“SentiMental”, An Iowa Show Rod From Eggleston Kustoms

Show

When finished with a build, most rodders end up with ‘spare parts’- that is to say, leftovers too good to toss, or they hold sentimental value for one reason or another. Such is the case with the most recent creation by Russ and Summer Eggleston of Randolph, Iowa, and their down-on-the-farm shop; Eggleston Kustoms.

The ‘show rod’ shown here actually began life as a 1928 Dodge four door, a project of Russ’ late father, Danny. He took the rear section of the car (eliminating the front doors) and welded it to the cowl to start the build. After Russ’ father passed unexpectedly, the car sat outside for 20 years before Russ was emotionally ready to resume the project. As a tribute to his father, Russ challenged himself to finish the car … aptly named “SentiMental.”

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During the years the Dodge body sat idle, sections of the car originally discarded by Russ’ father, Danny (cowl top, doors and rear window section) actually became the kustom Dodge pickup shown here.

Russ and his father shared a love for the early Ford “Vicky”, with the elder Eggleston as a hot rod builder that nurtured the talent he saw in his son. Not unlike many of us, Russ started his life-long passion with model cars, drawing inspiration from the show rods of the ’60s. In the early planning stages of SentiMental, Russ envisioned something unique … something over the top.

When it came time to resurrect what was left of his dad’s old Dodge sedan, Russ decided to build a full-on sixties “Kustom Rod,” incorporating parts he’d been collecting for years. He started by cutting away the entire rear section of the car to accomplish that kustom look.

Left: Russ working on the bottom of the car after channeling it. Right: Body is close to being done and in primer.

A Vintage Uni-Body

A pair of highly-modified Deuce rails became the foundation, and the body was channeled over the frame and welded together into one unit, making this a uni-body. The frame boasts a 5-inch dropped ‘n drilled ’32 Ford heavy front axle with hair pins, disc brakes, and spindle mount wheels and tires. Out back sits a Speedway/Currie “centered” Ford 9-inch rearend with 4.10 Equa-Lok gears, heavy-duty drum brakes, and coilovers.

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The rear pan is a combination of Chevy truck hood and a lot of ’59 Cadillac taillights.

When the frame was done, the open-ended body needed addressing. Russ retained the existing Dodge beltline, adding the rear section and large oval window from a ’31 Plymouth. From the beltline down, Russ added ’36 Ford flat back metal, and transformed the Dodge into the “Vicky” style that he and his father liked.

The open roof was filled with steel, and the sedan’s rear doors modified work in a suicide fashion. The arch in the door that cleared the rear fenders was filled, and the upper cowl, with its unique body line, was taken from that same ’31 Plymouth. To finish, Russ angle-chopped the top 4 inches in the front and 2 inches in the rear.

Interior is completely hand-built, including metal console and '57 Pontiac "spears" in the door panels. Dash is '60 Chevy, and is centered above the console.

The firewall was laid back to match the A-pillars, and Russ fabricated a sun visor with oval portholes sourced from ’56 Buick fenders. Round steel rod was welded to the roof and along the wheel wells. The round rod was continued along the bottom of the body and onto the frame horns to form integral style lines.

Getting Real Kustom

A rear pan/tail light panel was fabricated from the front half of a ‘60 Chevrolet pickup hood turned upside down, and molded to the body forming a deep, oval opening where eight ’59 Cadillac taillights were inset. All wiring is hidden, running through frame rails. The fuel tank is located beneath the flip-up rear seat, and the master cylinder and battery were placed behind the dash to avoid clutter under the car. A pair of ’36 Ford headlamps were added, and dual antennae are “frenched” into the right side of the Dodge’s cowl.

Kustom-built grille started life in a ’55 Plymouth passenger car.

The kustom grille shell is unique – that’s a ’55 Plymouth grille that has been cut and bent to form the ribbed top of the shell, and filled with stainless mesh and chrome bullets. A style-line on the bottom front of the grille shell continues the theme on the top of the cowl.

Exotic looking engine fits the ’60s show rod theme perfectly. 1964 Chevy 409 engine powers this rod.

This kustom rod is powered by a vintage 1964 409 cubic-inch monster, topped with an exotic looking, chromed 4-71 blower. Above that are six Holley 94s, rebuilt by Russ. The exhaust headers are hand-built, and the engine is backed by a heavy-duty Turbo 400 automatic transmission. An early Mustang radiator cools things.

The car is finished in custom-mixed red with red flake which was applied by Russ. The entire process took eight hours to complete, and was not painted in a booth painted. To add complication, there was no break in the number of things that could go wrong … a 90 degree day, shop doors open, southern winds billowing in dust every time someone drove by, and every flying insect in Southwest Iowa flocking to the clear coat made for an intense paint day. Huge odds, but it turned out beautifully.

Most of the interior is fabricated in steel. A ’60 Impala dash was narrowed, and the gauge pods hand sanded, polished, filled with painted-to-match original 1960 gauges with white needles, and was centered in the car.

Left: Headlights of '36 Ford fit alongside the grille. Right: Steering wheel has been butterflied.

Mix And Match

A ’73 Chevrolet motorhome donated the steering column, which is topped by a butterfly-cut steering wheel from a ’61 Buick Invicta. A custom center console flows from the dash rearward, and was fabricated from sheet steel. It is accented with more stainless mesh, chrome bullets, and topped with a ’64 Thunderbird ash tray. The front seats were vintage bar stools, and the rear seat was custom built. The inside panels are fabricated from ’57 Pontiac quarters that are painted to match.

Overhead, ’58 Ford pickup hoods were used as a headliner with inverted ’54 Ford pickup fenders forming the rear corners of the steel headliner. The unpainted portions of the interior, including the floor, is covered in Pearl White Naugahyde, and the Pearl White Naugahyde roof insert accents the Red nicely.

Left: Interior door panels feature"spears" from a '57 Pontiac rear quarters. Right: Another photo of the Pontiac "spears" on the door panels.

The car was worked on a few weeks here and a few weeks there over the course of several years, totaling about 9 months of 12-14 hour days. Russ points out he didn’t “use a bunch of fancy tools. I wanted to show what I can do with the few tools I have.”

Thanks goes out to Dave Watson, Cal Myers, Terrell Ramsey, Ray Houston, Kenny Rasco, Mike Huff, Punk Eggleston, Mark Golden, Craig Foster and Denny Gillett, and a special thank you to Uncle Jim for always being there. Original Story by William Wonder with photos by Summer Eggleston.

About the author

Roger Jetter

Roger’s interests in cars started at 14 with a ’40 Ford pick-up until he bought his first ’57 Chevy at age 16. That car is featured in the first two books he’s written about the 1960’s and growing up in the Midwest. He’s authored several more books as well and has built several cars over the years that have received major coverage in magazines and won plenty of awards. His current build is a 1948 Cadillac Sedanet, although his current 'driver' is a '55 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
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