Each year top builders in the Rod and Custom industry gather for the Grand National Roadster Show. While awards are handed out in more than one category, the most coveted and competitive is the one for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. In 1994 that award went to this beautiful ’29 Roadster dubbed the Q29 and owned by Joseph MacPherson, known by many for “Joe’s Garage.”
Constructed by some of the biggest names in rodding at the time, Art, Mike and Lloyd Chrisman, along with Steve Davis, Squeak White and Junior Conway handling the body work. Tony Nancy handled the upholstery. Utilizing an Inifiniti Q45 drivetrain, the engine and other components were chromed and painted to transform them from their original sterile appearance and instead make them look as though they belong in a hot rod. MacPhereson’s first choice for a drivetrain had been the then very hot Corvette ZR1 engine, with its first ever for GM thirty-two valve design and exotic stomping output. However GM said no to the project, and Infiniti stepped up with the Q45 parts from a low mileage wreck.
The chassis is complete hand-built and required over 400 hours of labor. Although it still very closely mimics a traditional ’32 Ford, it had to be tailored to accommodate the car’s unique motivating force. The independent rear suspension is all custom-built as well, featuring chrome A-arms with the Q45 center differential mounted to the frame to reduce vibration. Front suspension is a double A-Arm design with Bilstein shocks and Deuce Factory springs.
The body was also hand crafted by Davis and White to exacting tolerances. No filler materials were used in constructing the body, it’s all metal. All the panel gaps are perfect, the hood clears the engine by just 5/16 of an inch and a track nose gives the roadster a racier look.
That nose in fact caused Chrisman to custom fabricate the cooling system, mounting the radiator in the rear of the car and designing a system to flow cool air across it, keeping temperatures at their optimal level. No less than ten gallons of Ferrari yellow lacquer were applied by Conway to give the car its vibrant finish.
Tom Nancy built the upholstery using Connolly leather, the same used by Rolls Royce. The seat frames were built by Davis and are of a Ferrari inspired design. The dash uses custom built gauges with faces that match the upholstery and old-school Stewart Warner style glass. There’s also a matching luggage set which was hand-designed to fit the car.
This is a car that has stood the test of time, the true sign of a quality design and careful parts selection. Today it looks as though it could have easily been completed eighteen days ago instead of eighteen years ago. Ground breaking for it’s time, it shocked the rodding world sweeping some of the biggest awards in the industry back in ’94. The car will now be auctioned off by Mecum at their Fall Premier in St Charles, IL. The sale is being held October 25-27, with this car scheduled to cross the block that Saturday around 4:30pm. We hope this piece of rodding history finds a new and interesting home deserving of its heritage and pedigree.