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P H O T O C R E D I T: M C G A F F I N D I G I T A L P H O T O G R A P H Y

Todd Ryden

Paper or Digital?


t’s a common question these days — do you want that in paper or digital? We get the option from our banks, utility bills, schools, and so on. If you used to get something in an envelope by way of the postal service, chances are you have the option these days to receive it through email. Bills and boring necessities are one thing, but how do you want to receive your street rod news? Do you want to flip physical pages, or do you prefer to swipe a screen? (Remember, tablets don’t work well with greasy fingers.) There’s no right or wrong way, just different preferences. If you work in the newsprint, magazine, or nearly any media outlet, this is a common discussion these days, and quite a challenge for many businesses. Newspapers all over have dropped down in size, as well as the number of days they actually print a paper or offer home delivery. In fact, my local paper just announced it was going to cut the daily sections from four to only two, with the Sunday paper being an exception (which I was pleased to learn). I’m stuck in the middle of this conflict, as I grew up with the habits of boomers, yet am surrounded by the modern tech that keeps the heads of millennials cocked down at the screen of their phone. When was the last time you heard anything about Gen X-ers? We’re old news, forgotten for the most part. I’m a bit old school in that I still like to get up on Sunday, brew a pot of coffee, and flip through the obtuse newsprint, starting with the funnies, at least what’s left of them. I still even pass through the classifieds for cars and parts, but those finds are pretty much a thing of the past. As for reading about hot rods and other hobbies, I still enjoy holding a printed magazine for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s nice not to look at a screen, since I’m poised in front of a monitor most days. It’s nice to be able to take a magazine anywhere. It’s nice not to worry about if it’s charged, dropped, or left somewhere. Plus, there are no ads popping up, loading slowly, or distractions to go to another magazine. I turn the page when I want to. It’s more relaxing and enjoyable. It’s rare that I go to a hot rod website and read complete articles. I’ll follow a Facebook link or search out a subject and peruse and glance around, but I’m not typically engaged 100 percent in the story. Chalk it up to too many other distractions on the screen — or go ahead and say it, maybe I’m just old…fashioned. That being said, there are benefits to this entire media-on-demand age. Event coverage, from races to road tours and shows, is ideal to review electronically. Being able to follow updates from shops, builders, and manufacturers is fun, and you get to see a lot more behind the scenes or build progress shots. The volume of technical details and help you can get from forum fraternities out there can be a huge help when you’re working in the garage. There’s just no right or wrong way to get your hot rod news and views. In fact, it’s a combination of everything media, from a Tweet about an upcoming show to a gallery of the cars posted on a website, and on to a feature in print on one of the cars at the event. Which is exactly why is available 24/7, along with Facebook updates, Instagram pics, YouTube, and this very 100-page magazine you’re paging through! The important part to remember is to look up from your phone, get out from behind the computer, put the magazine down, and get in your street rod to join the fun. SRL

Group Publisher

John Nichols

Editorial Director

Todd Ryden

Senior Tech Editor

Jeff Smith

Tech Editor

Richard Holdener

Copy Editor

Cindy Bullion


Hailey Douglas


Paul Graff

Contributors Barry Kluczyk Brandon Flannery Louis Kimery Corey Ringo Chadly Johnson Advertising/Subscriptions Ivan Korda Jonathan Ertz 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

‘Yes, it is a Buick,’ is something Aubrey King is always answering about his stunning ‘40 Buick S56 Super Coupe. Credit Shawn Brereton for the great pic out at the Millington Jetport.













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VOL. 3, NO.

Todd Ryden

Staff Director of Operations Shawn Brereton




#StreetRod StreetRodLLife ife







This ’27 Ford is part of the family





Legens redefines a 150 The SS option takes off The GNRS and AMBR

Buick luxury and style

The Motor City gets it done

Don’t worry – it’s all engines Trading paint for parts

This ’27 Ford is part of the family

Web guy or print guy?

What’s up in the rodding world Find cool sites, tech, and parts Car guy tweets and posts Dusk outside the GNRS

Cool videos to check out


Father and son hot rod builds Crimp anything and everything Arizona’s street rodders

A Tri-Five and 150 other cars Where to be and when

Cool car stuff and a Cutlass

She runs the joint

Even more features, videos, & event coverage 2 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1



Roots, boost and crate engines



Refrigerant explained

Low cost, high voltage

Roots, boost, and crate engines Pay attention to your diesel oil

What not to do with a new cam Big Pontiac = Big Power





Big Pontiac = Big Power

Refrigerant explained

Parts Store SureFit A/C System for ’61-’66 F-100 Vintage Air.....................56 Street Rodder Torque Converters TCI..........................................56 Id. Ignition Systems ididit...........................................................57 SafeCap Meziere Enterprises......................................................57 ’60-’65 Falcon/Comet Headers Patriot Exhaust Products...........57 Street HEI Distributors FAST......................................................58 Oil Diagnostic Wipes Driven Racing Oil.......................................58 Black Chrome Tuff Stuff..............................................................58 Custom Fit DOT-Compliant Brake Hoses Brakequip...................59 Voodoo Rotating Assembly Lunati...............................................59 Free-Flow Garage Floor RaceDeck..............................................60 EZ-EFI 2.0 8-Stack Induction Systems for BBC Inglese.............60 Supermax Quick Change Speedway Engineering........................61 Synthetic Air Tool Oil Amsoil.......................................................61 Energizer Hydraulic Cams Crane Cams......................................61

See more new products updated daily at






Pete Chapouris, 1944-2017

Gurney at the Petersen The Petersen Automotive Museum has unveiled its newest exhibition of racing cars, “The Eagles Have Landed: Dan Gurney’s All American Racers.” The exhibit celebrates the life and career of one of America’s greatest racing drivers, Dan Gurney. Gurney built an incredible career as not only a driver, with countless wins in both open wheel and sports car series, but also as an innovator. The exhibition also coincides with the 50th anniversary of his incredible 1967 season, which included wins at the

Race of Champions and Spa, as well as a qualifying record for Daytona and a win at Le Mans. In fact, the collection includes the Moet Champagne Bottle sprayed by Gurney after winning the 1967 Le Mans race. The exhibit, which is in the Nearburg Family Gallery, consists of a dozen race cars and an incredible collection of memorabilia related to Gurney’s career. The collection is on display until January 2018. For more information, go to or

FAST Revolution at NSRA events Fuel Air Spark Technology, better known as FAST, will be presenting their Revolution Award at all of the NSRA National events during 2017. FAST, best known for their advanced line of fuel injection systems, intake manifolds and performance ignition components, will hand select a vehicle that utilizes new-age technology while maintaining a street rod or muscle car theme. The car or truck doesn’t require the nicest engine, paint scheme, or even FAST parts, but it must utilize EFI and represent ingenuity. 4 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

The street rodding community lost a great one as Pete Chapouris suddenly passed away in early January. Pete was the co-founder of Pete and Jake’s Hot Rod Parts and was well known for his black and flamed ’34 Ford, known as The California Kid after being highlighted in the film of the same name. Pete went on to work for SEMA, where his enthusiasm for hot rodding helped initiate programs still going strong today. He was later inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 1999. In 1997, Pete worked with Alex Xydias to resurrect his SO-CAL Speed Shop. Together, the team built a list of amazing cars and also teamed up with a number of race teams to set records at Bonneville. Pete had an enduring passion for hot rodding and to help young people become involved in the industry. He was instrumental in helping launch the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts with the goal to help high-school students learn skills and talents to prepare for a career in the automotive industry.



Win a ’55 Chevy with Somernites Somernites Cruise is a monthly car gathering that brings more than 1,000 cars to downtown Somerset, Kentucky, from April to October. The cruise is the fourth Saturday of the month, rain or shine, and typically there’s a fun cruise and kickoff on Friday night preceding, so be sure to check their website for each schedule. The event welcomes hot rods and muscle cars of all makes and models, plus they spotlight a specific group of cars each month with a special parking area. Did we mention the show is FREE? This year, the shows and special sections are: April 21-22, Truck Showcase May 26-27, Mopars June 23-24, Camaro/Firebird July 21-22, Corvettes Aug 25-26, Mustang Sept 22-23, Power Cruise Oct 27-28, Tri-Five Chevy Even bigger news for the 2017 Somernites Cruise season is they’ll be raffling off a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air! The tricked out shoebox features a 327c.i. small block, an automatic trans,

Vintage AC system, and power disc brakes. The giveaway is sponsored by Franklin Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC, and the winner will be announced Saturday, October 28. Tickets are $10, and you can get more details about the show and giveaway at

Advanced Plating is making the world look better

Advanced Plating is known for producing incredible finishes from chrome to black nickel and even gold for hot rodders across the country. It takes a lot of work and a lot of materials to make a bumper look great, and we just learned they are the only chrome plating company that recycles 100 percent of their waste materials. Solid waste components are used for zinc die-castings, and their liquid waste is recycled into muriatic acid for cleaning agents and construction. Congrats to the team at Advanced Plating!





The World Wide Web is chock full of information, some which is actually useful. Finding quality answers to your questions or curiosity can get difficult sometimes, which is why we’re here. We’ll try to filter out the good stuff and recommend what we find — here’s just a few.

WEBSITES Mac’s Motorcity Garage

When it comes to hot rodding news and history, this is an outstanding site. Mac is actually Bill McGuire, an insider to the automotive industry and aftermarket with terms spent at AutoWeek and Hot Rod magazine. Check out the detailed spotters guides, museums, history, and other menu tabs.

Packard Plant Project

The Packard Plant on the north side of Detroit ceased operation in 1958, though other businesses continued through the 1990s. The historic plant, built from 1903-1910, covered nearly 40 acres and is now undergoing a renovation to include manufacturing, retail, art work areas, and more. Check it out.

George Klass Tales

If you’re a fan of vintage drag racing, prepare some coffee and get comfortable in front of your computer. George Klass, a diehard drag race and hot rod historian, has assembled a site with thousands of pics of gassers, altereds, roadsters, super stocks, and more.

Behind Krass n’ Bernie

One of our favorite cartoonists growing up, and still today, is George Trosely. Most recall his work for CARtoons magazine with the antics of Krass n’ Bernie (now shown in Car Craft magazine). His artwork is instantly recognized, and you can check out his drawing tips, books, and even have him draw your car!

FORUMS Everything C10

Looking for build tips, techniques, and parts for your Gen 1 – 4 C10 Chevy truck? The C10Trucks site has a huge community of truck fans that lend their expertise on everything from restorations to LS swaps and more.

Interior Building Tips

Most street rodders tend to be mechanically inclined, but when it comes to the interior, they leave it to the pros. This forum has information for pros and novices, with plenty of tips on materials, machines, tutorials, and design. Put down the wrench, and try your hand at stitching.

Blue Oval Truck Fans

Ford fans also have a serious following of pickups, and you’re starting to see more of the ’70s F100s at shows and cruises. This forum covers all of the F-series pickups — and with a passionate group of followers to help you through any “Ford Tough” questions.

Hot Rodder Gathering

Street rodding news at your fingertips


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Smart Charging

We recently used one of Craftsman’s new smart battery chargers and couldn’t resist checking out their new app for the device. In short, we can monitor the status of our battery’s charge from our phone!

Looking for suggestions or tech tips about electrical, drivetrain, suspension, or other articles about hot rods? This forum has plenty of active boards to post and review, or to work through any modifications or builds you’re working on.

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


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

Search for DieHard Smart Battery Charger and Maintainer on App Store







Get social with us – find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Be sure to hashtag #StreetRodLife 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 Ashlin Albright fell in love with a ‘55 Chevy and decided she needed to own one. She started a business, saved her money, and bought one. That’s not uncommon, until you realize that Ashlin is only 10 years old! Check out this amazing story and much more on our daily Facebook updates.






Great looking cars, engines, show coverage, updates and more are published daily on Instagram at #streetrodlife!




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The new E6 Ignition will make sure there’s a fire in the cylinder to improve your engine’s performance!

Rod Shot

As dusk fell on the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show, the FairPlex lights clicked on, producing an ideal ambience around the outdoor parking areas. This shot sums up the show with a wicked bare metal custom front and center, a pair of guys taking a picture, and a couple club members hanging out in the background. This is what it’s all about. PHOTO: Shawn Brereton


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1





To watch all the videos below, head to: Close look at the ‘Gone Mad 55’ Nomad Wagon

From the 2016 NSRA Street Rod Nationals, the 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon “Gone Mad 55” was built by Classic Car Studio.


Meet Dead Man’s Curve Hot Rod Club

The premiere episode of The Life features Lonnie Johnson of CPC Customs, who has found his niche building one-off customs and hot rods while overcoming the challenges of owning a fabrication shop in a small rural Mississippi town.

Custom Peterbilt hot rod semi

The Life: Self-Made Man

Hot Rod, the feature film (1950)

In the 1950s, hot rods were becoming a menace and the movie studios started to crank out hot rod-themed films, such as this one. This sappy story has loads of great shots of period roadsters!

World’s biggest boost addict

Boost is a lifestyle with the cars featured from Blown Mafia! Brad Grey’s collection showcases some of the most badass and outside of the box you’ve seen.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

My Classic Car TV heads to the world famous hot rod farm in Montville, New Jersey, to hang with the Dead Man’s Curve Hot Rod Club.

This Wild Peterbilt Hot Rod Semi Truck is one of the more unique builds we have come across on YouTube!

Vintage Torque Fest 2016

Some of the coolest rides in the Midwest on display at the 2016 Vintage Torque Fest in Dubuque, Iowa.

The invention of the Ford V-8

Learn how the Ford Flathead V-8 engine came to be in this great documentary.

The asphalt jungle is a noisy place. Make sure you’re heard. The streets are full of commotion and it’s easy to get run over unless you make some noise. The hard-hitting Thumpr™ Series from COMP Cams® will give your hot rod or street machine an aggressive note that lets them know you mean business. More than all bark and no bite, they were specifically designed to create impressive horsepower gains and broad torque curves while maintaining streetability. From mild to wild, Thumpr™ offers three levels of thump to suit any engine: Thumpr™, Mutha Thumpr™, and the Big Mutha Thumpr™. Though nostalgic-sounding in note, the designs are compatible with the latest in valve train advances, including COMP® Beehive™ Valve Springs, Ultra Pro Magnum™ Roller Rockers, and Magnum Pushrods. EFI-compatible versions are also available. You choose the engine, Thumpr® will make it roar.

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You are looking at the boss! Editor’s Note: We’ve known Kelle for more years than she probably wants to admit and were excited when she agreed to get In the Passenger Seat with Street Rod Life. Thanks Kelle!


t’s not just a sign hanging behind my desk, it’s confirmation to myself and anyone standing in front of me, that yes, I may be a woman, but I can help you when it comes to the restoration of your project car. Translation: I run this joint! When customers call or walk into our shop, I’m often greeted with funny looks or thoughts like “why is your desk in the shop,” “you’re a girl, can I talk to one of the guys,” or my favorite, “can I talk to the boss?” Then they look at my mechanics just a few feet away, and the mechanics point back to me and say, “Talk to her, she’s the boss.” Most guys accept it and move on, but there are a few who really do have a hard time accepting I might know more about the condition of their car and what it may take to restore it than they do. Generally, this leads to a chat about where I learned about mechanics and cars. I grew up on a farm working with my dad, a retired diesel mechanic, along with an older brother who works as an auto body technician. My mom was the glue that kept us all together. The farm took a lot of effort to keep going, and when something needed maintenance or fixing, we fixed it. My dad and brother also took advantage of my OCD and hyperactivity by putting me to work on anything they could find — just to wear me out. My first career was far from the garage — an administrative assistant for a law firm. However, this is where I honed my organizational skills and learned the importance of staying focused and on task. In 2004, my husband Kevin, the producer of Hot Rod Magazine TV at the time, decided he wanted to start his own video production company focused on hot rods, and I backed him in every way I could. Kevin started V8TV Productions, Inc. with the idea of creating an automotive TV show that featured good technical information and no wrench-throwing drama. About a year later, I left my law firm job to work with him on the show. Whatever


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

he needed help with, I’d try like hell to learn how to do it and get it done. Over time, we felt the best way to produce quality content on the show would be to build a car. That first car was a ’69 Camaro convertible for Royal Purple Oil Company. That build led to another, and we were off and running, which has meant more employees, more tools, more space, and the need for organization and management — my time to shine. Fast forward 13 years and now I manage the shop of V8 Speed & Restoration. We have 15 employees and an average of 24 cars in our work flow. We have parts coming in and going out, customer questions, and general business items going on constantly, and I work hard to keep it all moving smoothly. I like being in the shop; that’s why my desk is there! I handle a majority of the disassembly of the cars so I can create a to-do list and get the parts list to start each project. Kevin handles a lot of the new customers’ discussions with the project planning, designing, and all of the video production business. I’ve heard the saying, “Behind every successful man, is a good woman.” I’ve also heard people say they could never work with their husband. I’m so grateful to have Kevin by my side, every day. We work together for the same goal: build great cars. So, if you call or come into V8 Speed and Resto Shop and you see me at my desk, I’ll be happy to help you with anything I can because, “I run this joint!” the best of my abilities. SRL







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STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1


Turning a low-buck workhorse into a roadtouring cruiser

WORDS: Todd Ryden PHOTOS: Todd Ryden & Shawn Brereton


he ’56 Chevy celebrates 61 years in 2017, which isn’t really something most magazines celebrate and write about. Two-thousand-seventeen is the year for the ’57 Chevy and the Camaro right? We’ll get to those models in later issues; right now we’re in pure ’56 mode due to the simplicity and perfect stance of this One-Fifty sedan. The ’56 Chevy was offered in a number of iterations, the basement bargain One-Fifty with scant options available and little body trim making it a favorite for service vehicles, fleets, and budget-minded consumers. Even with the limited options, the package was available in a sedan, utility coupe, a Handyman 2-door wagon, and, of course, a fourdoor. The middle of the road Two-Ten model could be had in a number of body styles from wagons to hardtops, twoand four-doors. As far as options, the Two-Ten was open to most of the Bel Air accessories, including a two-speed Powerglide automatic trans.



The One-Fifty model for ’56 was a no-frills and limited option package. Note the rear license plate relocation to the custom bumper.

Simplicity carries over into the interior, which has been updated with large, comfy seats from a ’64 Impala, wrapped in leather. The modified console and armrests were donated by the same Impala. Other subtle custom touches that standout are the ONE-FIFTY badging and machine-turned dash insert.

The top of the line of course, the infamous Bel Air, could be had in body styles ranging from four-doors (hard top and sedans), a convertible, and wagons, including the sought after top tier twodoor Nomad. Truth be told, the ’56 you see here started life as a Two-Ten, but was crafted 18 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

down to the One-Fifty series by the talented team at Legens Hot Rod Shop, at the behest of George Poteet. George has always been a fan of the stripped down, utility workhorse models. The working man’s machine. No frills, less trim, no accessories, nor bells and whistles. They were built strong with the purpose

of getting the job done. Now, we understand his reasoning. George had a vision for a clean ’56 One-Fifty to use as a road tour car, so he turned to the crew at Legens to bring it to reality. Finding a legit One-Fifty is tough since most were beat-on and run into the ground, so this project started off as

The telltale sign for the low-end model is the lack of the stainless trim arcing from the rear bumper to the spear right after the door. The classic lines of the ’56 were left original, including the wheel well openings.

a Two-Ten model. The team was tasked with removing and filling any extra trim work and chrome to knock this ’56 down a notch. To carry over the bare bones, basic feel of the car, body mods were limited to the bumpers and grille area. Both bumpers were handmade at Legens, simply

to refine the originals. The rear bumper began life as a front unit turned upside down before being cut up into a bunch of different sections. The final pieces resemble the originals, but are slender, smooth, and one piece. The grille follows suit with a custom touch not too far from the factory. In fact,

vintage style shift indicator

4-way flashers

A classic update of a time-honored hot rod column Available for 3 or 4 speed automatic in 30” or 33” lengths Visit for more info self-canceling turn signals

Legens machined billet pieces the same size as the original, but tightened up the spacing for a few extra bars. George had the idea to modify the upper grille bar and join it with the turn signal surrounds. This meant Legens had to build the entire lip on the bottom of the hood, as well as fab a lock/opener mechanism.

external shift tube

40s style brass knobs

Winner of: 2016 SEMA New Product of the Year 2016 NSRA Nationals Best New Product Award locking detent

proudly made in



The ’56 was built to get in and drive anywhere at any time, so underhood tricks and customizations were kept at a minimum. A Chevrolet Performance 525 hp 376c.i. LS was put to work, along with a 4L60E.

Classic Instruments retained the ’56 vibe with a reworked instrument panel showing both vehicle and engine speed.

To smooth it out further, the hood ornament was removed. Subtle stuff that takes talent and a lot of work. While the body was being transformed into a One-Fifty, the chassis received some attention. George had an “extra” chassis from a previous ’57 Chevy project that was already updated with a Heidts front suspension kit, as well as their four-bar kit out back, so 20 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

it was called in for service. Legens finished the details on the chassis and added a modern power steering box from Borgeson and 9-inch rear end built by Alan Hutcheson positioned out back. George planned to make this Tri-Five a go-to driver, so reliable performance was an absolute. The solution was a 376c.i. LS with 525 hp connected to a 4L60E overdrive trans. Lift the hood,

and you’ll notice the restraint Legens had to adhere to keep things simple, clean, and effective. One major modification allowed on the One-Fifty was the interior. George thought about some of the old hot rod Tri-Fives he remembered from long ago and wanted to use Impala seats. Legens took that one step further by incorporating not only the bucket seats from a ’64

Evod 18x7 and 18x10 wheels are wrapped in Pirelli rubber and tucked up behind the original wheel openings.

George needs to update his license plate frame to the 450+ mph club!

Impala SS, but they also carried over the console, rear seat with the speaker divider, and the door panels. Extra care was taken to create the trim on the door panels to look the part, and close eyes will notice the armrest with the integrated door latch from a ’64 SS. Tricky! The console and shifter were also massaged to fit the tunnel of the tri-five. As for the steering wheel, it’s 100 percent One-Fifty. The ’56 was finished just days before the California-to-Texas Goodguys Hall of Fame Road Tour, and Steve and Beth Legens made the 1,800-mile drive without so much as a hiccup or complaint. George had a vision of a modern, no nonsense One-Fifty sedan, and Legens was able to deliver. Now, he plans to put the car to use, just like it was designed to do. SRL

The most customized area on the car is also one of the least obvious, until you open the hood. The grille itself is a custom piece, but check out the hand-built one piece surround that wraps the parking lamps and across the grille. Originally, the center part of this trim was mounted to the hood! STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Finding a good reusable block is like kissing frogs…you might have to kiss a lot before you find a prince. Due to their primitive casting techniques combined with overheating tendencies, a lot of blocks will have cracks that will require added repair work. Beware of rusted hulks.

e original hot th g in d il u b re to Tips ny Thacker

rod V-8

: To



uilding a street rod is full of choices. One of the major decisions you’ll have to make is what to use for a driveline. Do you want to go modern with an LS or Coyote, or keep it simple with a tried and true small-block mill? For those going the traditional route, only a vintage engine will do, and the venerable Ford Flathead tops the list of favorites to see in a classic rod. The Ford mono-block V-8 was introduced in the ’32 model year, and though it had its share of teething issues, such as overheating maladies, many of those inadequacies were cured. But, we’re still working 22 22   

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1 STREET STREET ROD ROD LIFE  LIFE  Vol. Vol. 3, 3, No. No. 1 1

with an 85 year-old design. By combining good old engine rebuilding know-how with new components, a Flathead can make a terrific engine for your street rod. You can have it all; the looks, sound, and reliability when the proper steps are taken. It’s really kind of a simple engine: side valves, no overhead cams, no push rods, no rockers, and only three mains. How hard can it be? We wanted to find out, so we asked Tony Thacker, co-author of Ford Flathead Engines: How to Rebuild & Modify, to share some tips on what it takes to rebuild a Flattie. SRL

Unless you need an early engine for a specific restoration project, we suggest you find the later model design (and as complete as possible). The 1949-1953 8BA model is easily identified by the angled distributor. Truck engines had an integral, cast-in bell housing, car engines did not — either can be used.

Your best bet is to step up to a complete rotating assembly from Scat. Their kits include the crank, rods, pistons, rings, and bearings, and are available balanced! After your block is thoroughly cleaned, it will need to be Magnaflux crack tested. Most all Flathead blocks suffer cracks in the pan rails, inside the bores, and around the valve seats and stud holes. Small cracks can be stitched, but too many might result in a scrap block. If you’re using the stock iron heads, check those too.

If you choose to find and use an original crankshaft, be sure to use the Mercury crank with the larger sludge trap plug shown left. If your pinkie fits, it’s a Merc; if only a pencil fits, it’s a Ford. Also note the Merc crank has a 4-inch stroke, whereas the Ford crank has a 3 3/4-inch stroke.

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That’s Why The Nation’s Premiere Builders Rely On ARP Fasteners!

builder: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop

ARP fasteners allow you to reach the true performance potential of any engine while maintaining an extra margin of safety. And, as legions of builders who have won rodding’s most prestigious awards can attest, ARP’s polished stainless steel bolts and studs will enhance any vehicle. And while ARP has dedicated fastener kits for a wide variety of engines and individual applications, many builders employ polished stainless steel or black oxide finished chrome moly bolts for chassis, suspension and a myriad other uses. Both are rated at 180,000 psi and significantly stronger than Grade 8 hardware. Sold in handy 5-packs, they’re as large as ½" diameter by 6" length and as small as 10-32 x ½". Choose between hex or 12-point heads and SAE coarse, fine or Metric thread. Check out the latest ARP catalog online or request a free printed copy. Of course, all fasteners are proudly manufactured in-house to assure optimum quality.

Mothers Wax 1959 Chevy Biscayne builder: Rad Rides by Troy

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w w w. A R P - b o l t s . c o m STREETRODLIFE.COM 


To correctly machine the block, you will need the services of a competent engine machine shop, such as H&H Flatheads, that knows the flattie. Chances are the block will require align boring, decking, new valve seats, and general machining.

Any number of performance cams are available, from mild to wild, from companies such as COMP Cams, Isky, and Schneider Racing Cams. Be sure to use the supplied break-in lube during assembly. With the block prep work complete, it was time to check and test any rotating components that are going to be used.

As you would expect, the installation of the inblock valvetrain requires a special tool known as a “pickle fork” to compress the valve springs in order to insert the retainers. These special tools can be purchased at specialty tool vendors.

One of the best things you can do performancewise is to help the asthmatic Flattie breathe a little better by opening and smoothing out the inlet and exhaust passages. It takes time and patience, but is rewarding with a more efficient, cooler running engine. Some people forget to clean out the main oil galley and replace the plug. Both are important procedures in building a Flathead.

After all the repairs and machining have been completed to the block, be sure to have it pressure tested. It’s also a good idea to have the block pressure sealed using a proprietary ceramic sealer that is heated and pumped into the engine to cool and seal.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

A special tool will be needed to insert the cam bearings. Be sure to align the hole in the bearing with the oil feed hole in the block.

Adjusting the valves, as in any engine, can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. To make it easier, some builders drill a hole in the lifter boss so they can lock the lifter while making the adjustment.

Regular or high-pressure oil pumps are available from Melling, but you’ll need to check the pickup depth with the pan you intend to use.

Like the intake, there are lists of aluminum aftermarket heads to choose from these days. If you’re going with a vintage set, be sure they’ve been thoroughly checked and tested. Sometimes the cost of repairs outweighs the cool factor.

The engine was flipped over to install the crankshaft. Installing the rear oil slinger and rope seal is a critical process if you don’t want an annoying and difficult-to-repair rear leak. Take your time to get it right the first time.

Most builders use a combination of the original steel crank gear and a new aluminum cam gear (the originals were often fiber). Of course, the timing marks must be aligned or things are not going to go well during the initial start-up.

Everything old is new again! This example is fit with a Scat rotating assembly, along with new Navarro heads, Eddie Meyer intake, dual Stromberg 97s, Powermaster generator, and a Mallory distributor.

Plenty of engine assembly lube and the crankshaft can be carefully placed in the new bearings. Cranks weigh in at about 63 lbs, so be sure to have assistance. Main caps are torqued 85 ft.-lbs. in the proper sequence. Note that early blocks had wired nuts on studs, while later blocks used bolts.

This engine was getting a stock Ford intake, but there are oodles of cool cast intakes for multiple carbs and exotic setups for fuel injection, or even a blower.

This cool shot of the Ford engine test facility is from 1934, when the flathead was fitted with factory aluminum heads. Despite the millions made, finding a good engine can be an exercise in patience.

Read all about it Mike Herman, the Flathead guru behind H&H Flatheads, along with auto historian and journalist Tony Thacker, teamed up to produce a complete guide to the Flathead. Ford Flathead Engines, published by CarTech, is packed with more than 500 photos and a step-by-step rebuilding process to follow along. If you’d like to get a signed copy of the book, contact H&H or Ghost Tracks USA., Use extreme care when installing the rods and pistons, to not damage the hone on the cylinder or the crank bearing surface. Rod bolts are torqued to 45 ft.-lbs.

SOURCES: H&H Flatheads,; CarTech Publishing,; Thacker and Friends, STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Super Sport Sixty Super TwoSport Sixty Two


r a e Y d n o c e

t r o p S r e up


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STREET Vol. 3, 3, No. No. 1 1 STREET ROD ROD LIFE  LIFE  Vol.

The SS nameplate really took off in its second year WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden


hat’s better than a scorching Roman Red ’62 Impala slung low with a modern day drivetrain? How about one with the Super Sport trim package! Twenty years ago, Frank Armendariz built a 327-powered ’62 and thoroughly enjoyed the car. From its looks to the way it drove, the big Chevy made an impression that stuck with Frank as he traded, sold, and built other cars through the years. In the back of his mind, however, he always planned to have another ’62, and when he found this SS model as a half-finished project, he knew exactly what to do.



There is just something about the classic lines of a ’62 Impala. Is it the grille and front trim, the machined brightwork down the length of the body, or the wrap around windshield and formal roof line? The sum is by far greater than the parts.

28 28   28 


Red interiors just pop! Frank sourced the restoration materials and door panels from Ciadella along with updating the gauges to Dakota Digital VHX models. The under dash A/C vents and custom console look nearly factory.

The coveted Super Sport package option, which has been lauded by performance enthusiasts for years, was actually introduced on the 1961 Impala. Since then, Chevrolet has offered SS badging on most of its ’60s and muscle car era cars. The SS namesake was revived in the mid ’80s on the Monte Carlo, followed by the last of the rear-wheel

drive Impalas in ’94-’96. It was later added to a big-block pickup, and even in a Trailblazer package and, most recently, the Camaro. Chevrolet launched the Super Sport option in the early-summer of 1961 to help hype up the all new 409c.i. engine. The SS package included special hub caps with a fake knock-off spinner, pow-

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Frank’s ’62 has a perfect stance thanks to the combination of 20-inch rears and 18-inch front Coys wheels. There is also an Accuair four corner air management system to set the height.

All Impalas received six tail lamps (Bel Airs and Biscaynes had, two less) and the SS package included an engine turned aluminum insert that surrounded the tail lamps. Note the SS trim on the rear quarter and deck lid.

er steering, power brakes with metallic brake linings, heavy duty shocks and coil springs, along with narrow white wall tires. The interior received a 7,000 rpm tach mounted off the steering column and a passenger side grab bar, similar to those found in Corvettes. If the car happened to have a four-speed trans, it received a chrome trim plate around the floor-mounted shifter. In ’61, the car had to be equipped with a 348 or 409 engine to receive the special SS badging, and in the end, less than 450 SS-equipped cars were built — but it certainly set the tone 30 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

for 1962. The SS package really caught on in 1962, with more than 90,000 buyers checking off the Regular Production Option 240 (RPO) for a new Impala. The option was available only on the coupe and convertible body styles in ‘62, though any engine combination could be used, including an inline six. For the additional $156, the SS package delivered machine-turned brightwork down the side of the car and deck lid panel, special wheel covers (similar to those on the ’61), and unique SS badging. The interior grab bar was retained,

bucket seats were added, and if there was a floor-mounted shifter, it also received special chrome surround. If you notice on Frank’s Impala, the SS side trim and unique emblems really add some flare to the long Impala. Also new this year was the more formal appearing roof line, rather than the bubble-like flavor of its predecessor (and retained on the ’62 Bel Air). It’s also apparent Frank’s car has foregone the factory spinner-style hub caps for a set of big Coys, for a modern stance and to clear the big CPP disc brakes.

Frank wanted this car to be an absolutely smooth cruiser for long hauls across the southwest. The answer of course was an LS1 prepped by Street and Performance to the tune of about 425 hp backed by a 4L60E.

Under the hood, you won’t find a W-motor to sing along with, rather a modern LS1 that produces more power than the high-horsepower Z11 package ever did. Frank wanted this car to be able to make long cruises smooth and comfortable, and the Gen III engine, along with a 4L60E, nicely fit the bill. The interior follows suit with the ex-

terior, in that it’s largely original other than modern amenities, including a set of Dakota Digital gauges, air conditioning, and a custom console. As for the red on red combination, it’s actually original to the car, and the bright interior was brought back to life thanks to Ciadella Interiors. With more than 50 hot rods rotat-

ing through his southern New Mexico garage through the years, the ’62 Impala continues to be one of Frank’s favorites, and after looking at his car through a lens for an afternoon, we tend to agree. The car is built to cruise anywhere at any time, and that’s exactly what Frank and his wife Lori are doing with their Super Sport Impala. SRL



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Grand Kick-off The

Sixty-eight years and counting for the Grand National Roadster Show WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden and Shawn Brereton


he Grand National Roadster Show kicked off the 2017 street rod season with their 68th annual event in Pomona, California. The show continues to bring in a grand variety of historic rods and racers, customs, muscle cars, low riders, and, of course, roadsters. The coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, sponsored by the L.A. Roadster Club, is chosen during the GNRS. The prestige of this award dates back to 1950, when it was first bestowed upon Bill NieKamp and his ’29 Ford. The winner, judged from 13 contenders (12 this year), receives $10,000 and gets their name immortalized on the huge, everlasting trophy. This year, those honors went to Bruce Wanta with a ’36 Packard built by Hollywood Hot Rods.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

On top of all the AMBR excitement, the Grand National show brings all sorts of other cool features. This year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic ’57 Chevy, one building featured an amazing collection of Tri-Five Chevys. Steve Strope of Pure Vision Design was the featured builder of the year, with several of his rolling masterpieces on display. There was also a gathering of more than 30 pinstripers assembled to raise money for the Teen Challenge organization. The show takes place in a number of buildings around the Fairplex, plus there’s another 700 cars parked outside and mixed in with top name vendors and manufacturers to check out. It’s one of the best shows in the country, and what better reason do you need for a trip to California? SRL

The winner of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, presented at the Grand National Roadster Show, went to Bruce Wanta for this amazing ’36 Packard. The car was designed and built by Troy Ladd and his crew at Hollywood Hot Rods.

John Foxley of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, has an untold number of hours in the metal work of his ’32, including a front roof section and windshield of a ’34, the rear section of a ’33, and doors from a ’34 that were stretched six inches.

Harold Saul’s ’40 Merc has been classically customized with a chop, channel, and sectioning done by Keith Dean.

It’s cool enough just to see George Poteet’s record-holding Speed Demon up close and personal, but getting to talk to the man himself about land speed racing is pure icing on the cake.

When he’s not producing the Hot Rod Hill Climb or the Hot Rod Dirt Drags, Mike Nicholas builds history, like this front/rear twin Flathead pickup! Check out the interview we did with him from Autorama on about this historic truck. STREETRODLIFE.COM 


CELEBRATING THE TRI-FIVE CHEVY It’s the 60th anniversary of the ’57 Chevy, and the GNRS devoted an entire building to some of the most historic and flat-out coolest tri-fives around.

Bobby VanWart made the long tow from Memphis, Tennessee, to take part in the special Tri-Five area. He netted an invite for his ’55 during the Tri-Five Nationals, and the car was also featured in our last issue (check it out online).

Bob and Peggy Cook’s 472c.i. Hemi-powered ’55 was on hand.

One of the most historic magazine project cars of all time, Project X from Popular Hot Rodding (now defunct), is still alive and kicking.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

In 1968, the students of Western High School started to build this ’57 Chevy into a race car. Pioneer I was ready for the track 18 months later and raced through the next two years before the program was cancelled. Fast forward to 2003 when the original shop teacher, John Cesareo, found the car and restored it to its student racing glory.

One of the most historic street-machined ’55 Chevys of all time is Scott Sullivan’s Cheez Whiz. This car proved that pro street cars could cruise and run the number on the track, not to mention provide a great influence on young builders and enthusiasts for years to come. See our Tech Editor Jeff Smith talk about his historic cross country trip with Sullivan, by searching “Cheez Whiz” on

This ’55 sedan belongs to iconic rod builder Roy Brizio.

Yes, this is the Ed Roth shop truck! The ’56 Ford was found sitting in an Oklahoma barn for the better part of three decades. Beau Boeckmann quickly added it to his collection of historic Roth vehicles and restored it through Galpin Auto Sports.

Rad Rides by Troy had the Mariani brothers’ Model A Tudor on display in stunning bare metal. Getting to see this example of craftsmanship in the buff is a rare and amazing opportunity. Paint and finish will come later in the year.

Pinstripers unite! More than 30 artists from every corner of the country gathered to lend their talents by striping items throughout the show, as well as hosting an auction benefiting the Teen Challenge organization.

Just stare at Eddie Tovar’s custom ’40 Mercury for a while. Perfection!

Designer/builder extraordinaire Steve Strope of Pure Vision was the featured builder of the year and had several cars on display, including the Martini Mustang, the Black Ops Fairlane, and this work-in-progress ’57 Ranch Wagon. The custom Ford will be finished and featured in the ARP booth at the SEMA Show in November.

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Congratulations to the 12 finalists that were in the running for the 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster honors. Any one of these cars were worthy of the distinction in our eyes and are absolutely amazing builds. We can’t wait to see more of them throughout the year.

Matthew Gordon,’32 Ford pickup Bill Grant, ’28 Ford Gordon Gray, ’32 Ford Scott Hawley, ’32 Ford


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

James Hetfield, ’32 Ford Wayne Johnson, ’29 Ford Shawn Killion, ’28 Lincoln Don Lindfors, ’32 Ford pickup

Glen McElroy, ’37 Ford Dan Peterson, ’32 Ford Matt Taylor, ’27 Dodge Bruce Wanta, ’36 Packard

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COOL Getting a grip on air conditioning WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden

The key to cooling the interior is by efficiently changing the state of the refrigerant as it cycles through the system.


ears ago, rods were basic builds with no accessories, bells, or whistles. They were meant to either be quick or look cool, and sometimes both. As time and technology have progressed, many builds have become more refined with creature comforts for a more comfortable drive. One such accessory that has become the norm is air conditioning — and with good reason. Southern states that drip with humidity through the summer make it unbearable to cruise, and the Midwest reaps some pretty serious heat during prime cruise months, as well. Remember, an A/C system not only cools the air, but it removes the moisture to keep your cabin cool and dry. It’s no surprise Vintage Air, the original street rod A/C company, was started in one of the hottest and most humid cities in the country — San Antonio, Texas. If you could develop an A/C system that keeps a street rod cool in San Antonio, then 38 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

you’re pretty well set for the rest of the country! Vintage Air knows what it takes to make a car stay cool on the inside, but for many of us, understanding what exactly is going on inside those hoses and tubes is a mystery. Automotive air conditioning may seem tricky to understand at first, so let’s take a look inside to get a better grip on keeping cool. The best thing to compare the actions and flow of refrigerant is to think back to middle school and the hydrologic cycle. As it’s heated, water evaporates from a liquid to a gas. Then as it cools, it condenses back into liquid form again. And if you were awake for any physics courses, recall that heat always transfers from a hot object to a cool object. Never the other way around. The A/C system does the same basic thing with refrigerant, as you can see in the diagram. Refrigerant enters the compressor as a cool, low-pressure gas and exits as a hotter, high-pressure

It is always best to space the condenser away from the radiator to minimize heat transfer between the fins of both heat exchangers. A 3/16-inch gap between the radiator and condenser isolates the two heat exchangers, yet provides a clear path for the air to travel through both.

Remember, a liquid cannot be compressed, so the refrigerant enters the compressor in a low-pressure vapor state and is then pumped to a higher pressure and temperature, where it then travels to the condenser.

COOL CHECK LIST As a rule of thumb, Vintage Air would like to see 36 degrees to 46 degrees out of the center ducts while cruising at 1,500 to 2,000 rpm. In many cases, the air conditioning system is functioning exactly as it was designed to do, but other things on the car are not helping the cause to keep you cool. Be sure to check and consider several of these areas of your rod as well. Fan Shroud: Do you have a fan shroud? A shroud will not only help cool your engine temperature, it will also help the fan pull air through the entire core of the radiator and condenser to promote improved air conditioning. This is especially important at idle and low speeds. Size Matters: Try to fit the largest evaporator possible under your dash. A kit to cool a station wagon needs more evaporator capacity than that of a five-window Deuce! As for the condenser, Vintage Air recommends at least 300 square inches of face area on a parallel flow condenser. Insulate and Seal the Cabin: The more hot air you can keep out, the cooler the air is going to stay inside. Using insulation on the roof and floor will make a big difference. Also be sure any holes in the firewall and floor are sealed. Heater Control Valve: Make sure the heater control valve is installed on the correct hose and is in the right position for the flow of coolant. If not, hot engine coolant circulates through the heater core, reducing the effectiveness of the evaporator and the cool air.

To protect the A/C system from destroying itself, a binary switch is used to disengage the compressor when the refrigerant pressure is too high, or too low. If your vehicle is equipped with an electric fan, a trinary switch (shown) should be used to automatically activate an electric fan based on line pressure.

gas before reaching the condenser. The heat of the high pressure refrigerant is transferred to the ambient outside air that is also flowing across the fins of the condenser. This cools the refrigerant, allowing it to condense into a high-pressure liquid state. It then flows through a receiver-drier, which removes any moisture that is in the system and separates any remaining gas bubbles from the liquid. It also serves as a storage vessel for the liquid refrigerant. After the refrigerant leaves the receiver-drier, it flows through the expansion valve where a variable orifice controls refrigerant flow. When the refrigerant passes through the expansion valve, the pressure of the refrigerant drops significantly, creating a spray of refrigerant droplets, which absorb large amounts of heat as they change (again) from liquid back to gas. Inside the car, the blower motor pushes hot cabin air through the evaporator (a heat exchanger) where heat and mois-

ture is removed as it passes over the cooling fins of the evaporator. By absorbing the heat from the air, the refrigerant returns to a low-pressure gas state and is routed toward the compressor for another cycle. That is simply the flow of the refrigerant and how the air is cooled. There’s a lot more to maintaining a consistent cool temperature over millions of cycles in your rod: the size and shape of the two heat exchangers (the evaporator and condenser), the compressor, switches to monitor the pressures and keep things safe, a receiver-dryer, and even the duct work and routing of the cooled air. All of these things need to be designed to work together as a complete system to keep you cool. If you have any questions about removing heat from your rod, give Vintage Air a call. They’re always cool to talk with! SRL Source: Vintage Air,



FAST’s I6 Ignition packs a big punch in a small package WORDS AND PHOTOS: Todd Ryden


ow does your engine start? Does it take a long time to fire up, and is the idle just not as smooth as you’d like? Is the throttle response or midrange a little flat? One area that can help improve these common driveability issues is the ignition. Having a reliable, full energy spark for the cylinder on every compression stroke is imperative to creating an efficient combustion event. A factory-based ignition system barely gets by, and when you add some typical hot rod components, it’ll be time to add some ignition power as well. When we started looking for ignition upgrades, we came across a newer offering from FAST. The FAST I6 Ignition is a compact unit that will spice up the spark of your factory ignition system. What we found interesting about the I6 was its small housing, big spark, and budget-friendly price. The team at FAST was able to keep the size of the unit down by using advanced digital components. One key to increasing the spark output is through advanced dwell control circuitry. By closely monitoring the dwell time – the time between firings of the coil – the igni40 40  

STREET STREET ROD ROD LIFE  LIFE  Vol. Vol. 3, 3, No. No. 1 1

tion can build up a much higher current to ensure the coil is fully charged for each firing. This is key to producing 70 percent more energy than stock systems. Not only does the unit increase the voltage and spark energy for your ignition, it also offers several other key features that could come in handy for advanced applications. The ignition has a built-in adjustable rev limiter, which is always nice to have set in case of a missed shift. There is also a connector that accepts an optional MAP sensor for a boost referenced timing retard and another circuit to use as a second rev limiter, if desired. For our application, we were primarily interested in the added spark energy of the I6, especially at lower rpm where the ignition produces multiple sparks. The extra sparks during cranking helps with starting and idle quality, while the long duration, high-energy sparks will improve cruising and overall driveability. The I6 Ignition is designed to work with an electronic input, such as from a Ford Duraspark, or TFI ignition,

The I6 is a very compact unit, which makes it easy to inconspicuously mount. The rotary dials are used for a number of options, including a rev limit, timing retard mode, anti-theft device, and a diagnostic mode.

We chose the driver’s inner fender panel to mount the ignition. The unit is completely potted and sealed for protection, plus we’ll have easy access to the rotary dials.

FAST offers an inductive coil designed to work with the I6 Ignition, and we felt it would be best to have the complete system. A harness is supplied for a direct plug-in installation.

Chrysler vehicles with four- or five-pin modules, and GM’s electronic ignitions from the mid-’80s and later. For those of you with vintage breaker points, FAST offers an optical trigger kit that replaces the points and connects directly to the I6. Our ’71 C10 happens to have the factory driveline from an ’88 Suburban (the dual connector GM coil), making it a perfect upgrade candidate. Since we weren’t planning to use any of the advanced features of the unit, wiring was simple. In short, the I6 uses the 12-volt source from the factory coil positive wire then intercepts the coil negative signal, which is the trigger from the distributor (or ECU). It then boosts the voltage and energy and delivers it to the coil, where it’s further stepped up and sent to the distributor. Which leads to an important note: any time you increase the spark energy of the ignition system, ensure the cap, rotor, and spark plug wires are in good working condition. The added energy can tax these components, and it is a best practice to make sure everything is up to the task. If you’re adding a more powerful ignition, make sure to inspect the wires, cap, and rotor. The installation on a throttle body-injected Chevy small block was about as straight forward as it gets. The I6 connects to the 12-volt source that feeds the ignition coil, so it doesn’t

need to be mounted close to the battery. The unit is potted with a polyurethane material so it can be mounted under the hood, but you still don’t want to mount it near high heat components. You can retain the factory coil if it’s in good condition or go with FAST’s I91 coil. This coil is designed with specific materials, resistance, and windings to optimize the energy of the ignition. We decided to go with this coil and mounted it to the firewall near the distributor. The coil was mounted on the passenger side of the brake booster, and the ignition was bolted to the inner driver’s fender. The black ground wire was routed to a clean ground source on the radiator support (which is also grounded to the chassis), and the main harness was routed to the factory coil connectors. Here, we intercepted the original coil negative signal and coil positive source from the vehicle harness. Once everything was checked and nicely routed, we turned the key and fired up the engine. The small block came right to life. We left the truck idling as we cleaned up the few tools the installation required, shut the garage, and headed out for a cruise. Simple installation and increased ignition performance without breaking the bank! SRL Source: Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST),



e l b a v e Unbeli

Who would have thought two dirt track racers could build something so smooth and slick? The original steel of the Buick underwent a serious amount of nipping, tucking, and lengthening, creating a masterpiece of street rodding luxury.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1


How do you make a Buick Super coupe even more super? Ask Aubrey King WORDS: Todd Ryden PHOTOS: Shawn Brereton


uicks have always leaned towards style and comfort, combined with an understated touch of performance. Recall, if you will, the technology of the turbocharged V-6 of the late ’80s, the torque of a 455c.i., the styling of a Riviera with a 425c.i. Nailhead, and even the Fireball straight-8. The brand has always carried a bit more panache. Aubrey King understands what makes a Buick a Buick, but when he decided to build his ’40 Super coupe, he took that factory-built style and performance to an entirely new level. He respected the overall form and lines of the car, but knew there was a more stylish street rod on the inside waiting to be uncovered. He bought the car from a friend who had rescued it from nearly 20 years of storage. It was very complete, quite solid, and ideal for the foundation of Aubrey’s plan.


43 43

It doesn’t get any more sleek than this! The original steel panels were smoothed, finessed, and contoured, creating an absolutely smooth, clean flow across the rear of the body. LED taillamps and a third brake light are molded in the body work and nearly invisible.

An LS1 engine was originally planned, but Aubrey was concerned about it not being powerful enough to carry the big Buford. The solution was a custom-built LS3 and 6L80E trans sourced from Don Hardy Race Engines in Floydada, Texas.

He turned to a couple of close friends, Dave Wright and Greg Davis, for most of the heavy lifting. Aubrey and Dave built and raced dirt track cars for years, and though one may not equate circle racers with the sleek and precision flare of a street rod, it takes a metal craftsman to do 44 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

both. That is exactly where Dave shines. The two decided a C4 Corvette would provide an ideal update in handling performance and ride quality and began the chassis transformation. The suspension went through a few iterations over the course of the extended build,

but was finalized with an air-supported system. Also, a set of Wilwood six-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors were installed on the front with a four-piston, 13-inch rotor combination in the rear. As the chassis fabrication was underway, Aubrey was wheeling and dealing used race engines and parts he had accumulated over the years on the track to help fund the build. This led to an LS1 and 4L60E for a driveline to fit the new Buick frame. As time marched on, the concern for more power to carry the weight of the Buick was raised. The solution was in the form of a 500 hp, 490 lbft LS3 built by Don Hardy Race Engines. Problem solved! With the chassis wrapping up, Dave and Greg set out to update and smooth some of the original Buick sheet metal. The fender wells were reshaped to accommodate larger wheels and tires, Mercedes headlights were grafted into the fenders, and the grille opening was reduced, resulting in the need for a handmade grille. The two-piece hood was formed as one, lengthened and crafted to hinge from the rear. Quite a tall order, but the team ingeniously got it done. The roof line and leaned-over B-pillar were left at their original height and placement. The windshield splitter was

The custom dash would look right at home in a brand new model! Greg Davis is credited for forming and wiring the dash using a computerized Infinitybox system based around the touch screen in the console. It works in harmony with the Vintage Air, Auto Meter Gauges, and stereo/GPS unit.

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A C4 Corvette was used as a donor for its independent rear suspension and front system, giving the big coupe modern handling prowess and a terrific ride. If the wheels look familiar, think ZR-1 Corvette.

The telltale Buick signature port holes were updated with functioning versions from a late model. Also note the custom hood hinges to operate the one-piece steel hood.

removed in favor of V-butted pieces of flush-mounted glass, and a very slight peak was added at the top of the windshield frame. As the body modifications closed in, Greg set about the inside the cabin, where he crafted a complete dashboard, console, and side door panels. Everything was wrapped in a soft leather, and, following the Buick theme, many trim 46 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

The grille is hand built to be a little smaller than the original design. By reducing the grille, Dave and Aubrey also had to add length to the hood nose and the lower valence.

pieces were finished in wood grain by Gemico in Florida. Greg also was instrumental in prepping the big Buick body for paint. With the length of panels, along with the radiuses and forms, this was a tremendous undertaking. Once deemed perfect, the body was sent to Chad Garrison in Chattsworth, Georgia, to apply the single-stage Dupont black, which was ten-

derly buffed to a mirror-like finish. It was a long road traveled – 15 years long as a matter of fact! And like any long road trip, there were detours, pauses, ups, and downs, but with the help of Greg, Dave, Chad, and Mike Hoover, an even more super Buick made it out of the garage and onto the streets. Now, it’s time to enjoy the car and rack up some miles! SRL

Driving Your Hot Rod Should Be A Pleasure!


There ’s A Reason Vintage Air Is In More Classic & Special Interest Vehicles Than Any Other Brand For over forty years our goal has been to bring all -season comfort and reliability to street rod enthusiasts. And we know that installing air conditioning may seem complicated to the average car owner. But our factory trained distributors have years of experience guiding rodders through the simple steps of selecting the right combination of system components and controls to complete your custom installation. If you have a good collection of hand tools and some experience with modifications like a cam or carburetion, your installation will be a straight a h e a d p ro je c t . No matter what type vehicle you are wanting to air condition, Vintage Air has the experience and components to get the job done right. Plus, if you should need additional help, we have a full time technical staff ready to help. Call our product information line today to discuss your project.


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Gen II, Front Runner and ProLine are trade names of Vintage Air Inc. STREETRODLIFE.COM 


with Will Hudson of

Hudsons Rod and Customs


ill and Homer Hudson are the father and son team that unwittingly formed Hudsons Rod and Customs while building their own street rods. Their shop, located on some acreage between their two houses, started as a hobby shop, but once the world of hot rodders saw what they were doing, the hobby became a profession. With 10 years of stitching custom interiors and building complete rods and customs behind them, they’ve built up a list of accolades, recognition, and customers, but remain a humble three-man build team based in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. While many top-tier builders rely on outsourcing the interior work, that ability is what helped put Hudsons on the map. Now, they do custom interior work for not only their builds,

but for many other builders, as well. This means the Hudsons can pretty much go from concept to show car without the build leaving their shop. We took a quick cruise with Will to learn more about how he and his dad got started and what’s going on at the shop these days.

Will’s first custom interior was

The Hudsons Rod & Customs team (from left): Mike Moore, Will and his Dad, Homer.

48   48


on his daughter’s hot rod stro


Will’s drag truck turned Pro Street show truck garnered a lot of attention in the early ’90s.

Will figured he should learn to do interior so they wouldn’t have to spend money or farm out the work on their hot rods. Now, it’s one of their specialties.

You guys didn’t set out to become a hot rod shop, but here you are working with top name builders and companies – how did Hudsons Rod and Custom come about? My Dad did a lot of drag racing and working on cars, so I grew up going to cruises and the track. I had a ’70 Chevy C10 that I raced, and after high school, we decided to build it into a show truck. It was totally Pro Street with a big scoop, air suspension, a sheet metal bed – the works. We had a lot of success with it. After my dad retired from Caterpillar, we moved to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, and built a shop to build our own cars.

At the time, I was still working as a sales rep for Budweiser. We built a ’48 Fleetline for my Dad, and I did a vinyl interior in it and learned a lot along the way. The next car was a ’50 Ford coupe, and that car became a business card for us. That was the first leather interior that I ever stitched. It won the Fab Five award at Goodguys Charlotte, the first show we took it to, and it was a Top 10 car of the year with Rod and Custom magazine. The next car was a ’37 Chevy for my Dad, and it was a Goodguys Top Five finalist for Street Rod of the Year. With those builds, word just kind of spread, and here we are! STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Interiors are changing! Check out this punch ‘n flared headliner in a C10.

From modern to traditional, Hudsons also did the interior of the 2016 Goodguys giveaway roadster.

Your company started by building your own street rods. Any other personal cars getting built? We’re now building my Dad a ’49 Plymouth Sedan. It’s on a Scott’s chassis, has a late model Hemi for power…it’s going to be a pretty cool one!

You’ve done traditional hot rod interiors and some more modern interiors. Which do you prefer? It’s too hard to pick between the styles of interiors. I like them both, and it’s just cool to create an interior that fits the style and design of the car.

Moving on to interiors, what got you started in stitching? When my daughter Abby came along, I  built her one of those  custom strollers including a custom interior in it.  After that, my dad happened across a great deal on a used upholstery sewing machine and I just started doing stuff for our cars.  I didn’t like farming out the interior work, plus it was money out of our pockets, so we figured we might as well do it ourselves. The ’50 Ford was key to showcasing our work, and that has led the way to several customers. We had the opportunity to work with Marc Meadors, president of Goodguys, on their ’69 Camaro. A couple years later, we did the traditional-styled 2016 giveaway Roadster, which was a real honor.

What are some trends in interior these days? Materials, style, colors, and such? There’s a lot of different things going on with interior styles these days, from metal work, to wood and the overall designs. Just look how far along muscle car interiors have come these days. Think about the door panels that used to be just flat. Now you’re seeing three-dimensional panels similar to new vehicles with arm rests, integrated door handles, and switches. We’re also starting to see more metal work and sheet metal come into the cabin. We recently did a ’69 pickup and built a sheet metal headliner that was full of punch and flared holes. We did a delivery sedan recently with a hardwood floor throughout and have done several builds with no carpet at all.

What do you like about doing interiors? What I like most about interiors is the challenge to make each one different and to have the interior go with the styling of the car. Plus, it’s great to get the opportunity to work with other rod shops. 50 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Any tips on someone thinking about doing their own interior, or just starting out? Plan ahead. You need to make sure that your panels fit well and

This ’50 Ford was a springboard to Will and Homer deciding to go into business building cars.

Will was surprised to get a call from Goodguys President Marc Meadors a couple years ago about doing the interior of their ’69 Camaro.

have a uniform gap or space that still fits correctly once the pieces are wrapped. Remember, you might be adding an 1/8th inch of leather which could add up to a ¼ inch of difference when you to go install the final parts. It could throw off the entire fit and send you back to square one.

You’re keeping things fairly low profile, just you three guys. Any plans to take on more work and grow? If the right person and talent came along, we would be glad to add them to the team. We have plenty of work to keep them busy. It’s just finding the right guy to fit our team and process.

How many customer cars are currently in the shop? Is it mostly interior work or build/fab work? We have seven projects in the shop right now, ranging from full custom builds to some lighter modifications. Lately, I’ve been doing more of the interior work, while Dad and Mike have been going to town on the mechanical and body side of things.

Would you like to do an AMBR or Ridler contender if you had the chance? We would love to have the opportunity to build an AMBR or Ridler contender. I know it’d be a lot of work, but we’re up for the challenge.

Do your customers come to you with a car and idea, or do you work with them on a design? How do you plan something so big, and long of a project with a customer? It depends on the scope of the project. If we’re looking at a simple interior update or slight car mods, I’ll sketch up a plan. If it’s a full-on custom throughout, I’ll discuss ideas and thoughts with designer/illustrator Eric Brockmeyer for a plan and complete rendering. Do you do the paint as well? We do all of our own metal work, Mike is a master at metal and customizing. We’ll do all of the metal work, prep, primer, and sanding, then have a guy that sprays the paint. We’re working on getting a paint booth in the shop so we can start painting inhouse as well.

Do you have any favorite builders that you watch? I have too many builders to list. The cool thing is that a lot of them are friends. I think Boyd Coddington will always stand out as a favorite. At 41 years old, you’re kind of the next generation of hot rodders and builders. What do you think will be coming from the next generation? I see the future of hot rodding and building only growing. Cars are always going to be cool to some people, it might be a new Mustang or Camaro, or it might be a hot rod. I think the 20-somethings will eventually like a hot rod. As long as builders keep pushing the envelope and raising the bar higher, we’ll continue to see new styles and their vision of what a custom car will be. SRL Source:



Great looks and great power – even on a crate engine WORDS & PHOTOS: Richard Holdener


hen it comes to making a performance statement, nothing sticks out loud and proud like a 6-71 supercharger! Even before people see it, the whine of the supercharger lets everyone know you mean business. While superchargers are usually associated with maximum performance applications, they are as versatile as they are powerful. Boost from a blower can be applied to any combination, from a two-stroke diesel to a nitro-burning, Top Fuel motor. Luckily for street rod enthusiasts, that list includes mild, small-block applications.

Nothing says WOW like a big ol’ roots blower, even when it’s parked atop a pedestrian replacement small block.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Rated at 190 hp when used as a TBI replacement motor, the iron-headed GM small block featured four-bolt mains, low compression, and a mild flat-tappet cam profile. We installed a GM dual-plane manifold and Holley 650 XP carb, a FAST E6 ignition, and the shop headers. This combination produced 271 hp at 4,500 rpm and 351 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Also supplied by Speedmaster, this tensioner bracket and adjustable pulley was used to properly tension the blower belt (do not over tighten the cog belt). This is handy when you change blower pulleys to control boost.

We used a Speedmaster neutral-balanced balancer for the NA test, then bolted on their drive pulley and crank pulley for the supercharger Gilmer belt.

Speedmaster offers a variety of different blower/crank pulleys (from a 48-tooth to a 65-tooth) that will allow us to adjust the boost pressure from the 6-71.

To illustrate the versatility of the blower, we decided to introduce boost to a mild GM replacement crate motor. We selected a long-block Chevy crate motor (#10067353), which was designed as a replacement for 1973-1985 350 small blocks. It has iron heads, four-bolt mains, a meek 8.5:1 compression, and a mild, hydraulic-flat-tappet cam profile designed to maximize drivability. Since this engine is delivered as a long block, to get a baseline we installed a dual-plane GM intake and Holley 650 XP carburetor, along with a MSD distributor and Speedmaster damper. In this configuration, with basic dyno shop headers, the crate engine produced peak numbers of 271 hp at 4,500 rpm and 351 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. With a baseline set, it was time to bolt on the cool parts! The centerpiece is a Blower Shop 6-71 supercharger and its sup-

porting components. Speedmaster made sure to supply everything we’d need for the blower install, including the intake manifold and blower bolts, tensioner, brackets, pulleys, as well as a dual-carb adapter and even the blower drive snout. Since we were looking to make a visual statement more than overall power, the fit and finish of the components was important. All of the Speedmaster blower components were polished and definitely looked the part. The install of the blower and jewelry was straightforward and continued with the drive snout, tensioner assembly, and blower pulley. The final pieces included a new thermostat housing, dual-carb adapter, and twin Holley 650 XP carbs. Our now-supercharged small block fired right up, and we tweaked and tuned a bit with some different pulley combinations. With 8.8 psi of boost, we increased the power output by STREETRODLIFE.COM 


After removal of the GM dual-plane intake used on the normally aspirated crate motor, we installed the blower manifold. This aluminum intake was designed to accept a variety of different 6-71 superchargers.

The components from Speedmaster were designed to accept this 6-71 supercharger from the Blower Shop. Easily capable of exceeding 750 hp, the polished supercharger would barely break a sweat on this mild small block.

100 hp. That’s a 37-percent gain on a stock replacement motor with 100 percent better looks! There was plenty of power left to be had, but the supercharged small block idled (and cruised) well, readily took throttle, and exhibited all the signs of impressive drivability. After all the testing, one thing we can say about this supercharged crate

motor: she may not have all the power, but she’s definitely got the look! SRL Sources: The Blower Shop,; COMP Cams,; Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST),; Gandrud Chevrolet,; Holley,; MSD,; Speedmaster,; Westech Performance Group,

Even on a mild application, adding a supercharger with all the right components can yield big power gains. Running 8.8 psi, the blower pumped up our replacement small block by 100 hp. This represented a 37-percent increase in power, but the real success of this combination was the ability to drive around without the headaches usually associated with a high-horsepower, blown small block.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

More NA HP = More Boosted HP To illustrate what happens when you run a supercharger on a wilder combination, we installed all of the Speedmaster components and Blower Shop 6-71 on a stroker 372c.i. motor. This small block featured a Dart SHP short block, a healthy COMP hydraulic roller cam, and AFR Eliminator heads. Run in normally aspirated trim, the engine exceeded 500 hp.

After bolting down the Blower Shop, 6-71 supercharger, we installed the dual-quad adapter plate topped with a pair of Holley 650 XP carbs. This combo is likely overkill for the crate, but we had more testing in store (see the sidebar). A classic scoop topped the system off.

With the blower set up, the supercharged stroker produced (appropriately enough) 671 hp and 563 lb-ft of torque at just 7.3 psi. Measured at the same engine speed and pulley ratio, the boost was down by 4 psi on the stroker compared to the mild GM motor. Bigger, better (more efficient) motors will always make more power with less boost! With the newly installed 6-71 supercharger, the power output jumped by 100 hp at 8.8 psi to a peak of 371 hp and 421 lb-ft of torque. We pushed this up slightly to 389 hp with a pulley change, but the boost rose to an uncomfortable 10 psi. Power was not the ultimate goal for this mild small block, so better to run it at a lower boost/power level.

When a normally aspirated engine makes more power to begin with, you’re going to see even more increases with a blower. We ran the same blower set up on a wilder 372c.i. stroker that exceeded 500 hp in NA trim. The same 6-71 supercharger increased the power output up to 671 hp at just 7.3 psi (a 34-percent increase). STREETRODLIFE.COM 




Sponsored by

At Street Rod Life, we’re always on the lookout for new parts that will make your rod a little quicker, smoother, or simply cooler. This installment of Parts Store brings you a variety of great new products to hit the market. If you would like more information, follow the website or give them a call — be sure to tell them Street Rod Life sent you!

F-100 cool down Vintage Air, Gen IV SureFit A/C System for ’61-’66 F-100 Trucks Ford fans have known for years just how cool the ’61-’66 F-100 trucks are, and now they’re even cooler thanks to Vintage Air. The San Antonio-based A/C specialists now offer a SureFit system for the popular gen-4 Ford pickup. Vintage Air SureFit systems are engineered specifically for each vehicle application and require minimal alteration to the vehicle for installation. This kit incorporates their Gen IV A/C system, known for its cooling power and intelligent climate control system. There are no vacuum connections or cables, keeping the installation clean, while the digital controller keeps tabs on the climate inside your vehicle. The SureFit system for the ’61-’66 Ford F-100 is available for 6-cylinder and V-8 applications and is supplied with everything you’ll need for the installation. If you already have everything under the hood, Vintage Air also offers a simple Evaporator Kit. A three-year warranty is included with this USA Made A/C system. 800.862.6658

Fast and smooth TCI, Street Rodder Torque Converters Designed with both street rodder and performance enthusiast in mind, TCI’s Street Rodder series of torque converters offers improved drivability and smooth ingear idle, without adversely affecting gas mileage. The torque converters are economically priced, intended for use in stock or mildly modified engines, and provide a 300-400 rpm increase in stall over stock. Fully-streetable with no modifications required, Street Rodder torque converters are available for Ford, GM, and Chrysler applications. 888.776.9824


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Sponsored by

Cranking up with ididit, Id.Ignition Systems When it comes to cranking over your street rod, ididit has you covered with four new systems ranging from a classic keyed ignition to several push button designs that borrow from the modern tech of new cars. The id.PUSH system is as simple as getting in and pushing a button, or for added security, go with the id.PUSH+ system that includes a synchronized key fob. The fob also functions as a system status indicator. If you’re looking to be able to control other electronic features of your car from a key fob, the id.TOUCH system is made for you. 517.424.0577

Radiator lock down Meziere Enterprises, SafeCap A lot of the parts we use on our street rods were derived from the drag strip or race track. One company that is deeply rooted in drag racing is Meziere Enterprises out of Escondido, California, and when we saw their new SafeCap radiator cap, we thought it was perfect for street rods and muscle cars. The SafeCap is a billet aluminum radiator cap that features a locking shell and clip that produces a cap that locks in place. The billet assembly installs easily with a set of ramp rollers for a smooth release and secure fit. A locking shell and clip slide in place so the cap will never come loose. They also look awesome. Three finishes and three pressure values are available: clear, black anodized, or electroless nickel plated in 7, 16, or 25 pounds. 800.208.1755

Even more new products

Mid-lengths for Falcons Patriot Exhaust Products, ’60-’65 Falcon/Comet Headers Looking for a header that won’t drag the ground on your small block-equipped Falcon, Ranchero, or Comet? Patriot Exhaust Products recently introduced a new mid-length header for the ’60-’65 model years. The headers feature 1 5/8-inch diameter tubing that come together for a single outlet to accommodate manual and automatic cars with original suspension systems (and most Mustang II swaps). The mid-length design provides excellent ground clearance for your Ford or Mercury. Patriot offers the headers in a raw finish, as well as a black high-temp coating or the high-luster ceramic coating. Gaskets, header retainers, and reducers are supplied. 909.599.5955




PARTS STORE Friendly with EFI FAST, Street HEI Distributors Looking for a more accurate ignition on your EFI-equipped street rod? Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST) designed its Street HEI distributors to easily supply a clean, square-wave RPM tach output signal to aftermarket EFI systems on small- and bigblock Chevrolet engines. The cast distributor will also work with a carburetor and utilizes a rugged coil driver, combined with microprocessor-controlled multispark technology, to permit increased spark energy and RPM operation over an OEM HEI distributor. This allows for more horsepower by creating a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture, especially in higher performance applications. A steel gear, mechanical advance, and adjustable vacuum canister are additional features. 877.334.8355

At-home oil test Driven Racing Oil, Oil Diagnostic Wipes Driven Racing Oil’s latest product takes the guesswork out of deciding whether it’s time or not to change your engine oil. The new Oil Diagnostic Wipes are designed to determine the basicity (TBN) of a small amount of engine oil — the idea being what you’d wipe off your dipstick. — Within one minute, if the oil does not make the wipe turn pink, then the oil is acidic and has reached the end of its life. If the wipe turns pink, you’re good to go without an oil change...for now. 866.611.1820

Dark and shiny Tuff Stuff, Black Chrome Engine compartment styling goes through trends and changes just like wheels and paint. But one style and color you don’t have to worry about getting dated is black. Like a little black dress, keeping the engine compartment detailed and clean with black highlights will never go out of style. Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories now offers a trick Black Chrome finish on its complete line of high flow water pumps, power steering pumps, master cylinders, and even air compressors. The finish is deep, clean, and unique for under hood detailing. The coating is made to last and will not fade or discolor over time, so you know things will stay looking slick under the hood. 800.331.6562


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Sponsored by

Brake hoses done right Brakequip, Custom Fit DOT-Compliant Brake Hoses Brake lines are not only one of the most important connections on your rod, but they’re also one of the most awkward items to build, route, and make attractive. One issue is a lot of people simply settle for universal hoses off the shelf that are either too long, cumbersome, and possibly, not even an approved design. BrakeQuip specializes in brake components and can help you weed through all of the different fittings, threads, and lines available, so you can complete a high-quality brake system that will last. They offer a number of custom brake hoses that can be made to your desired length and crimped with OE-style fittings for a perfect fit with DOT compliance! 865.251.9193

Best of both worlds Lunati, Voodoo Rotating Assembly Just because you have a budget-conscious engine build in the works doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. Lunati’s Voodoo rotating assemblies are designed with high-end features fit for your street rod, but at a price you can afford. Engineered to handle up to 1,000 hp, the rotating assembly is made from non-twist 4340 steel forgings. The crankshaft is nitrided for extra durability, has lightening holes in the rod journals for reduced inertia, and micro-polished bearing surfaces for reduced friction and wear. Assemblies also include rods, pistons, pins, rings, and bearings — all matched and balanced for your exact engine specs. 662.892.1500 STREETRODLIFE.COM 



PARTS STORE Garage floor dress up RaceDeck, Free-Flow Garage Floor If you’re looking to spiff up the parking or work area of your garage, RaceDeck Garage Floor offers several unique solutions. The Free-Flow garage flooring is made up of half-inch-thick panels that measure 12x12 inches. Each module connects through their patented PowerLock Technology, creating a strong assembly for virtually any space. The flooring easily supports toolboxes, jacks, hoists, and rolling loads of more than 40 tons (well over your average rod)! Another nice thing about the Free-Flow design is its understructure features channels that allow for draining water, mud, and even snow, for those of you that get a little dirty. This makes the shop floor easy to clean, plus the material is resistant to oils, fuels, and will not chip, so your floor will look like new for years to come. 800.457.0174

EFI with style Inglese, EZ-EFI 2.0 8-Stack Induction Systems for BBC If you want that classic look under the hood but with the increased performance and drivability fuel injection offers, Inglese Induction recently released an 8-stacks induction system for big-block Chevrolet applications. A complete bolt-on kit supporting up to 700 hp includes a cast aluminum intake manifold for either rectangle or oval port heads, 50mm throttle bodies, stacks, FAST EZ-EFI 2.0 electronics and wiring harness, O2 sensor, injectors, chrome-top filters, and billet aluminum fuel rails engineered to provide clearance between the fuel rail and distributor cap. A kit without electronics, injector, and filters is also available. 866.450.8089


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

Sponsored by

Modern nostalgia Speedway Engineering, Supermax Quick Change If you want the look of a vintage traditional hot rod and racer, nothing beats the style of a quick change rear end. Speedway Engineering has specialized in rear end performance and chassis components for more than 50 years, and they’re still going strong. As a primary source for NASCAR, ARCA, and other top professional race series, they know what it takes to build a rear end for the long haul. For street rodders, their Supermax is the way to go. The Supermax gives a nod of recognition to the original V-8 Halibrand rear end from “back in the day” but is crafted with modern technology for increased endurance and strength. The housing features large Ford-style, bearing flanged tubes and 31-spline axles. If you’re looking for a little more show, the assembly is available polished, and for the “go” side, a posi carrier is also available. 818.362.5865

Tool lube Amsoil, Synthetic Air Tool Oil

Street energy Crane Cams, Energizer Hydraulic Cams Crane Cams aims to get you going with its Energizer series of hydraulic cams. Designed using the same computer techniques and software that developed the world’s fastest and quickest cams, these Energizer cams offer streetable performance for non-computer controlled V-8 engines at an affordable price. They are single-pattern and have tighter lobe separations for added torque, mid-range power, throttle response, and that popular “lumpy idle.” 866.388.5120

You love your air tools. Impacts, ratchets, die-grinders, and other air-driven tools are huge time savers. Chances are, you’ve had yours for quite a while. Do you remember the last time you gave them a little love with a touch of lube? Amsoil now offers a specially formulated oil designed to provide exceptional lubricity for pneumatic equipment. Their Synthetic Air Tool Oil effectively lubricates rotary and piston-type air tool bearings and motors, while managing moisture and conditioning rubber and plastic seals. Plus, the lube will help prevent corrosion and deposits while the tools are stashed away waiting for the next project. 715.392.7101




DETROIT The Motor City lives up to its name during the 65th Detroit Autorama WORDS & PHOTOS: Todd Ryden


hy would anyone want to travel to Detroit in February? This is the state that used to have Water-Winter Wonderland on their license plates, is known for dumping salt on their roads (which instantly rusts any vehicle), and typically is a balmy 27 degrees throughout the month. We’ll tell you why — because this is the Motor City, and February is time for the Detroit Autorama! Customs, muscle cars, vintage drag cars, street rods, and more fill up the massive Cobo Center right down on the riverfront of Detroit. Where else can you see the General Lee make a huge jump to evade a charging Roscoe, watch Gene Winfield chop a top, ogle the top rods in the country as they roll


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

out to their public debut, and hang out with thousands of other rodders! The Autorama, hosted by the Michigan Hot Rod Association, celebrated its 65th event with great crowds, phenomenal cars, and surprisingly warm weather and blue skies. This tease of spring-like weather must have gotten the gearhead blood really pumping, as the crowds were huge! The main floor was packed to see the Ridler Award contenders, as well as in the basement to take in the metal flake, primer, and music in the Autorama Extreme. As expected, the Detroit Autorama delivered the Motor City experience, and we can’t wait to come back for more. SRL

Ralph and Linda Miller had their wild ’30 Ford sedan in the Ross Racing Engines booth to show off the blown FirePower Hemi and amazing paint work.

It’s always a treat to see Mike Tarquinio’s ’32 Ford. The hot rod, named “Edsel’s Roadster,” was Goodguys Hot Rod of the Year in 2011 and a class champ with the ISCA in 2011 and 2012.

Surprisingly, the first recipient of the MSRA’s Don Ridler Memorial Award went to a dragster! Al Bergler’s “More Aggravation” won the honors in 1964. The car went on to set six NHRA national records through 1964-1966.

Another historic Ridler winner is the Fire Truck, built by famed Detroit customizer Chuck Miller. The truck won the award in 1968 and Chuck went on to build the Red Baron and other custom rods.

The opening ceremony was celebrated by an official General Lee Jump in front of Cobo Center. Another Charger goes in for extensive repairs!

Standing by Fritz Schenck’s “Baja Bandeeto” was like walking into a cartoon! Fritz built the crazy thing out of fiberglass and plywood after seeing a drawing by custom car illustrator Jimmy Smith. STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Another creation from Steve’s Auto Restorations is this ’57 Corvette owned by Don and Donna Habber. Inspired by the GM Motorama cars, the ’Vette features a C5 front and C4 rear suspension with a custom tube frame and LSA from a Cadillac for power.

The Detroit Autorama brings out a lot of muscle cars and factory racers. Case in point is this ’65 Plymouth Super Stock Hemi car. Note the altered wheel base for the Experimental Stock class. Only 102 of these cars were produced!

An exquisite ’48 Cadillac Sedan, owned by Graham Thompson. There are subtle custom touches all over this car, not so subtle are the wheels and stance that make it look just right.

This wild ’46 Chevy pickup had a crowd around it all day with its tilt bed, dually wide whites and spoke wheels, severe chop, piercing grille, and a 331c.i. Hemi under the fold-up hood.

This ’39 Cadillac 60 Special went from a four-door luxury car to a swoopy two-door with a removable hard top. We can’t wait to see Wes Rydell (a past Street Rod Lifer) cruising this one down the road.

We’ve seen a lot of engine swaps in early Corvettes, but not many ’57s with a 409!


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

There’s always a great display of model cars at the Autorama!

Gasser ’62 Nova is ready for the strip.

Jeremy Begola’s ’59 Ford Custom 300 still cruises down the highway with a 223c.i. 6-cylinder. Dig the whites, subtle striping, and the pipes.

Customizing legend Gene Winfield was downstairs again, chopping a top during the show. The man refuses to slow down — thanks Gene!


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The 2017 Pirelli GREAT 8 One of the most sought after honors in the world of custom cars is the Don Ridler Memorial Award, presented by the Michigan Hot Rod Association. This award, first lavished in 1964 (to Al Bergler’s front engine dragster), is based on three principles: creativity, engineering, and workmanship. Another important rule to qualify for the Ridler is the vehicle must be making its public debut at the Autorama. This rule always makes it exciting to see the contenders roll into the Cobo Center on Thursday and be set up and ready to show come Friday at noon. This year did not disappoint, and here are the Great 8 finalists, including the winner.

1966 Corvette, Dennis Johnson and Scott Roth, built by the Auto Shoppe.

1954 Corvette built as a tribute to the GM Concept Corvette shown in 1954. Owned by Larry and Robbie Griffey and built by Larry Griffey Hot Rods and Restorations.

George Poteet’s ’32 Ford Tudor, built by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop.

The traditionally flavored ’30 Ford Coupe of Ted Hubbard, built by Cal Automotive Creations.

Robby Collvins’ 1949 Chevy Truck.

Ed Sears’ ’41 Ford Pickup.


RIDLER W Dennis Portka built his Phantom ’29 Ford pickup over the last 24 years.


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Nancy and Buddy Jordan’s ’33 Ford “Renaissance Roadster” designed by Chris Ito and Steve Frisbie and built by Steve’s Auto Restorations. The roadster features a hand-sculpted aluminum body sitting on a custom chassis, with an aluminum 427 for power.

Engines Exposed A look under the hoods at the Henry Ford WORDS & PHOTOS: Barry Kluczyk


he automobile collection at the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan, is a museum within a museum. Dozens of cars, trucks, and other vehicles trace the history of the automobile in America, from the motorized carriages of the late-1800s to the modern era of hybrids. It’s an impressively eclectic collection linked by an elemental common thread: engines. Regardless the configuration or fuel, automobiles by their very definition are driven by an engine, and that was exactly the focus of the museum’s recent “Engines Exposed” exhibit. The museum opened the hoods on many of their vehicles, showing off the significant power plants that helped push the industry down the road quicker, faster, more efficiently, and in some cases, differently. Following the timeline from the early days, cars such as

Ford’s Quadricycle and Model T demonstrated the establishment of the gasoline-burning internal combustion engine as the de facto propulsion system for the next century. Other notable examples included landmark engines such as the Ford Flathead, small-block Chevy, VW’s air-cooled flat-four, and even the Go Devil four-cylinder that powered American forces through World War II in Jeeps. Additionally, the display highlighted milestone racing engines from Ford’s early “999” race car, an Offenhauser-powered open-wheeler, Bill Elliott’s record-setting NASCAR 1987 Thunderbird, and “Ohio George” Montgomery’s blown, 427 SOHC-powered ’33 Willys gasser. For hot rodders, the crown jewel of the collection was the hoods-up view of the famous Dick Smith ’32 Deuce roadster and its 331c.i Hemi. It was like walking through a car show in a museum — check out some of our favorites! SRL



1932 Ford Coupe The 227c.i. Flathead V-8 produced 65 hp when it was debuted in the 1932 Ford. This output was comparable to other engines of the day, but its compact dimensions provided a distinct weight advantage that made the ’32 Ford a strong performer. Ford innovatively cast the crankcase and cylinder as a single component.

1948 Tucker 48 Sedan Enterprising idea-man Preston Tucker’s star-crossed sedan promised to reinvent the automobile with innovative safety, performance, and convenience features. One of the car’s unique features was a rear-mounted, 334c.i. horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine. It began life as an aircooled aircraft engine from Air Cooled Motors that Tucker converted to water cooling, with mixed results.

Buick Nailhead Although the term Nailhead is used affectionately these days, it was more of a sardonic nickname when Buick’s first overhead-valve V-8 debuted in 1953. The term came about due to the position of the valves standing nearly upright, as well as their small head. This example is a 401c.i. version in a ’63 Riviera. It produced a stout 325 hp, with the “Wildcat 445” designation denoting the torque rating.

1931 Bugatti Type 31 Royale You want to talk big-blocks? They hardly got any larger in an automobile than the mammoth 779c.i. overhead-cam, inline-8 that powered the enormous Bugatti Type 31 Royale. It produced a strong 300 hp, but every one of those ponies was needed to pull the 7,000-pound, uber-luxury yacht from the stock exchange to the country manor. Bugatti built only six of these behemoths.


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1956 Chrysler 300-B NASCAR race car Carl Kiekhaefer, who founded Mercury Marine, may not have the stock car racing recognition as names such as Petty, Johnson, or Gordon, but his contribution to the sport helped pull it out of the backwoods. His team was one of the first in NASCAR to use a dynamometer to test and improve the performance of their Hemi-powered Chrysler 300 race cars. With drivers Tim Flock and Buck Baker, Kiekhaefer’s Hemi cars dominated NASCAR in the mid-1950s.

1960 Meskowski race car This race car is noteworthy for the wins achieved in the early 1960s with A.J. Foyt behind the wheel, but more importantly, it is the quintessential open-wheel oval-tracker powered by the Offenhauser DOHC inline-four engine. Known simply as the Offy, the engine went on to power a staggering 27 Indy 500 winners and countless other oval victories. A mono-block design (integrated block and cylinder head) allowed higher compression and higher cylinder pressures for greater power, because there were no head gasket worries.

1932 Ford hot rod A hot rodding jewel of the Henry Ford’s collection, the famed Dick Smith Deuce highboy perfectly encapsulates the all-American hot rod. The bulging Chrysler 331c.i. Hemi, which required cutting out the corners of the hood to make room for its chrome valve covers, is backed by a Packard transmission and a 1940 Ford rear axle. It’s a hot-rodding masterpiece of proportion and ingenuity.

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1962 Ford Mustang I concept Ford’s small, European-influenced two-seat roadster concept from 1962 shared nothing but the name with the coupe that debuted two years later. The production Mustang offered inline-6 and V-8 engines, but the Mustang I concept was powered by a diminutive, mid-mounted 91c.i. V-4 that cranked out 109 hp. It was based on a production 60-degree, balance-shafted V-4 Ford produced in Germany for the Taunus and other models.

1965 Goldenrod land speed streamliner Four Chrysler 426c.i. Hemi engines producing about 2,400 collective horsepower powered this landmark land speed champion, when Bob Summers drove it in 1965 to 409.277 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was a record for an engine-driven vehicle (rather than a rocket- or jet-powered car) that stood until 1991.

1960 Buck & Thompson slingshot dragster Sam Buck and Bob Thompson built and campaigned this classic slingshot dragster throughout the Midwest in the 1960s. The chassis was a mail-order kit, and the race car weighed only 1,210 pounds with a 1948-vintage Ford Flathead V-8. The much-modified Flattie features a stronger rotating assembly, high-performance camshaft, Edelbrock cylinder heads, and mechanical fuel injection.


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1933 Willys Model 77 Gasser Built and raced by “Ohio George” Montgomery, this ’33 Willys defines the term Gasser. Montgomery was one of the most successful racers and one of an early number to make drag racing a full-time profession. Originally developed for NASCAR racing, the 427c.i. SOHC engine found its way to the dragstrip as well.

1902 Ford ‘999’ race car It’s been said the first car race took place as soon as the second car was built, and racing (and winning) in the early days provided manufacturers with credit. Henry Ford got a boost when he hired aggressive British bicycle racer Barney Oldfield to drive his “999” race car and beat three other competitors in 1902. The barebones race car was all engine, with a gargantuan 1,156c.i. inline-four with a bore and stroke of 7.25”x7.00”. As for output, about 80 hp.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air There couldn’t be a compilation of noteworthy cars and their engines without inclusion of a classic “shoebox” Chevy and the original small-block V-8. It was a marvel of efficiency and performance, offering comparatively strong high-rpm power in a compact package 265c.i. Debuting in 1955, the Chevy V-8 became a worldwide benchmark.

The Henry Ford The Henry Ford is actually more than an automotive collection. It also houses a truly staggering array of cultural artifacts from America’s early years and the 20th century, including airplanes, trains, farm equipment, and consumer products. Henry Ford established the museum and the adjoining Greenfield Village openair museum in the 1930s, and he personally collected many of its artifacts, including the last breath of his friend Thomas Edison, which is preserved in a glass tube. No kidding. See more information at: 1896 Ford Quadricycle Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he was in on the ground floor, and before the Ford Motor Company took off in the early 1900s, he cut his automotive teeth on the Quadricycle. The choice of motivation was a 59c.i two-cylinder cranking out only about 4 hp (yes, FOUR).

1909 Ford Model T Touring Car The car that moved a nation and ignited the auto industry was itself moved by a 177c.i. L-head four-cylinder that produced 22 hp. The durable engine didn’t have a pressurized oiling system, relying instead on a splash-lubrication system that oiled the rotating assembly and transmission as the flywheel spun through an oil bath.

1949 Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle) Germany’s “car of the people” arrived in America in 1949, and the Beetle would eventually go on to become a cultural phenomenon. Famous for its rear-mounted, air-cooled flat-four engine that made 30 hp in the early days, the Beetle didn’t get you anywhere in a hurry, but did so dependably and inexpensively.

1965 Lotus 38/Ford Indy race car Rear-engine race cars had competed in the Indianapolis 500 before Jim Clark won the 1965 500-mile race in the Colin Chapman-designed Lotus-Ford. But after that landmark win, a traditional front-engine race car never again won at Indy. The aircraft-inspired monocoque layout was innovative, and so was its Ford-designed, 256c.i. DOHC V-8 engine.

1943 Willys-Overland Jeep Designed for the military to go nearly anywhere and do nearly anything, the Jeep’s star rose during World War II and became an American icon thereafter. The rugged, open runabout served its country with power from a small, 134c.i. 4-cylinder that was nicknamed the Go Devil. The L-head four-banger produced only 54 hp, but a long 4.375-inch stroke helped it make a strong 105 lb-ft of torque, giving the 2,450 pound Jeep plenty of grunt wherever duty called. STREETRODLIFE.COM 



TRADING Who would have guessed the Sea Glass Pearl color from a Prius would look so perfect on a hot rod pickup?


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Building a project by trading parts, paint, and labor WORDS & PHOTOS: Chadly Johnson


ne of the benefits of our overloaded world of instant news and social media outlets is the ability to glance into the shops of builders from around the world. You may feel different about social media if you have a teenager in the house, but when harnessed properly, it can be a great tool for inspiration and motivation on your own project. I kept tabs on the build of this 1951 F1 by Jeff Jones of Monroe Center, Illinois, through social media. I was intrigued by his posts showing the metal and body work phases, but when Jeff laid down the perfect tone of pearl blue on the truck’s massaged body, I knew I had to see it in person. The ‘51 made its debut last spring at Vintage Torque Fest, one of the Midwest’s premier traditional hot rod events. As you can see, the truck lived up to my expectations, and we set up a photo shoot utilizing downtown Dubuque, Iowa, as the perfect back drop. Like many of today’s hot rodders, Jeff was introduced to the hobby by his father who built cars on the side for extra money. Jeff and his brother, John, were mostly tool gofers, but it sparked a passion for old iron at a young age. In fact, at just 14, he and his brother were attending college auto body courses! STREETRODLIFE.COM  STREETRODLIFE.COM 


Care was taken to hide the tailgate hinges, while the custom bumpers were moved in closer to the body. Jeff also raised the truck bed to accommodate the air suspension system and stance.

Jeff enjoys body work and paint, but left the interior to his pal Mike Lawson of Kustom Image Upholstery. The tuck and roll, swoopy shifter, and white-faced gauges in the clean factory dash are just spot-on. The ’54 Ford Steering wheel crowns it all off.

Jeff ’s first car was a ’64 Chevy II, then he took a left turn during the mini-trucking era, but eventually found his way back to classic cars again with his first full build, a ’63 Chevy II convertible. The stages of building followed with a few more projects, each sold off to fund 74 

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the next one. Fast forward a few titles and we arrive at this Ford pickup. Another part of building a hot rod is staying within your own budget, and as most involved in the hobby know, selling parts, pieces, and labor all help when it comes to budgets. Jeff enjoys the body

and paint side of things and acquired the ’51 in trade for spraying a ’66 Mustang. The truck arrived in pieces; its previous owner took it apart as a project then let it sit dormant for the next decade. Once the forgotten relic was in Jeff ’s garage, he got busy, starting with the sus-

A smooth-running 302 was checked out and cleaned up with some finned valve covers, headers, and an HEI-style distributor for reliability. Combined with an AOD trans, the truck simply hauls on down the road.

pension. The perfect stance and smooth ride were accomplished by a combination of a Mustang II front end and 4-bar out back. Stance is assisted by a custom airbag setup at each corner. More parts-for-paint took place when Jeff shot a ’62 Falcon in return for a 302c.i. from a ’68 Mustang and an AOD transmission pilfered from a Crown Vic. The small block was kept fairly stock with a nice dress of paint and accessories to keep under the hood tidy and simple. With the chassis and driveline dialed in, Jeff went to work on the sheet metal. The cab was straight and solid, but required a little floor and tunnel massaging for the updated driveline. The fenders and running boards were in rough shape, so Jeff opted for fiberglass replacements to save his time on the metal work. The bed is custom built with a raised floor to accommodate the air ride sus-

pension. If you look closely, you’ll also notice a host of subtle touches, such as hidden hinges in the tailgate, tucking the bumpers tighter to the body, and hiding the air controls where the radio would have been. Custom bullets were also made to accent and create flow throughout the truck from the hubcaps to components under the hood. When it came to selecting a color for the F1, Jeff wanted to stick with a OEM color, primarily due to the ease of touch up. (Not something everyone takes into consideration until you get your first rock chip and want to touch it up.) Ironically, Jeff found the perfect tone in a factory Toyota Prius color called Sea Glass Pearl. Moving inside the cab, we find a classically custom interior stitched by the crazy talented Mike Lawson of Kustom Image Upholstery. Mike crafted a period perfect tuck and roll upholstery job that

exactly matches the truck’s exterior. The dash is clean with its factory lines, and a set of white-faced gauges fit the color theme throughout. As with many projects with a deadline, things seem to always come down to a mad thrash, and Jeff credits his brother and cousin Dan Hatfield for helping get the F1 road ready for the Vintage Torque Fest weekend. The drive to the event in Dubuque doubled as the truck’s shakedown run, but the cruise was uneventful and a great weekend was had by all. As we were putting this article together, we learned that after a number of shows and smooth cruises, someone made Jeff an offer on the ’51 that he just couldn’t turn down. Not to worry though, there’s already a ’54 Ford in the garage that will have some serious custom touches throughout – and from what we’ve seen on social media, we can’t wait to see the finished product! SRL STREETRODLIFE.COM 


The Times are a Changin’ Pay attention – diesel oils aren’t what they used to be WORDS & PHOTOS: Brandon Flannery


e all know that old habits are hard to break, but when it comes to lubricating your rod’s engine, especially during the initial break-in, you need to listen up! For anyone that has used diesel oil to break-in their new engine, or has a diesel powered tow rig, things are changing in oils. As of December 1, 2016, the API has issued a new category of oils that may

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negatively affect your engines. Replacing the current standard formulation (CJ-4) are two new standard formulations (FA4 and CK-4) which lower viscosity to increase fuel economy and drain intervals in newer engines. While FA-4 is specifically made for 2017 and newer heavy truck engines that are designed to be more efficient, CK-4 is designed to be backward serviceable in diesel engines 2016 and older. The latter

is of interest and concern to hot rodders. CK-4 is offered as a replacement for CJ-4, but after extensive testing, Ford pulled their endorsement of the new oil, noting accelerated valvetrain wear in their popular 6.7L Powerstroke engines. They currently recommend only the CJ-4 spec oils. The reason for this recommendation is the omission of the ASTM-IIIG Flat Tappet Valve Train Test for diesel oil and

Driven Oil’s XP Series carries more zinc and moly as well as other friction modifiers designed for the requirements of race engines. Many builders used to recommend diesel oil during the critical break-in period of an engine, but those days have changed. Always use a quality break-in specific oil to ensure the longevity of flat tappet lifters, cams, and valvetrains.

If you have a diesel powered truck in the driveway, be sure to search out an oil specifically formulated for the engine. Avoid ‘universal’ diesel oils.

CK-4 certification. This test has been in place for the last 10 years and ensured there was enough durability for flat tappet valvetrains found in diesel engines. The removal of the test allows oil marketers to leave out the much-needed phosphorus and lower the levels of the ZDDP (Zinc). Ford recommendations call for minimum phosphorous levels of 1,000 ppm, with 1,200 ppm being more common in the previous CJ-4 formulations. While many oil companies, like Driven Racing Oil and Rotella’s popular T-6, will continue to maintain 1,200 ppm phosphorous levels, some “off label” marketers may not. Many “universal” oils claim they will work not only as diesel oils, but also as break-in oils or for other applications where higher levels of ZDDP is needed.. The problem is

This ‘donut’ label on a container of oil denotes the contents meet specifications for the API’s new CK-4 diesel oil, which is meant to be backward serviceable in diesel engines 2016 and older. Ford has cautioned use of this oil in its 6.7L Powerstroke, due to tests showing increased valvetrain component wear.

now they don’t have to add as much Zinc to meet the minimum requirements for CK-4 certification. Licensing to an OEM standard is a voluntary certification and just has to meet the minimum quality requirements. If you are a hot rodder, racer, or classic car owner that has been using diesel oils for their higher ZDDP levels, it is important to consider the new CK-4 specification and the potential loss of protection. Bottles will be marked in the API icon with either CJ-4 or CK-4, and will be in the full range of conventional, synthetic, and blended synthetics. Obviously, the proper course of action is to seek out oils created specifically for your application, and be wary of “universal” type oils. Dedicated break-in oils like Driven’s BR Break-in oils have the right amount of

ZDDP, along with lower detergent levels and dispersant additives to quickly establish the anti-wear film needed during that critical period. Racing oils like Driven’s XP Series are formulated with more Zinc, Moly, and proprietary friction modifiers to work within the needs of racing engines. Using diesel oil might work in these applications, but will not be the best choice in the long run over those custom-tailored to the specific conditions. The best choice is to use the right oil for the right application, and if you have a 6.7L Ford Powerstroke or other diesel engine, pay close attention to the CK-4 specification. At the very least, seek out a high-quality formula that has the preferred 1,000 ppm of phosphorous. SRL Source: Driven Racing Oil,



TAKE CARE Follow these steps for a long valvetrain life WORDS: Brandon Flannery

Always check for mechanical interference and run the valvetrain components through their full motion to make sure everything clears.


hile we’ve all heard about cams going flat from using the wrong break-in oil, there are several other factors that can also spell disaster in the valvetrain. Knowing what to watch out for ahead of time can save lots of headaches in the future. So, we contacted the folks at Crane, COMP, and Lunati for a little more insight on what else can go wrong. Keep it clean The first thing, before anything else, is cleanliness. An engine can never be “too clean.” Professional shops use hot tanks, ultrasonic cleaners, enclosed power washers, parts washers, bottle brushes, solvents, clean towels, and compressed air. Knowing that any dirt left behind can clog oil passages and act like sandpaper on bearings and related components, they remove all oil galley plugs and don’t stop scrubbing and rinsing until it’s clean. Otherwise, all that work polishing the cam and crank can go to waste and oil pressure can drop, promoting metal on metal contact and failure. Debris in the oil galleys can also collect in the block behind a bearing’s oil feed hole and starve the oil supply. Remove all galley plugs and clean all passages until they are perfect. Floss out all crankshaft passages, and flush out the pushrods – even if they are brand new. Check for any silicone bits left over on gasket surfaces and at pinch points. Another often-overlooked area in need of attention is the roller lifters. Roller lifters rely on oil flowing through tiny passages, and debris is their number one cause of failure. Clogged 78 

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passages can stop the lifter from pumping up, and the resulting excessive play in the valvetrain hinders valve motion, causing other problems. They should be soaked in mineral spirits to remove any manufacturing residue and then soaked in clean oil before use. Line it up Mechanical interference is a commonly overlooked problem, especially when mixing and matching parts. Kirk Peters of Lunati says: “Start by checking camshaft play, as well as the position of the lobes in the bores. Some very-centered lobes might not put enough spin on the lifters. Next, rocker arm geometry and pushrod length should be checked for proper alignment and range of motion. Then, inspect the lifters, pushrods, rockers, and retainers through their full range of motion for signs of contact.” Even when purchasing a complete cam kit, one should never just “bolt and go” with the valvetrain, as head forgings are different from company to company and block heights aren’t guaranteed to be standard. Additionally, check any re-used components for wear, and make sure the lifter bores are true. A worn lifter bore will cause the lifter to shift or stick, wreaking havoc throughout the valvetrain. The right pushrods Jay Adams from COMP Cams is not alone in believing the

Flat tappet cam lobes should be coated in assembly lube. Roller cam lobes can be coated in oil, but assembly lube should be used on the distributor gear portion.

The right lubricants in the right places are essential to proper break-in.

Improper break-in or the use of the wrong oil can lead to disaster.

Roller lifters are held over the cam lobe with link bars (above). The wheels offer a rolling contact point, versus these flat tappets, which rely on a spinning motion to displace load.

pushrods need to be matched to the rpm and load. Weak pushrods bend and hula around, and can rub components up to a half inch away. “Many people assume a pushrod is a pushrod, but just because a visual inspection confirms all of them to be straight, that doesn’t mean they’re not wigglin’ around like Jerry Lee Lewis in 1957,” Jay explains. “Spintron testing has shown us that a typical ‘good’ 5/16 inch, .080-inch wall pushrod can contort like a pole vaulter’s stick with even minimal spring pressure. Much of this has to do with actual cylinder pressure and not so much just the spring pressure. Knowing this, as cylinder pressures and rpm goes up, a larger/thicker pushrod becomes more important to control things.

“On cars with big turbos and superchargers and significantly higher compression ratios pushrods can be .165-inch wall, 7/16-inch or even larger. It’s not out of the realm to see a .135inch, ⅜-inch pushrod in what used to be considered a ‘mild’ drag car. “Keep in mind the cam ‘pushes’ up on the lifter, the lifter raises the pushrod (the farthest distance between any other two components in the valvetrain), the pushrod then pushes on the end of the rocker arm, which has to pivot like a seesaw and push the valve open against the built up pressure in the cylinder. “The amount of lash in a solid lifter, or the amount of plunger preload in a hydraulic system, is one of the most important factors in determining how much ‘run’ each component gets before making contact with the other. The further the ‘run,’ the faster the hit or contact will be, which equates to abuse. When the lash is off, bad things can happen and the components literally take a beating.” Break it in Obviously, the break-in period is the most crucial time in an engine’s life. More wear occurs in that initial phase than at any other time. Proper lubrication and break-in oils and procedures are paramount to “bedding” everything together for a long service life. Skimp here, pay the price later. Allan Bechtloff of Crane Cams guides us through some of the pitfalls: “All camshafts survive on a layer of oil to prevent wearing of the parts. Flat tappets have a contact surface that’s subjected to more of a metal-to-metal, scuffing type of wear. The body of STREETRODLIFE.COM 


A new engine must be started quickly and ran between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm for 30 minutes. Oil from the spinning crank lubricates the camshaft, so idling can cause harm.

New or old, if you race your car, you should be concerned about valve spring wear.

If you race your car even a few times, it is wise to check the valve springs. While daily drivers with mild cams should be okay, high rpm loads can weaken springs.

Not all pushrods are the same. Increasing power or rpm requires stouter pushrods that don’t flex. They are the longest gap in the valvetrain -- choose wisely.

the flat tappet lifter must spin in the bore to spread the loading across the full face of the tappet to prevent wear. The cam lobe’s centerline is offset from the centerline of lifter bore. The lobe itself has a slight angle ground into it, and the lobe face has a slight crown. All these features induce a spinning action to the lifter body. If the lifter doesn’t spin, it wears out prematurely. “Roller tappets use a lower friction system. Their lifter bodies are held in alignment directly over the cam lobes, and they use a roller wheel for a single tangent point of contact with the lobe face. There is a rolling contact rather than a scuffing type of contact. Obviously, the flat tappet cam is more vulnerable to wearing out, especially during the break-in, but both systems need to be broken in for the overall success of the engine. “When it comes to break-in, the correct lubricants must be matched with an understanding of the function and needs of the engine components. A roller cam is low friction and can be covered in engine oil on the lobes and journals, but it would be best to use a thicker assembly lube on the distributor gear portion of the camshaft. The lifters should be cleaned in mineral spirits and then dried and coated with oil on the body, wheels, and needle bearings. “A flat tappet cam’s lobes and distributor gear must be covered in thicker assembly lube. Flat tappet lifters need normal oil on the body and assembly lube on the contact face only. The thicker assembly lube should not be used in the lifter bores of either style. On roller lifter systems, assembly lube can clog and block oil from entering the needle bearings in the wheel. Motor oil on a roller lifter is best.

“A high zinc oil specifically formulated for break-in is mandatory for a flat tappet cam. Since the cam is lubricated by oil splashing off the crankshaft, the engine rpm must be fluctuated between 2,000 and 3,000 for the first 30 minutes of the engine’s start-up. It’s very important to not let the engine sit at idle during this point. “A roller cam, by tradition, doesn’t necessarily need this exact procedure, but it certainly can’t hurt. In fact, many professional racing teams use this break-in procedure for both applications. All the engine components (rings, pistons, bearings, valves, etc.) need to go through a break-in period that requires the break-in oil’s additives.”


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

A word on springs Lastly, an area that can cause problems regarding valvetrain control are the springs. While some people buy a set and don’t give them a second thought, they are a wearable item, especially under severe conditions like racing. Dean Harvey from COMP Cams shares his thoughts: “I would expect good spring life for many miles of driving in a daily driver with a mild performance cam. That said, if it is ‘raced,’ even occasionally, I’d check the springs fairly often. Over time, the springs will lose load, or pressure, and as this happens, the spring can no longer control the valve at higher engines speeds, generally 5,500 rpm for most street applications. Most street applications will rarely see more than 3,000 to 3,500 rpm for any length of time, and cruising speed is of-

Improper cleaning or prep can allow debris to clog small passages in roller lifters and cause failure.

ten around 2,000. Because the springs rarely get stressed, they should last for over 100,000 miles. “Let’s use my truck as an example. My 5.3L Vortec has 138,000 miles and just over 5,000 operating hours, and my cruising rpm is just under 2,000. Let’s average it out and say it spent those 5,000 hours running at 2,000 rpm. Each valve has opened and closed 600 million times, or 120,000 times an hour. This truck is 11 years old and driven daily. Because the springs haven’t been stressed, they should still be doing their job and fall within spec. “Now, for an extreme contrast, let’s take a 500c.i. NHRA Pro Stocker engine that spends most of its life running between 9,600 to 10,300 rpm in just under six seconds. If we av-

erage that ‘cruise rpm’ to 9,950 for those six seconds, the valves opened and closed 1,658.3 times. If we stretch that out to make 10 quarter-mile passes, to equal just one minute of ‘run-time’ on the engine, the valves would have opened and closed 16,583 times. I can assure you if somebody tried to run this engine for 10 quarter-mile passes without checking the springs, the results would be catastrophic. The springs are under much more stress and wear out faster. “It’s easy to see that any engines operating between these two scenarios should have their springs checked regularly, and the closer to the top end of the performance scale, the more critical that becomes. “I’d say if you feel your valvetrain is out of control, the most important (and often overlooked) component is the spring. Bad things can happen when they lose their pressure, and that can cause damage elsewhere.” Sum it up Of course, there are other factors like oil pressure and improper lubrication that can cause problems. We’d like to add that using an ignition-cut rev limiter also can shock the system by collecting twice the fuel in the cylinder when the spark returns. This significantly raises cylinder pressures and requires the valvetrain to suddenly overcome those forces, in addition to their normal workload. The valvetrain is one of the most complex systems in the combustion engine. Like everything inside an engine, the gods live in the details and paying close attention to each component and their relationship is key to a long and powerful engine life. SRL Source: COMP Cams,; Crane Cams,; Lunati,

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Hot Rod HEIRLOOM 82 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

This ’27 Ford has been in the Chavez family for four generations – and counting! WORDS: Louis Kimery PHOTOS: Corey Ringo,


any families have someone who keeps track of the family tree, following the history back as many generations as possible. Albert Chavez keeps track of the family cars — a ’27 Model T roadster to be specific. Albert, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, remembered his Grandfather had a ’27 Ford. When he and his brother Nick grew curious about its whereabouts, they went to their father Sonny for information. That sparked a connection, and after some interfamily investigative work, they located the roadster inside a barn on their cousin’s farm. STREETRODLIFE.COM  STREETRODLIFE.COM 

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The ’27 roadster sports a Speedster-V windshield to provide some cruising coverage. The hood was built to morph from the ’27 firewall to the ’32 grille out front.

A 327c.i. Chevy was repurposed from Sonny’s old ’69 pickup and rebuilt by the family. The tri-power, finned valve covers, and Rams Horn manifolds add to the flavor of the hot rod, while a set of Smitty’s mufflers tickles the ear.

When the Chavez men arrived in nearby Las Vegas, New Mexico, toward the end of the 1990s, they found the Model T to be in pretty decent shape 84 

STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

considering it had not seen the light of day since the ’70s. Still, the car needed plenty of attention and was somewhat of a time capsule revealing the styling

trends of an earlier decade. As found, the roadster was wearing full fenders, along with a weathered red paint job. A small-block Ford OHV V-8 was nestled into the stock Model T frame rails, but had long ago given up the fight. The discovery of the all-steel flyer kicked off an 18-year odyssey to resurrect the car. The project has a strong emotional connection for the Chavez family. Albert and Nick made a point of noting how their father had always been there for them, so they wanted to go all out to make this car special for him. The first order of business was constructing a new frame for that vintage Model T tin, along with a small-block Chevy. However, after the new frame and motor met the road, the car seemed to “drive itself ” and proved to be a handful in traffic. Considerable time was spent working on the chassis, but the brothers finally decided the family hot rod deserved better. They turned to Blackboard Hot Rods for a custom-built frame using ’32 Ford rails as the foundation for their in-progress Model T. The brothers rebuilt the same 327c.i. Chevy engine that was

pulled from Sonny’s old pickup, along with a 350-TH trans. With a proper frame now holding everything together, the car began to take the shape the brothers envisioned. As the project progressed, the Chavezes recruited Angelo Vigil at Outlaw Kustoms in their hometown of Albuquerque to complete the build. A drilled and dropped front I-beam axle, along with a pair of split wishbones, provides a traditional front suspension, while a Ford 9-inch rear end was narrowed to proportionally fit the rear of the ’27 T body shell. It’s hard to beat a black paint job for a fundamentally pure hot rod. The

A Ford 9-inch was cut down to size, and drum brakes were retained at each corner. Dual exhaust is centered between a set of ’50 Pontiac taillamp lenses.

Chavez’s original steel Model T body, as well as the newly crafted deuce frame and suspension, was treated to several glass-smooth coats of PPG Triple Black by Sean Sena at Sea-Nic 66 Auto Body. The pièce de résistance of this roadster’s exterior has to be the creative use of the Past Tech repro Duvall windshield frame. The roadster’s tidy interior is the work of Gil Vigil of Interior Motives Upholstery. The pleated dark red vinyl interior harkens to the simplicity of the era and the homemade shifter, using a mo-

torcycle footpeg is a nice touch, including its custom surround. It took nearly two decades, but the Chavez family saved a piece of their family’s history in the form of a classic hot rod that generations will get to enjoy in the future. They’ve had the little rod at a number of shows in the southwest and have racked up an impressive number of awards, but what’s better is the bonding effect of strong family ties. It took considerable perseverance, but in the end, it turned into a solid win for the home team. SRL



Can it get much better than this? The roadster looks fast just sitting still, due in large part to the Past Tech repro Duvall windshield frame that really makes the Chavez T stand apart.

The classic interior was stitched by Gil Vigil at Interior Motives and includes a brace of gauges from Classic Instruments. The vintage leather-wrapped steering wheel is perched atop a Lime Works column.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1



POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT Adding cubic inches — and power — to a Pontiac 428 WORDS: Todd Ryden PHOTOS: Barry Kluczyk


ne fun thing about rebuilding an engine is getting to mess with the total displacement. Start with a 350 small block, bore the cylinders .030” over, and you have a 355c.i. engine. Ford guys build 331s and 347s out of 302s all the time by adding a little stroke with the bore. Today, there are plenty of stroker kits available that take the guess work out. These kits include rotating assemblies that have been tested and proven, so there’s almost no sense in going back to stock. This is especially true when the price to step up in cubic inches isn’t much more than going stock. That is, if you’re already replacing the pistons and rods. We happened through A&A Machine in Davison, Michigan, as they were assembling a 467c.i. Pontiac based on a 428 block. Tim Recker of A&A explained Eagle offers a


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

stroker kit that when combined with a .060-inch bore, the extra displacement adds up to great torque, with good power and driveability. Perfect for a GTO or Catalina upgrade. We checked back in with them through the build, as well as the dyno test. The assembly was straightforward, and things bolted together nice with a COMP valvetrain, Edelbrock aluminum heads, and a factory tri-power. We thought it would be cool to test the tri-power against a four-barrel set up, so Tim obliged the extra time to compare the two induction systems. In the end, the 467c.i. Pontiac made huge torque at 559 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm and 495 hp at 5,000 rpm. The engine has a great lump to it at idle, and is going to make an awesome muscle car street engine. Plus, it’ll bolt right in and accept the factory brackets and accessories. SRL

After checking clearances and measurements, the final hone was done and the block was even painted. The bores and bearing surfaces were then carefully wiped down and cleaned to prepare for assembly.

The 428 block, easily identified with a big 428 cast into the side, had a casting number of 39792968 with a date code of November 1968. Further inspection and measurements determined the block was still at its original bore size.

After carefully test fitting the crank and bearings, the main caps were installed and torqued to the required spec.

Eagle offers a rotating assembly centered around a cast steel crankshaft sporting a 4.25-inch stroke with nicely radiused oil passages on the mains and rod journals. (The factory stroke was 4.00 inches.)

Visually, the new H-beam rods are obviously much more stout pieces. Also note the extra little length. These rods measure 6.8 inches and are readily available as a big-block Chevy offering from Eagle, plus they also help improve the rod/ stroke ratio.

The Eagle Crank Kit is supplied with flat top pistons, which will put the compression at about 9.7:1. After checking clearances and honing the wrist pin side of the rod, the pistons were installed using double spiro-lock retainers.



A windage tray and extra capacity Milodon Oil pan were bolted in place. Pumping the lube around is the responsibility of a new Melling oil pump.

Edelbrock offers a number of heads for Pontiacs. In this build, A&A used a set of 87cc D-port (they also offer a 65cc and 72cc version). The intake valve diameter is 2.11 inches with the exhaust at 1.66 inches. A nice feature is the heads are machined with all of the original accessory mounting holes, so factory alternator brackets, power steering, or AC components all will fit. A set of SCE Gaskets were used to seal the surfaces.

On top of the heads are a set of roller rocker arms from COMP Cams. They are designed with an increased ratio of 1.65:1, which opens the valve slightly longer for a touch more duration. This added duration will increase the cam lift to .558 intake and .561 exhaust (over .507 and .510).

A new hydraulic cam from COMP Cams was pre-lubed with their break-in compound and installed. The cam features a mild 240/246 intake/exhaust with a narrow 109 LSA for a nice rumpity-rump idle. The cam was tied to the crank through a new gear and chain.


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

To fire up the engine and get it broken in, a shop-tuned 750 carb was installed on a Performer RPM intake. Tim chose to run this setup first to ensure a safe start up and break in. First though, the engine was pre-lubed.

After the initial break in, inspection, and pulls, the four-barrel was pulled in favor of a factory tri-power. They used a ’66 intake due to the larger primary inlets, rather than the customer-supplied ’65.

It may not look like a restored factory setup on the dyno, but it didn’t leak! In the end, the tri-power cost about 17 hp…but it just looks so Pontiac! Sources: A&A Machine Shop, 810-653-1891; ARP,; COMP Cams,; Eagle Specialty Products, Inc,; Edelbrock,; Milodon,; SCE Gaskets,

Everyone was pleased with the torque at 560 lb-ft and 495 horsepower. There was probably enough left through tuning the timing and carb to tip the 500 mark. Swapping to the tri-power cost about 17 ponies and 15 lb-ft. Since this engine will be going in a street cruiser, the tri-power gets the nod of approval. STREETRODLIFE.COM 





Contrary to popular belief, needle-nose pliers or Vise-Grips were not intended for crimping all of the different style wiring terminals available. In order to produce the most secure terminal-to-wire crimp, you need to use the correct tool. Pertronix has made it easy on you to have the right tool for the right job in their Quick Change Crimp Tool Kit.


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Crimp plug wires, open barrel terminals, insulated and non-insulated wiring terminals with one tool Hardened dies are made from Chromoly and zinc-plated Adjustable crimp mechanism for precise, repeatable crimps Carbon steel body and ergonomic, comfortable grips Handy carry case for storage and to take on the job


The crimp dies simply slide and click in place – no screws to back out and lose.

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STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1

The plug wire crimp dies produce a consistent crimp with factory strength, so you don’t have to worry about pulling terminals off when checking plugs.

Whether you’re building a new set of plug wires or working on wiring, you need to ensure a quality crimp between the wire and the terminal. Using the correct crimp dies with each style terminal is imperative to doing the job right and Pertronix is making it easy to acheive.

Pertronix offers this budget-friendly, yet effective, spark plug wire stripper that will come in handy.


ADDITIONAL: Pertronix also offers an affordable wire plug wire stripper for $10!


with Tucson Street Rod Association

TSRA celebrates 46 years of street rodding fun!


ho would have thought a small club of passionate street rodders formed loosely in 1971 would still be going strong today? If you ask those founding members, they’re probably not surprised at all to see the Tucson Street Rod Association still promoting the fun of the hobby and working in the community. The TSRA continues to host events in the region, including a swap meet, monthly club events, and their flagship event, the Rodders Days show that has been held annually since 1974! Rodders Days is more than a show, it’s actually a weekend rod run. The event attracts rodders from across the southwest, and kicks off Friday with a cruise to nearby Mt. Lemmon for a burger burn, charity auction, and dinner at the host hotel – 9,100 feet above sea level. Saturday morning, everyone sets up on 4th Avenue in downtown Tucson for a fun show and shine day, with breakfast and awards on Sunday morning. This year, the show is scheduled for April 28-30. We were able to talk with Thom McDonald, one of the founders of the TSRA, about how the club got started. “In 1970, I was building a ’27 tall highboy coupe from scratch in the back of a local company where I worked,” he says. “One Saturday, two guys came in and inquired about the car in the yard, and that’s when I met Hugh Frazier and Dudley Warner. They also were building hot rods, and the discussion led to starting a car club. Later, I remember seeing a brownish full-fendered ’30-’31 Model A pickup. It was definitely a hot rod and I wasn’t able to catch up to it. That car reappeared at the old Phillips 66 station on Alvernon just south of Speedway, where my father had his car serviced. I met the owner, Kerry Lord, who was working at the station. He eventually introduced me to another hot rodder, Steve Monasmith, who had a Model A fenderless coupe. The talk again was

about starting a club. We gathered at Randolph (Reid) Park a few times picking up more interested rodders. “We were offered a meeting place at the old Montgomery Ward’s basement in El Con for a few years,” McDonald continues. “Those of us with cars under construction usually towed our cars to the meetings and other outings to show progress. Initially, the dues were $1 a month. Our operating money came from working the annual World of Wheels car show for many years. We also funded the club with swap meets hosted at numerous locations in the Tucson area. “After 46 years, I am just as passionate about street rods as I ever was as a young man. I am also proud to be a member of this club I helped start all those years ago, and cherish the memories. There is talk all the time of nostalgic hot rod history, but you know — we are making history.” Today, the Tucson Street Rod Association is comprised of 43 active members. They get together for a monthly meeting each first Friday of the month at the Sabbar Shriners, 450 S. Tucson Blvd. at 7 p.m. If you have a ’48 and older rod and are interested in becoming a member, head to a meeting or check out their website: SRL

Know a club you’d like to see featured? Shoot us an email at STREETRODLIFE.COM 


JOHN BARKLEY When it comes to lifelong hardcore car enthusiasts, John Barkley is right at the top of the list. With more than 174 cars to his credit, going AWOL to race at Indy, winning Stock Eliminator at the Winternationals in a home-built ’57 Chevy, and just by making a lot of cool, fun, car-guy stuff happen, you can understand why we named John as our Street Rod Lifer! John came to driving age in the early ’60s and grew up in southern California. A great time for cars, and one of the best areas to be for racing and hot rods. He was a drag racing fan and built a ’57 Chevy to run in Stock Eliminator. The car sported a 283c.i. engine that had some borrowed and loaned parts on it, along with something unique — a cast iron Powerglide. Fast forward to the 1968 Winternationals and here’s a local kid from Van Nuys in a ’57 Chevy that he bought for $10 lining up against the Sox and Martin ’68 Barracuda for the final round. It was a close race, but John edged it out for the win. (The driver of the ‘Cuda was actually Jim McFarland, the editor of Hot Rod magazine, where John would eventually work.) Winning the Winternationals was huge, but John already had his sights set on the big one — Indy. However, there were a number of obstacles to make the race. First, he didn’t have an entry, and even more pressing, his Army Reserve unit had been called up and there was no way he could get official leave. He did what any hardcore racer would do — he went AWOL. John packed up his ’57 and flat towed it all the way to Indy behind a ’66 Catalina. You see, the rules at that time were after 30 days, you were considered a deserter. John stayed out 29. When he returned to his Fort Lewis post, he was dropped down from an E4 Corporal to an E1 and spent a few days in the brig. As for Indy, he didn’t even get to race his ’57, though he did get to drive a friend’s car at the race. Asked if it was worth it, the answer was yes. The ’57 was sold to his race pal and trans/converter guru Marv Ripes. Marv went on to win a number of races, including the 1970 Springnationals, with the ’57 while selling thousands of converters (but that’s another story). In 1970, John returned from his tour in Vietnam and quickly found his way back into drag racing. He landed a job at Cyclone Headers, which was the start to a long career in the performance and racing industry. He next took a position up in Washington working with Competition Specialties, which led to a position back in southern California a few years later. John Diana, a fellow Stock Eliminator racer from the valley, worked at Petersen Publishing and spread the word they were hiring a sales guy. John got the job, and he stayed with the company for 26 years. Unlike a lot of the other sales guys, John had his hands in plenty of project cars. In fact, several of his cars landed on covers of Super Chevy, Car Craft, and others. How many other sales guys can claim those kind of stats? Obviously, John is married to a very patient lady, Bonnie, who’s put up with quite a number of cars in their driveway and garage during their 45 years. Their kids, Greg and Stephanie, have watched all of these cars, plans, and garage builds over the years as well. In fact, Greg still owns the ’72 Camaro John bought him when he turned 14 back in 1992. Not long ago, John discovered the whereabouts of his Pomona-winning ’57 and was able to get it back in his garage. Much of the car was still the same, including the original slapper bars that Marv installed to control the wheel hop he was getting out of his new eight-inch converter nearly 50 years ago! John put a stout 283c.i. engine together for the car, installed a cast iron Powerglide and has been having a blast getting it back to its prime race day setup. John’s email sign off while still selling ads was “You’re lucky if you work where you play,” and that really sums it up. He’s had quite a time surrounded by hot rods and friends in the industry, topped with a supportive family. Way to go John and keep it up! SRL


STREET ROD LIFE  Vol. 3, No. 1


HIT THE ROAD It’s a new year of cruising, road trips, and events, and there are plenty of opportunities to rack up some miles on your rod. Here are just a few events to start filling in your calendar — if you have one to recommend, drop us a line at

Classic Chevys of So-Cal This will be the 35th annual show for the Classic Chevys of Southern California, but for those of the non-bowtie persuasion, all makes and models are welcome. More than 300 cars, lots of vendors, awards, and a famous BBQ lunch add up to a fun day. May 7 Chatsworth, California

Goodguys Rod and Custom The nationwide good time, good fun, and cruising show travels coast to coast from April to June. April 28-30 North Carolina Nationals, Raleigh, NC May 19-21 Nashville Nationals, Nashville, TN June 3-4 Summer Get Together, Pleasanton, CA

Going, Going – Gone! Looking to buy a new street rod? Head on over to Dana Mecum’s 30th Spring Classic auction and get in on the bidding action! May 16–20 Indianapolis, Indiana

Vintage TorqueFest Billed more as a festival than a car show, the event aims to keep music, clothes, and art alive in hot rodding. May 5-6 Dubuque, Iowa


Street Machine Nationals

The National Street Rod Association is all about “Fun with Cars,” not to mention hanging out with thousands of other street rodders! The shows are open to ’87 and older models, and you get to scrounge a swap meet, check out vendor parts, and more. April 28-30 Bakersfield, California May 26-28 Knoxville, Tennessee June 2-4 York, Pennsylvania

Big tires, big blowers, and bug catchers! This is the one that started the Pro Street revolution, and it’s still going strong with more muscle cars, street rods, and restomods joining the fray. June 23-25 DuQuoin, Illinois July 14-16 St. Paul, Minnesota

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.

Cruisin’ Ocean City More than 3,500 rods cruise into the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, with the Atlantic as a backdrop, for four days of cruising, parades, vendors, and car show fun. May 18-21 Ocean City, Maryland STREETRODLIFE.COM 


In 2009, Keith long hauled the Power Tour in support of the Somernites Cruise series. He managed to take the Cutlass along for a couple days.

Cool ‘60s era Gulf sign lights up the shop


His garage is what we’d expect from a guy who spends his days supporting a monthly cruise series. The Cutlass usually shares its downtime with a restored ’72 Shasta Loflyte camper in the garage, but it was setup outside the day we showed up. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get invited upstairs to kick back and relax with a cold one.

Keith Floyd is a serious car guy (as if you couldn’t tell). If you’ve ever been to one of the Somernites Cruise events in Somerset, Kentucky, then chances are you have seen Keith’s Cutlass mixed in with the 1,000-plus cruisers that come for the monthly event. You see, Keith is the Executive Director of the event and has been involved since it first started in 2001.

As a teen, Keith worked now and then as a pump jockey at a friend’s Exxon station, but somehow managed to start collecting cool Gulf stuff, like this old pump he had restored.


Keith’s had this ’72 Cutlass Supreme since 1999. It was a great cruiser until he and his wife were T-boned leaving a Pigeon Forge event. When repairing the car, he added the 442 hood, stripes, and spoiler. The Olds still cruises smooth with the original 350 and 4-barrel. When it gets too hot in the Kentucky summers, the top goes up and the factory A/C turns on.

If you think the garage has some cool stuff in it, you should see the man-cave in the attic! Keith keeps his office over the garage, and it’s full of even more great car stuff and room to kick back for a break from wrenching.


Winter Storage Kills Hot Rods.

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In addition to high levels of ZDDP to protect your engine, Driven Hot Rod Oil uses military-spec rust and corrosion inhibitors and meet the latest SAE J300 Cold Cranking requirements. Independent testing showed surfaces treated with Driven Hot Rod Oil showed no rust or corrosion after a 1,000-hour severe-storage simulation test.

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Street Rod Life Spring 2017  

The Spring issue of Street Rod Life is now available and it pushes the limits of the rodding hobby. Checkout all the great event coverage fr...

Street Rod Life Spring 2017  

The Spring issue of Street Rod Life is now available and it pushes the limits of the rodding hobby. Checkout all the great event coverage fr...