Parts Is Parts

In every issue of The Rodder’s Journal, we take a closer look at the components and processes that bring hot rods and custom cars to life. Through the years we’ve written about everything from quickchanges to chrome plating, as well as the people that make it all happen.

Click on the image below for a full version of the “Parts Is Parts” article and further information about the companies which provided the products and services featured.

TRJ #69: Let It Ride: Marrying Stance and Performance with Art Morrison Enterprises. Art Morrison has spent decades developing chassis and components that allow rodders to achieve killer performance and looks that match. Offerings range from bolt-on chassis to virtual U-fab kits, and their “Builders Platform” is particularly popular with professionals and advanced hobbyists who want a Morrison foundation with flexibility to position things like engine and body mounts wherever they want. Such a chassis lies under Bobby Alloway’s ’51 Chevy, and above is a baremetal example, custom-made for a mid-’50s Ford. Extensive experience and state-of-the-art equipment allows AME to build chassis for anything on four wheels.

TRJ #69: Let It Ride: Marrying Stance and Performance with Art Morrison Enterprises


TRJ #68: Evolution of Power: Building a Potent Street Performer a Little at a Time. The basic foundation of our powerplant has remained the same since it was first assembled in the late-’90s, when the car was owned by Rich DeDarian. The bottom end of the 406-inch smallblock (a 400-inch block bored .030-over) is loaded with a 4340 forged steel crankshaft pushing Manley 5.7-inch H-beam rods and JE forged pistons. A Comp Cams hydraulic-roller valvetrain in an older set of aluminum heads was actuated by a 280 hydraulic-roller Magnum camshaft. With the exception of the heads, all these components are still in the engine today, and power is transmitted rearward via a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual transmission.


TRJ #68: Evolution of Power: Building a Potent Street Performer a Little at a Time


TRJ #66: Beyond Nuts and Bolts: ARP and the Art of the Fastener ARP (Automotive Racing Products) makes high strength fasteners for a wide range of applications, from hot rod and muscle car drivelines and chassis to high performance racing engines. They handle all manufacturing in house in their Southern California facilities. Fasteners are made from a variety of materials (some of which are proprietary to ARP), from stainless steel and chrome moly to titanium. The visual impact these nuts and bolts have on hot rods is impressive.


TRJ #66: Beyond Nuts and Bolts: ARP and the Art of the Fastener


TRJ #65: Rubber Revival: Coker's Dirt Trackers and Bias-Look Radials Have You Period Correct From the 40s Through the 70s. Coker Tire’s new 11.00-16 R154 Firestone Dirt Trackers look right at home on the TRJ Roadster–and will on many hot rods aiming for that late-’60s/’70s competition vibe. Ours are mounted on polished 16x10 ET fivespokes, paired with Coker’s reproduction 145-15 Michelin radials mounted on 15x4 ETs. We only put about 100 miles on the Firestones before going to press, but we are impressed with their performance.


TRJ #65: Rubber Revival: Coker’s Dirt Trackers and Bias-Look Radials Have You Period Correct From the 40s Through the 70s


TRJ #63: Top of the Line: Sid Chavers' Removable Roadster Tops Fabricator Mike Dutra worked with Sid and George on a prototype. It had a steel tubing frame with a durable skin that snapped in place. They wanted a profile that was classic and timeless—something that would look good on traditional and contemporary hot rods alike. Sid already had a pretty good idea of the look he was going for, but admits that the McGee/Scritchfield roadster, now owned by Bruce Meyer, had some influence. “Whoever made the lines of that top got it right,” he says. After a year of tweaking and finessing, they arrived at a prototype they were happy with. Leonard Lopez, owner of Dominator Street Rods, created a fixture for building the frames on a production basis, and Sid and George officially launched BopTop in May of 2000.


TRJ #63: Top of the Line: Sid Chavers’ Removable Roadster Tops


TRJ #62: Waterborne Identity: PPG and the Evolution of Automotive Finishes Automotive finishes have been evolving for as long as there have been automobiles. Although changes in paint technology don’t happen fast, when they do it’s usually in a big way. Like the jump from lacquer to urethane, or from single-stage paints to two-stage, the shift to more environmentally friendly waterborne materials has been a sea of change for manufacturers, professional refinishers, and hobbyists alike. Though waterborne finishes have been around for a few years, we’ve noticed more and more painters using them on rods and customs. Even the 2013 Riddler winner wears waterborne paint. So we wanted to take a closer look at the place they have in hot rodding today, and to explore the history of the industry that led to this latest technology


TRJ #62: Waterborne Identity: PPG and the Evolution of Automotive Finishes


TRJ #61: Period Perfect: Modern Offerings for '50s and '60s-Era Rods and Customs Cragar and Wheel Vintiques have been producing custom wheels for decades. Shown here are two definitive styles from the ’50s and ’60s: chrome steelies and Supremes. The left two wheels are Cragar’s direct drill (single bolt pattern) Supreme and dual bolt pattern Smoothie steel wheel. The two on the right are Wheel Vintiques’ Uni-Lug Supreme and direct drill OE Chevy/Ford Chrome steel wheel. Not shown are Cragar’s direct drill steel wheel, the Vegas, or Wheel Vintiques’ dual bolt pattern Full Chrome Smoothie.


TRJ #61: Period Perfect: Modern Offerings for ’50s and ’60s-Era Rods and Customs


You never know what you’ll find when you step into the warehouse at So-Cal Sacramento and SF Flatheads. Owner Joe Fazio’s flathead-powered ’28 Model A Phaeton sits in front of a row of fully assembled French flatheads awaiting the SF Flathead treatment (cylinders bored, governor bosses removed, and prepped for final reassembly). On the rack above, sandwiched between the headlights and horns and the T Touring body are old Sunnen boring bars and honing equipment.


TRJ #60: Speed Shop: So-Cal Sacramento & SF Flatheads Ultimate Hot Rod Emporium


The components of Johnson’s Kinmont Safety Stop disc brakes were developed using 3D scans and CAD drawings of an original Kinmont brake (seen here at far right). The result is a handsome vintage look for modern brakes, and the subtle differences in backing plate detail and overall depth are a small concession for superior performance. The visible aluminum components are available as cast (shown assembled at left) or polished (shown disassembled, in the middle).


TRJ #59: Johnson’s Kinmonts: A New Take on Vintage Styling for Modern Brakers


Rocket Racings and E-T Wheels: Where Nostalgia is King


TRJ #58: Rocket Racings and E-T Wheels: Where Nostalgia is King


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TRJ #57: Self-Made Speed: The History of Cragar and Bell Auto Parts


There are quite a few variations of the PowerGEN for the flathead Ford (above left). They come in short and standard lengths and in a variety of finishes, the most popular being fully polished and black paint. They also come in versions for both the early and late flathead engines. Powermaster has recently introduced a modern-style gear reduction starter (above right) for the flathead Ford V8 that comes in a housing that has the vintage flathead look.


TRJ #54: Powermaster: Masters of Disguise


We first showed you Dynamat’s Dynaliner Coupe back in TRJ #32 as part of our faux feature on this faux racer. But here it has relevance as an illustration of how various Dynamat insulation products are used in most hot-rod applications. Dynamat founder, Scott Whitaker, suggests that Dynamat Xtreme be applied to the inside of all interior panels and that it then be covered with a layer of Dynaliner. On the cut-away coupe the Xtreme is identified by its shiny aluminum backing while the Dynaliner has a black foam surface. The Xtreme is primarily an acoustic insulator while the Dynaliner blocks both noise and heat.


TRJ #53: Dynamat: A Sound Foundation


Vintage Air has been in the old car air conditioning business for nearly four decades. They take a systems and modular approach that helps rodder’s address not only cooling the passenger compartment, but take into consideration packaging and even engine cooling concerns as well. At left is an array of offerings from Vintage Air including the components of a smallblock Chevy in a ’32 Ford type application.


TRJ #52: Vintage Air


Chrome plating has been popular with hot rodders as long as anyone can remember. This selection of parts was plated by Jon Wright’s CustomChrome in Grafton, Ohio. The early Ford backing plate and the pulleys are off of Geoff Miles ’29 roadster and are survivors of our 5000 mile Flat Tow Tour that included a thorough drenching in a downpour at the Bonneville salt flats.


TRJ #50: Chrome Plating