Tri Five Nationals: Best Chevy’s Out There
Modern Rodding logo with dropshadow
Customs come in all makes and years
Beginning STEPS:
Swap Your Model A Roof for a Deuce Top
Map Out Panel
& Lace Painting
Your First Top Chop
Beginning STEPS:
Swap Your Model A Roof for a Deuce Top
Map Out Panel
& Lace Painting
Your First Top Chop
Wilwood brakes
Beginning to Understand
December 2021
Preview Issue
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
December 2021 Table of Contents article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Robbie & Debbie Davis’ ’33 Ford Five-Window Coupe
By Dale Moreau, Photography by the Author
Ray & Carol Hamness’ ’58 Chevy Impala Convertible
By Dale Moreau, Photography by the Author
Rick Smith’s ’64 Buick Riviera
By Chuck Vranas, Photography by the Author
Mike Collman’s ’31 Ford Model A
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Chadly Johnson
Joe Nichols’ ’61 Chevy Impala
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Special Feature
Tom & Tina Keyes ’32 DeSoto Three-Window Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Tom & Tina Keyes
Part 1: Making Sure Your Hot Rod Stops as Fast as it Goes
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by the Author & Brian Brennan
Part 1: Custom Panel Painting Provides a Novel Touch
By Brian Brennan, Photography & Videography by Tim Sutton
red video circle icon
Part 1: Top Swapping a Ford Model A for a Ford Deuce
By Eric Geisert, Photography by the Author
Part 1: Preparing to Chop the Top on Your ’32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By Tony Thacker, Photography by the Author
Bowling Green, Kentucky
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
Modern Rodding December 2021 cover
Hot Rod Industry Alliance logo: 2021 Recipient of the HRIA Business of the Year Award
On the Cover
Hot rods and customs come in all makes, models, shapes, and colors. Ray Hamness graces this month’s cover with his ’58 Chevy droptop Candy Apple Red mild custom. Not to be outdone, Debbie Davis brought her ’33 Ford highboy custom coupe, complete with loads of wide white pinstriping, to our photo shoot. A hot rod or a custom can be an early or late year build; pay attention to the car and it will tell you what it is.
Photography by Dale Moreau
Duralast official oe replacement parts of Modern Rodding
Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 15 is published monthly by In the Garage Media, 370 E. Orangethorpe Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870-6502. Application to mail at Periodicals prices is pending at Placentia, CA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Modern Rodding, c/o In the Garage Media, 1350 E. Chapman Ave #6550, Fullerton, CA 92834-6550 or email ITGM at Copyright (c) 2021 IN THE GARAGE MEDIA. Printed in the USA. The Modern Rodding trademark is a registered trademark of In The Garage Media.
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Managing Editor & Ad Coordinator





Wes Allison, Rodney Bauman, Gerry Burger, Tommy Lee Byrd, Ron Ceridono, Michael Christensen, Ron Covell, Grant Cox, Dominic Damato, John Drummond, Eric Geisert, John Gilbert, Joe Greeves, Ken Gross, John Jackson, Chadly Johnson, Barry Kluczyk, Scotty Lachenauer, Ryan Manson, Josh Mishler, Dale Moreau, Todd Ryden, Jason Scudellari, Chris Shelton, Tim Sutton, Chuck Vranas, John Winter — Writers and Photographers


Mark Dewey National Sales Manager
Patrick Walsh Sales Representative
Travis Weeks Sales Representative

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Editorial contributions are welcomed but editors recommend that contributors query first. Contribution inquiries should first be emailed to Do not mail via USPS as we assume no responsibility for loss or damage thereto. IN THE GARAGE MEDIA reserves the right to use material at its discretion, and we reserve the right to edit material to meet our requirements. Upon publication, payment will be made at our current rate, and that said, payment will cover author’s and contributor’s rights of the contribution. Contributors’ act of emailing contribution shall constitute and express warranty that material is original and no infringement on the rights of others.
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Copyright (c) 2021 In The Garage Media.
Printed in the USA.

The Modern Rodding trademark is a registered trademark of In The Garage Media.

Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
Brian Brennan headshot

The Future is Coming Faster Than You Think

By Brian Brennan

y now I’m sure every hot rodder is aware of harnessing the sun’s natural power through the use of solar panels. Solar panels on homes are no longer the sole idea of the Jetsons. Nowadays we see homes, businesses, and schools all over the country showing off their own solar panels capturing this “free” energy from the sun. While nothing is free, the end result is a better way to harness energy.

One only has to take a drive into the country or, here in the western United States, the open desert and see immense solar panel farms that yield electrical energy from the sun as its crop. While this energy is meant to be used to run industries as well as our homes, a growing portion is being siphoned off to power our electric cars. Yep, the time is rapidly coming when we will all be driving electric cars. Calm down and don’t get your boxers in a bunch. Solar panel–generated electricity is here to stay. And this is what’s driving (literally) all of our electric-powered or hybrid cars. You can’t deny that an electrical vehicle can accelerate at blinding speeds and is fun to drive–they are! This technology is taking us deeper and deeper into the development of modern, sustainable energy. Something all of us need to recognize and need to do–regardless. Yes, electric-powered hot rods are already here. By the time you read this editorial I will have come back from the SEMA show and will have seen the latest builds featuring electric-powered hot rods. But there is still time to enjoy a rumble or two.

Rodding Around
By Brian Brennan

red gear icon Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and Lakeside Rods & Rides Named Goodguys and Chevrolet Performance Builders of the Year

passenger profile view of a black classic muscle car parked in front of a garage

Goodguys Rod & Custom Association along with Chevrolet Performance have announced the winners of their first-ever Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year awards. The two builders who have taken home this first-ever award should prove to be names all hot rodders are familiar with, Bobby Alloway of Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and Roger Burman of Lakeside Rods & Rides. Both of these builders and their respective shops have proven over time that they can continually build beautifully designed and well-made hot rods.

In this first-ever award the intent was to recognize GM-powered vehicles and their builders, with the GM Iron award going to a GM-powered GM vehicle and the GM Retro Iron honor going to a non-GM vehicle with GM power. Finalists for the awards were selected at 14 Goodguys events this season, with the winners determined by a selection committee in October.

The GM Iron Builder of the Year honor went to Alloway for the ’70 Chevelle he built for customer Jerry Rice. The GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year went to Roger Burman for the LS-powered ’35 Ford coupe built for customer Dave Gonzales by Burman’s shop Lakeside Rods & Rides.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
Dakota Digital's six-gauge RTX system; two Duralast tie rod end pieces; Finned aluminum brake fluid reservoirs from Wilwood
Dakota Digital's six-gauge RTX system
two Duralast tie rod end pieces
Finned aluminum brake fluid reservoirs from Wilwood
1. Fresh Face
Dakota Digital has released a new RTX application fitting the ’58 Chevy Impala.

This six-gauge system includes a new, machined rear gauge housing attaching directly to the back side of the stock front dash bezel. Styled after the original equipment found in the ’58, all backlight options are user-selectable within the RTX Series. There are two options, the ’58 Impala RTX System (PN RTX-58C-IMP-X) and the ’58 Impala RTX System-Metric/Custom variations (PN RTX-58C-IMP).

For more info, check out Dakota Digital by calling (800) 852-3228 or visit
2. Duralast Suspension & Steering
Thinking about how to best update the ride quality of your classic car or truck? You should start by taking a look at the bushings, ball joints, and steering linkage. Chances are these parts are worn out, resulting in unwanted movement and motion from your suspension arms and steering components.

Duralast offers a full line of tie-rod ends, ball joints, centerlinks, idler arms, and more to help you update your steering and suspension for a smoother, safer ride. All of their suspension components are designed to meet or exceed the original equipment quality and performance. Forged, micro-alloy steel construction improves tensile strength for ball retention in ball joints, control arms, and tie-rod ends. Grade-hardened bolts are utilized and elastomer boots produce a secure seal for lasting protection.

Duralast offers extensive coverage for older vehicles and are readily available at your local AutoZone store. With a little elbow grease you’ll be amazed how a few bushings, ball joints, and steering components can tighten up the handling and driving feel of your classic.

For more info, check out Duralast by visiting your nearest AutoZone auto parts store or
3. Remote- or Direct-Mount Master Cylinders
Finned aluminum brake fluid reservoirs from Wilwood give your firewall a unique high-performance look. Machining ribs in the billet reduces weight (now 4.6 to 3 ounces less than Wilwood’s standard billet reservoir) and increases surface area for passive cooling.

These durable reservoirs hold 4 ounces of fluid and can be mounted directly to Wilwood’s single or tandem remote master cylinders or plumbed remotely with braided stainless flex lines (sold separately). Choose from media burnished (PN 260-16389, direct mount) aluminum with matching cap or hard anodized gray with black (PN 260-16391, direct mount) nylon cap. Matching billet mounting brackets (PN 250-16327, media burnished; PN 250-163-93, hard anodized) are also available.

For more info, check out Wilwood Engineering by calling (805) 388-1188 or visit

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Dale MoreauPhotography by THE AUTHOR
Head Turner
The ’33 Ford Five-Window Coupe is a ’60s Throwback

he racing and “hot rod world” has had many changes since Henry Ford won his first race with a car he built. Customs of the day and what was the “in” thing at the time have come and gone. Now, as we look back at the highlights of the progression of these likes and dislikes, we tend to put them into categories—like the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and so on. When we look at old photos and see what defines each era, we see many shifts of what the people of each era thought was the best.

Debbie and Robbie Davis’ ’33 Ford may be the epitome of the ’60s era. From its wild purple paint, pinstriping by Mitch Kim, to its channeled body-over-the-frame stance, it screams hot rod. This is a period before radial tires. The 5.60 and 7.00 bias-ply wide whites by Coker and 15-inch American Classic chrome wheels are a few of the defining points that make it so, as is the fact that it’s an early 327ci small-block Chevy with a Weiand intake manifold topped with four Stromberg carbs. That transition alone says it was time to put the Flathead out to pasture.

The old three-speed gearbox was upgraded to a Muncie four-speed stick with a cool red shift knob. Interesting enough is the fact that it still has its original frame but with an early ’57 Ford 9-inch axle. The car has its ’33 Ford front axle with a bit of bending to drop the front, which is tied to the frame with a hairpin-style front suspension. Those huge Buick drum brakes indicate an upgrade from Henry’s mechanical ones, a much better way to handle the increased horsepower that now lurks under the hood. The nerf bars are a throwback from the ’30s Indy-style racing cars, and make a cool custom replacement for the original bumpers. Headlights are later models that actually light the road at night while the taillights appear to be ’47 Chevy.

Modern Rodding Tech
1. We checked the brake fluid in our daily driver Model A for water contamination. We were shocked to see 4 percent in fluid that was roughly a year old. This dated international master cylinder is about to be replaced.
By Ron Ceridono Photography by the Author, Brian Brennan & Courtesy of Wilwood, Classic Performance Products & Speedway Motors
Avoiding Brake Blunders typography

Part 1: Making Sure Your Hot Rod Stops as Fast as it Goes


t’s a fact of life that hot rodders are enamored with high-performance vehicles. We have to admit to enjoying a car that pins us in the seat under acceleration (especially when it makes Brennan scream) and will produce retina-separating cornering forces (especially when it makes Brennan scream even louder). But an even more-important performance aspect of any car should be its ability to come to a stop as quickly and as safely as the situation demands, which will keep everyone in the car from screaming. A book could be written on this subject, and many have been, however we are going to show you a number of brake topics you should spend more time watching carefully in this first of several parts on “Avoiding Brake Blunders.”

Over the years we’ve seen a number of brake system blunders that should have, and could have, easily been avoided. Poor or problematic brake system performance can often be traced to the wrong combination of parts or faulty installations—and then there is lack of maintenance. While most of us will check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder from time to time, it’s also important to choose the correct brake fluid in the first place, and changing the fluid regularly.

Brake fluid standards are established by the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and among other things indicate the fluid’s boiling point. This is important because as the brake system heats up, brake fluids with low boiling points begin to vaporize and the pedal must travel further to apply the same amount of force on the brakes.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Dale M. MoreauPhotography by THE AUTHOR
Ragtop Redux title
By Dale M. MoreauPhotography by THE AUTHOR
Ragtop Redux title
The ’58 Chevy was a Custom From the Factory but This One was Taken Further

fter the Tri-Five Chevy’s run, GM led the era into the use of fins. There is a longtime rumor that the now ’58 style was marked for 1957, but it was not ready for production in time. So, in their infinite wisdom, they dolled up the ’56 and sent that to market instead. Looks like accidental success. Sounds like smoke and mirrors, but who are we to complain? Out of the box, the ’58 was a customizer’s dream. It was huge in comparison to the ’57 with a new powerplant to make up for it. Ray and Carol Hamness’ ’58 Chevy Impala convertible is a rare one indeed.

Modern Rodding Tech
1. Jack Fields of Kraftsman Autoworks in Torrance, CA, is making sure the surface (in our case the roof) is free of any dirt or other particles. He’s already used 600-grit wet-dry paper to scuff up the surface so that the new paint will bond (adhere) to the surface. Once the sanding is done a degreaser is used to remove any material, dirt, and such from the roof.
Jack Fields of Kraftsman Autoworks in Torrance, CA, is making sure the surface (in our case the roof) is free of any dirt or other particles.
1. Jack Fields of Kraftsman Autoworks in Torrance, CA, is making sure the surface (in our case the roof) is free of any dirt or other particles. He’s already used 600-grit wet-dry paper to scuff up the surface so that the new paint will bond (adhere) to the surface. Once the sanding is done a degreaser is used to remove any material, dirt, and such from the roof.
It’s a Fine Line Title Typography
It’s a Fine Line
PART 1: Custom Panel Painting Provides a Novel Touch
By Brian Brennan Photography & Videography by TIM SUTTON

o get a better feel for what it takes to add your own custom touch through panel painting and added lace artwork to your hot rod or custom we visited with Jack Fields of Kraftsman Autoworks in Torrance, California. Fields regularly uses House of Kolor paints and as luck would have it, Fields had a station wagon going through the paint process and its owner wanted something special for the roof. (We are seeing more and more custom panel and lacework painting done to roofs of cars while the remainder of the paintjob is straightforward. It’s proven particularly popular on station wagons, customs, and Gassers builds.)

We followed along and watched Fields who has the experience, creativity, and patience to do this type of work. Basically, as with any paintwork, it’s all in the preparation. Here Fields preps the roof of this wagon. He began with a degreaser to make sure that the surface is clean and free from any and all “baddies.” Next up he’s now going over the roof (or the surface to be painted) with 600-grit paper wrapped around a soft sanding block. If there was some “orange peel” to work around then you might start with a 400-grit paper. The intent is to knock off the shine and prep the color (there’s no clear sprayed over the paint at this time) so that the new designs can be sprayed on and it will “grip” (adhere to) the base color. House of Kolor (HOK) offers a solvent-based, California-compliant white paint that was used on our project wagon. (Many other companies have gone with waterbase paints but HOK has achieved success utilizing a solvent-based paint.) Fields also used Kandy Koncentrates, which was developed by HOK to intensify the base color. It will also speed up your spray process by using it to tint your base color and sealer. (It is also recommended for airbrushing.)

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Chuck Vranas Photography by THE AUTHOR
A Simple Plan
Rick Smith’s Classic ’64 Buick Riviera
’64 Buick Riviera

hen stepping into the world of hot rodding, there are a number of paths you can take while on your way to the promised land. Many times, ramping up to take on a full build entails everything from sourcing a solid base and driveline to start with as well as setting a timeline for making decisions on the fabrication, paint, and interior required to bring it to completion. You could decide to take on a stalled project where someone gave up or purchase an existing hop-up to add your personal touch to complete the look. One interesting way to approach it from a totally different direction is by stepping into the fast lane by buying a perfect original car to add your performance updates to. That’s what Rick Smith of Quincy, Massachusetts, did on the glamorous ’64 Buick Riviera laid out across our pages.

Modern Rodding Tech
How to build a Model A '32 Title
Part 1: Top Swapping a Ford Model A for a Ford Deuce
Part 1: Top Swapping a Ford Model A for a Ford Deuce
By Eric Geisert Photography by The Author

very hot rodder knows one of the most special things about the ’32 Ford is it has many one-year-only features. Designer Eugene “Bob” Gregorie was tapped by none other than Edsel Ford to be in charge of the new look Ford vehicles would soon take, which would use both streamline and European styling cues.

In the early ’30s, vehicle manufacturers would introduce new looks almost every year, setting themselves apart from their competition, and Ford was no different. The look of Fords from 1931 to 1937 drastically changed seven times in that short time span, and it was an abrupt change each time. Whereas there wasn’t much of a radical change between 1933 and 1934, the changes between the ’31 Model A and the ’32 Ford five-window are pretty obvious.

So, when Derryll Gehring, the owner of a ’31 Model A coupe (a car he has owned since he was 15) stopped in to talk to Paul Bosserman of Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, California, about a chop for his soon-to-be hot rod, the talk soon turned to adding a ’32 five-window roof to the A as well as the chop.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
“A” Little Coupe
Chopped and Channeled:
This ’31 Ford Model A was Built into a Full Custom
By Brian Brennan Photography bY Chadly Johnson

e first saw Mike Collman’s ’31 Ford Model A coupe several years back when it made its grand entrance at the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show. The Portland, Oregon, based chopped-and-channeled brilliant blue custom coupe took home Best Hot Rod in the Suede Palace gathering. From here it’s been seen far and wide, receiving lots of attention online and in social media. But we thought it was worth one more look-see, with some great detail pics.

’31 Ford Model A
Modern Rodding Tech
Rayce Lefever’s Model A coupe was squared on father Rick’s frame fixture.
1. Rayce Lefever’s Model A coupe was squared on father Rick’s frame fixture. As you can see, a center line runs from front to back and plumb bobs are dropped down at the front, middle, and rear before measurements are taken to ascertain squareness.
Lowering the Lid
Part 1: Preparing to Chop the Top on Your ’32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By Tony Thacker Photography by The Author

uys typically don’t read instructions, right? Well, I would suggest that before you dive into a roof chop you do a little research, which is exactly what Evan and Justin Veazie of the Veazie Brothers did before they jumped into the chop of Bruce Fortie’s ’32 Ford highboy three-window coupe. Why? Because it was to be their first ever chop.

Evan called a few people who might know, like the Kennedy Brothers and Jimmy Shine, among others, and as you would expect got as many answers. The only answer was to plan carefully and then have at it.

Before any cutting is done the body has to be braced. In this case, it was a brand-new Brookville Roadster three-window coupe that one would expect to be square, and it was. If, however, you are chopping an old body, one that may have been repaired—more than once—you should check the body for squareness.

You can do this by bolting the body to a frame that you know is square or to a frame fixture. Next, hang some plumb bobs, preferably three at the front, center, and rear of the body before measuring every which way to make sure the body is square. If it’s not then you have some pushing and pulling to do to get it into shape. There’s no point in proceeding with the chop until you have the body square.

Once you have the body square you can begin to brace it. Most people, Evan included, use 1-inch square steel tube and what you’re trying to do is hold the body together when you take off the roof. It will have a tendency to spring apart so you need to tie it together front to rear, side to side, and diagonally. As with actually chopping the top, there are many ways to do this; it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you do it.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
First Look typography
First Look typography
Resist the Urge to See Only a 409 Bubbletop as this ’61 Chevy Impala is so Much More
By Brian BrennanPhotography by John Jackson

e are all used to seeing finished builds … they look great. But this time we thought you would enjoy seeing the time before the “king gets his clothes,” so to speak. Joe Nichols of Overkill Speed and Color from Illinois is both the owner and co-builder, along with his friend Bob Thrash, as they spent a good chunk of their time fabricating, painting, and assembling this ’61 Chevy Impala bubbletop. Upon closer inspection you will note the tribute paid to the Z06-equipped Corvette with the crossed flags on the trunk and note the wheel caps, the Z06-style air cleaner, and the LS7 V-8.

A few words on the ’61 Chevy Impala, affectionately known as the “bubbletop.” It was manufactured from 1959 through 1961 and features the thin arching A-pillar with no B-pillar closed off with another arching C-pillar. (In 1962 the “convertible top” look was brought in.) Now, there was a ’61 Chevy Impala SS bubbletop, but in order to get one of these there were a handful of mandatory options, but the most desirable of these was the 305hp W-motor sporting the iconic 409 ci.

Modern Rodding EVENT
Iron Man car
The American Tri-Five Association Event Sets Record Number of Entries, Expands to Three Days, a ’57 Chevy is Given Away, and All Survive a Thunderstorm … Now That’s Excitement
By Brian Brennan Photography by THE AUTHOR

he Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals promoted by the American Tri-Five Association (ATFA) and hosted at the historic Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, made an amazing comeback after the suspended 2020 event. While the rest of the country is getting back on track the Tri-Five Nats decided not to wait around and started up with a “bang.” There was a record 2,813 entrants, it was expanded to three days, the Golden Star Giveaway ’57 Chevy was a hit, and even Mother Nature’s wild Saturday thunderstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the participants.

There were dozens of awards handed out, with the Top 25 and the Tri-Five of the Year (awarded to Tim Helms of North Carolina with his two-tone, light and dark brown ’55 Nomad) being the biggies. To this Modern Rodding, Classic Truck Performance, and All Chevy Performance joined in on the celebrations by handing out awards of their own. For those of us at Modern Rodding it was particularly fun presenting a Top Gasser award to Lyle Thurman for his ’55 Chevy. Plus the Modern Rodding Top 5 was also awarded. These five Chevys truly are amazing examples, beginning with Tim Helms’ two-tone brown ’56 Nomad (also the Tri-Five of the Year winner), closely followed by Larry Olson’s black and white ’56 Nomad, Curtis Atkins and his blue and white ’56 sedan, Gary Brown with his truly original green ’56 sedan, and lastly, Jennings White with his bright red ’57 sedan. These proved to be MR’s picks for outstanding efforts.

Modern Rodding IN THE GARAGE
1. Tom Keyes doing some final tightening of the M/T valve covers on the early Chrysler 354 Hemi.
’32 DeSoto
Three-Window Coupe
Tom & Tina Keyes Have a “Deuce” But We are Guessing You Haven’t Seen Many Like This One!
In the Garage badge
By Brian Brennan Photography bY Tom & Tina Keyes

n our world of street rods and hot rods there can be no denying that the ’32 Ford is “king,” and for all of the right reasons. But it’s always fun, and frankly more interesting, to see what can be done with a “Deuce” of a different marque. In our wanderings we’ve come across Tom and Tina Keyes out of Redding, California, and uncovered that they are building a Deuce of a different marque. It’s a ’32 DeSoto three-window coupe powered by an early Chrysler 354 Hemi.

Tom is a retired aerospace engineer who has always enjoyed hot rodding. Now that he has the time and space he decided it was time to build. In his travels he found what at first everyone thought was ’32 Plymouth sheetmetal out of Star Valley, Wyoming, but after some investigation he realized he had found a ’32 DeSoto three-window coupe (number 1,315 of 1,691 built). He was able to find out exactly what he had by using the body’s VIN and from here he found out that he had a ’32 DeSoto SC business coupe. Part of the decision to look for a Mopar to build was initially linked to the fact that he had an early Chrysler 354 Hemi sitting under the workbench.

Modern Rodding logo with dropshadow
Thanks for reading our December 2021 preview issue!