Issue #68

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Rodder’s Journal #68 covers every aspect of the hot rodding spectrum from ’50s customs to nitro-burning front-engined dragsters. Subscribers are treated to a head-on shot of Keith Hill’s truck-nosed ’33 Ford, while the newsstand cover features Jack Chisenhall’s “Texas Longhorn II” cackling in front of his son John’s mild custom ’59 El Camino push truck. Hill’s Hemi-powered coupe was chopped, channeled and given a competition look by the Pinkee’s Rod Shop crew. The Longhorn was campaigned in the mid-’60s AA/FD ranks and was recently restored by Chisenhall and original builders Woody Gilmore and Doug Kruse.

In this issue we also have a tire-frying Deuce three-window, an East Coast Model A sedan, a baremetal Cord, an excerpt from the late Tex Smith’s autobiography and much more.

Super Chief

Clyde Wooten of Portland, Oregon, originally planned for his ’58 Pontiac to be a low maintenance “20-footer.” After collaborating with his fellow car club members, the project gained momentum and was rebuilt into a show-stopping mild custom complete with a nose-down stance, Watson-style paint and Pontiac power. John Jackson of Not Stock Photography shot the feature on location in Oregon.

The Federale Coupe

Inspired by the Cop Shop Coupe, “Jake” Jacobs’ ’34 and the Super Bell Coupe, Keith Hill of Bixby, Oklahoma, worked with Pinkee’s Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado, to build a streetable ’33 Ford with an aggressive look. The end result was the “Federale Coupe,” which took home the 2015 Goodguys Hot Rod of the Year award. We shot the chopped and channeled ’33 on location by San Francisco’s Bay Bridge as well as in our studio.

Madras Speed Runs: 1951-1955

In “Madras Speed Runs: 1951-1955,” longtime Oregon hot rodder Albert Drake looks back on some of the earliest organized racing action in the Pacific Northwest. This historical article includes Drake’s firsthand account of the mile (and later 3/4-mile) time trials held in Madras, Oregon, as well as his scrapbook images from those four years of competition.

The Texas Longhorn

Vintage Air owner Jack Chisenhall of San Antonio, Texas, has been a fan of Dan Rightsell and Gordon Leland’s Texas Longhorn II Top Fuel dragster since the ’60s. During his younger years, Jack hung around San Antonio Speed Shop (which was run by Rightsell) and he even got to lend a hand on the Longhorn during that era. When Jack had the opportunity to restore the old Fueler, he contacted original builders Woody Gilmore and Doug Kruse to help bring the car back to its mid-’60s form. The article includes photos of the restored slingshot cackling on location and some rare historic photos.

Deuce Development

Brian Williams is a veteran sprint car driver and drag bike racer who is hooked on going fast. After buying a finished all-steel Deuce three-window from Roy Fjastad Jr., he looked to hot rod builder Ryan Reed to transform the coupe into something more radical. Ryan revamped the car with a slammed stance, hot 427cid smallblock Chevy and a very special set of mag wheels. The finished coupe combines a brutal amount of horsepower and ’60s aesthetics in a 21st century package.

Inside Hot Rodding

Inside Hot Rodding: The Tex Smith Autobiography tells the colorful story of both the late LeRoi “Tex” Smith and the growth of our hobby. Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Tex was an NHRA Safety Safari member, Hot Rod Magazine staffer and AMBR winner—all of which are discussed by Tex in his no-holds-barred fashion within the book. In our excerpt, we look at Tex’s involvement with the NHRA, Hot Rod Magazine, Tom Medley, Tom McMullen and a wealth of other people, organizations and cars that shaped hot rodding into what it is today.


Derrick Pesko’s ’28 Model A combines a range of traditional hot rod cues to create a distinctive ’50s-inspired look. Starting with a rough sedan that he bought sight unseen, Derrick and the Allstar Hotrods crew in Berlin, Connecticut, channeled the car over a Deuce chassis, chopped it subtly and dropped in a dual-carbed 283 Chevy. Photos were shot by John Jackson of Not Stock Photography on location in Connecticut.

Coffin-Nose Comeback

At first glimpse, a ’37 Cord may seem out of place in the pages of TRJ. But Chuck Thornton of San Marino, California, saw it as the perfect platform to create his ideal hot rod. He commissioned Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco, California, to rebuild the car to look stock from the outside with modern underpinnings, including an LS1 engine, disc brakes and fully independent suspension. We shot the car in our studio in baremetal as well as in action on the streets of South San Francisco.

Evolution of Power

In the latest installment of “Parts Is Parts,” we share a few tricks on how to upgrade the look and performance of a smallbock Chevy in an early Ford hot rod. From intake and exhaust to fuel and spark, we examine a number of engine components currently on the market. To view this article, as well as the list of parts used, click here

Click here to buy Issue #68!