The Suede Palace is probably our favorite hall at GNRS. It not only has cool cars, but a gaggle of neat vendors as well. From hot rod haberdasheries, to tikis, t-shirts and treasures, we always block off a good chunk of time to scout out the automotive goodies in this famous Fairplex hall.
Rod Authority recently featured Roger Miret’s killer ’54 Chevy “Morphine,” but there was another beauty right next to it, bewitching us with its equally beguiling splendor and charm.
Mike Collman’s ’60s-influenced 1931 Model A Coupe was a dazzler. At first we thought it was related to “Morphine” because even though they were different eras, they both were decked out to-the-nines in mid-century, hot rod threads.
Helped by his friend/builder Tony Wilson, Collman took this old rod to the next level. The body was chopped three inches, channeled four inches, kitted out with suicide doors, and dipped in icy blue paint with pinstriping by Mitch Kim.
The 322ci Buick Nailhead V-8 features six Stromberg 97s with frog’s mouth scoops, sharing the spotlight with ribbed, Offenhauser valve covers. Firestone piecrust whitewalls mounted on Radir wheels in the rear, and skinny whites walls mounted on 15-inch Rocket Racing drag-style wheels up front fit this rod perfectly.
Inside, a Schroeder sprint car steering wheel, ’51 Ford gauges, mirrored dash, and diamond-tuck upholstery were period-perfect and expertly executed.
Our favorite aspect of the build is the oh-so-right stance. We’re suckers for rods with a roller skate rake and this ’31, with the rear slicks matching the height of the decklid, had a stance that sent us over the moon.
We also dug the drawer-pull grill treatment, the hole-y visor, the pleated top and the “Angel hair” cloud the car was sitting on.
Last but not least, Collman, hailing from Portland, Oregon, not only took the Suede Palace’s “Best Hot Rod” and “Family Tradition” awards for 2019 back to the Northwest, but also, the Painless Wiring Top 100 plaque as well.
We’d love to see this rod slinking through the Pearl District up in Portlandia, and watch the hipsters reaction when something genuinely, authentically cool cruises by.
We’ll get the popcorn.