The subscriber cover of The Rodder’s Journal issue #55 features Terry O’Herren’s menacing Gasser-style 1931 Ford Model A Victoria. And the newsstand cover features Gary Kessler’s re-creation of his era-defining Deuce highboy roadster.
Terry found inspiration in Larry Teter’s well-known C/Gas Deuce Vicky from the early ’60s, but it took 40 years of fine-tuning his own vision to arrive at the gorgeous lacquer-coated street fighter you see here. Pat Ganahl explores Terry’s journey through the interesting choices he made, like the use of the earlier ’31 body style and the carbureted 348-inch W-motor instead of an injected smallblock. Jimmy White and his crew at Circle City Hot Rods in Orange, California, brought Terry’s 40-year obsession into reality with their extraordinary level of detail and ingenuity, all the while maintaining the fairly strict pre-1962 build era. The result is a hard-charging hot rod that wouldn’t look a bit out of place on the streets or strips of Southern California in the very early ’60s.
The Re-Created Roadster
Gary’s original roadster first appeared on the hot rodding scene at the Second Annual Street Rod Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee, back in 1971. Two years later he sold the ’32 to another Missouri resident, Don Ward, and almost immediately began collecting parts for another roadster. Nearly 40 years later, that replacement is finished. There are many similarities between the two cars, beginning most notably with the eye-searing yellow paint, the real magnesium American Torq-Thrusts, and that signature stance (due in large part to the monstrous Goodyear slicks). Like the O’Herren Vicky, we had the opportunity to shoot Gary’s new Deuce in The Rodder’s Journal studio for issue #55.
Pat Ganahl’s “Angel Hairsville” feature delves into the world of indoor car shows in 1960 and 1961. Years ago Pat discovered a collection of photos from 22 different car shows featuring the era’s most over-the-top show cars situated among equally over-the-top displays. We’ve featured some of the best of the bunch, with images of palm trees, tiki torches, tin foil, and of course, angel hair surrounding panel-painted Corvettes and Deuce roadsters with chrome-plated everything. The events took place in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Tacoma, Washington and many points in between (though you won’t find coverage from Southern California and the Southwest, where hot rodders escaped the snowy winters that drove others from colder regions indoors to show off their creations). It was a brief period of excess that proved to be the swan song for homebuilt hot rod and custom show cars at the dawn of the muscle car and Gasser era.
The feature on Jerry Aggus’ ’55 Chevy Nomad surf wagon chronicles another re-creation of sorts. Jerry graduated high school in Carson, California, driving a similarly styled ’55 Nomad known as the “Pink Panther.” After selling that car in 1969, he followed life’s twists and turns until 1999 when he found himself back in California with another Nomad in the works. After over a decade of work, Jerry completed a perfect mid-’60s time capsule, from the slammed stance and the 14-inch wire wheels right down to the button tuft-upholstered bucket seats. The feature was appropriately shot on location by the sand and water in Long Beach Harbor. The low light photo session really set off the Nomad’s mind-blowing paint. Jack Fields of Starlite Rod & Custom was responsible for the layers of silver Metalflake and candy magenta sprayed in webbed and lace panels as far as the eye can see.
The Art of Being Joe Henning
Senior Contributor Spence Murray penned the profile on little books-era rodding and customizing artist, Joe Henning. Joe teamed up with journalist OCee Ritch in the early ’50s, contributing to a number of magazines including an appearance in Hop Up in 1953. But it was their rendering of “The Roadster,” a Model T-bodied hot rod they claimed could be built for a dollar a pound, that put them on the map when it appeared in the May, 1955 issue of Rod & Custom. Throughout the rest of the decade they continued to push the boundaries of automotive design (and in some cases, auto industry patience) with their interesting, sometimes space age, often-outlandish re-styling ideas. In addition to Joe’s interesting personal background, the article features a number of original Henning sketches, ranging from 1920s and 1930s Indy cars to bat-winged, bubble-topped spacecraft.
Keeping it Simple
We traveled to Texas to shoot our feature on Eddie Baumann’s beautifully crafted 1929 Model A Roadster. The article is a follow-up to our piece on Eddie’s days as a Top Fuel dragster owner and pilot in the ’60s and his speed-related forays since then (TRJ #54). Since leaving the drag racing world, Eddie spent several years in his well-equipped home shop handcrafting or modifying nearly every component of his Brookville-bodied highboy. The impeccably detailed Model A is powered by a fuel injected 401-inch Buick nailhead. It has been featured in the Hot Rod Industry Alliance booth at SEMA and was chosen as a contender for the AMBR earlier this year. The photos were taken in Austin, while we were in town earlier this spring for the Lone Star Round-Up, and near Eddie’s home in his native San Antonio.
This 1951 Mercury, owned by Danbury, Connecticut’s, Rick Bennett, was actually started over 30 years ago by Bob Mariani, another Connecticut resident. Bob and Rick became friends a decade earlier, and Rick watched as Bob spent years building his version of the quintessential traditionally-styled Merc. Three years ago Rick bought the in-progress custom from Bob and finished the job, making some minor but significant changes that successfully incorporated Bob’s vision into Rick’s own aesthetic. The result is this low-slung, sinister custom Mercury that writer Pat Ganahl puts up there with the best of the best chopped Mercs. Rick drove the car from Danbury down to Daytona Beach, Florida, for our photo shoot. What began as a low light session turned very low light when a severe storm rolled in off of the Atlantic, resulting in some pretty spectacular images.
She’s Real Fine – My 409!
Roy Brizio Street Rods recently completed this 409-powered Deuce three-window for San Francisco hot rodder, John Mumford. John has had the 425-horsepower ’64 Chevy W-motor for nearly a decade, so when he decided it would find a home in his original steel Deuce coupe, he wanted to continue the mid-’60s theme throughout. From the Fawn Beige paint to the NOS ’58 Corvette wheelcovers to the combination of Impala and Biscayne upholstery materials, his three-window carries all the traits of a mid-’60s GM offering wrapped in a traditional hot rod package. The photography featured is a combination of studio shots and images taken on location in San Francisco, showcasing the subtle, yet striking muted hue of the Coupe.