May is Open House season for hot rod shops, and one that we always look forward to is at Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco. Brizio’s is celebrating their 37th year in business. On Saturday, May 10th, for the 29th time, they held their annual party for their friends and customers to thank them for their support.
The back lot of Brizio Street Rods was reserved for roadsters only.
By 9AM the back parking lot was packed with early Ford roadsters, and the lots surrounding Brizio’s and their neighbors, including Sanderson Headers, were overflowing with all manner of rods and customs. Friends from far and wide turned out for the day, including Ed Pink and “Hand Grenade” Harry Hibler who flew in from Southern California, and Eric Vaughn who drove up from Pasadena in his Deuce highboy roadster.
You may remember Jim Farley’s Detroit, Michigan-based ’32 Ford roadster (left) from the cover of TRJ #59. Also shown are Tim Ryan’s full-fendered Deuce from San Francisco and Ken Stewart’s flamed ’32 highboy from San Bruno.
It was a great time catching up with old friends and checking out the latest projects inside Brizio’s shop, and we thought you’d enjoy checking out some of the highlights from the day.
Ted Stevens drove up from Carmel in his gorgeous stock-bodied inline-six-powered ’41 Chevy convertible.
Former NFL star Robert Gallery crossed the San Francisco Bay from his home in Dublin, California, driving his 1949 Chevrolet Suburban.
Beppy Bistone of Concord, California, has been working on his chopped Deuce three-window for years. Although the body is still in baremetal, the undersides of the floor are fully detailed with ‘60’s-style panel painting by Darryl Hollenbeck.
Brian Basquez’s Sacramento-based Deuce highboy has a nice competition look. The five-spoke rear wheels as well as the Halibrand-style front wheels have been painted black to add to the sinister appearance.
We didn’t catch the owner’s name, but we really liked this channeled roadster. It is based on a ’30-’31 Model A roadster pickup and is fitted with a Deuce shell and a DuVall-style windshield. What really piqued our interest, however, was the 302-inch GMC inline-six fitted with Wayne valve cover and side covers, a Vertex mag, five Strombergs on a Howard manifold and custom made headers.
Al Vonderworth of Tiburon has been attending Brizio functions for years. Most of the time it is at the wheel of his blown Hemi-powered roadster. This year he showed up in his newly completed 1934 Ford coupe. Al owned the three-window back in the 1960s, sold it and then bought it back before its most recent rebuild.
Fred Spencer’s stock-bodied Deuce three-window uses stock accoutrements, flawless black paint, orange steelies and a nicely raked stance to complement the inherently good design of the 1932 Ford.
Cars under construction included this impressive line-up. The Deuce five-window belongs to Major Lin of United Pacific in Long Beach. And yes, that is one of their new steel ’32 Ford five-window bodies. The reproduction body sits on a Walden Speed Shop chassis and the Brizio crew plans to have the car finished for the SEMA Show. Also seen are John Mumford’s Cadillac-powered chopped Deuce three-window and Scott Gillen’s Ardun-equipped chopped ’33 three-window.
Nigel Carroll, Ed Pink and Harry Hibler pose proudly with Nigel’s Deuce highboy. For decades Nigel has worked for Eric Clapton, and his chassis was originally under Clapton’s blue full-fendered roadster (TRJ #23). Nigel has long been a car guy and drove everything from a ’56 Caddy convert to a ’65 Corvette back in England. His first car in America was a ’56 Buick Century and he now anxiously awaits getting his Deuce highboy on the road. A Brookville Roadster body has been fitted to the chassis and Jack Hagemann Jr. built the hood. Nigel and Ed are neighbors and Ed and Harry have been friends for more than a half century. Harry has some great stories, as you would expect from a guy nicknamed “Hand Grenade Harry” and we hope to bring some of them to the pages of TRJ in the not too distant future. We also hope to bring you a look inside Ed’s new shop, Ed Pink’s Garage.
We mentioned that Nigel’s chassis came from Eric Clapton’s roadster. This is the same roadster that we featured in TRJ #23. After more than a decade of use in both the United States and France Eric thought it was time for a color change and a freshening up. It is now a very dark blue and will get a Sid Chavers maroon leather interior.
The Deuce roadster on the frame table is another project belonging to Scott Gillen and the ’34 pickup belongs to Eric Clapton. The roadster will be a highboy and will be finished to the absolute highest standard and may spend some time on the show circuit. It will be powered by a supercharged Buick nailhead. The pickup on the other hand will get traditional running gear and smallblock Chevy power, but will be finished in a patina that will reflect the truck’s decades of use as a commercial vehicle.
Another view of the under construction line-up shows Scott Gillen’s ’33 in the foreground. The Ardun is equipped with a S.Co.T. blower, the top has been chopped by leaning the A-pillars and the roof has been filled.
Scott’s Deuce roadster project looks bitchin’ with the original magnesium knock-off Halibrand wheels. The body is original and the frame has been c’d and boxing plates drilled.
The Buick nailhead uses a 4-71 GMC blower and a very rare Cragar manifold and v-belt drive set-up.
The Model A crossmember laying on the frame table suggests that the roadster will get a quickchange and a Model A rear spring. The full-fendered five-window belongs to Dave and Peggy Farmer who oddly enough are actually farmers in El Nino, California. It uses a United Pacific repro body and has been fitted a 509-inch iteration of Chevy’s famous 409 engine. Bob Lawrence sent his scalloped orange roadster out from his Port Orange, Florida, home for an update. Brizio built this big block-powered highboy more than 15 years ago. Not one to be caught without a roadster, Bob talked Roy into lending him his purple full-fendered Deuce while the highboy was apart.
The ’32 Lincoln Victoria is an ultra rare piece that belongs to Los Gatos resident, Larry Carter. It’s going to get the full resto-rod treatment. Dick DeLuna owns the smallblock V8 powered ’55 Corvette.
One of the more interesting projects presently at Brizio’s is Chuck Thornton’s 1937 Cord sedan. The Cord was America’s first production front wheel drive automobile and Chuck wanted to retain this configuration, but with a thoroughly updated drivetrain. A Chevy LS1 engine hooks to a Porsche Carrera transaxle, which was originally installed in a rear-engine 911.
There have been a few big American classic cars that have gotten the full hot rod treatment at Brizio’s lately. John Scull’s San Francisco-based 1933 Lincoln Continental is stately and elegant.
Resto rod styling and earth-toned paint schemes also seem to be popular at Brizio’s lately. The style seems to work particularly well on Jim Lindsay’s Santa Barbara, California-based 1932 Ford panel truck.
Greg Weld commissioned this dark blue ’33 Ford cabriolet. Greg is from Seattle, Washington. The cool Indy-style wheels were custom made by E-T Wheels in 16 and 18 inch diameters.
Fred and Scott Hawley from nearby Burlingame, California, own this pair of Deuce highboy sedans. The Tudor is an old Rod & Custom cover car that Brizio built as a project in conjunction with B&M years ago. It has real hot rod flavor and is fitted with a B&M-blown big block Chevy. The Hawleys had Brizio build the Fourdoor as a long-distance driver with smallblock Chevy power, air conditioning and cruise control.