was a handshake, and Jack ran home to get the cash and his trailer. It was late fall in Michigan and starting to snow, but Jack wasn’t going to give Jim the chance to change his mind. He showed up, loaded the ’34 on his trailer, and got it safely to his shop — all within the small town of Ortonville. At this time, Jack had no idea what he had really bought, other than it was a cool old barn-find pickup. He had no idea about the history, nor any idea on the people connected to this truck. That would all change as he started to rebuild


“Once I got the truck home and looking over it, I knew I had something special,” Jack explained. “I decided I would finish it like I thought the original builder would have. I was intent to keeping the truck as it was and didn’t fix all the bumps and bruises, only what needed to be fixed.” Jack stripped the truck to the chassis, documenting the parts and pieces along the way. The engine was torn down, but only needed a gasket set and a few parts. He built headers and exhaust to replace the Rams Horn manifolds and welded up some cracks in the fenders before spraying the satin black finish. The rebuild only took about eight months. For most of us, it would have taken at least a year or two, but when Jack got involved in a project — especially something that excited him — it was game-on!



Jack elected to add a three-duece Offenhauser intake in place of the original Chevy Power Pack setup. This addition was approved by original builder John McGinnis, as was the black paint John had originally intended for the truck.

the hot rod pickup. As word got out around town about Jack rebuilding the truck, a longtime Ortonville resident and car guy, Tom Pethick, enters the story. As a kid, Tom happened to live next door to Hans and Kristine, so he remembers the truck from way back. Tom’s mother helped Kristine after Hans passed, and eventually, he bought their old house (and still lives there). Years ago, he came across paperwork for the truck, including the trade-in receipt and other documents. Most people probably would have just tossed the old yellowing papers, but being a car guy, he knew to hold on to that kind of stuff. Jack, of course, had no idea about all of this history, and this was just the start. Tom also knew the son of the Chevy dealer, Ted, and his son, Jason Owen, through which he learned even more sto-

The truck’s engine is an early, maybe even experimental, 327 that showed up from a Chevrolet engineer friend back in 1962 or so. There are no stampings on the deck pad, and Jack mentioned the engine looked like new inside when he pulled it apart for a rebuild.

ries about the truck. One more person Tom knew was John McGinnis; they even worked together at Bud Owen’s gas station as teens. It took some digging, but Tom was able to connect Jack with John, who now lives in Florida. Imagine John’s surprise when he got a call one day about his old truck! Jack and John corresponded through email a few times, and John was able to fill him in on modifications on the truck. As a matter of fact, during a family visit in July 2017, John was able to see his old truck for the first time in 50 years and even got to take it for a ride. It’s hard to say who was more excited, the guy who built it the first time or the guy who just rebuilt it. That day was a highlight of the build for Jack. The entire process of learning


the truck’s history, meeting all the people that were connected, and hearing the stories made this one of his most fun projects. He kept the truck as what it was meant to be, a hot rod pickup, pure and simple. SRL

The wheels are custom pieces consisting of a Chevy center on Buick outers that John had welded together at Holly Welding in 1957. Jack sprayed the inner fenders to match some of the red components under the truck.

The stance is courtesy of a custom dropped axle from Kustom Equipment, which used to operate in Flint. At the time, the front brakes were converted to juice drums from a late ’30s Chevy, while the rear end and drums are from a ’55 Chevy.

38 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 38  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

HOT ROD HISTORY After patiently waiting nearly 30 years for the truck to come up for sale, Jack dropped everything he was doing and went straight to pick it up before the owner could change his mind — a little snow was not going to stop him. Jack found these initials, JB, welded on the crossmember. Jack learned there was a mechanic named Jim Bead at the dealership that helped a lot of younger guys work on their hot rods.

John McGinnis, (right) bought this truck in May of 1957 and immediately turned it into a hot rod before selling it to friend Jim Ashby, who messed with it a bit, then parked it in his barn for the next 50-plus years. Jack Irons finally bought it in 2015 and ‘restored’ it the way it was meant to be. They met for the first time in July 2017.

John McGinnis, the original builder, lost a great deal of photos and history in a fire. This photo is probably circa 1962, when Jim Ashby bought it from John. The truck was bought new at Lewis Sevener Chevrolet in downtown Ortonville — and has never left. The original owners traded in the truck in 1954 for a ’46 Pontiac Special.

From left to right: Jack Irons, who rescued the truck; Tom Pethick, who knew the original owners; and Ted and Jason Owen, the son and grandson of Linford Owen, who owned the Chevy dealership where the ‘34 was bought and sold twice.

Fortunately, Jim Ashby had the truck stored in a dry pole barn for many years, keeping the metal and wood in great condition. It also survived a fire in a different barn, thanks to the firemen pushing it out from the burning structure.

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Valvetrain Q&A

We go to the experts for answers about valvetrain development WORDS: Cam Benty

dial indicator. However, counting the turns from the point where the pushrod begins to load until the lifter piston bottoms out is also very good. Using this technique, you know the total adjustment range and can choose between the standard performance light setting (1/4 turn down), the typical OEM setting of mid-travel, or go to a longer pushrod and run it close to the bottom to minimize oil volume (and, thereby, oil bubbles) by setting the preload three-quarters of the way to the bottom. Setting the lifter preload can be a time-consuming task, but the final performance delivered by the engine is linked to getting it right. A dial indicator is the best way to make certain that you have achieved the desired result.


n the surface, valvetrain prep would appear to be a fairly straightforward topic. You pick the right parts as described by the guy on the tech line, check the specs on the parts when they arrive, degree the camshaft, and away you go. But, the reality of picking parts and setting them up correctly to get the best performance and durability is not always as easy as it may seem. We sat down with some of the top valvetrain experts in the business and asked some questions commonly misunderstood by enthusiasts, and even engine builders. Most interesting to us as we assembled this story was we found the “easy” questions were not so easy and packed to the valve covers with surprisingly new information. Even if you consider yourself a cam or valvetrain expert, we bet you’ll learn something along the way. We certainly did.

when you turn a bolt in the trunnion. For the record, a quarter turn is about 0.010 to 0.013 inch, and a half turn is about 0.020 to 0.025 inch of trunnion movement, but the pushrod preload would be about 50 percent more at that end, due to the fixed valve tip position and rocker ratio. I like about 0.020 inch preload in most applications, but you can measure it much more closely with the


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Jerry Clay – Crane Cams: The challenge of getting the camshaft degreed properly is well documented, and the downside of not setting up the camshaft correctly should be motivation enough to spend the time required to get it right. But complicating the camshaft degreeing process these days is understanding that camshaft lobes are not symmetric. Translation: The opening and closing ramps are not the same. As such, determining the centerline of the lobe is far more difficult. If you are degreeing your camshaft by noting the centerline of the camshaft, you could be a half to a full degree off. For that reason, you should always degree your camshaft at 0.050-inch lift. All camshafts come with this spec, so there is no reason to ever use centerline measurements again.

Should I run a flat tappet or hydraulic roller cam?

How do I set hydraulic pre-load? Billy Godbold – COMP Cams: The best method is to have a dial indicator on the back of the rocker above the pushrod as you tighten down a non-adjustable rocker or set the preload on a stud mounted rocker. In this way, you can determine the real preload amount without having to think about turns per inch or how much the ratio changes the pushrod movement

What is the most common mistake you find with engine builders these days?

As you might have guessed, degreeing the camshaft is critical to achieving peak engine power and torque. But if you use lobe centerline when determining camshaft position, you could be doing it wrong!

Shane Pochon – Lunati LLC: In my opinion, the only way to go is hydraulic roller. The technology that goes into lobe designs and lifters has greatly improved through the years, so hydraulic roller cams can now give more area under the curve than your old-school solid roller designs. Also, lifters are held to tighter clearances, making hydraulic roller cam engines able to achieve higher RPM than ever before.

With a modern-day hydraulic roller setup, you should see more power and longer life than with a hydraulic flat tappet setup. However, if you are not looking to get max performance or are on a budget, running a hydraulic flat tappet can be the best choice. You can still get good performance and that muscle car sound that everyone is looking for.

the driving frequencies (from the cam profile) need to be considered. Going to a very good, but heavy rocker on a light system can be a bad choice, even with an excellent component. Looking at the systems approach is paramount for good dynamics.

Full-travel or short-travel lifters — how do I know what is best for me?

Clay: The key factor to consider here is cylinder pressure. If you have a lower compression engine, say 9.5:1, and you use a camshaft that is fairly large (increased overlap between lobes, which allows both the intake and exhaust valves to be open at the same time), then you will bleed off cylinder pressure, which equates to reduced horsepower and torque output. On the other hand, if you’re running a high compression race motor and your camshaft has a minimal amount of overlap, the cylinder pressures can go sky high. This is far less of a problem for race engines than it is for street-bound power plants, but it should be considered and factored in at the time you choose your cam. In addition, the type of cylinder heads you’re using and the quality of available fuel should be taken into consideration. If you have to stick with pump

Godbold: Assuming you read the preload description in the first question, you will note there are good reasons to choose light, mid, or deep preload settings. Knowing there are benefits to being 0.025 inch from the top, in the middle, or 0.025 inch from the bottom, you can quickly deduce why a short-travel lifter can put you in all of those positions at the same time. The negative is you either are required to run a very specific pushrod length or an adjustable rocker system. Short-travel lifters will always outperform the full-travel lifters, but in many applications, the slight improvement in performance may not outweigh the time and cost to get the preload so close. On the full-travel lifters, you have over 0.100-inch range of preloads, and anything from 0.020 to 0.080-inch pre-

How does compression ratio affect camshaft selection? Melonized distributor gears deliver long life and accurate ignition timing.

load will perform more than adequately for most applications.

When building an engine, what are the critical dynamics to consider when selecting valvetrain components? Godbold: Component mass, stiffness, and natural frequency are the three main focus elements in valvetrain component design. While looking at these parameters at the component level, we must also consider how the entire System Effective Mass and System Stiffness will respond to changes at the component level. Also,

Rely On ARP For Show & Go George Poteet wins “Street Rod of the Year” and sets Top Speed at Bonneville!

“Car guy” supreme George Poteet won Goodguys top honors with his stunning Deuce sedan built by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop. A few months later he also set a new A/BFS record at Bonneville and captured the Hot Rod Magazine trophy (his 7th) for Top Speed of the Meet with a 438.643 mph average in the Speed Demon streamliner. Both cars are equipped extensively with ARP fasteners to assure optimum performance and reliability. Check out the latest catalog online or request a free printed copy.


Hot Rod Magazine Trophy For Setting Top Speed At Bonneville STREETRODLIFE.COM 


COMP Cams’ New Nostalgia Plus camshafts are made for the customer looking to precisely replicate that classic muscle car sound, but increase the power output through the use of modern camshaft profile technology.

gas, the rule of thumb is to limit compression to 10:1 with cast iron heads and 11:1 compression with aluminum heads.

What is a Melonized gear, and is it right for my small-block Chevy application? Godbold: As most engine builders have experienced, compatibility between the distributor gear materials and the distributor drive gear on the camshaft can be an issue that can wipe out an engine if the wrong parts are selected. Melonizing was originally developed by General Motors and Ford to harden the surface of the metal through a form of nitriding and, most importantly, works great as a universal distributor gear for any camshaft application. With Melonizing, microscopic nitrogen and carbon “needles” are driven into the surface of the metal, increasing its surface hardness. The result is a lower co-efficient of friction, enhanced lubricity, and corrosion resistance. With distributor gears, Melonizing hardens the metal, making it much less prone to wear. Melonized gears are available for the big three engine platforms — GM, Ford, and Chrysler — and provide amazing durability. As an added bonus, by virtue of the fact there is less distributor gear wear, more accurate ignition timing is also achieved.

What is your most popular camshaft for street rod engine builders? Kirk Peters – Lunati: With the smallblock Chevy being the most popular street rod engine combo, Lunati’s VooDoo Hydraulic Flat Tappet cam series is by far Lunati’s most popular cam series, 42 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

with part number 10120703 being the number one seller, and 10120702 coming in second. When a hydraulic roller is used with the correct synthetic oil, it is a great way to fight the low zinc oils that have saturated today’s market and could also end up producing an increase in horsepower and longevity. Clay: Actually, Crane has been the manufacturer of record for original blueprinted factory camshafts for a number of years. So, if you want that Duntov 30-30 camshaft, we have the original spec camshaft ready to go. We found that there were a number of customers who wanted to put their vehicles back to the original restored condition, right down to the engine internals. Nothing cries perfect restoration better than that factory thump from an original muscle car. We currently offer a long line of original engine cams for Z/28, L88, LS6, and other popular Chevy muscle cars, along with Ford big- and small-block engines, Boss 302, Boss 429, and many Mopars, from

Hemis down to 340c.i. small blocks. No one has a better or more exacting replica camshafts of the factory OEM offerings. Goldbold: COMP Cams offers a number of exact reproduction grinds made from the original OEM prints and specs. One thing that caught our attention was how well those sold even though everyone knew they might be 50-plus hp down compared to a more modern camshaft design. We started to ask our customers exactly why they wanted the reproduction cams, and their answers fell into two major categories: exact reproductions of the factory grinds or exact replication of that classic muscle car sound. For those customers looking for exact reproductions of the factory part, we already offer the perfect replacement. However, for probably the majority of customers requesting a nostalgia camshaft, they remembered a certain sound from their childhood or early years and wanted improved performance, but not at the cost of losing any of that ‘60s and ‘70 ‘personality.’ For those customers looking for that classic camshaft sound, we designed a new series of hydraulic and solid flat tappet profiles called the New Nostalgia Plus family. These profiles are slightly slower off the seat than the Xtreme Energy profiles, but have excellent area under the curve for outstanding power. The funny side effect was we started to think, ‘what if we took this a step further?’  The New Nostalgia Plus family probably helped get COMP even more excited about the sound and character of a camshaft, and possibly initiated our testing of what would become the Thumpr series of camshafts, which is far more popular than either the Nostalgia or New Nostalgia Plus camshaft line. SRL SOURCES: COMP Cams,; Crane Cams,; Lunati,

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Hanging out and racing on the Salt for the first time WORDS & PHOTOS: Chadly Johnson


hree years ago at Viva Las Vegas, I met members of the Hot Iron Car Club out of Salt Lake City, Utah. After 10 minutes into our new friendship, they invited me to ride along with them to Bonneville, so I jumped at the opportunity. We had a blast bombing their hot rods to the Salt, but unfortunately, Speed Week was canceled that year due to excessive rain.

Fortunately, the Hot Iron guys invited me back every year since, and I was finally able to make it happen this past August. Cruising onto the Salt for the first time is cool regardless of what you are driving, but I have to say that rolling onto it riding in Kevin “Bird Dog” Johnson’s survivor deuce roadster was pretty incredible. This car actually raced on the Salt in the ’50s, and this was its triumphant re-

I was fortunate to connect with Bob and Brenda Kellison, who were also rookies on the Salt with their ‘new’ #471 roadster they acquired just several months before Speedweek.

44 Vol.Vol. 3, 3, No.No. 32 44  STREET STREETROD RODLIFE LIFE 

Final prep of the roadster in the staging area consisted of heating the oil to optimal running temperature, checking air pressure, and looking over the entire car.

turn! I started Speedweek on a high note. The first time at Bonneville is a bit overwhelming. It’s a visual overload, and vast. The tracks and the pits are really spread out, and it’s extremely bright! I brought along a bicycle to save on walk-

ing, but soon learned you really need something motorized. Struggling with the thought of seeing and experiencing it all, I found a team right out of my area of the Pacific Northwest that happened to be racing

for their first time, so we had the rookie theme in common. The team, Bob and Brenda Kellison, are hardcore hot rodders who own Kellison’s Auto Restoration out of Creswell, Oregon. They already own

This ’32 roadster ran on the Salt many decades ago, and I was lucky enough to ride with Kevin ‘Bird Dog’ Johnson out to the speedway from Salt Lake City, along with a couple of other Hot Iron Car Club members. Quite an introduction to Speedweek! STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Bob is strapped in while the official starter checked to see that he was ready and securely fastened in the cockpit.

You never know what you may see in the pits or the spectator areas.

a salt flat car with dreams of running at Bonneville, but with establishing a business, the build always got pushed to the back burner. That is, until about six months ago at the 2017 Portland swap meet. Bob and Brenda were checking out the car corral when they happened across the #471 roadster that was built and raced in 1979 by Gil Ruiz. They had seen the historic 1929 roadster when it was on display at the World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon, and Bob even commented about how, “it would be a really neat car to own.”

with the project. Bob and Brenda kept true to their word of not altering the roadster, as Marlo requested, but with any race car, you need to make the cockpit fit the driver. The positioning of such things as pedals, levers, seat, etc. had to be relocated to fit Bob when he was fully strapped into the roadster. They also repainted the roadster to the same paint scheme it displayed when it last ran at Bonneville in 1992. The 302c.i. mill was topped with a Fuel Injection Enterprises multi-stage injection system, and it seemed as though every-

The view from the push truck. Bob pulled away at approximately 30 mph.

46 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 46  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

The next thing you know, they’re at a swap meet talking to the roadster’s owner, Marlo Treit of the famous Target 550 Streamliner, about buying the car. But, this wasn’t as simple as making an offer and agreeing on a price. Marlo was essentially interviewing three other couples about the guidelines it would take to become the roadster’s new caretakers. In the end, Marlo decided the Kellisons were the right fit for the race car. They were ecstatic, but had only four months before Speedweek to get prepped. It was their time to do it, and they had many friends willing to help

thing was good to go, that is until a valve in the number four cylinder dropped during a warm-up session — two weeks before the event! A dropped valve wasn’t going to stop the Kellisons from making Bonneville.

Cruise Night at the Nugget After setting up on the Salt on Saturday, everyone heads over to the Nugget (just on the Nevada side of Wendover) for a cool cruise night. Hot rods of all types fill the lot for an evening of bench racing and stories from the Salt.

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With the help of their friends, they had the engine back together, and the #471 roadster made it to the Salt for the first time in 35 years. They were greeted by many people asking about the roadster and learning more history about the car from fellow racers. I joined the #471 race team the morning of Bob’s rookie pass. We did some sunrise photos, finished checking and prepping the car, then headed to the starting line. Just towing the car from the pits to the rookie course took about 45 minutes. Once in line, the team got busy going over their established pre-race checklists.

The streamliner is cool enough, but check out that push rig!


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

When we were a couple cars back, Bob put on his race suit and helmet, then slid into the cockpit. Brenda strapped him in while a teammate provided shade to keep Bob out of the searing sun. I was impressed by how mentally cool Bob remained wearing a hot fire suit while wedged into the tiny opening of the roadster. Final checks were made, Brenda showed Bob she had pulled the parachute pin, and it was time to run. Fuel was manually sprayed into the 302, and it roared to life with brutal force. We all jumped in the push truck, and within seconds Bob was on the throt-

tle, while we veered off onto the return road. The whole team was cheering as the roadster accelerated fast and quickly, becoming a dot on the horizon. Then, everyone became quiet and listened to the engine and for results over the radio. It was a mix of excitement and concern for a number of seconds. There was a sudden moment of relief when we could see Bob had successfully deployed the parachute. When we reached him, he was sitting on top of the roll cage, no doubt taking in the moment. He had successfully made his rookie run with a safe, smooth run, parachute activation, and

The Alexander’s Special prepares to leave the line.

veered off the course as directed. He earned his official racing license for the short course. As we made our way back to the pits, everyone was asking Bob questions, but he was still really processing the run and what he had just achieved. Eventually, I looked over at him and said, “Hey Bob, remember that time you raced at Bonne-

ville?” to which he simply smiled. The team made three more passes during the week, reaching a speed of 145 mph on seven cylinders. Even with the mechanical issue ending the week early, Bob, Brenda, and their team of friends had a great rookie outing and are already making plans for the next land speed event. SRL

Special Thanks: I wanted to take the time to thank Bob and Brenda Kellison for welcoming me into their pits and chase truck during Speedweek. They also wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in making their run for the Salt a success: Jim Robinson, Jay McNealy, Bob Drummond, Spud Miller, Gil Ruiz, and Marlo Treit.

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Understanding air suspension systems and a peek at the future with RideTech WORDS: Todd Ryden


hen it comes to suspension systems, especially when talking about air suspension, rodders always approach the technology with “stance” as their number one goal. Sure, stance is cool, but you need to remember your car has to get to the show, which means it should ride and handle as well as it looks. Choosing upgrades or a complete suspension system is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when it comes to outfitting your project car or truck. With the popularity of air-controlled systems on street rods and customs, we thought it would be helpful to talk to the pros at RideTech to learn more about choosing a system.

When done right, a properly designed and installed air suspension system will deliver the stance, the ride, and the handling performance you desire.


RideTech has been building air-ride systems for hot rods for more than 20 years, so it’s safe to say they’ve learned a thing or two along the way. According to RideTech President Bret Voelkel, you can have it all — ride quality, handling, safety, and stance. As he puts it: “Two facets of air suspension technology have improved dramatically over the years — electronic management and shock absorber technology. “For existing air suspension users, shocks are the easiest way to upgrade their current systems,” Voelkel continues. “For new builds, a wide array of options are available, from universal air springs with paddle switches to complete bolt-in systems with computer controls that monitor both pressure and height.”

Solenoids, one to pressurize and one to vent, are required with each air spring. Every few years, the solenoids should be serviced, which is roughly as simple as changing a set of spark plugs. The RideTech equivalent of a coil-over, the Shockwave, features an integral air spring and shock absorber assembly.

RideTech’s fourth-generation system is based on a waterproof ECM, advanced wireless connections, a nearly invisible control panel, and can be programmed through a smart phone. Welcome to the future of air suspension!

Using DOT-approved fittings, and installing them properly, is the best way to ensure a leak-free system. RideTech supplies what are known as “bubble-tight” DOT-approved plumbing with insert-supported fittings. The absolute number one source of leaks results from failure to use Teflon sealant on fitting threads.

(each spring requires two solenoids). RideTech’s top-of-theline system includes an ECM that combines both air pressure and ride height sensors to properly adjust spring rates and vehicle height.

Air spring selection He also explains the importance of doing your homework before starting the project. Always research the components, their supporting parts, and even consider the company before making a purchase. There are a lot of “no-name” air springs that may not be designed as their intended use, which will likely result in reliability issues or failures down the road. When it comes to air, sticking with one brand or manufacturer is a good idea. We pressed RideTech for some tips about making the move and narrowed things down to a list of five important items about air suspension systems.

Understand how it works The basic air suspension system is simple, with an air spring and shock absorber located at each corner of the vehicle. An electric air pump pressurizes the system, while an air tank stores a reserve supply. A control system and valve block with solenoids distributes pressurized air to each spring by way of lines and fittings. The control system can be as simple as paddle switches and dash-mounted air pressure gauges. Controls actuate solenoids, which open and close valves to pressurize and vent each spring

Since air spring design and quality is directly related to vehicle safety, it’s best to buy the components from a trusted source. Installing improperly sized air springs will almost certainly result in poor, or even dangerous, handling. Sizing air springs is complex. Parameters include vehicle weight, spring height, and volume, and even the type (convoluted vs. reversible sleeve). There is a serious amount of engineering associated with selecting springs relative to your car or truck’s dynamic characteristics. You can either earn yourself an engineering degree or get your air springs from a company that does actual R&D on spring selection. Before you buy an air suspension system for your ’59 Impala from a random offshore company, ask yourself a simple question: What are the odds the manufacturer has even seen a ’59 Impala in person, let alone driven one? As far as life expectancy, quality air springs are designed to outlast your car’s paint job and its pistons. Air spring failures are almost always attributed to heat-related installer error, such as close proximity or contact with high-temp exhaust surfaces or abrasion. Both issues can be avoided by employing common sense during the installation process. STREETRODLIFE.COM 


A new app allows you to monitor and program the three independent settings of the next generation RideTech system. For the best ride and handling, it is imperative to match the right shock with the air spring and vehicle. RideTech offers a long list of application-specific shocks.

The ‘control panel’ of the next gen system is the size of an old-school lighter and offers three settings; 3 is for raising the car high for steep driveways or trailers, while position 1 drops it on the ground for shows. The number 2 setting is the ride height and will rise to your setting each time the key is turned on.

Under pressure As air springs are under pressure, it is critical to buy a system that measures pressure, or both pressure and height. For safe, high-performance handling, it is very important for spring pressure to be nearly equal from side to side. Fore/aft and cross-load pressure-percentages are also very important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is a very important discussion, as some air suspension control systems only utilize level sensors without measuring pressure. Variations in air spring pressure will result in erratic handling during dynamic driving scenarios. This is particularly true during quick directional changes (lateral acceleration), as well as sudden changes in load such as hard braking. The most basic air suspension systems dating back to the late ’90s have manual momentary switches and analog pressure gauges to help you visually dial in and monitor pressure. We’re talking about air springs — pressure is imperative!

Shock absorbers matter As is the case with any suspension design, shocks are critical for both ride quality and handling. Too many people assume air springs are primarily responsible for ride quality, when in fact, they are primarily responsible for holding the body. Shock absorbers are responsible for settling down your car or truck’s body and optimizing handling when the drive gets interesting. Without high-quality matching shocks, your air suspension will feel as though each corner is oscillating independently. According to Voelkel, “In the hands of the right suspension tuner, I am confident that a properly sized air suspension system, with well-calibrated shocks and sway bars, will handle and 52 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Knowing the vehicle’s ride height is an important tool when setting up your air system, and RideTech now offers sensors allowing the ECM to make adjustments based on pressure and height.

ride equal to or even better than a metal-sprung car.” RideTech takes the shock equation one step further by providing custom-calibrated shocks, along with built-in adjustment, so you can fine tune the setup for your personal driving style and vehicle specs.

Controlling the air system Now that we’ve addressed air suspension components under your car, let’s take a look at how to control it all. What does the most advanced air control system for rodding offer in these modern times? According to RideTech, it is a fully electronic system with both pressure and height sensors feeding data to an OEM-grade ECM. Pressure and height management will occur transparently, as is the case with air ride-equipped OEM cars such as Mercedes Benz and Porsche. Readouts and diagnostics are readily available on demand by way of a smartphone app. This way, you can have your rod automatically rise up to a predetermined ride height with the turn of the key. RideTech’s next control system is going to be hitting the street soon and offers all of these features and more. With input from many top builders, this new control system is barely visible and communicates wirelessly with an all new ECM, and the setup and diagnostics are relegated to a smartphone app. Air suspension has come a long way during the last 25 years. With a greater appreciation for the importance of shock absorbers and advancements in computer and sensor technology, an air suspension system can deliver it all — a safe, reliable, and great handling system. SRL SOURCE: RideTech,



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with Eric Peratt

Pinkee’s Rod Shop


he town of Windsor, Colorado, sits about 60 miles north of Denver. To the west are the majestic Rocky Mountains, and to the east are the Great Plains. Right in the middle is where you’ll find Pinkee’s Rod Shop. Eric Peratt opened Pinkee’s in 2000 after scoring several big titles with cars he built in his own garage. You know, awards like a Street Rodder Magazine Rod of the year and a little something called the Ridler. Since that time, he and his crew have racked up quite a reputation for the “Pinkee’s” look and style of their builds. Pinkee’s has won the Goodguys Custom Rod, Street Rod, Hot Rod, and Trend-

setter of the Year awards, as well as a GNRS Build of the Year. Their rod builds continue to push street rod styling forward, while they are doing the same with the performance of muscle cars. We were able to catch up with Eric after a busy August of bouncing to shows across the country. It was a fun cruise, and we’re really looking forward to our next visit to check out their shop and attached micro brewery.

Where or when did you get into cars? My dad was a hot rodder, and we attended a lot of shows. Actually, a lot of the big ones. He had a ’46 pickup, and we always did the Tri-State show in Denver, the NSRA Nats back when they were in St. Paul, and a lot of other shows. I was just always around them. What was your first hot rod? I had a ’64 Chevelle in high school that I raced at the high school drags at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Remember that this was the beginning of pro street, and I did everything I could to my ’64 — tunnel ram, graphics, a real set of Centerlines. Everything was

Eric, Cristin, and their son, Hunter.

pro-street, except it was never tubbed, though I wanted to. Instead, I sold it my senior year of high school. Then, I bought my first true hot rod, a ’34 Ford flatbed pickup. This one did get tubbed and the full-on pro-street treatment, including a nitrous bottle and all. I worked on this every time I came home from college. I finished it my senior year of college. The truck

“I thought it would be a cool concept to be able to see into the shop as cars are being built while relaxing with a beer”

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job to work on the car full time. We put the house up for sale figuring it would take a while to sell, but it sold instantly. We ended up moving back to Colorado, and I finished the car in my parent’s garage. Before the car was finished, I was approached by Ken Reister about buying the car, which I knew I had to do. We were supposed to debut it at the Grand National Roadster Show, but just couldn’t make it. Next, we figured we’d take it to the Detroit Autorama and hope for a Great 8 position. We ended up winning the Ridler in 1998. I still remember calling home on a pay phone using a calling card to tell my family we won the Ridler!

Muscle cars and street rods are both under construction at Pinkee’s.

went on to be the centerfold of one of Summit Racing’s catalogs in 1991! Pretty cool for a kid building a truck in his garage. What college did you attend, and where did that take you? I attended Southern Colorado University and earned my Automotive Service Degree. That took me to Troy, Michigan, where I landed a job with Chevrolet Motor Division. I started as a customer service agent and then moved up to more of a Dealer Customer Service Manager. In short, I got to talk to all the people that were upset! I was lucky to have met my wife, Cristin, while in Michigan and after four years, I transferred to Chicago and we lived there for a couple more years before heading back to Colorado. All

the while, I was still building cars. What were you building? I built a ’33 Chevy woody and was really excited to win a Pros Pick from Boyd during the Indy Goodguys. How cool was that for a young guy building cars in his garage! That car also ended up becoming the Street Rodder Magazine Rod of the Year in 1996. I was approached about selling the car, and it ended up being an offer I couldn’t refuse…which gave me money to start another project, a 1933 roadster. This would be the ’33 that ended up winning the Ridler? Exactly. By this time, I knew I wanted to build cars full time, and I started on the build while in Chicago. Before it was finished, I decided to quit my

With that done, it was officially time to start your own shop? Yes, we bought a house in the mountains, and I built a 2000-square-foot shop thinking that was it. My dream shop and all the space I needed. At the start, it was just me. In a couple more years, there were a couple more employees. And now what size is the shop, and how many people? We grew right out of the home shop and moved down out of the mountains in 2004 to the location we’re at today. We’re at about 10,000 square feet and have eight employees. When other rod shops add on to their building, it’s usually an assembly or fab room, maybe a paint booth, but we heard you recently added a microbrewery? Yes, we opened Mash Lab Brewing in December 2016. I thought it would be a cool concept to be able to see into the shop as cars are being built while relaxSTREETRODLIFE.COM 


We stopped by Pinkee’s during an open house and got to check out a number of projects in bare metal as well as a few finished rods.

ing with a beer. In fact, we have 12 different beers on tap. Is it for private parties or open to the public? And, they can actually see into the shop? Yes, Mash Lab is open to the public, though we also do private parties, as well as shop tours. There is a glass

The CNC machine at Pinkee’s is always cutting away at some chunk of aluminum.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

wall between the shop and brewery, so customers of the brewery can watch the cars in progress. Any builders that helped you mold your style or were influential as you started building cars? Boyd Coddington, at the time, and Chip Foose have always been inspira-

When things get busy at Mash Lab, Eric may have to pour a few of their custom brews for customers.

tions and pushing the envelope. You started building street rods, but these days, you’re doing quite a few muscle cars of the pro-touring flavor. Do you have a preference? I don’t have a preference; I love pro-touring, and I love hot rods. Pro-touring cars are so fun to drive.

The Rivet Roadster, powered by a fuel injected 392c.i. Hemi.

We’re at about a 50/50 split on rods and pro-touring these days. I did start a ’66 Chevelle for my own pro-touring build, but someone ended up wanting it more than I did. When it comes to pro-touring, we like to take a good-looking car and make it look even better, along with the performance and handling side of things. We work with some cool designers that can really push the limits, but then we reel it in a little bit.

The Fedarale Coupe, was named the Goodguys 2015 Hot Rod of the Year.

You came into this business at a young age, and now as an established veteran builder, what do you feel are some of the hurdles and challenges facing the next wave of builders and craftsman? It seems that the level of building a car to compete for the Ridler or AMBR or other prestigious awards is so high that the cars are becoming a burden. It’s not easy to compete at that level, or even reach that level any more. Just building a nice, really nice, driver is expensive, as it is.

I would also tell them to find their own style and not get too caught up or influenced by what other builders are doing or with current trends. Do you have a favorite car or perhaps an idea for another personal hot rod? A 1932 Ford Roadster is my dream car, and I just picked up an original roadster body and look forward to building it in the next couple years. I plan on debuting it at the 2019 Northwest Deuce Days in Victoria, British Columbia. SRL





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We’re always on the lookout for the latest products that will make your rod quicker, smoother, or simply cooler. Don’t be bashful about contacting the manufacturer for more info and be sure to tell them Street Rod Life sent you!

Great power and price Powermaster, PowerMAX Plus Starters Looking for a higher output starter that will bolt in place of a stock unit? The PowerMAX Plus line of starters from Powermaster is designed to replace the OEM Hitachi-style starter, but deliver increased torque. Each starter features all-new components, including an efficient motor assembly and strong solenoid. Powermaster uses a heavy-duty clutch assembly that replaces the original five roller starter drive for greater reliability on higher output engines. For applications with headers or engine swaps, the billet mounting block of the starter has provisions to clock the motor assembly for additional clearance. There are three versions available, depending on the compression of your engine: up to 11:1, up to 14:1, and a high-torque version for engines up to 16:1 for Chevy small and big blocks, the LS platform, Ford engines, and Chrysler. 630.957.4019

Performance lube for LS engines Driven, LS30 5W-30 Oil

DIY like a pro Eastwood, Concours Pro HVLP Paint Gun Kit Eastwood is all about helping enthusiasts build their dream cars by supplying the right tools and supplies for the job at hand. When it comes to painting, their Concours Pro HVLP paint guns will help you paint like a pro, but at a do-it-yourself kind of price. The Concours Pro paint guns feature precise machine work to produce ultra-fine atomization and years of durability. Internally, they feature stainless steel passages, making them versatile enough to be used with solvent and waterborne coatings. They’re also designed specifically to work with smaller compressors. This complete kit is supplied with the full-sized Concours Pro paint gun, a smaller detail gun, extra tips, a cleaning kit, air regulator, and cup, which is all packed into a sturdy aluminum storage case. 800.343.9353


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Many LS cam failures can be traced back to improper lubrication, or at the very least, insufficient lubrication that has not kept up with performance modifications. Driven’s LS30 5W-30 Oil offers the right viscosity for optimum flow upon startup, eliminating hydraulic roller lifter ticking. Its advanced high-zinc formula protects aggressive cam profiles, allows for consistent VVT system operation, and remains stable as temperatures rise. The synthetic LS30 is also a low-volatility oil which reduces the amount of vapor migrating through the PCV system and, thus reduces oil consumption. 866.611.1820

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Modern mirrors Ringbrothers, Carbon Fiber Universal Mirrors Ringbrothers has set the bar ridiculously high with their custom builds, such as the Reactor Mustang, Recoil Chevelle, and the recent G-Code ’69 Camaro. During these builds, there are many hand-fabricated, one-off pieces designed for the project. Eventually, some of these parts make their way to production, such as these new Carbon Fiber Exterior Mirrors. These mirrors were originally developed for the G-Code Camaro and are fabricated in the USA from carbon fiber and chrome-finished billet aluminum. The mirrors, P/N 99000-2100, are sold as a set or individually. 608.588.7399

Made for a ’57 ididit, 1957 Chevy Straight Floor Shift Column Sometimes less is more, and ididit’s new straight column for the ’57 Chevy is a perfect example. The floor shift column is sleek and smooth in its simplicity and will provide a little extra clearance around the driver’s seat for added comfort. The column is a direct replacement for stock ’57s, plus is fit with self-canceling turn signals and four-way flashers. Keeping with the Tri-Five vibe, retro knobs and a turn signal lever are supplied. The bottom of the column extends to a 1-inch double-D lower shaft that easily connects to an original manual gear box, aftermarket power unit, or even to updated rack and pinion systems. 517.424.0577




PARTS STORE Rockers for high output FE engines COMP Cams, FE Ultra-Gold ARC Shaft-Mount Rockers Featuring high-lift capabilities in a lightweight design, COMP’s new Ultra-Gold ARC Series Shaft-Mount Aluminum Rocker system provides just what Ford’s FE engine needs to perform on the street or strip. The system is designed exclusively for use in high-performance engines and features steel stands for extra shaft support and rigidity. The rockers feature a 1.76 ratio and have adjustable shims, left and right, for intake runner clearance. 800.999.0853

Show and shock Big, billet, and blown BDS, Billet 10-71 Supercharger Just looking at blowers gives us goosebumps, but when you add in a CNC-machined billet housing, be still our beating heart! Blower Drive Service, offers their daunting Billet 1071 supercharger for high-performance street systems, bracket racing, and even marine environments that run on high-octane fuel. The blower features a fully-polished billet case, billet rotors, and billet plates for absolute precision and efficiency. The BDS experts will also upgrade the gearing for your application, as well as install standard or Helix rotors. The unit is capable of producing 15 pounds of boost and more for engines spinning over 7,500 rpm. A significant option is offered in the form of a front discharge/front inlet configuration, and the unit can be ordered polished or anodized in black or gray. 562.693.4302


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

RideTech, Polished Hot Rod Shocks In the performance aftermarket, there are parts for show and parts for go. In some cases, you come across a component that can do them both, such as RideTech’s Polished Hot Rod Shocks. These new shocks are specifically engineered for preWorld War II vehicles with short heights and challenging space limitations. RideTech was able to incorporate the same monotube Q-series technology used in their other shocks. The end result is specially tuned compression and rebound dampening action that will improve the ride and handling of your street rod. RideTech is not bashful about their shocks — in fact, you get a 1,000,001 mile warranty. 812.481.4787

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Two sets of three

Controlling Coyote cams

CON2R, Twin Three Universal Instrument Sets

FAST, VTC Module for Coyote Engines

Named after their dual, three-gauge layout, the speedometer and tachometer are given equal importance, while the four auxiliary gauges are arranged in a “two-by-two” configuration below. This new package from CON2R creates an authentic oldschool design, but behind the vintage textures and raised lettering are modern electronic stepper motors to produce precise accuracy and dependability. When the sun goes down, the instrument faces light up with an exclusive “halo” LED system that provides even, glare-free illumination across each gauge face. The parking brake, high beam, and turn signal lights are all integrated, so they become part of the overall design. Black and white color schemes are standard, but special colors are available, as well as a 120, 140, or 160 mph speedo. 503.626.6390

Coyote engine owners no longer have to install mechanical locking devices on all four cams when switching to FAST aftermarket fuel injection. FAST’s new Valve Timing Control Module provides a plugand-play interface between the engine, FAST XFI Sportsman, and an XIM ignition module, allowing the ECU to control camshaft position. The intake and exhaust cam position is separately tunable through C-Com software, with tables for position versus RPM and load. The phaseable cams can still be moved to maintain the broad powerband, as the VTC Module allows for full, dynamic control of valve overlap. Get your desired sound at idle, while still maintaining great off-idle torque and drivability. 877.334.8355





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Retro rollin’ Crane Cams, Retrofit Hydraulic Roller Lifters High rpm engines call for the strongest valvetrain parts, and Crane Cams’ Retrofit Hydraulic Roller Lifters are up to the task. Machined from 8620 billet steel, heat treated, and assembled using precision-fit plunger assemblies to provide proper bleed-down rates, they are ideal for high-rpm applications. The lifters have vertical alignment bars, Monel steel pins, and retaining flanges for increased durability and are designed for engines that did not originally come with hydraulic rollers. The lifters can be used to replace OEM-type hydraulic rollers and alignment mechanisms, with no machining typically required for drop-in installation. Special length pushrods are required when used in retrofit applications. 866.388.5120

Shades of flat Summit Racing Equipment, Hot Rod Flat Acrylic Urethane Paint Forget the primer. Summit Racing Equipment’s Hot Rod Flat Acrylic Urethane Paint is the better way to get the classic look for your hot rod or custom. Developed with the DIY painter in mind, the single-stage paint mixes at a 4:1 ratio with the Summit activator. The urethane paint has a short flash time between coats and dries to the touch in less than an hour. The paint is also designed with high resistance to harmful UV exposure, chemicals, weathering, and chipping. The paint is available in quarts and gallons and in just about every color you can imagine, ranging from black, red oxide, light and dark gray, baby blue, orange, cream yellow, white, tan, and olive drab brown or green. 800.230.3030


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Handling higher rpm Lunati, LS Dual Valve Spring Kit Lunati’s LS Dual Valve Spring Kit allows engine builders to safely extend engine rpm and boost performance capabilities on LS engines. The kit features precision wound, heat-set, Signature Series Dual Valve Springs for required seat and open load pressure. Also, the total spring travel is designed to accommodate cams with aggressive gross valve lifts of up to .660 inch. The valve springs in each kit are carefully tension matched, and all components are supplied, including CNC-machined, 4140 Chromoly steel retainers, Precision-fit locators accurately position the inner spring, preventing abrasion with aluminum cylinder heads. Steel alloy 7-degree valve locks are also provided for superior valve stem holding reliability. Lastly, premium-quality Viton synthetic rubber, steel-reinforced valve stem seals are included for correct valve stem lubrication and oil control. A lightweight kit is also available. 662.892.1500


35 63


Transcendence George Poteet and Troy Trepanier’s stylized take on Ford’s NASCAR aero warrior emphasizes form and function WORDS: Barry Kluczyk PHOTOS: Todd Ryden

64 STREET ROD LIFE Vol. 3, No. 3 64  STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3


he Talladega was Ford’s response to the short-lived NASCAR aero war of the 1969-70 seasons. Dodge fired the first salvo with the flush-nose Charger 500, and Ford responded in kind by adding a tapered nose to the Torino and its corporate cousin, the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. Mopar then dropped the big one with the wild Charger Daytona and, for 1970, the Plymouth Superbird. Ford had penned the slightly less radical King Cobra in the design studio, along with a Mercury companion that featured a distinctive sloping nose, but by then, NASCAR had forced an arms treaty on the manufacturers. Ford — through sub-contractor Holman Moody — built right around 750 production Torino Talladega models to make the body style legal on the super speedways, as well as 351 of the Mercury models. And while the Ford and Mercury cars shared the same grille, the front-end sheet metal was not shared between them. In fact, rather than simply tack on a nose cone to the front fenders, the cars’ front fenders were cut off just in front

of the wheel opening, and the new noses were grafted on there. George Poteet had long been a fan of Ford’s aero warriors and their history, but saw some proportional flaws in their respective designs. Mostly, he felt the noses were too long, at least perceptually. He shared his perspective with Troy Trepanier at the start of the project, and they agreed the build would honor the distinctive race styling, but would be optimized for aesthetics, not the high banks of Daytona. George also preferred the smoother profile of the Cyclone Spoiler II’s nose, so before cutting, welding, and hammering on the Torino project car, Troy’s team took a million measurements of the Mercury aero car. That data influenced the build in ways that are virtually impossible to discern by the naked eye, but very apparent when compared with a production Talladega. That’s a testament to Troy’s innate eye for proportion, because virtually every square inch of the car, apart from the doors, was stretched, cut down, or altered in some way. The car is about 5 inches wider at the fenders, giving the body a STREETRODLIFE.COM 


The fastback styling was one of Ford’s better ideas, giving the Torino a naturally lean appearance.

strong “Coke bottle” effect, while the front fenders were shortened about 3 inches. Even the wheelbase shrank by an inch. That’s all just the basic proportional changes. There are also features such as the vents cut into the rear fenders, the front spoiler, the exhaust exits in the rear quarters, an integrated rear spoiler, custom front and rear bumpers, and the custom hood. The grille and taillight panel are scratch-built, as well, though they stay true to the original Talladega and Spoiler II, but take the design to a higher level. There are even some aircraft-in-

spired elements, such as exposed rivets and lightening holes that look just as at home on the Salt Flats as they do on the super speedway. The competition theme carries through to the interior, where riveted, body-color sheet metal adorns everything from the dashboard and floor panels to the transmission tunnel. “We wanted it to be bare bones inside and not overly done,” Troy explained. You can just imagine David Pearson sawing away at the racing-style steering wheel on the namesake track in Alabama. The Torino was originally built with a unitized body and chassis, but Troy

An electronic fuel injection system with individual intake stacks tops the punched-out Boss 429 engine, which pushes more than 700 hp. Rad Rides characteristically hides all the ancillary equipment, showcasing nothing but the good stuff.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

started with an Art Morrison frame to provide a solid foundation for the extra power, modern suspension, and improved ride. In fact, Rad Rides built the entire chassis, roll cage, and drivetrain, then put the body in place, just as race teams did in the late ’60s. An exercise that requires a lot more time and engineering, but Troy felt worthwhile. Under the hood, a Boss 429-style engine (displacing 529c.i.) puts an ironic twist on the Torino’s powertrain. Back when the Talladega was originally conceived, NASCAR also demanded the manufacturers’ racing engines had to be based in some sort of production-based

Doesn’t everyone have a CNC-machined billet aluminum fuel cell? The details astound, even in the trunk.

package. (That’s how we got the Street Hemi.) When it came to the Boss 429, which was intended to replace the tunnel-port 427 on the track, development

delays pushed back its debut. Rather than hold up the Talladega program, Ford pushed out the production models, built in January and Febru-

ary 1969, with the 428 engine rather than the Boss 429. The race cars hit the track at the beginning of the season with the “old” 427, but the Boss 429 showed up a little



Yes, it runs down the road just as good as it looks.


The dashboard is filled with racing-spec gauges (with Holman Moody graphics).

later in the season. The semi-hemi Boss’9 engine was, of course, shoehorned into the Mustang for homologation. In George’s custom creation, a fuel injection system helps the engine pump out more than 700 hp and about 650 lbft of torque. It’s backed by a Bowler-built TREMEC five-speed transmission. Naturally, every nut and bolt associated with the engine and transmission combina68 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

tion has been painstakingly detailed, but George really drives his hot rods, so this super-sanitary Shotgun engine goes as well as it shows. In the years since GPT Special has been completed, it has unsurprisingly racked up its fair share of accolades and miles, including the Goodguys 2013 Street Machine of the Year award and the first Barrett-Jackson Cup.

“This car has been on Power Tours, a Goodguys Hall of Fame Tour, and was even raced at one of the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenges,” Troy said. “In fact, I have a great picture of Danny Burrows with the car sideways and in the gravel at about 100 mph from the race in Pahrump, Nevada.” In short, through the years, the car has been used.

Billet Specialties cut the 20-inch wheels that were inspired by the original GT40 wheels.

The only soft material on the racing-inspired interior are the leather-trimmed seats, which were inspired by the seats of the original Ford GT40. The wrapped steering wheel and exposed pedal mechanicals evoke the purposeful style of early NASCAR racers.

2017 SR

On the track, the original Talladega a row. However, the comparatively sedate proved its wind tunnel-shaped beak’s efTalladega and Spoiler II never achieved fectiveness. Ford even lured Richard Petcult status with enthusiasts or collectors. ty to drive one for a little while, during Their comparative rarity makes which he won at Riverside on his first George’s vision even more unique. At a outing. Overall, Ford drivers won 26 racglance, it’s difficult to tell it’s not based es in 1969, including an impressive in on 1:34 an authentic, one-of-750 production Life Vintage Air:Layout 1 11 8/25/17 PM Page 1

car, but the more you examine all of its unique elements, the more they astound. That’s always been the reward of a Rad Rides-built creation. “We try to build our cars to be timeless, and I think George’s Talladega works today as well as it did five years ago,” Troy explained. “The colors were based on ’60s cars, the wheels were influenced by the original GT40, and the interior was kept bare bones. I don’t think you can tell that the car is five years old already.” And we have to agree. This is one of our favorite Rad Rides and Poteet collaborations. When those two get together, the result is nothing short of masterful. SRL

Thanks To: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop Steve Coonan Photo

Driving Your Hot Rod Should Be A Pleasure.



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THE CLASS OF A A close-up view at ididit’s latest award-winning column WORDS: Todd Ryden


inning anything three times in a row is tough. The Triple Crown of horse racing has only been won 12 times in about 100 years. In hockey, even some of the best professional players never score a hat trick (three goals in a game) in their career. So, when ididit took home accolades for the Best New Product at the NSRA Nationals, SEMA, and during the Goodguys Nationals with their 1940 Style Steering Column, we figured we better see what had everyone so excited. We stopped by their booth during the NSRA Nationals for a closer inspection and to ask a couple questions. The column is recognizable with the external shift tube that is now designed to shift an automatic three- or four-speed transmission. The engineering team was tasked with designing the shift mechanism to feature a locking-detent for safety where

We can’t think of another part that has swept three major new product awards (SEMA, Goodguys, and NSRA) in a single year. Congrats to the team at ididit for their 1940 Ford Style Street Rod Column.


park and neutral are locked. Other safety features include fourway flashers, which is a part of all of ididit’s columns, as well. We asked National Sales Manager Marty Waterstraut about the decision to make such a unique column. “We wanted to design and offer something unique for street rodders, to add a little extra touch to their interiors. The original ’40 Ford column is iconic in the market, so we used it as inspiration,” Marty explained. The column is unmistakably influenced by the ’40 Ford, but can be used in nearly any street rod application. They columns are available in 30- or 33-inch lengths with a common 3/4-36 lower shaft. The top will accept most aftermarket steering wheels with a ’69-’94 adapter. As with other ididit columns, the ’40 version features self-canceling turn signals. All of the wiring, including for the

Though the column is modeled after the 1940 Ford design, its art deco styling and function fits well into other street rod applications. Here, the column is being fit into a 1957 Chevy truck.

The brushed stainless steel is contrasted sharply by the brass toppers on the levers and bracketry of the column.

horn, exits the column out of sight and is terminated to a common 3 7/8-inch GM-style wiring plug. One thing that really makes the column stand out is the brushed stainless finish and brass accents on the levers and shift indicator. The design elements all came together on this piece, and the response has been surprising, even to ididit. “We couldn’t have imagined this response from hot rodders and for winning the new product awards,” Marty said. “At first, we thought this might be a limited run product, but obvious-

Function and form were designed into the column from the start, with unique shift indicators and the support and shift linkage brackets at the bottom of the column. Trick stuff!

ly, with the success we’ve experienced, it’s not going away anytime soon.” With the excitement of the ’40 Column, we figure there must be a few new specialty columns in the works, but when asked, Marty simply answered with, “No comment,” followed by a head nod. Guess we’ll see what ididit has up their sleeve at the upcoming SEMA show this November. For now, take a closer look at what has made this column so popular. SRL SOURCE: ididit,



A little heat doesn’t stop the cruising fun of a Somernites Cruise WORDS: Todd Ryden PHOTOS: Shawn Brereton


t’s July in Kentucky, of course it’s going to be hot, but a little heat and humidity isn’t going deter street rodders from packing the historic downtown Somerset, Kentucky. In fact, people cruised in from eight different states to take part in the fourth of seven Somernites events throughout the year. If you’re not aware, the Somernites Cruise takes place on the fourth weekend of each month from April to October. There is generally a cruise-in Thursday night and a meetand-greet at Danny’s Rod Shop and cruise-in at the Somerset Mall on Friday, with a fun-run Saturday morning before the show officially starts that afternoon. Participants are invited to “Cruise the Strip” that night. Did we mention the show is free? How’s that for a price of admission! One cool thing is the show isn’t simply in a school parking lot or fairgrounds; it’s right in downtown Somerset. The historic downtown setting provides a refreshing change of venue from many other events, plus you

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can walk around the streets taking in the local community and town vibe. The July event brought in more than 200 Corvettes as the featured showcase car with a Friday Corvette cruise to RattleSnake Run, where they got to test out their suspension capabilities. During the show on Saturday, the Corvettes parked in the special parking area so spectators could view all of the generations of the great American sports car together. There were two special guests, as well: Sam Memmolo from Two Guys Garage and Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick, who brought out two Munsters tribute cars. It’s hard to believe a car show and cruise of this size takes place every month through the summer, especially in the downtown setting, but the folks of Somerset and the nearby area welcome rodders in for each show. It’s definitely a show to put on your calendar for 2018. For more information on Somernites Cruise, go to SRL

Remember the hot rods used on the vintage TV program The Munsters? Well, Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on the show, built tribute cars of the Drag-U-La and the Munster Coach and had them on display in Somerset.

The same, but different! Two ’70 Monte Carlos, both with different shades of green and wheel choices, were getting parked and set up for the afternoon.

Corvettes were the featured car of the event, but all classics are welcome to cruise into downtown.

Corvettes were the featured showcase at the July event, and there were more than 200 on hand, ranging from a ’53 through 2017 models.



To top off all the cruising, celebrities, get-togethers, and street rod fun, there was also a swap meet to find parts or cool garage stuff.

This ’55 Bel Air will be raffled off during the October event. Head over to for a shot at parking it in your garage.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

The same, but couldn’t be more different! Though close in model years, body style and paint, these two Chevys are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Tuning the Q

How to tweak a Rochester Quadrajet to improve driveability WORDS & PHOTOS: Jeff Smith


ne of the most popular carbs, at least from an OEM perspective, of the late ’60s and early ’70s was the Rochester Quadrajet. The carbs were fit on thousands of GM muscle cars, but were never celebrated as a true performance carb. That doesn’t necessarily mean they couldn’t be. Every factory Rochester Quadrajet flows a minimum 750 cfm, and there were a few units rated at 800 cfm. The advantage of the Q-jet is its small primary throttle venturis with very quick-responding boosters that offer excellent throttle response, making them terrific street carburetors. And with those small primaries, a 750 cfm Q-jet can work very well even on a mild small block, like a 305 and up through fuel-hungry big blocks. Before we get started, we will assume the engine is in good condition and the entire ignition system and ignition curve is dialed in. Make sure the engine is not suffering from a vacuum leak; you can’t properly tune a carburetor if everything’s not sealed up. When tuning an engine with an unknown ignition

For years, Q-jets have had less than a stellar reputation. But the truth is, for mild street engines, this is an outstanding carburetor.

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curve, start your tuning efforts with the ignition system first. Carburetors are often blamed for problems that are caused by ignition system issues. Most guys want to head straight to wide-open-throttle (WOT) tuning, frankly, that’s the easy part. Instead, let’s first attack the idle and part-throttle, because that’s where street engines spend 98 percent of their time. We’ll start by setting the idle mixture screws and idle speed. We’ll deal here with automatic transmission cars because the added in-gear load can sometimes create problems. Start by completely warming the engine and setting the idle speed where it’s comfortable, and the engine will still idle in gear without experiencing problems. Check to make sure both idle mixture screws are equally adjusted. Next, with the transmission in Park and a vacuum gauge hooked to read manifold vacuum, adjust the idle mixture screws in small increments until you can get the highest vacuum reading with the leanest idle screw setting. Remember, turning the idle mixture screws in (clockwise) creates a smaller passage and

Start by setting the idle mixture to the leanest amount of fuel that will set the highest manifold vacuum and idle speed. Make sure the idle mixture screws are always nearly identical. This simple step makes a big difference with idle quality.

To access the primary metering rods, you will have to remove the carburetor top. This requires removing nine screws (two are inside the primary throttle area), the secondary hanger and metering rods, the two large front 5/16-inch carb bolts, along with the accelerator pump arm and vacuum pull-off.

a leaner idle mixture setting. The Q-jet’s small primary venturis combined with those highly efficient booster means very small changes in throttle will affect fuel metering, starting with a tapered primary metering rod that moves up and down within a primary jet. The rods are positioned by a hanger that moves with the primary metering piston which is pulled by engine vacuum. Underneath that piston is a spring. At low load, the high manifold vacuum overcomes the spring pressure and pulls the hanger and metering rods deep into the primary jets. This reduces fuel flow and the amount of fuel delivered. As you step on the throttle, load increases, vacuum decreases, and spring pressure pushes the rods out of the jets, increasing fuel flow. There are several ways to meter primary fuel flow. The variables are jet size, the power tip and taper on the meter-

The secondary system is a bit complex compared to a Holley, but can be easily tuned. As the large air valve door opens, a small plastic cam lifts the secondary hanger. This hanger connects to the pair of secondary metering rods. Metering rods come in multiple tip diameters in long, medium, or short length tips. Changing rods or hangers is quick and easy.

Q-jets are well known for experiencing a bog or hesitation when the secondaries open. This is easily fixed with a simple tightening of the secondary air valve door spring. A small, 3/32-inch Allen wrench unlocks the adjustment, while a small, straight-blade screwdriver adjusts the secondary air valve door spring tension. If the spring tension is too loose, the door will open before the engine needs it and will cause the bog.

ing rods, and the power valve spring tension. The best place to start for tuning would be to install the lightest power valve spring. By reducing spring tension, less manifold vacuum is required to keep the primary metering rods in the jets — which leans the mixture by reducing fuel flow. Of course, this also means heavier part-throttle load may make the engine run lean. Secondary metering changes are far easier than on the primary side because we don’t have to remove anything except the air cleaner to make changes. The secondary metering jets are fixed, so the variables to experiment with are the metering rods, the hanger, and the secondary opening rate. Q-jet secondary metering rods are tapered and have three areas: a power tip, the tapered section, and the straight section at the top. The most important part of the rod

is the power tip. This is the area of the rod still in the fixed jet when the air valve door is 100 percent open. The distance the metering rod tip travels in the jet is determined by the hanger. Each hanger is stamped with a single letter — B through V. The B hanger will pull the rods out the greatest distance, the V hanger the least. If your metering rods have a long power tip, it’s not necessary to have a more aggressive hanger (like a B), since the tip will have achieved its maximum metering long before the door is fully open. In fact, it could be an advantage to keeping the mixture somewhat on the lean side in that short amount of time the air valve is transitioning to full open. This short tuning reference has only just scratched the surface of what you can do with a Q-jet. Do your best Q-tune, and you will be amazed at how much better your engine will perform. SRL STREETRODLIFE.COM 



Elder Ford A ’36 Ford Coupe with an extended family tale WORDS & PHOTOS: Jeff Smith


ost car stories are about the machine, but it seems that if a hot rod survives long enough, the story becomes more about its history and its connection to family than about its in-vogue paint scheme and wheels. When it comes to family, tradition is always in fashion. Wally Elder is a hot rodder who comes by his passion naturally, and this story starts 10 years before he was born. Wally’s dad, Cliff, bought this ’36 Ford

coupe at a Ford dealer in St. Genevieve, Missouri, for $250 — a serious amount of money when a working man’s wages for a week was barely $40. Cliff was the second owner of this sweetheart of a coupe and almost immediately began the modifications. While it seems the small-block Chevy has been around forever, this was a time when the power plant of choice was a 324c.i. Rocket out of an Olds Super 88. We’re talkin’ 200 hp, which was big back in the

Dad’s ’36 was always about driving and having fun with a hot rod. While the color and many drivetrain details have changed, the legacy has not.

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day. Next, Cliff treated the Ford to eight coats of Magenta lacquer and a custom white interior. When Cliff first bought the car, friend Fred Chinal went along, and almost like a sequel to the eternal triangle, Fred wanted the ’36 for himself. Eventually, he convinced Cliff to sell him the ’36, and with that cash in hand, Cliff built a ’32 Roadster. You can imagine what happened in a few years. A trade ensued, and in 1961, the ’36 returned to its rightful owner. Cliff ’s son, Wally, was born three years later, so he’s never known a time without the coupe. The lure was that when Wally turned 16, perhaps he could slide behind the wheel of the ’36, but it didn’t happen. Nor did it occur when Wally graduated high school. It was clear he was going to have to prove to his dad that he was mature enough and ready to care for the coupe. Alas, there were changes afoot, as well, for the ’36. The Olds that had been hip in the mid ’50s was not aging well, so in 1972, Cliff disassembled the ’36, adding a Chrysler 440, a 727 Torqueflite, and a Plum Crazy paint scheme to complete the Mopar theme. All of this, of course, took time,

While the interior has been updated several times, Wally says the original chrome dash has remained.

and it was another 10 years until the car was back on the road. For the next three decades, Cliff and Wally took in many car shows and road trips, father in a Plum Crazy coupe and son in a pro street Plum Crazy Chal-

lenger and others. Finally, it was time to update the coupe again, yet this time, tradition stepped in with a far less ostentatious suggestion, and the ’36 bloomed with a bright red scheme that really seems to fit the car.



nce ’36 made its appeara lead page when thed magazine during the Ro This is a shot of the t 58 issue of Ho l, owned the car. in the September 19 friend, Fred China short time that Cliff’s

“From 2006 to 2017, the car rarely left the garage,” Wally says. “Only on the clearest of days would the car make an appearance and then maybe only to the local shows or perhaps a small-town

How many fam behind a singleilies can point to three generatio Rocket-powered hot rod? This is Cliff in the mid ns lined up ’36. -’50s with his

parade. But like clockwork, every two weeks Dad would pull the car out of the garage, start it up, and rev it a little. He’d listen to the Beach Boys and shine it up.” It was still dad’s car.

Wally’s dad passed away in March of 2017, but the coupe is still there — like a joyous reminder that while his dad was gone, he was never forgotten. “Since my dad’s passing, I have made The ’36 now has a classic stance, thanks to a Super Bell 4-inch drop axle and sports traditional rolling stock with a set of Wheel Vintiques chrome reverse wheels with Firestone wide white 5.60x15 fronts and 8.20x15 rears.

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The rumble seat is as Henry Ford intended and will always remain with the car. At one time, it was called the mother-in-law seat.

In 1972, Wally’s Mopar influence convinced Cliff to bolt a 440 RB engine and a 727 Torqueflite into the ’36.

a few modifications, trying to put it back to the way it was in the ’50s. There are two things that I can never do to his car. I can’t chop the top or tub it. My dad was adamant about not losing the rumble

seat,” Wally said. That probably wasn’t always easy. Wally has owned a string of bad boy cars, most of them tubbed, including a ’69 Dodge Daytona Pro Streeter back in the

Some things should never change.


Bolt-in Chassis

built on a drive '70 Cuda is This right hand ne Chassis to handle the hi Schwartz G-Mac percharged Gen III 426 Hemi! su er ow ep rs ho 805-



At the time of the engine swap, the ’36 completed its Mopar DNA direct connection with Plum Crazy paint. This father-and-son photo was from the 1985 Street Machine Nationals. That’s Cliff in black on the right, with friend Ron Schaffer on the left. This is likely after he got the car back from his pal, Fred.

day that he is now recreating as an Extreme Pro Street car. So, in a way, getting behind the wheel is like sitting in his dad’s favorite chair; it’s comfortable and can take you back to a time long ago. To complete the story, Wally now has children of his own, old enough to think about their time riding in rumble seat with their dad at the wheel. There will come a day when it will be Wally’s turn to polish the paint in the driveway, while listening to his favorite music, and consider passing along his torch red piece of Elder family history. It will be a great day. SRL 82 

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Under the stock sheetmetal is a narrowed Ford 9-inch with 3.00:1 gears.



The EZ Step Up

Shift from EZ self-learning to programming power with FAST WORDS: Richard Holdener PHOTOS: Cindy Bullion


he FAST EZ-EFI is an impressive little fuel injection system with plenty going for it, including affordability, ease of installation, and (best of all) self-learning tuning technology. Seriously, is there a better upgrade you can make on your street rod than removing a carb and bolting on a fuel injection system that pretty much tunes itself ? If you’re not familiar with the EZ-EFI system, think of it as fuel injection 101. It is the type of system that first-timers use to replace that faithful carburetor they know and love. Let’s face it, carburetion works well, but fuel injection provides the ability to dial in the air/fuel mixture under every possible combination of load and rpm. By comparison, carburetors are considerably more limited. Sure, it’s possible to get a carbureted motor tuned well at idle, wide-open throttle, and even part throttle, but just try leaning out the mixture under cruise conditions at just 2,300 rpm. This

Looking to make the move to EFI but want more control than a standard self-learning system? FAST offers the XFI Street Engine Management system in three versions: a multi-port kit, throttle body kit, or as a retrofit kit to upgrade a current EZ-EFI system.

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is where fuel injection shines, and what makes a system like the EZ-EFI so attractive. The entry-level FAST EZ-EFI system is very cost effective and bolts right in place of a conventional squarebore carburetor. Hook up is simple, requiring only a few sensors, such as coolant temp, manifold pressure, and the all-important oxygen sensor. The O2 sensor is really the key to the success of the EZ-EFI, as this allows the system to selftune based on the readings gathered through the exhaust. The system allows the user to input the desired air/ fuel values for different load and rpm ranges. Then, all you have to do is idle or drive the vehicle and let the sensor and ECU do the rest. Using readings from the oxygen sensor, the EZ system adjusts the fuel supply to the motor until the actual air/fuel levels match the desired air/fuel targets. The EZ-EFI then creates a new fuel map, so the system is not constantly trying to make

Once you open the FAST C-COM software, it provides a series of engine particulars, such as the number of injectors, displacement, cylinders, and more that you’ll need to fill in.

As far as upgrading from a FAST EZ-EFI system, simply unplug the original EZ ECU and plug in the XFI Street Engine Management ECU. Done.

If you’re going with one of the complete systems, either multi-port or a throttle body system, a complete harness that plugs directly into the sealed, compact ECU is supplied.

massive adjustments. Of course, it is necessary to load in a few engine parameters, like displacement, to give the system a starting point, but once set, the EFI will keep things running smooth and easy from cold starts to huge altitude changes. Try that with a carburetor! As good as the EZ-EFI system is, there are naturally limitations, such as being best on mild engine combinations. The critical element seems to be cam timing and the associated idle vacuum (or lack thereof). Because the system relies on a manifold pressure signal, when the idle vacuum drops near or below 10 inches due to more aggressive cams and engine combinations, the EZ-EFI is challenged when it comes to optimizing the fuel requirements. To put this number into perspective, a stock V-8 (of any make) will usu-

Next, you can get going on a number of different tuning aspects through the Global Setup Parameter screens. You’ll have complete control over your new EFI system!

ally produce near 20 inches of vacuum at idle. Wilder cam timing can also wreak havoc on high-rpm fueling. The enthusiasts that work at Memphis-based FAST recognized that a great many performance applications featured cam timing that might be a step or two beyond the ideal target of an EZ-EFI system, but still not require an advanced, stand-alone XFI management system. For these special applications, FAST has introduced their XFI Street Management EFI system. So, what makes the XFI Street system different than the EZ? The major offering is laptop programmability. Once the parameters have been loaded in the EZEFI, the system runs in closed loop, using the oxygen sensor to dial in the target air/fuel. While the XFI Street system can also be run in closed loop using the oxy-

gen sensor, users are also able to manually program adjustments. This tuning ability affords the XFI Street system more flexibility to handle low idle vacuum or wilder cam timing. The XFI system also features data logging, advanced diagnostics, and can even be used on individual-runner induction systems. The versatility of the XFI Street system is impressive, as systems are available for use with the EZ-EFI throttle body, multi-port injection, and as a simple ECU retrofit for existing EZ-EFI systems. So, whether you’ve upgraded that mild crate motor with a new cam and heads, or started fresh with a lumpy big or small block, the new XFI Street EFI system has you covered. SRL SOURCE: Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST),



Clutch and Release Blueprinting the clutch system for performance WORDS & PHOTOS: Jeff Smith


dmittedly, most of us don’t drive our street rods every day. Instead, we opt for the convenience of an OEM vehicle that probably gets a little better economy, is quieter, and practically drives itself. You have to drive a street rod, which is exactly why we enjoy three pedals and a shift lever. We understand a stick’s not for everyone, but when you take the time to properly set up the clutch, you’ll be smoothly shifting gears for miles to come. It just takes some extra effort. We’re going to look at some of the necessary measurements and specifications you need to review on early Chevy muscle cars, while sticking with the good old mechanical linkage. Most of these tips, however, will translate to other badges and trans, as well.

Let’s start by saying to never assume anything is within tolerances. We used to assume that if we used a factory bellhousing with a factory block, the bellhousing’s center pilot hole would be very close to the crankshaft centerline. There’s a good chance it’s not, simply because there are just too many variables at work. As an example, we learned that part of a clutch release problem with our ’65 El Camino came from the use of the wrong bellhousing. We were using an 11-inch truck-style bellhousing that has a distinctive notched shape on the bottom side. We learned through a friend that the pilot hole in this bellhousing is 0.440-inch larger in diameter than typical passenger car bellhousings. With the bellhousing misaligned by 0.040 inch, it posi-

Checking the bellhousing and related components for concentricity and alignment is the only way to know for sure the clutch will release properly. If you don’t measure, you won’t know.


The very first thing we discovered when comparing factory bellhousings is that a ’70s Chevy truck 11-inch bellhousing (right) employs a larger input pilot hole compared to passenger car bellhousings (left). The truck pilot hole is 0.440 inch larger and allows the trans to sag a minimum of 0.030 to 0.040 inch. This will cause the input shaft to bind in the pilot bushing, creating what is called an energized input shaft.

We should have cleaned the paint off this bellhousing flange first, but with a dial indicator on the block, we measured 0.008 inch taller on the passenger side. Don’t assume it is flat. The easiest way to make this right would be with several 0.008-inch shims on the opposite side between the block and the bellhousing. The spec for parallelism is 0.002 inch.

Bellhousing concentricity will be affected if the bellhousing is not perpendicular to the block. One way to ensure there are no protrusions that can affect this dimension is to remove any paint and individually dress each of the mounting surfaces.

Checking bellhousing concentricity means making sure the dial indicator is perpendicular to the pilot hole. If the indicator is at an angle, this will induce an error. We saw 0.005-inch Total Indicator Runout change after repositioning the dial indicator.

tioned the input shaft low, causing what is called an energized input shaft. A minor discrepancy of 0.010-inch Total Indicator Runout (TIR) is not cause for concern but, when it doubles, that’s where issues arise. As runout increases, it forces the input shaft into a bind where it intersects the crankshaft, because the centerlines of the engine and trans are no longer in line. This places undue pressure and load on the input bushing/bearing. Where this will most obviously show up is with high rpm shifts, but more often, it’s possible the real culprit is poor bellhousing alignment. Checking bellhousing runout isn’t difficult, even with the engine in the car, but it will require a dial indicator and a magnetic mount. The hardest part is just setting up the dial indicator. We like to set ours up to read zero at the 12 o’clock position and then slowly rotate the crankshaft. Look for the spot of maximum indicator movement, and mark that position. We use a Sharpie to record both the TIR and the direction of that movement either in or out from the centerline. We tested several bellhousings on two different Chevy en-

gines, the first a ’70s 350 small block and then on a 2000-era iron-block LS engine. The first bellhousing we checked was an older 10-inch factory piece. It first checked only 0.005 inch of TIR, putting it within specs. Next, we bolted that same bellhousing to our LS block and were shocked to discover a TIR number of more than 0.025 inch! Checking this bellhousing on yet a third engine generated numbers in between. Since the bellhousing couldn’t change, we had to assume the block dowel pin positions on these three engines were different. This drew us into the obvious conclusion that we were dealing with two separate variables of the dowel pin positions in the block and the location of the dowel pin holes in the bellhousing. With each having the potential to be off-center relative to the crankshaft centerline, we could easily fall into either a tolerance stack-up where the numbers became worse, or an offsetting situation where the whole package looked righteous, when in reality, each offset the other, despite the fact neither were within spec. These closer inspections and measurements don’t end STREETRODLIFE.COM 


This illustration from Centerforce shows the proper position of the clutch fork. It should be slightly forward of perpendicular to the pressure plate levers with the throw-out bearing touching the levers. This will place the release arm at 90 degrees to the input shaft at half release.

Another check is to ensure the pressure plate fingers are at a consistent height when bolted down to the flywheel. Our example is clearly a defective pressure plate and will cause horrible clutch chatter. This is why you should always perform this inspection.

with the bellhousing and flywheel either - you also need to consider the clutch linkage. Most early GM muscle cars employed a simple z-bar linkage system using a rod from the clutch pedal to the z-bar and another rod from the z-bar to the clutch release fork. OEM diaphragm style pressure plates generally require 0.500 inch of release arm travel to fully release the clutch. Given that most GM release arms use a 2:1 ratio, this means you will need a minimum of one inch of travel where the linkage hits the release arm. A critical factor that will ensure the clutch releases properly is the position of the release arm. The pressure plate release distance varies due to a number of factors, such as the clutch disc thickness, and even the thickness 88 

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Newer transmissions, like this Tremec TKO-600, or a Magnum six-speed, all use tapered roller bearings to support the input shaft. These bearings do not respond well to a misaligned bellhousing. Older transmissions like a Muncie or Top Loader use a ball bearing on the input that is more tolerant of an out-of-spec bellhousing.

of the marcel spring integrated in between the two friction surfaces on the clutch disc. Mild street clutches tend to have thicker discs than higher performance discs. Because of this variance, it is difficult to put a number on the amount of travel necessary for a disc to release. For example, a Centerforce clutch we used recently only required 0.27 inch of pressure plate lever travel to create a 0.025-inch air gap at full release. Other diaphragm pressure plates may require as much as 0.500 inch of lever travel to fully release the clutch. This means the release arm (between the pivot ball and the throw-out bearing) should be perpendicular to the input shaft at half release arm travel — 0.250 inch. This is important because the release arm travels in an arc that pivots

This is how to measure the pressure plate release lever height. The dimension is from the tallest point on the levers to the flywheel friction surface. This height directly affects the position of the release bearing and the release arm.

Centerforce recommends measuring the flywheel height as part of the checklist. The spec is 0.960 inch for GM engines using the mechanical clutch linkage. Measure this by inverting the flywheel on a bench and measuring from the crank flange to the bench. If the flywheel is shorter than this spec, this will require lengthening the clutch ball spec the same distance to establish the proper release arm angle.

around the clutch release ball in the bellhousing. If the release bearing is not in the correct position at half travel, this will increase the travel required at the throw-out bearing. So, if the clutch linkage position is not correct, more linkage travel will be required to release the clutch. Measuring these positions is difficult, especially with the parts installed in the bellhousing. What this revealed to us is that if you care enough to insist the clutch and transmission work efficiently, you can’t just slap the parts together and let it go at that. You must check everything, which we learned the hard way when shifting issues plagued our El Camino. We talked with several experts in driveline setup and components and were surprised at how easily one part out of spec or of a different design can affect the rest of the system. From flywheel runout to pressure plate release lever height, and even the concentricity of the bellhousing, there are a number of things to check and ensure they’re within specs. While in the past, it seems like everyone was able to just

There are proponents of both pilot bushings and bearings. It is possible that the pilot bearing can weld itself to the input shaft, making it nearly impossible to remove the transmission. This makes a case for pilot bushings. Never oil a self-lubricating pilot bushing, as this will clog up the pores in the bushing and cause it to fail.

We’ve had good luck with RobbMc alignment dowels. They fit easily into the block and once positioned, are secured with these Allen screws that expand the dowel and lock it into place. Plus, there’s also 9/16-inch wrench flats that allow easy movement of the dowel in the block.

  FOR MORE INFO AND PICS, SEARCH “CLUTCH AND RELEASE” on bolt parts together and make them work, it appears now that as cars and engines age, specification creep begins to take a toll on parts, and not everything lines up like it once did. Add in that many engines now make twice the power of their ancestors and all those variables have a way of stacking up on the average backyard car builder. So, the bottom line is the only way to know if that brand new clutch assembly is going to work properly is to make the effort to measure the variables and compensate for anything that falls out of spec. It might take a bit longer to finish the project, but you’ll be rewarded with repeatable and long lasting shifts. SRL SOURCES: Centerforce,; RobbMc Performance Products,



with The East London Timing Association

Canada’s favorite high octane club WORDS: Mark “The Prez” Rogerson PHOTOS: Kenny Kroeker


nown as the “Disciples of Speed,” the East London Timing Association (ELTA) is one of the most active, dedicated, and respected car groups in Canada. The ELTA, based out of London, Ontario, is made up of local members and chapters throughout the region. Since its inception, the ELTA has worked to preserve, promote, present, and protect hot rod and drag racing history. The club enjoys a far-reaching reputation that has been earned through its willingness to travel significant distances to shows and events to promote the car culture. The club has been a regular attraction at the Detroit Autorama, as well

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This is about as many ELTA members as they could herd together at once — still a lot of them missing!

The Big Go Summer Drags held at St. Thomas Raceway pulls historic and vintage race cars from across the country. The ELTA’s own John Chandler firing up his nitro-burning Alien II during the Summer Bash.

Jamie Underwood just finished his ramp truck to haul Falconstien, the Homan-Moody tribute Falcon.

The annual ELTA Summer Bash is held in August each year. The hot rod action stretches for six blocks!

as the Cleveland Piston Powered Auto-Rama Shows, the Hot Rod Drag Racing Reunion in Bakersfield, and the Jalopyrama Invitational in Maryland. They also participated in the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame event in Montreal. During the past 13 years, the ELTA has been known for their own events, such as Gathering of the Clubs, which pulls together car clubs from all over Ontario each May. There is also a Fall Mixer held in September in Strathroy, which is hosted in a 19th century blacksmith shop, and the season wraps up in October with their Black Shirts and Friends BBQ. Their flagship event, the ELTA Summer Bash, just took place in mid-August at their club shop. This six-block street rod party draws in rare and historic cars from all across the country. This year, they had more than 40 vintage drag cars fired up, resulting in Canada’s largest cacklefest. The club also added the Big Go Summer Drags which was held at the near-by St. Thomas Dragway, where they drew in more than 200 vintage drag machines for

an outstanding day at the races. Let’s get back to the club’s shop. This clubhouse, known as Canada’s unofficial shrine to speed, is packed with all sorts of vintage drag racing and hot rodding items. It’s like a museum of Canadian horsepower with hundreds of collectibles, including racing coats, vintage hot rod photos, race motors, dragsters, custom cars, and more. The club is very proud of being a caretaker of southwestern Ontario’s rich hot rod and drag racing history. They’ve helped raise the recognition of area racers and builders within the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame and work to document hot rod history by producing books for the public. If you find yourself close to London, Ontario, you owe it to yourself to drop by the East London Timing Association’s club shop. They welcome street rodders in from all over the world and are happy to share the region’s drag racing roots and passion for hot rodding. For more information, search “Fans of ELTA” on Facebook. SRL STREETRODLIFE.COM 





When you’re assembling the brake system for your next street rod, or perhaps are simply upgrading to a vacuum power assist unit, it’s important to measure and confirm you have the proper push rod distance from the booster and into the master cylinder. If there’s too big of a gap, your brakes will not work properly. If the rod is too long, the brakes will drag. Master Power Brakes has a handy little tool that will make this setting simple and accurate.

FEATURES Precision-machined stand is easy to position Thumb screw securely locks adjustable shaft Durable anodized coating for long life Simple design, almost too easy to use

It may look simple, but this Booster Depth Gauge will help ensure the correct boosterto-master cylinder pushrod fit.



1. Simply position the short stands of the tool flush on to the master cylinder mounting face, then loosen the set screw and push the rod into the cylinder until it bottoms out. Lock the set screw to hold the pushrod in place.

2. With the pushrod still locked in place, flip the tool over and position the longer stands onto the booster where the master cylinder will mount. BUY ONE $48


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

We had a friend that just went through the debacle of his brakes hanging up. After spending a lot of time looking over the mechanical side of the drums and calipers, the issue was easily confirmed — pushrod length was too long from the booster to the master cylinder.

3. There should be .020-inch clearance between the pushrod and booster diaphragm. If not, you need to adjust the rod (if adjustable), or get one the proper length.







When your first motorized vehicle is a scooter, one you can’t properly straddle, but still can’t stop riding, then it’s a pretty good indicator you’ve found your passion. Larry Nolan first hopped aboard his Cushman Pacemaker at the tender age of 9 and has been on a juggernaut of a street rod lifestyle ever since. When you start that young, it’s often on two wheels. Nolan, of Memphis, Tennessee, went through a couple of Cushmans, a Zündapp, a Honda, and a Triumph in his younger days, as well as several Harley-Davidsons through the years. The four-wheel action began with a micro-midget in 1955. When the magic day of acquiring an authentic driver’s license arrived, he was ready with a ’52 Ford convertible powered by a Flathead, which was promptly enhanced with twin carbs and high-compression heads. The ragtop Ford gave way to a tri-powered ’56 T-Bird, and after honing his drag racing skills on the streets for a short time, Nolan discovered the allure (and safety) of organized competition. He acquired a ’57 Chevy hardtop, soon had it equipped it with a Corvette fuel injection unit, and hit the strip. He joined the Memphis Rodders, an NHRA charter member car club, and was promptly immersed into 1960s NHRA competition. The Chevy soon gave way to race-only machines, like the ’41 Willys gasser he campaigned with partner Eddie Wilbanks. There was also the Sock-It-To-Me ’32 Bantam A/A roadster that won class at the 1968 NHRA Nationals, along with the best-appearing crew honors. Nolan spent close to a decade in the ranks of NHRA’s Competition Eliminator, but after witnessing a racing fatality at his local track, he convinced himself to hang up his helmet for the newly developing street rod scene that was gaining momentum nationwide. He was one of the original six members of the Memphis Street Rods, a club that has been at the forefront of the street rodding movement since its inception and is still going strong today. His first actual street rod was a rat-powered ’23 T-bucket, but he arrived at

Larry has always been into motorized vehicles. Here he is in his micro-midget way back when.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

the first NSRA Street Rod Nationals (held in Peoria, Illinois) in a ’34 Ford sedan. During the middle part of the1970s, Nolan located a 1927 Ford ‘T’ coupe, and began the process of modernizing the tin Lizzie with a totally new frame, fitted with a Jaguar suspension and a Chevy II four banger. As the ’70s wound down, the siren call of competition was once again heard, and Nolan returned to racing, along with his brother Dennis. However, this time, it was with open-wheel sprint cars on the clay- and gumbo-surfaced race tracks across the southeastern and Midwestern states. Dennis served as the driver, while Larry kept the wheels turning. Another 10 years were devoted to turning left in the dirt with some of the best names in the sport, before he came back to street rods. When Nolan returned to the street scene, it was behind the wheel of a ’38 Ford two-door sedan, followed by a righteous ’51 Ford business coupe. After that came a restored Kurtis Kraft midget racer that was towed around with a ’48 Ford F1 pickup, which he rebuilt from the frame up. The F1 received the full “farmer” treatment with a brushed-on paint job, but a Ford 351 V-8 and a five-speed manual transmission reveal the hot rod within. Nolan is still driving that F1, but his latest effort is currently under construction — a ’57 Chevy 150 sedan with an LS power plant and a six-speed manual trans. It will be notably trick, but still a dedicated street driver. Nolan has also been instrumental in organizing the Memphis Rodders Reunion, from a small assemblage of the original club members, into an annual gathering of hot rod and motorsports enthusiasts from throughout the Mid-South. The annual event provides a significant charitable contribution to the Shriner’s Burn Transportaion Fund. Hats off to Larry Nolan for setting an example of how to remain involved in hot rodding throughout one’s life, and yet still find a pathway to pay it forward to those in need. SRL

Larry with Bill Taylor at the 2008 Memphis Rodders Reunion.

Larry (on the right) with racing partner Eddie Wilbanks and their ’41 Willys.


HIT THE ROAD Fall is upon us, which brings the cruise and show season to a slower pace, but there are still plenty of neat events you can attend. If you have a great winter show to recommend, let us know about it for our next issue. Drop us a line at

Somernites Cruise This is the final Somernites event of the year, and it guarantees to be a great one! The official show is Saturday, but there’s a meet and greet at Danny’s Rod Shop on Friday, followed by a cruise-in, along with a Saturday morning fun run, the show itself, and Cruisin’ the Strip in the evening! This is also the show when they do the drawing for the ’55 BelAir giveaway car! Speaking of Chevys, the special parking area is designated for Tri-Fives and traditional street rods. October 28 Somerset, Kentucky

Daytona Turkey Run As street rodders, we have a lot to be thankful for: lots of cool parts, places to cruise, horsepower, overdrive, and wheels. So, why not spend Thanksgiving with thousands of other street rodders at the 44th Daytona Turkey Trot! Nov. 23-26 Daytona, Florida

Cruisin’ the Coast Deemed as America’s largest block party, this weeklong cruise lives up to its name with a 30mile stretch along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A half dozen cities along the route welcome all the cruisers with mini-festivals happening all week. Oct. 1-8 Gulfport, Mississippi

Goodguys Rod and Custom Goodguys rounds out their season with two fun events in November: the twoday get-together in Pleasanton, then the huge final show in Arizona. Nov. 11-12 Pleasanton, California Nov. 17-19 Scottsdale, Arizona

SEMA Ignited

Ocean City Endless Summer Cruise Wrap up your cruise season on the Atlantic coast in Ocean City, Maryland, for a fun show with satellite cruises and mini-shows around the nearby towns. Oct. 5-8 Ocean City, Maryland

The Specialty Equipment Market Association, best known as SEMA, takes place the first week of November. Unfortunately, the gigantic event is not open to the public. We’ll be there to bring you daily updates, live interviews, and industry news, but there is also the public SEMA after party. SEMA Ignited starts Friday evening after the trade show, so you can still see the cars and trucks from the show, plus the Battle of the Builders! Nov. 3 Las Vegas, Nevada

Not able to attend a show? Want to see which cars were at what events? Not a problem. Head over to and check out the Events tab for coverage, pics, and more. STREETRODLIFE.COM 



STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 3

Extra parts for the ’35.

The plan is to have this ’34 coupe on the road next year including shiny paint. It has a ’52 Caddy engine topped with a weird Drag Star intake that’s been cut up and used on a show rod from the ’50s.

Kirk just finished this ’35 Ford pickup when we stopped by his shop. The truck sits on its original chassis with a drop axle from Kohler Kustoms. He also modified the rear suspension to get it lower, along with an early Bronco rear end. Since he plans to drive and treat the ’35 like a truck, Kirk opted for a 6.0L LS and 4L80E driveline.

Kirk has a penchant for Cadillac engines and has a couple in the shop for future use. This is a 331c.i. from a ’53 model. Note the dual quad intake.

“I think I have as much fun, if not more, building them as I do driving them,” Kirk Hanning told us as we stood in his garage full of vintage tin, Cadillac engines, and other parts for future projects. And there’s no shortage of projects on the horizon, such as the ’34 coupe along the wall and a pickup out back, not to mention lending a hand on his friends stuff. As you can tell, Kirk has a thing for traditional styled rods and has had quite a few, including a ’34 Ford sedan, a ’34 pickup, ’38 pickup, and others. It’s almost like a mini-production line of cool hot rods rolling out of his shop in the small town of Goodrich, Michigan.





The complete control system includes ECM, pressure and level sensors, Bluetooth 3-position control pod, harnesses and instructions.

The sleek Bluetooth control pod plugs into a 12V power port when needed.

The waterproof ECM can also be configured as a pressure-only system.

Next-gen LevelPRO® height sensors are easy to install and highly reliable.

Setup and diagnostics are handled through a colorful new smartphone app.

Street Rod Life readers are among the first rodders to have a look at this ALL-NEW Air Suspension Control System!

RideTech’s new electronic air suspension control system moves far beyond basic leveling and ride height adjustment. Sophisticated pressure and height algorithms tune spring rates for proper handling and world-class ride quality. Powerful features include “RideHeight-On-Start” automatic lift and level, weight compensation (when cruising with family or hauling gear) as well as true crossload spring pressure compensation -- which is critical for dynamic driving scenarios such as cornering, panic stops and other instantaeous corner load changes. A sleek and stealthy 3-position Control Pod plugs into your car or truck’s 12V power port (cigarette lighter) and talks to the ECM via Bluetooth. You can have it all: Show-winning stance and an unrivaled driving experience. For details, visit or come by Booth 22587 at the 2017 SEMA Show.

Made In the USA -- 350 S. St. Charles Street, Jasper, IN 47546 -- Tel. 812-481-4900 --

Street Rod Life Fall 2017  

The new issue of Street Rod Life is now available just in time for the big Fall Street Rod events. Checkout all the exclusive street rod fea...

Street Rod Life Fall 2017  

The new issue of Street Rod Life is now available just in time for the big Fall Street Rod events. Checkout all the exclusive street rod fea...