Building a Better Bel Air ’51 Chevy
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Generational Gap … Something Old and New
Out Your
Down the
Heat …

and Noise

Tips …

Recessing a
License Plate

Swapping Out Your First Rearend
Making Custom Stereo Brackets
Turning Down the Heat …

and Noise

Handy Sheetmetal Tips …

Recessing a License Plate

72nd Sacramento Autorama …
Custom d’Elegance
yellow hot rod apart of 72nd Sacramento Autorama
August 2023
Preview Issue
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Make It Yours. Make It Lokar. Modern Performance. Classic Style. Endless Options.
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Series Restored by Lokar
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Flaming River: One good turn deserves another
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
August 2023 feature article thumbnails
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
Gas Axe Garage’s Pair of Model A Highboy Coupes
By Chuck Vranas, Photography & Videography by the Author
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Danny Hyde’s ’36 Ford Five-Window Coupe Turned Roadster
By Brian Brennnan, Photography by Wes Allison
Wally O’Conner’s ’57 Ford Fairlane
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Danielle Korek’s ’60 Buick LeSabre
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
It Takes a Keen Eye to Spot All the Modifications on This Restyled ’51 Chevy
By Gerry Burger, Photography by Charlie Matus
High School Hot Rodders Install a Rearend
By “Rotten” Rodney Bauman, Photography by the Author
Fitting a Custom Autosound Stereo System in a Closed Cab Pickup
By Tommy Lee Byrd
Turning Down the Heat (and Noise) in our ’55 Chevy Wagon
By Taylor Kempkes, Photography & Videography by the Author
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Handy Sheetmetal Working Ideas to Use
By Ron Covell, Photography by Brian Limberg
A Cavalcade of Customs
By John Drummond, Photography by the Author
On the Cover:
Gas Axe Garage pays homage to “old time tradition” with these pair of Model A highboy coupes. Ed Eisen displays his Black Cherry–painted ’29 Ford highboy coupe while Tim Irwin shows off his Red Rock Candy ’30 Ford highboy coupe.
Photography by Chuck Vranas
August 2023 Cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 35 is published monthly by In the Garage Media, Inc., 370 E. Orangethorpe Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870-6502. Application to mail at Periodicals prices at Placentia, CA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Modern Rodding, c/o In the Garage Media, Inc., 1350 E. Chapman Ave #6550, Fullerton, CA 92834-6550 or email ITGM, Inc. at Copyright (c) 2023 IN THE GARAGE MEDIA, INC. Printed in the USA. The Modern Rodding trademark is a registered trademark of In The Garage Media, Inc.
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Wes Allison, Rodney Bauman, Gerry Burger, Tommy Lee Byrd, Ron Ceridono, Michael Christensen, Ron Covell, Grant Cox, John Drummond, Eric Geisert, John Gilbert, Joe Greeves, Ken Gross, John Jackson, Chadly Johnson, Barry Kluczyk, Scotty Lachenauer, Don Lindfors, Ryan Manson, Josh Mishler, Dale Moreau, Don Prieto, Todd Ryden, Jason Scudellari, Chris Shelton, Tim Sutton, Chuck Vranas, John Winter — Writers and Photographers


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Modern Rodding magazine covers

Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
Headshot of Brian Brennan
by Brian Brennan

Looking for Normal


oes life seem like it’s back to normal? I’m not there yet. Life still seems a bit offtrack and the constant reminders that there are more political elections ahead doesn’t make my life any simpler.

Probably the bigger question is … “What is normal?” For me, having a house full of cats, dogs, and a few of Nature’s creatures wandering through is normal. My wife, Kimi, has a vegetable garden that would rival any farmer’s market. With that comes lots of lizards, salamanders, worms, little itty-bitty bugs, squirrels, birds, cats, dogs, and the occasional coyote. Never a dull, or should I say quiet, moment in our backyard.

Rodding Around

By Brian Brennan

red gear icon Operative Talent Named Official Charity of the Triple Crown of Rodding … the Premiere Event for Hot Rods & Trucks 2023
The Triple Crown of Rodding is proud to announce Operative Talent as its Official Charity for the 2023 event. Operative Talent is an educational initiative focused on attracting future talent to the thriving automotive industry.

The Triple Crown of Rodding is already being recognized as one of the premier events in the automotive industry, showcasing what is sure to be an impressive collection of classic and custom hot rods and trucks. As part of its commitment to supporting the future of automotive enthusiasts and professionals, the show has partnered with Operative Talent to introduce an exciting educational component to the event.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS

By Brian Brennan

New Products
1. Keep Heat Under Wraps
Design Engineering’s (DEI) proven line of exhaust and pipe wraps are designed to contain heat inside of headers. This assists with increasing exhaust velocity through the exhaust system, while wrapping headers helps reduce underhood temperatures, protecting components while increasing performance.

There are three distinct wrap categories:

Glass Fiber Exhaust Wrap: Offered in various-sized rolls for shorter pipes, headers, turbo downpipes and powersports exhausts, the wrap withstands 1,200 degrees F (649 degrees C) direct/2,000 degrees F (1,093 degreees C) radiant heat. Available in both black and tan.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Generations typographic title
Generations typographic title
Gas Axe Garage Respects Tradition With This Pair of Model A Highboy Coupes
By Chuck VranasPhotography & Videography by THE AUTHOR

e are always asking the question, “What is the future of hot rodding?” This question is often raised and seldom fully answered. In our story here we are asking, “What build style?” Early traditional to a ’60s vibe. A great way to look back and forward is to see how this pair, a ’29 Ford highboy coupe and a ’30 Ford highboy coupe, were built.

Seeking to preserve our heritage as well as fueling our continual desire to move forward, it’s important to embrace younger talents for their insight and energies to see where their generation will bring us.

Modern Rodding TECH

1. The original silhouette of the ’51 Chevrolet Bel Air has made it a favorite with customizers since 1950. While Ford went “slab-side” in 1949, Chevrolet maintained shapely rear fenders through 1954.
Building a Better Bel Air typographic title in red
It Takes a Keen Eye to Spot All the Modifications on this Restyled ’51 Chevrolet
By Gerry Burger Photography by Charlie Matus

uilding a successful custom car comes down to knowing when you’re done. It is often an exercise in restraint to achieve that perfect look. Several common approaches include the full radical custom that just screams “look at me” with extreme modifications. The mild custom could be as simple as nosing, decking, lowering, and a taillight swap. And then there is our personal favorite: the restyled car. Rodding and restyling go hand in hand (remember that old magazine?) and the restyled car has modifications that enhance the original lines of the car. Many of these modifications are quite complicated and yet when completed they often appear simple. We may look at a radical custom, but we take the time to study a restyled car.

Modern Rodding EVENT

Metallic gold custom '49 Buick Sedanette
Sitting 15 inches lower than stock ride height, Cody Walls’ (Delaware’s Custom Metalcraft) radically reformed, perfectly sculpted ’49 Buick Sedanette won the big trophy, taking home the 2023 Custom d’Elegance award presented by ARP. The exterior brightwork is equaled under its skin with a fully polished Nailhead, including the fittings, hoses, and all the essentials that make it go.
"72nd Sacramento Autorama"
A Cavalcade of Customs
By John Drummond Photography by THE AUTHOR

hen the first Sacramento Autorama was organized in 1951, the average new car cost just $1,500, I Love Lucy was making its series debut on CBS, and the U.S. government was about to test the first nuclear bombs in Nevada. With the postwar boom in full swing, the custom car scene was also hitting its early apex.

Some seven decades later, the 72nd O’Reilly Auto Parts Sacramento Autorama is still going strong, giving car customizers around the globe a place to gather to celebrate the art of sculpting candy-colored masterpieces. Each car has its own unique story of what it took to build and where it came from.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Looks Can Be Deceiving typographic title
Looks Can Be Deceiving typographic title
A ’36 Ford Five-Window Coupe is Turned Into an AMBR-Contending Roadster
By BRIAN BRENNANPhotography by Wes Allison

t is amazing that every year the list of homebuilt hot rods that turn out for competition for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award grows. This past year was no exception. One of the favorites in the highly competitive field was a ’36 Ford roadster belonging to Danny Hyde of SoCal. He’s my neighbor, well, he lives a few miles down the road, but the fact is for the past eight years I wasn’t aware such a build was going on. But there is plenty more to this story.

Modern Rodding TECH

(Left to right, up and down) Mr. Greene, Derek, Zach, Mrs. Rotten, Mr. Hunter, Tharen, Brock, and Rodney Bauman
1. (Left to right, up and down) Mr. Greene, Derek, Zach, Mrs. Rotten, Mr. Hunter, Tharen, Brock, and some guy who resembles yours truly. Now let’s get technical, shall we?
A in Auto Shop
High School Hot Rodders Install a Rearend
By “Rotten” Rodney Bauman Photography by THE AUTHOR

f you as a youngster were fortunate enough to attend any type of high school industrial arts classes, you’ll more-than-likely acknowledge their value. I’ll tell you straight; back in the mid ’70s I gained from my own experience. Sadly, things are different today. High school vocational courses where heads and hands work together (apart from just keyboards and screens) have become fairly rare exceptions.

Modern Rodding Feature

An Amazing Discovery typography
Finding a ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 in a Florida Orange Grove Made for a Bright Sunny Day
By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by John Jackson

iving near an orange grove may not be typical for many hot rodders but if you are Wally O’Conner of Sarasota, Florida, it’s not uncommon at all. In fact, some 20-plus years ago Wally found this ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 in one of the plentiful orange groves near his home and he began to see his childhood dream come true. It wasn’t long before he realized that if he wanted to see his dream project finished, he would need to enlist help. He leaned on Thom Speed and his team at SaltWorks Fabrication, also in Sarasota, to bring this ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 to completion.

Modern Rodding TECH

finding space for an audio system
1. Finding space for an audio system is a challenge in a hot rod pickup, but Precision Hot Rods and Fabrication shows you how they tackled it.
Fitting a Custom Autosound Stereo System in a Closed Cab Pickup

ight spaces are commonplace in the hot rod world; pre World War II Fords and closed cab pickups are especially tight. The ’34 Ford pickup in this article is an in-depth project at Precision Hot Rods and Fabrication and it has lots of trick details inside and out. The owner wanted a full array of creature comforts, including an LS engine, overdrive transmission, and Vintage Air heat and A/C. Additionally, he wanted a stereo system—a tall order in such a tight space. The guys at Precision Hot Rods and Fabrication came up with a plan to tastefully fit the Custom Autosound components inside the already-crowded cab.

Modern Rodding Feature

When Less is More typography
When Less is More typography

This ’60 Buick LeSabre Keeps All the Right Pieces

By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by John Jackson


ll too often we see car builds that go “just a bit outside” of where they should have stopped. We can’t say that about Danielle Korek, of Winfield, Pennsylvania, and her ’60 Buick LeSabre. From what we can see all the “right pieces” were kept and the look is “right on.” Danielle tells us that being the wife of a car builder has its positives, but it can also have some hiccups.

To listen to Danielle tell her story of her love of hot rods comes from a childhood of being around and absorbing the best that stock car and drag races had to offer. But her favorites were car shows. Her love of hot rods was enforced at home and through the remainder of the family, including uncles who fostered this appreciation. There were always lots of Corvette engines being worked on as well as the cars themselves. She did have a special liking for Buicks, so something like this ’60 Buick LeSabre was on the horizon. We’ve all heard the story of the shoemaker’s wife who goes without shoes …

Modern Rodding TECH

Thermo Tec Suppressor Acoustical and Heat Control Mats layed into '55 Chevy Wagon interior floor and firewall
1. Thermo Tec Suppressor Acoustical and Heat Control Mat is in position and ready to go. Make sure to prep all surfaces before laying down the sound/heat control mat. The Thermo Tec floor covering will act as a deterrent to heat and noise transfer.
"Heat Control"
Turning Down the Heat (and Noise) in our ’55 Chevy Wagon
By Taylor Kempkes Photography & Videography By THE AUTHOR

art of the experience when it comes to driving a hot rod is the feeling of being transported back to an earlier era. Sitting on a bench seat looking out the windshield over an all-steel dash and hearing the mechanical rumblings of a V-8 drowns out reality. Unfortunately, there are other aspects of cars from this vintage that are less enjoyable. There is a way around the “uncomfortable zone” and it is a simple matter of the installation of heat and sound-deadening material, such as Thermo Tec products.

Modern Rodding TECH

A close-up shows just how seamlessly this detail flows into the panel, the sign of top-quality metalworking.
1. A close-up shows just how seamlessly this detail flows into the panel, the sign of top-quality metalworking.
Recessing A License Plate
Handy Sheetmetal Working Ideas to Use
By Ron Covell Photography by Brian Limberg

rian Limberg, the founder of Tin Man’s Garage (TMG) in Sycamore, Illinois, is no stranger to high-level metalworking. He has been refining his craft for many years, and his team has received some of the highest honors achievable. Last year they received the Al Slonaker award at the 2022 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, with the outstanding ’36 Willys pickup they built. In this article we’ll focus on a beautifully executed recess for a license plate, which TMG crew member Elijah Schroeder fitted to the rear of a ’37 GMC cabover bed that they built from scratch.

Parting Shot

"’63 Buick Riviera Convertible … the One That Should Have Been Built"
By BRIAN BRENNAN Artwork By Bo Zolland Design

his month our Parting Shot looks at what could have been. There is no denying that the Buick Riviera, or Rivi, is an iconic design. The ’63 Buick Riviera is one of the hot rod world’s favorites, especially when equipped with the optional 340hp 425-inch Nailhead. The Buick Rivi is also one of the few examples of hot rod material that is best left in its original design state. It is a supreme car builder who can improve on this iconic factory look.

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Thanks for reading our August 2023 preview issue!