The 2013 summer issue features two impressive 1934 Ford coupes, one on each cover. Jack Stirnemann of St. Louis, Missouri, owns the period-perfect black ’34 three-window coupe that is on the subscriber cover and on the newsstand cover is the Randy Bianchi-built orange ’34 five-window coupe owned by Rob Montalbine of New Jersey. Although both are nostalgic hot rods powered by vintage V8 engines, they couldn’t be more different. Stirnemann’s is equipped with a 59AB flathead and Montalbine’s with a supercharged Cadillac 331 cid.
Some of the other stories in this issue include the “pre-gidget” world of rods and customs on the beaches of Southern California, the story behind the infamous A/A Fuel Altered from the Burkholder Brothers, a mild-custom ’54 Cadillac Coupe de Ville from California, a scratch-built custom from James Hetfield by Rick Dore, and Al Drake’s retrospective look back at the 1952 Portland Speedorama.
The Stirnemann Way
Jack Stirnemann’s ’34 Ford three-window features time-honored hot rodding techniques and an elegant design aesthetic. Built with real performance standards in mind, the full fendered three-window has a subtle resto-rod feel. The Stirnemann brothers Jack and Harry have a shop based out of St. Louis where they lend their talents and distinctive style to cars such as the period-perfect restoration of the Walker Morrison Deuce, (TRJ #40). Jack brought the coupe all the way from St. Louis, Missouri, to the San Francisco Bay Area to be photographed for a full feature in the upcoming issue.
We travelled to the East Coast to photograph Rob Montalbine’s Bianchi-styled ’34 coupe with the picturesque New York City skyline and George Washington Bridge as a backdrop. This issue delves into the story of how Rob Montalbine of River Vale, New Jersey, eagerly snatched up the ’34 when it up for sale on eBay. You won’t want to miss reading about Rob’s hot rod with a pedigree that dates back to the 1950s. Rob’s chopped and channeled five-window with Cadillac power is featured on the newsstand cover of TRJ #60.
Surf Rods Redux
In the feature article, “Surf Rods Redux,” Pat Ganahl highlights well-known surfing pioneers from So-Cal who had a passion for both the surf and hot rod turf. Dale Velzy, Hap Jacobs, and Bev Morgan share some historic images from their scrapbooks of their early days hanging out around Hermosa Beach, California. Previously, we published an article in TRJ #9 titled “Surf Rods” where we explored the teen craze of California surf culture of the early-’60s. In many ways, the article in TRJ #60 acts as a prequel to that story. Here, we recount the lifestyle and trend of customizing cars to accommodate a surfer’s lifestyle from a few of the legends who lived through it. We explore when both hot rodding and surfing experienced their first big booms along with huge population growth in Southern California during the Post-War era. It was particularly exciting to have Hap Jacobs share his photos from when he bought the brand new Chevy, and before it was customized.
Fade to Black
James Hetfield’s latest custom is a scratch-built concept car that originally began as a 1948 Jaguar. Interestingly enough, early on in the fabrication process Hetfield completely changed direction, and the final product is a completely custom-built car. With no trace of the ’48 Jag, the coachbuilt custom is now a far cry from your typical concept car in terms of both style and build. We had the opportunity to shoot it while still in baremetal. To complete the look of the radical custom with an almost entirely scratch-built chassis, James put his trust in good friend Rick Dore, metal fabricators Marcel and Luc De Ley, and San Bernardino-based shop No Limit Engineering among many others. As the founding member of the heavy metal band Metallica, we were eager to get James Hetfield’s “Black Pearl” into the studio for a full-feature. You can read more about the evolution of the coachbuilt custom in the upcoming issue.
We were delighted when Harry Burkholder and Robert Reel agreed to bring their A/A Fuel Altered to the studio for a full shoot. The car, originally campaigned by Harry and his brother Pete in the late ’60s, has been restored to its later Fiat bodied version with a fresh blown 392 Hemi for cackling at events like the California Hot Rod Reunion. We have the full history of Harry, Pete and the long life of the Fuel Altered along with a bunch of great vintage photography from its days on the strip.