Tag: Hot Rods

Coming to America: Czech hot-rodders find their place in the sun – Lyn Woodward @Hagerty

Coming to America: Czech hot-rodders find their place in the sun – Lyn Woodward @Hagerty

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At 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday, in an industrial Southern California suburb a stone’s throw from Disneyland, the guttural rumble of a straight-eight thundered ever closer. Stanley Chavik arrived with the squeal of cross-ply tires, climbed out of his replica 1933 Buick Shafer 8 looking like a Viking headed to battle, then cracked a broad, gap-toothed smile. “Oh, I remember you.” Stanley’s thick Czech accent rolled over his respectable English, which he learned only four years ago. “Come in!”

Stanley hails from the Czech Republic, where his father and grandfather were both car guys. It was a pale yellow 1940s DeSoto, its bumper heavy with metal spikes for an Italian Mad Max knockoff called I Predatori Di Atlantide, that captured his attention. Stanley got hooked on American hot rods.

The internet nourished his hot-rod daydreams. He’d browse classic images from the likes of Gene Winfield, George Barris, and modern builders like Chip Foose. After opening his own welding and fabrication shop in the Czech town of Zlín in 2003, Stanley married Daisy, who applied her business savvy and determination to the venture.

European automotive regulations choked the Chaviks when it came to how they built their cars, but a ramshackle 1939 Buick he’d acquired made Stanley’s dreams manifest when he rebuilt it into a replica of a Shafer 8, inspired by Phil Shafer’s early Indy racers.

After the car’s completion, and much contemplation, the Chaviks packed up the Shafer 8, their U.S. E-2 visa for new businesses, and what money they had. The family, now three with the birth of their son, Stanley Jr., landed in California in late 2017.

Hot-Rod Chavik USA, in sunny Orange County, isn’t large—only about 2000 square feet, with three garage doors that roll skyward to the lofted ceiling. The space owns its Eastern European orderliness. Any color comes thanks to the candy-hued cars that roll in and out.

Upon arrival to the States, Stanley had to buy the cheapest tools he could afford from Home Depot. “We don’t do credit. When we have money, we buy tools,” Daisy says. Stanley does most of his shaping with a Pullmax and his hammers. “I stopped using the English wheel. I prefer a pummeling hammer,” he explains, as if the famous British machine were too delicate.

Aluminum has always been Stanley’s medium. Daisy revealed that he used to shape metal roses for the girls at school. “I like weapons, also,” Stanley interjects, slightly puffing his barreled chest lest I think he’s just a flower guy

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Hemi Powered 1932 Fords!!! – Garage Full Of New York Drag Racing History – @IronTrapGarage

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One of our viewers Ed emailed us many months ago about the 1932 Fords that were owned by his father, both with New York drag racing history. Ray Stillwall purchased the 1932 Ford Roadster in 1948 and built the car in stages over the next 10 years. The roadster was raced at many local tracks, and even at the Allentown Fairgrounds back in 1955! Ed’s father was able to purchase the car back in 1970 and after a few other owners it ended back in the hands of Ed. The blue 1932 Ford Tudor was owned by Ed’s father and was also raced all over. This one stayed in the family and Ed continues to drive and race the car today. We enjoyed spending time with Ed and hearing all of the stories of the two 1932 Ford’s in his shop. Thanks for watching

Massive 1934 Ford Collection Buyout – 5 Cars and Tons Of Parts!!! – @IrontrapGarage

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It is not everyday that you receive an email asking if you would be interested in buying a barn full of 1934 Fords, but if you do respond immediately. At first we thought the barn was going to be full of rusty and rotten 34s, the pictures we received told a different story. At that point we knew we had to try to buy it all. We won’t spoil to much in the description so be sure to watch the entire video!!

Heartbeat of American motorsports displayed in the country’s heartland – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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Among the many galleries in Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is one that focuses on all the companies that produced parts to enhance the performance of Henry Ford’s Model T engine. Frontenac was the Chevrolet brothers company after they sold the rights to their family name to Chevrolet | Larry Edsall photos

In the early 1940s, a policeman showed up at the Smith family home in Lincoln, Nebraska, with 12-year-old D. William Smith in tow. Like other youngsters, he had used an old gas-powered Maytag washing machine engine to power a go-kart. Problem was, he’d been driving it down one of the town’s main streets.

From an early age, D. William Smith, to become better known as “Speedy” Bill, had a need for speed. He tinkered with cars, raced them and motorcycles as well, yet went to Nebraska Wesleyan University and graduated with a degree in education. 

But instead of teaching, he borrowed $300 from his fiancé, Joyce — who later would insist that he never officially repaid that loan — and opened a speed shop called Speedway Motors in a 20×20-foot building on Lincoln’s main street, US Route 6/O Street. 

The museum is about preserving American racing history, When the Smiths acquired the garage in which A.J. Watson built his Indy cars, they wanted its display to be so accurate that they used an overhead camera to record all the oil stains on the floor of Watson’s garage so they could be copied in the museum’s display

Fast forward a few decades and the Smiths with their four sons grew Speedway Motors into a major supplier of automotive speed equipment that occupies a half-million square-foot warehouse and headquarters on a 46-acre Lincoln campus just off O Street that since 1992 has included the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed.

The museum is a separate building just across the parking lot that fills three stores while preserving race cars, engines and historic performance accessories. For example, there’s a large area devoted to Henry Ford’s Model T, and to the parts from Frontenac, Rajo, Riley, Roof and others that, shall we say, accelerated the car’s capabilities. 

Ditto the Flathead Ford V8, with one wall covered by every cylinder head ever created to enhance that engine’s performance, including some experimental models that Ford sold to the museum by mistake and then asked for their return, which Speedway Motors politely declined.

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Go to Nebraska to see this iconic California hot rod – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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An iconic segment of the California hot rod culture is on display in a museum, but it’s a museum halfway across the country. The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is located in Lincoln, Nebraska, but is showcasing the famed little black Model T hot rod built by a youngster named Ed Iskenderian, who soon would become famous for creating high-performance camshafts. “Isky” anticipates celebrating his 100th birthday on July 10.

If the Nebraska location for the famous hot rod seems strange, consider that the car is displayed with Ed Winfield’s cam grinder that Isky used as well as with the only other pair of Maxi cylinder heads known to exist. The car is owned by Isky and is in Nebraska on a long-term loan.

As the story goes, Isky — the nickname given by school teachers who couldn’t pronounce Iskenderian — and a buddy John Athan grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood and were fascinated by the cut-down and hopped-up Model Ts people were building. 

Athan built a T-based hot rod and then one based on a Model A (in the 1950s the car appeared in the Elvis Presley movie, Loving You). Isky acquired a T-based car from Athan in the late 1930s, replacing the 4-cylinder engine with a flathead V8 equipped with Maxi overhead valve head, and adding an Edelbrock triple manifold and Vertex magneto.

He made many other changes — 1932 Ford front axle with 1937 wishbones, Plymouth hydraulic brakes, Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, modified 1933 Pontiac grille, gauge panel salvaged from an 8-cylinder Auburn, and a flying-skull hood ornament Isky created in a high school shop class. 

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9 flavors of prewar hot rod at Mecum’s 2021 Indy sale – Brandan Gillogly @Hagerty

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If you’re in the market for a prewar hot rod, Mecum’s Indianapolis auction running May 14–22 has something from just about every era you could desire. While the cars themselves were built before WWII, the different eras of customization really kicked off after the war. If you prefer your ’32 Fords and Model A coupes, roadsters, cabriolets, and sedans more in the factory flavor, Mecum has those as well. For now, let’s take a look at a 9 varieties of custom builds that trace a timeline of hot rod design.

Perhaps you’re looking for something simple with a unique pedigree. In that case, this 1927 Ford Model T track roadster might suit you. This racing roadster was built in the vein of the ’40s and ’50s racers that plied dirt tracks all over Southern California and comes from the collection of road-racing phenom Parnelli Jones. It’s powered by a 304-cubic-inch Ford flathead V-8 wearing a set of aluminum heads. It tuns on alcohol and turns the tires by way of a three-speed manual trans.

For those who would like a leg up on their hot-rod build but still want some say in the final product, this handsome, black 1932 Ford roadster has much of the hardest work already done. The subtle modifications and vintage speed parts give it a traditional 1950s hot-rod look. The Ford flathead has a 4 inch-stroke crank, likely compliments of a Mercury. It’s topped by a set of Smith heads and uses an Isky cam to breathe through a twin-carb Eddie Meyer intake and gorgeous Eddie Meyer air cleaner. Inside, the dash is filled with a full complement of Stewart Warner gauges. It doesn’t get much more iconic in the world of hot rods than a ’32 Roadster, and this one is built with a fantastic collection of vintage components.

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ONE OLD PROOF SHEET – Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

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I think it’s time for something old. Really old. Like 1930s and pre-War ’40s old. We’re talking Muroc dry lake and the birth of hot rodding–though not by that name, yet. The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the first “umbrella” organization gathering dozens of already existing roadster clubs, was formed in early 1938.

Also, for me, it’s time for something a little simpler. It just is. So what I decided to do was another “one proof sheet” column. That is, all the photos you see here today came from one roll of 35mm film, in this case 35 exposures, contact-printed (actual film size) on one 8 x 10 sheet of photo paper. These are analogous to thumbnails on your computer. They’re about an inch wide, and you really need a loupe magnifier to see them clearly.

So I went to my files, opened a drawer marked B&W Negs, and then selected a file marked “Early Lakes.” There were about 100 proof sheets in it. But I know what most of them are, and what I was looking for–an old one with notes written on the back. I’m really not into doing research this week.

I found it quickly, and the first note on the back said, “All photos ’39-’40.”

But a quick scan through them showed me that wasn’t quite correct, since the photo above was listed as “Strokers club from Whittier/La Habra at Irvine Park ’47(?). All cars raced lakes, too.” That’s probably correct. You’ll note all are A and ’32 Ford roadsters. There were more in other shots. And I’m pretty sure this was Frank Currie’s club, and also pretty sure that’s who had all these photos and let me copy them with my camera. Besides building 9-inch Ford rearends, Frank was a consummate hot rodder all his life.

I should also explain that (a) I shot this roll of film, developed it, printed the proof sheet, and wrote the notes on the back 45 years ago. Wish I had a loupe that would sharpen my memory. And (b) not only are some of the notes hard to read, but some photos don’t have any. But given those caveats, let’s just dive in. This will be primarily a picture show, and I’ll relate what I know (or don’t) as we go.

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THE ONCE-REVERED ANTIQUE NATIONALS – Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

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I only did a tiny rant last time. I held most of it in, so to speak. My plan was to let ‘er rip this week. But you know what? We’ve had enough negativity this past year, and I don’t really want to add to that.  My beef, as reflected in the title, is that the Antique Nationals–i.e., nostalgia–aint’ what it used to be. If it weren’t so personally painful, it’d actually be funny. They, and similar current nostalgia drag events, won’t let my historic vintage dragster run down the track because it’s too vintage, too antique! How ironic. If it were obviously unsafe like the dragsters I showed last time, I’d understand. But it’s not. Neither was Chrisman’s Hustler I. But once I calmed down, I realized that the two tracks that most rudely ejected and banned me, Famoso and “Fontana,” are both sponsored by AAA, an insurance company. So more rules, more cost, more hassle, far fewer participants.

This year would have been the 50th Annual Antique Nationals, of course cancelled by Covid. I have to admit I didn’t miss it, and haven’t been the last couple of years. But this used to be one of those once-a-year car events nobody missed, especially if you were into hot rod history–like the L.A. Roadster Show, Old Timers’ Night in Boston, Vintage Night at Ascot, or the first Hot Rod Reunions at Bakersfield and Bowling Green. My memory seems to differ a bit from the official website, but the Antique Nats has definitely outlived four tracks here in SoCal. It started as the Bonnie & Clyde–or “999”–Drags at Lions. Then a small club (about 20 members) dedicated to Model T, A, B, and C Ford engines, Four-Ever-Four, founded the Antique Nationals at Irwindale (I think), in 1970. This was open to ’34 and earlier vehicles only. But soon they included pre-’49 models as long as they ran ’48 and earlier-style engines. This included any Ford flathead V8s, and Chevy/GMC sixes through ’62, so my old ’48 Chevy bomb qualified, and I raced it every year, starting in Irwindale ’til it closed in ’77, then to Orange County (OCIR) ’til it closed in ’83, then to Palmdale until it closed in ’07, thence to “Auto Club Raceway” in Fontana. I am very proud to say I won my class (Inliners) four times, with a special trophy shelf for my four engraved mugs. But perhaps even more prestigious are the special T-shirts with “WINNER” and the year in big letters under the usual logo. You can’t get one unless you win.  I’m saving the three I have left because I wore one completely out.

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