It was hard walking the seemingly endless rows of brilliantly shiny classic iron and single out a mere ten that would be ranked among our absolute favorites, but hey, we’re gonna do it anyways! Celebrating it’s 80th birthday was the venerable and always popular ’32 Ford in all its varieties. Of course, we would be remiss to leave a deuce out of the ranking – so we made sure not to – but we feel that this list of Top Ten ‘rods and ‘rides that this year’s Goodguys Rod & Custom Association Scottsdale, AZ Spring Nationals was, for lack of a better word, different.
The sheer juxtaposition of many of the cars you’ll find below is somewhat staggering. We’ve got some really rare muscle, some oddly unique and beautifully crafted rolling artwork, and some cool shoeboxes and other full-fendered rides that will bring you back in time, the same way a well-made period piece movie will. We picked out our favorites, but you don’t have to like ’em, but we would hope you’d appreciate the time and money poured into these amazing machines.
Once we perused the miles of Detroit iron and filled our camera up with more pictures than we could possibly ever publish, it was time to get to work. We hope you enjoy these cars as much as we enjoyed photographing and writing about them. Enjoy!
Bob Casper’s ’32 Ford Roadster
Bob’s got a wicked sense of humor. He’s also got an amazing eye for detail and it shows with his super clean lake bed racer-inspired ’32 deuce. Parked alongside dozens of other Fords of the same year, Bob’s green-on-green-on-orange roofless ride clearly stood out among the rest.
Part of the Coldwater Fat Boyz car club, Bob’s #05 touts a beautifully built 401 nailhead Buick plant featuring polished-and-orange finned valve covers – both above and on the sides of the heads- that match the air cleaner box, reservoir tank and beneath the intake manifold.
Shorty headers ride inside of the Chassis Engineering framerails, running the tubes out the back.
The repopped body is from Rod Bod with the smoothing and paint by Hot Rod Flatz. This highboy rolls on Coker rubber and steelies while the cabin – although Spartan – is wrapped in Ultra leather.
Joel Brandt’s Chopped and Channeled ’37 Ford Pickup
We don’t dare call this a “rat” as it is so amazingly clean. The execution of this ’37 pickup is meticulous, particularly as Joel built this ‘rod himself. A lot of metalwork went into chopping three-inches out of the Ford’s roofline, channeling the body two-inches over the frame rails and bobbing the truck bed 16-inches.
Of course, that is until you look inside. Joel’s ’37 Ford is completely free of an interior – at how you and I would consider an interior to be.
Rather, a plywood bench composes the cabin, with a sheetmetal dash and console breaking up the splintery monotony.
Back outside, we were wowed with the detail poured into the bed, which featured a comical “gin still”-inspired fuel tank and a quintet of Pabst Blue Ribbon bottle caps embossed into the center wood rail in the bed, varnished over.
What made these so unique was that they were the much desired four aces that so many ironically-mustachioed hipster has been pining for. Like we said, it’s all in the details!
Gordon and Janet Apker’s ’53 Hudson Hornet Coupe
We love and hate the idea that a whole new generation of future car lovers have been made familiar with the famous Hudson Hornet thanks to the Pixar movie Cars. Portrayed by one of the classiest men in all of Hollywood, Paul Newman, “Doc Hudson” became the movie’s most honored salute to vintage racing – that is apart from the ’70 Superbird, “King” voiced by Richard “The King” Petty.
The couple found this amazingly clean Hornet (chassis number 7C218712) with only 26,000 miles on the clock and thought it a grand idea to return the green-on-green Hornet back to its famous NASCAR livery.
The Hornet – piloted by Marshall Teague – won 12 out of 13 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, securing the Hudson’s place in racing history thanks to its “Step-Down” design, giving the bathtubbed coupe an exceptionally low center of gravity. In civilian form, the Hornet was comfortable, well-mannered and stylish, making the Hornet an instant classic as well.
Sherman Welding & Restoration’s ’42 Chevrolet Pickup
Again, what we’re seeing here is no “rat” by any stretch of the imagination. Simply because its out of the ordinary or a little on the bizarre side, doesn’t disqualify this wild pickup from being a masterfully executed machine. Composed of a ’42 Chevrolet pickup cab, ’55 Ford pickup bedsides (there’s no floor), and a ’50 REO nose, the battleship gray pickup takes much of its inspiration from Sprint car racing of all places!
Powered by a 292 Chevrolet straight-six and force-fed by an original Powerdyne supercharger pressing in enough boost to keep it civil, with a Turbo350 automatic with a 2-speed overdrive, all backed by a quick change rear end and touting a Buckley yoke and torque tube, this little hauler does exactly that.
In the bed is a eye-scorching polished keg (you read that right) that has been converted into the fuel tank.
The inside of the cab is appropriately bare of soft goods but no less thoughtful. We particularly enjoyed the way-back 8-track player with an original copy of Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits sitting beneath the glovebox.
Upfront and outside, the front sets on a Mustang II front clip, as much everything else is custom fabricated. What else would you expect from a fab shop? C’mon!
Randy Corson’s ’49 Ford Woody and ’38 Century Thunderbolt
We don’t care the make or model, we love us all woody wagons. There’s just something endearing about them. Yeah, we know; you’ll likely die in a car crash, there’s all the problems with fitment, alignment and wood rot, but we just don’t care.
It’s not often you run across a classic shaft-drive cruiser in a car show. The Thunderbolt, christened “Zeus,” is made from mahogany, and was famed for their comfort and speed, having once been clocked at a whopping 50mph on Bartlett Lake, Arizona.
Built in Manistee, Michigan, the black-and-burgundy racer looked perfect behind the ’49 Ford two-door wagon.
Rolling on Torque Thrust Americans and powered by a flathead Ford, the Vicky wagon has been smoothed and reshaped only slightly…well, maybe a bit more than just “slightly.” Nonetheless, the pair of wild wooden rides drew a crowd, so much so that photographing the duo was a challenge in of itself.
Brent Haines” ’46 Ford Pickup
Now, we’re not entirely sure whether Brent’s ’46 falls into that familiar “not-quite-a-rat” rod, particularly given how much of the ’46 is either gleaned from other makes and models or custom fabricated by Brent’s own two-hands. Although it started life as a Ford pickup, it touts a ’40 Cadillac hood and grille, and the firewall, most of the suspension and exhaust system is all custom-made.
Inside, the interior gets all sorts of custom flair with Frank Wallac bomber seats, while an authentic B-17 Bomber air tank was converted to fuel and mated in the truck bed, the wood planks were saved from his grandfather’s barn in Virginia.
Custom pinstripping adorns the chopped roof, a fantastically tongue-in-cheek “redneck” Dixie flag headline hangs above the driver, and the aforementioned bomber seats are wrapped in authentic hand-woven Mexican blankets and backed with salvaged street signs, so yeah, maybe this satin black pickup could be called a “rat” after all.
Vince Vaccaro’s ’65 Ford Mustang Shelby Prototype
You might be like us and think, “Meh. It’s just another first-gen Mustang. Big deal.” And just like us, you’d be dead wrong. It was only when we watched Vince Vaccaro take this insanely clean ’65 ‘Stang around the autocross course did we realize that this pony was a horse of a different color (see what we did there?). The once plain Jane Mustang is only one of four 289, 4-speed notchbacks that were sent off to Carrol Shelby in 1965 for a special racer program.
The four Shelby-fied Mustangs received zero outward markings except for the redline bias plys and GT-style wheels. Inside, Shelby American attached an additional gauge pod to help the driver keep better tabs on the engine’s vitals.
Today, the ’65 has only 30,000 original miles, and retains its original interior, carpet, and glass. In 1967, the small block ate a valve, so Andy Granatelli rebuilt the engine himself, matching Shelby’s specs. Ed Iskenderian even ground a custom-spec’ed cam to match Shelby’s suggestion. Less than 20 years later, the Mustang was repainted by JR Conroy, which looks as nice as it did when applied in 1982.
Mike Ozee’s ’52 Chevrolet Pickup
Unlike Brent Haines’ ’46 Ford pickup, we can rightfully claim this nearly patina’ed-to-death pickup as a rat rod. In fact, it’s almost exactly opposite of Haines’ Ford because where he poured time and effort into bodywork and paint – although satin – and left the interior pretty plain and stripped, Mike’s Chevy appears that the exterior was completely left alone and all the time and effort was put into the interior.
In fact, the inside of Mike’s ’52 is exactly the opposite of its exterior. Stocked with an Alpine sound system, air conditioning, late model gauges, and even power windows, this ratty truck also resides on a Chevy S10 chassis and sports some serious rolling stock in the form of huge 18-inch rollers up front and 19s in back. Beneath that rusty hood rests a 350/350 small block and automatic transmission combination.
While Mike might claim that the truck is “just like how Mother Nature left it,” that isn’t quite true. This old rig has a bit of a western theme with an old boot spur as a hood ornament, and a whole lot of old horseshoes spaced all over the truck, including composing the back bumper! Very distressed door art advertises “Hometown Tire Custom Wheels” on one side and Hot Rod Shop & Motorcycle Sales” on the other, but looks like they could be over 40 years old.
James and Sandy Eudy’s ’62 409 Bubbletop Chevrolet Bel Air
You might’ve noticed that the typical Rod Authority Top Ten lists usually don’t include a whole lot of these big, big dollar custom street rods. Why, you ask? Well, because we know that these kinds of cars are catnip for other magazines, and frankly, we really enjoy showcasing really unique, and usually off-the-wall builds. We sorta threw all of that out of the window when we saw James and Sandy Eudy’s ’62 Bel Air…’cause man, it’s gorgeous.
We also had a really hard time photographing it. Not because we had bad equipment or the lighting was bad or blah, blah, blah, but because this car’s skin is so flawless and the paint is so reflective that we were actually getting perfect mirror images of all the people walking around and gawking at this amazing piece of rolling artwork.
Ever tried to photograph a hall of mirrors without getting any reflections? Yeah, it was sort of like that.
There is nothing – and we mean nothing – that hasn’t been touched, massaged, and perfected on this Chevrolet. Built by Rods and Restos, and although you can hardly see it under all the cool shrouding, the W-headed 409 has been built out to a 474 cubic inch street thumper, backed by a Tremec TKO-600. The whole interior is wrapped in leather, the seats, door panels, even the headliner. Yup, all leather thanks to Paul Atkins Interiors.
Scott Woodward’s ’67 Volkswagen Dormobile
Bananas. That’s all we can say about Scoot Woodward’s Dormobile. Absolutely bananas. The fact that this VW Bus didn’t walk away with every award Goodguys had to give this weekend makes us wonder what those guys are smoking. This particular ‘Veedub bus sported the unique pop-top camper roof and amenities inside, but it wasn’t its rarity that drew us in.
Despite how smooth it’s white-over-burgundy paint scheme, or even the 914 Porsche 2.1L flat-four, air-cooled mill beneath the rear cowl, it was what laid inside of this camper bus that wowed us, and a couple thousand other people who stopped to stare at its wonder.
When you opened any of the doors or peered through its many windows, the observer would find the ultimate Tahitian surf lounge inside.
If there were a couple animatronic parrots, we would’ve mistaken the inside of this bus as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
The rear benches fold down to reveal a tiki head design, while every inch of this Bus is coated in hand-crafted wood, and we’re not talking about taking a trip to Home Depot to pick up some lumber, we’re talking about hand-shaped drift wood turned into furniture. The shelving, counters, and even the under dash shelf was all hand-made, as well as…well, all the other woodwork.
No matter how cool a 21-window Safari Bus can be, this Dormobile is definitely the ultimate surf wagon, and that very best of the custom cars and classics that were at this year’s Goodguys Spring Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona.