We spent the days leading up to the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona cruising the greater Los Angeles area in the TRJ Deuce roadster. Despite being just a few hundred miles up the coast, we don’t get to visit the greater Los Angeles area as often as we’d like to. So we used this trip as an excuse to visit a handful of shops and check out what’s been going on behind their doors. Here’s a look at what we found.


We changed the front hubs on the roadster to match the early Ford bolt pattern of the newly installed Winters V8 quickchange we got from Pete & Jake’s.

Our first stop was at California Street Rods in Huntington Beach. While visiting with Chuck Lombardo Jr. we managed to get a little bit of work done on the TRJ roadster. Our goal was to take advantage of the great weather by driving the roadster to the GNRS as well as the other stops we had planned. We love going to car shows no matter how we get there, but it sure is a lot more fun driving in an old car.


For some time CSR has been working on this taildragging ’51 Merc convertible for Jeff Hawlish of Laguna Beach. It’s powered by a big block Chevy and rides on an air ride-equipped Art Morrison chassis. It’s hard to believe that is started as a four-door sedan.


On Wednesday night Coker Tire hosted an open house at their new west coast distribution and manufacturing facility in the City of Industry.

We attended the open house at Coker Tire’s new west coast facility. The 100,000 square foot operation doubles as a distribution center for their expansive line of tires and a manufacturing plant where most of their steel wheels are made. Incidentally, while we were there we learned about Corky Coker’s new television series, “Backroad Gold,” which premiers tonight at 9:30pm EST on the Travel Channel.


Coker Tire owner Corky Coker, second from left, celebrated the recent opening of the facility with rodding and customizing legends George Barris, Gene Winfield, and John D’Agostino.


Some of the rods and customs on display inside Coker included Rod & Custom’s “Speedway Motors Tribute T,” the American Speed Company-bodied 2008 Street Rodder Road Tour ’33 roadster, and the 2013 Road Tour shoebox Ford.

We also stopped by to see Art Chrisman and his son Mike at their Chrisman Auto Rod Specialties (CARS) in Santa Ana. It was great to catch up with them and see the hot rods coming together in their shop. They always have something interesting going on, and this visit was no exception. We’ll bring you more specifics in a future issue.


One of Art’s personal projects is this lowered, Hemi-powered ’52 Ford F-1, which he has owned for many decades. It sits on an original chassis with a Torino front clip.


Power for the F-1 comes from a blown 392 Chrysler. The Hustler-style scoop is from their ’70 flat-bottom boat, but a matching scoop is in the works for the truck.


Art and Mike built John Yzurdiaga’s big block Chevy-powered 1940 LaSalle convertible sedan back in 1988. It has over 370,000 miles on the odometer, and the perfect patina to show for it.


This flathead-powered ’41 Merc with a Carson-style lift-off top and Plymouth bumpers is Dan Houck’s latest custom. We featured Dan’s gorgeous ’50 Ford coupe in TRJ #20. 


Another Hemi-motivated hot rod in the works at CARS is this Chevy Cobalt-bodied land speed racer. Owners Terry Baker and Kent Valley hope to hit close to 300 mph at Bonneville. Art and Mike also built Terry’s 1,000hp ’33 Willys that appeared in TRJ #34.


Here’s the nearly bare Chevy block from Mike Chrisman’s Junior Fuel dragster. The unblown 400-based smallblock has propelled him to nearly 200 mph.


While at Art and Mike Chrisman’s CARS in Santa Ana, we ran into Julian Alvarez and his ’36 Ford phaeton. His collection of cool old Fords also includes a number of Deuce coupes, a B-400 and ’32 sedan delivery, and Bud Bryan’s old R&C ’29 highboy roadster.


Along with his phaeton, Julian Alvarez also had one of his Deuce three-windows out for the weekend. It was driven by his friend Charlie Smith from Midwest City, Oklahoma, who was making his first trip west to see the Pacific Ocean and take in the GNRS.

Squeak White’s shop is adjacent to CARS. We dropped in and caught Squeak in the middle of a few interesting projects. He’s a well-respected metal shaper, having spent time working alongside another master craftsman, Steve Davis. On the day we visited one of the cars undergoing a thorough restoration was an original Miller two-man Indy racer being restored for Florida collector and racer Dan Davis. Its driveline mates two overhead-cam inline eights to form a unique 16-cylinder engine that powered it to 4th place in the 1930 Indy 500 with Louie Meyer at the wheel. Alongside the Miller is a 427 SOHC Ford-powered ’55 Thunderbird Squeak is building for hot rodder Dave Kipp. Readers might remember Dave’s brother and sister-in-law Jim and Debra Kipp’s So-Cal Speed Shop-built baremetal Model A coupe from TRJ #41.


Squeak White is restoring this Miller racecar for Dan Davis of Jacksonville, Florida. Squeak’s work on this car is impeccable.


Here’s the Miller when it was campaigned at the Indy 500 in the early-30s. Louie Meyer drove from ’30 to ’32, and famous Sprint car driver Chet Gardner took over for ’33 and ’34.


The unusual U-16 engine mated two Miller 91-inch inline eights that were each bored to 101 cubic inches. They are fed through a single manifold by two Winfield downdraft carburetors. 


The hand-formed Miller aluminum nose is instantly identifiable and beautifully crafted.


The chassis and body were the work of master craftsman Myron Stevens, who started working for Miller in 1922. This has to be one of the coolest rear centersections we’ve ever seen.


Squeak is building this first generation Thunderbird for Dave Kipp. The extensively re-worked body is mounted on a Morrison chassis with Kugel Komponents’ independent front and rear suspension.


Squeak has reworked the doors and windshield frame to remove any trace of the roll-up windows, converting the T-bird to a true roadster. The transmission is a Tremec six-speed.


The T-bird’s cammer has Hilborn fuel injection that’s been converted to electronic operation with a Holley ECU. Squeak has done considerable work to stiffen the chassis so that it will ably handle all the power the 427 can dish out.

Automotive artist Steve Stanford is another old friend of ours who has contributed some great artwork and writing to The Rodder’s Journal in the past. A couple years ago we cooked up a plan for a very special series of Stanford renderings to run in TRJ, but the project didn’t get off the ground until late last year. Shortly before the GNRS Steve told us that they were finished, so we stopped by his studio in the back of Santini Paint & Body (owned by noted custom painter Pete Santini) in Westminster. We don’t want to let too much out of the bag, but suffice it to say we’re very excited to show you his work in the next issue.


Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new work Steve Stanford has just finished for TRJ. There’s an interesting story behind the artist and artwork that inspired Steve’s latest creations that we’ll explain in our upcoming feature.


It doesn’t get much cooler than a lowered, flamed ’62 Impala cruising Harvey’s Broiler. The whitewall cheater slicks and Astro Supremes are a neat twist.

It was a great week on the road, and we really appreciate everyone who opened their doors to us. Unfortunately there’s never enough time to do everything we’d like to do, and we look forward to catching up with more of our friends on our next visit. If you’ve got something interesting coming together in your garage, drop us a line and let us know about it. We just might come see you in 2014.


We caught this chopped, fenderless, Deuce-shelled Model A heading north on Highway 5 on our way back to the San Francisco Bay area. The tri-power smallblock Chevy sounded great.