TRJ Year In Review: A Look Back at 2014

As 2014 heads for the history books, we thought it’d be fun to show you some of the outtakes, extras, and behind-the-scenes snapshots from the last 365 days. Hot rodders and customizers are among the most innovative, creative, and colorful characters going, and we’re fortunate to be able to spend time checking out your machines and even featuring some of them in our pages. Thanks to everyone for supporting The Rodder’s Journal over the last 20 years. We’ve got a lot of exciting things brewing for 2015, but first here’s one last look at 2014. Happy New Year.

Blair’s Speed Shop Anglia, Don Lindfors, Orange, California

For TRJ #65 we shot two significant pieces of drag racing history: Jim Lindsley’s restored Blair’s Speed Shop Anglia at the big end of Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Hot rodder Don Lindfors has owned the Anglia for nearly 20 years and recently finished restoring it to its late-’60s guise.

1955 Chevrolet Nomad, Lee Pratt, Austin, Texas

After completing the utterly mammoth task of resurrecting his old ’55 Chevy Nomad custom (TRJ #63), Lee Pratt’s wagon was seen all over the country, from the Grand National Roadster Show in California to the 3rd Rodder’s Journal Revival in Maryland (and of course the Lonestar Round Up in his home state of Texas). This unpublished shot from the late-’60s shows it behind Ray Fahrner’s shop when it was first painted, sitting in the Midwestern snow flanked by painter Tom Davison’s lowered ’66 Buick Riviera.

Speed Shop Confidential, Pete LaBarbera

We chronicled the coast-to-coast ramblings of hot rodder, race fan, and speed shop counterman Pete LaBarbera in TRJ #64 and 65. In his decades on the road, Pete captured thousands of images on film, including this shot of Mike Snively behind the wheel of Roland Leong’s “Hawaiian.” Snively took the reigns from Don Prudhomme in ’66, winning the Winternationals at Pomona and the U.S. Nationals at Indy, where this shot was taken.

1931 Chevrolet coupe and roadster. Steve Centracchio, Louisiana, Missouri

Missouri hot rodder Steve Centracchio’s pair of ’31 Chevy hot rods are featured in the current issue #65. Both are powered by inline Chevy sixes, and both are about the most period-perfect ’50s hot rods you’ll find. Freelance photographer John Jackson photographed the duo near Steve’s home in Louisiana, Missouri.

1949 Ford F-1 and 1927 Model T Ford roadster,

Senior contributor Greg Sharp recounted the metal working genius of his friend the late Chuck Porter in our story on the Porter shop truck and Ruddy and Weinstein Modified Roadster in TRJ #63. One of the shots that didn’t make it into print but is certainly worth sharing is this photo of the radically restyled ’49 Ford F-1 shop truck next to a nearly bone stock F-1.

The Ardun King: Cotton Werksman

The first of Cotton Werksman’s yellow T-buckets, built in the late-’60s, is seen here on the front yard of his Illinois home. In his retrospective on Cotton’s hot rodding exploits (TRJ #62), Spence Murray mentioned that it took some finagling to arrange the Ardun flathead and all the other components for his photo. Eventually the signature “Cotton” grille shell was moved up front, but we like this view as well.

1941 Willys coupe, Gene Cromer, Anderson, South Carolina

After campaigning his A/Gas ’41 Willys for the better part of a decade, Anderson, South Carolina’s Gene Cromer rolled the car into the back of his shop in the mid-’70s where it sat, disassembled, until Gasser fanatic Quain Stott entered the picture. Quain meticulously restored and rebuilt it to the race-ready form shown here, and it was featured alongside historic shots of the Gasser (as well as Quain’s own Willys) in issue #63.

1936 Ford roadster, Carl Bare, Pennsylvania

Senior contributors Spence Murray and Jay Fitzhugh traveled to Pennsylvania with Spence’s wife Carolyn to have a first-hand look at Spence’s old Rod & Custom project car from the ’70s (TRJ #64). The custom ’36 Ford roadster has been preserved in remarkably original condition by hot rodder Carl Bare. Spence is seen here behind the wheel for the first time in three decades.

1950 Ford coupe “The Ron Dunn Shoebox”, Steve Frisbie, Portland, Orgeon

A lot goes into photographing a car in our studio and in baremetal, and it’s not uncommon for everyone in our office to get involved. Here TRJ customer service rep Stella Zhang helps prepare the Valley Custom-built Ron Dunn Ford for its close-up. Steve Frisbie at Steve’s Auto Restorations in Portland, Oregon, is nearing completion on the car for the 2015 GNRS.

1950 Ford, Andreas Aberg, Munkedal, Sweden

Hot rodding and customizing is alive all over the world, as evidenced by Swedish customizer Andreas Aberg’s stunning tribute to the famous Buster Litton “Panoramic Ford.” Christer Ehrling photographed the radical ’50 Ford near Andreas’ home in Munkedal on Sweden’s west coast for our feature in TRJ #62.

Pendine Sands, United Kingdom

The inaugural Amateur Hot Rod Races at the United Kingdom’s Pendine Sands (TRJ #63) was like a time warp. The pit area was filled with ’50s and earlier hot rods and customs, while cars turned speeds of up 114mph through the traps. Crop out the few late models in the background, and this shot could be straight out of 1953.

1953 Studebaker coupe, “Stupidbaker”, Paul and Betty Gilliam, Birmingham, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama’s Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop constructed this ’53 Studebaker land speed racer for Paul and Betty Gilliam. Their goal is to run over 300mph on the salt at Bonneville. Unfortunately the 2014 Speed Week was called off due to rain, but we were able to sneak the coupe onto the salt flats to photograph it for TRJ #65.

1965 AA/Fuel Altered “Magic Muffler Fiat”, Bill Corbett, Glendale, California

Veteran drag racer Jim Miles’ “Magic Muffler” Fiat is best known for exploding on the starting line at Lions in 1965. He went on to rebuild the car and continued racing it for two more years. While the original is long gone, hot rodder Bill Corbett has created a nut-and-bolt recreation that we featured in issue #62.

Mike Ditty Drag Race Portfolio

Little is known about drag racing fan Mike Ditty other than the fact that he took some incredible photos at the tracks and in the pits of Southern California in the late-’60s and early-’70s. This outtake from our feature in TRJ #62 shows Lyle Fisher and Red Greth’s “Speed-Sport” ’68 Plymouth Barracuda in the pits at Fontana.

1933 Ford Fordor Vicky, John Mumford, Portola Valley, California

Northern California hot rodder John Mumford’s phantom ’33 Ford Fordor Vicky was conceived and realized by an all-star cast that included designer Chip Foose, Brizio Street Rods, and Marcel and Luc De Ley. We photographed it at John’s ranch for issue #64 before he drove it cross-country to the TRJ Revival in Baltimore.

1959 Chevrolet Station Wagon, Cody Walls, Dover, Delaware

At first take, Cody Walls’ ’59 Chevy wagon looks like a nicely restored, mildly customized, slammed-on-the-ground cruiser. But details abound revealing nothing mild about the customizing executed by the young Delaware fabricator. John Jackson shot the bright green grocery getter for TRJ #64.

1940 Mercury, Kevan Sledge, Auburn, California

Kevan Sledge’s custom ’40 Mercury has been an ongoing project for the last decade. Now beautifully finished in rich Dark Organic Green paint, we photographed it against the foggy bay area sky for issue #65. Shown with TRJ publisher Steve Coonan is Vic Jimenez, Kevan’s partner in his shop, Sledge Customs.

1932 Ford coupe, Jon Wright, Grafton, Ohio

Jon Wright has been putting some serious miles on his recently re-built, Hemi-powered Deuce three-window. After driving it from Ohio to California for the 50th L.A. Roadsters Show, he drove to Southern California to be photographed for TRJ #64, then back east for the 3rd TRJ Revival. He’s seen here leaving Pomona with Steve Coonan behind the wheel of his Deuce highboy.

1934 Ford coupe, George Poteet, Memphis, Tennessee

We shot George Poteet’s Dave Lane-built ’34 Ford coupe in our studio and on the road late in 2013. The undercarriage is as well-planned and finely detailed as everything else on the car, and the results of this particular shot can be seen on pages 26-27 of issue #62.

1936 Ford coupe “Pierson Bros coupe”, Jim Bobowski, Point Pleasant, New Jersey

Continuing our tradition of photographing the greatest historic and current cars in baremetal, we captured the Pierson Brothers’ chopped ’36 Ford coupe in the raw earlier this year (TRJ #63). Present owner Jim Bobowski, tapped Bill Ganahl’s South City Rod & Custom to complete the restoration in time for the 2015 GNRS. He also located Bob Pierson’s step son, Bruce Boyd, and they dropped by the studio for a look at the progress.

Tom Prufer Profile

Consummate hot rodder Tom Prufer is known for his countless hot rod coupes, roadsters, and dragsters. This B/Gas Deuce five-window is one of his earlier efforts. Pat Ganahl recounted his good friend’s life rodding and racing in a two-part article in TRJ #63 and #64.

2014 Rodder’s Journal Revival

Although 2014 marked the 3rd year of our annual Rodder’s Journal Revival in Baltimore, coverage of the 2013 event appeared in issue 62. Hundreds of cars from across the country packed the infield of historic Pimlico Racecourse for a weekend of cruising and hanging out with some of the finest rods, customs, and vintage racecars around. We count over a dozen former TRJ feature cars in this photo alone–how many can you find?

The Unknown Drag Race

Delving into his seemingly endless collection of vintage hot rodding and drag racing photos, Pat Ganahl brought us the story of the “Unknown Drag Race” at Riverside in 1959 (TRJ #65). Among the outtakes was this shot of the beautifully detailed Scotty’s Muffler injected Ardun-powered T, shown alongside the Reath Automotive Model A roadster.

Tom Fritz Artist Profile

Automotive fine artist Tom Fritz’s impressive portfolio of drag racing work was featured in issue #62. His painting, “Hookin’ Hard,” depicts Randy Dubbs’ well known canary yellow Willys launching at night in a cloud of fire, smoke, and noise. Oddly enough, when Tom shot the reference photo for the painting, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon and the only disturbance came from a local policeman wondering what he and Randy were doing in a deserted industrial area on a Sunday.

1932 Ford roadster, Bill Grant, Claremont, California

Bill Grant and Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory turned out this stunning ’50s-style Deuce roadster for competition in the 2014 AMBR. Like the rest of the car, the undercarriage is painted, chrome-plated, and detailed to the hilt, as seen on pages 36-37 of TRJ #63.

United Pacific 1932 five-window reproduction coupe, Major Lin, Long Beach California

To showcase their brand new, all steel Deuce five-window bodies, United Pacific had Brizio Street Rods build a chopped, highboy version for United Pacific president Major Lin. We photographed the coupe in baremetal for TRJ #65 before it was completed in time to debut at this year’s SEMA Show.

1932 Ford Phaeton, Skip Walls, Knoxville, Tenneesee

Skip Walls built this clean little Deuce Phaeton for himself and his employees to cruise during the many annual car shows they attend with his Lokar Performance Products. The original steel body originally came from Argentina and was restored by a collector in Florida before Skip got his hands on it. It’s powered by a smallblock Chevy and loaded with Lokar’s offerings, naturally. We photographed it near Skip’s Knoxville, Tennessee, home for issue #62.



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