Rodder’s Journal #76

Rodder’s Journal #76 is an issue that we’re particularly proud of. We spent months scouring the country for the best stories, cars and hot rod history that simply needed to make their way into print. On the newsstand cover, we have a low-angle shot of George Poteet’s 1932 Ford sedan built by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama. It’s radical, traditional and powered by a 400+ horsepower Y-block. For the subscribers, we picked a 1967 photo shot by perennial freelancer Don Emmons of Russ Hess’ 1941 Willys. With its blown smallblock, polished spindle-mount 12 spokes and Goodyear Blue Streaks, the street Gasser is just about as wild as they come.

Flipping though the magazine, you’ll find 170+ pages of hot rods, customs and vintage racecars from every corner of our hobby. From a mild custom ’40 Ford Fordor to a channeled Deuce pickup to a Model A street Gasser, this issue covers it all like never before—and like every issue of TRJ, it’s more of a book than a magazine. 

A Look Inside…

A Different Deuce | By Curt Iseli

We had known the Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop team had a chopped Deuce Tudor in the works for George Poteet for quite some time, but it wasn’t until we saw it out on the show floor at the Detroit Autorama that we could fully appreciate the craftsmanship that went into its construction. From the tip of the V-d spreader bar to the crown of the expertly sliced roof, every element of this car has been modified to give it an aggressive look. Not only does this article dig into the build in great detail; it also features a three-page foldout and one of our most involved tech panels to date.

In Living Color | By Joey Ukrop

We’ve been fans of Don Emmons’ photography as long as we can remember. For this issue, we met up with the seasoned freelancer near his Southern California home and sifted through his extensive photo collection that dates back to the mid-’60s. He managed to keep almost everything he shot, from car features to Rod & Custom covers. In this TRJ exclusive, we pulled out all the stops and included a double sided, three-page gatefold showcasing an outtake from the famed Early Times 1967 group photo as well as Russ Hess’ and Randy Dubbs’ Willys Gassers on the street.

Detailed to Perfection | By Joe Kress

From rendering to reality—Goolsby Customs in Hueytown, Alabama, built Matthew Gordon his perfect Deuce pickup. The channeled RPU has unmistakable 1950s flair, thanks to its 3×2-fed Oldsmobile Rocket, Starfire Blue paint and cycle fenders on all four corners. Dubbed the “Time Merchant,” the Goolsby crew built the truck in a mere 14 months and had it finished in time to compete for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster in January 2017. John Jackson shot the Deuce in the Goolsby shop.

Second Time’s A Charm | By Paul Garson

It’s not every day that you see a customized ’40 Ford Fordor, let alone one as well executed as Mike McAuliffe’s Everglade Green sedan. Built by the East Bay Speed & Custom team, the Moraga, California, based Ford was treated to a wealth of early custom touches, ranging from shaved emblems and rounded corners to ’40 Merc bumpers and ’41 Studebaker taillights. But the fit and finish bring this car to a whole new level. At the 2017 Sacramento Autorama, Dick Bertolucci was taken aback by this meticulous attention to detail and gave the Fordor his Automotive Excellence Award. We shot the sedan on location atop Mount Diablo in Northern California.

One Piece at a Time | By Joey Ukrop

Back in the late-’60s, Don Waldron of Ridgecrest, California, started building a 1930 Model A with a blown smallblock Chevy. He finished it, ran it on the streets for a couple of months, down the drag strip twice and then blew it apart to build again. Through the years, he’s held on to the roadster—and he’s revamping it one last time. For this feature, we went to Don’s Gasser goldmine in Ridgecrest to see not only how his Model A was coming along, but also his scrapbooks from the ’60s and the “Silly Willy” ’41 Willys sedan that he recently brought back to life.

The Reed Brothers’ Coupe | By Gerry Burger

BIll Collings was best known for his world-class guitars, but Ralph Reed’s ’31 Model A coupe illustrates the talents of his other venture, Collings Custom Craft. Starting with a bone-stock Model A, the car was chopped and dropped onto a highly modified Deuce frame. With a smallblock between the rails, a dirt track-inspired wheel and tire combo and a Deco-style interior, it combines hot rod elements from a variety of eras—and everything flows seamlessly. Photographer John Jackson shot the coupe on location in Austin.

Evolution of a Craftsman | By Joey Ukrop

Don Nowell was one of those hot rodders who was hard to classify. He was a racer, an engineer, a machinist and an artist. He campaigned a ’37 Chevy in the Gasser Wars, and he went on to build high-performance engines for everything from Can-Am racecars to Crackerbox boats. In this TRJ exclusive profile, we share the story of a hot rodder who did it all—it’s a tale you won’t want to miss.

Never A Dull Moment | By Curt Iseli

For this installment of “Parts Is Parts,” we take a closer look at the finer points of car care. Whether your rod or custom has old checked lacquer or a fresh paintjob, we consult the experts to give you everything you need to know about keeping your machine looking its best at all times. To illustrate the long-standing tradition at-home detailing, we decided to lead things off with a late-’60s Don Emmons photo of Darrel Peters cleaning his ’22 Ford Model T tub. 

In Memoriam:

It’s with a heavy heart that we report the passing of world-class car and guitar builder Bill Collings and longtime hot rod craftsman and expert on all things “Gasser” Don Nowell. We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to share their stories in this new issue with hopes that future generations of hot rodders will be able to look back upon their hard work. We send our condolences to their families and friends. Both Bill Collings and Don Nowell will be missed by all. 

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