It seems most videos on YouTube that show the procedure for chopping the top on a custom or hot rod are either far too short, omitting important steps and context that help viewers understand the process, or belabor each point with a lot of blabbering about what makes this difficult. Cutting the top off a vehicle requires skill and competency with various metalworking tools, sure, but it also takes a keen eye, not just for the overall package but for the details that make a chop flow. Each chop is unique, made up of thousands of individual decisions, hammer strokes, and beads of weld.
Despite a minimum of dialogue, this time-lapse video of Mike Bello of Bello’s Kustoms taking three inches out of a 1937 Ford’s roof doesn’t gloss over any details. You can see Mike’s thought process as his hands work over each piece. It’s evident he’s done this many times before from every step that seems incongruous at first but later proves prescient. Though rendered in steel, the work here is far from cold and emotionless. It’s well worth the watch, even if you never plan to chop a car.
Just so you don’t start to think that Hemmings editors are the only ones who get distracted from finishing their long-termcarprojects, let’s catch up with Jonny Smith, the British enthusiast of American cars and host of the Late Brake Show, and his 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS lowrider (yes, a lowrider in the UK), a project that has been ongoing for close to 20 years now thanks to a few instances of hard luck, a lot of time spent away from the garage, and all the other nuisances that keep a project from progressing. But now it appears Jonny’s got some help in finishing the project, so perhaps his lowrider will soon be three-wheeling it around England’s country lanes in style.
We all love a bit of nostalgia, don’t we? Especially if it is a classic from the yesteryears. And every automobile lover has their own favorite classic car. Some adore the likes of Ferrari P4/5 for its rarity while others are admirers of the likes of GTO 250 purely because of the moolah they generate in today’s times.
Almost every big automobile company boasts a super-rich legacy in terms of classic cars. And so is the case with Ford. The American multinational automaker produced a bunch of timeless classics back in the day. And one of its classics was the Mercury Eight – a part of Ford’s Mercury brand that was established to bridge the price gap between Ford and Lincoln models. While the Mercury Eight enjoyed a successful 13-year reign, it is the 1949 Mercury Custom that gets us nostalgic.
1952 was the final year for the original F-Series pickup, and the most powerful engine that Ford offered for the half-ton model was the Flathead V8 with 239 cubic inches of displacement. The F-100 we’ll talk about today is a little different under the hood, though.
Not only did it win “First Place for Outstanding Engine and Interior at the ISCA Summit Racing Equipment Auto Show,” but the single cab in the photo gallery sports a Corvette powerplant from the small-block family. The LT1, to be more precise, and the automatic transmission comes from General Motors as well.
The Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R4 is one of the finest choices you can make for a restomod. Smooth but also stout, the four-speed gearbox switched from hydraulic logic shifting to electronic in 1993 when it was known as the 4L60. 1987 and newer transmissions are extremely popular with race, street, and even off-road builds.
Turning our attention back to the custom truck with sparkling light tan over brown paintwork and a bright orange pinstripe, the Ford F-100 “took over a year to build” according to Worldwide Auctioneers. Offered at no reserve, the go-faster pickup features a TCI chassis with chrome plated arms, Coy wheels, and Nitto radials.
Not that there is much doubt about it among car enthusiasts, but custom work is art. British designer and customizer Andy Saunders is proof of that.
As part of autoevolution’s Custom Builds Month coverage, we’ve already discussed a couple of Saunders’ most famous projects: the MINI HaHa and Claustro Phobia, another MINI that held the Guinness World Record for the lowest car. If these two builds did not get you thinking “wow, this is art!,” Tetanus will.
The name might not be very artsy, but this build is a monument of sophistication and elegance, artistry and wild creativity. Tetanus Cord, or Tetanus for short, started out as a 1937 Cord 812 Westchester sedan and came with a very interesting history. It belonged to royalty and then came very close to becoming a race car, before being suddenly and mysteriously abandoned on a field for decades.
An original right-hand drive export model meant for the UK market, the Cord was sold as new by R.S.M Automobiles of Berkeley Square, London to the Earl of Derby, according to Saunders’ official webpage. The Earl drove it for a few years before deciding to part ways with it: Saunders believes it had developed a gearbox problem and the owner probably thought buying a new one was less of a hassle than having it fixed. Rich people mentality
“Reclaimed Rust” is the title of an exhibition of custom cars, guitars and memorabilia from the James Hetfield Collection that opens February 1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Hetfield is co-founder, lead vocalist and songwriter for the heavy-metal band Metallica.
He also is a lifelong car enthusiast.
“Hetfield’s vehicles assert both a reverence for history and a disregard for convention, standing collectively as a testament to the musician’s distinctive personality and artistic energy,” the museum said in its announcement.
Her name is Debbie Walls and she has contributed to the upgrade of thousands of street rods over the past three decades. Maybe yours. Debbie and her husband, Skip, are the founders of Lokar Performance Parts as well as hard-core hot rod enthusiasts. It’s always interesting to find out what the people who create performance and dress-up products for our hobby, people like Skip and Debbie, have in their personal corral. In their case, the list has been long and includes race cars and muscle cars in addition to street rods.