Big-Block ’56 Chevy Takes Home Tri-Five of the Year Award
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Triple Crown of Rodding ... Best Street Rod
Best Street Cruiser
Ironworks Speed And Kustom:
The Ultimate ’35 Chevy, Part 1
Best Street Machine
Adding Detail To An Early Ford Dash
Understanding Drive-By-Wire
February 2023
Preview Issue
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
February 2023 article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
Sonny Freeman’s ’32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Dan Duffy’s ’61 Chevy Impala Bubbletop
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Brad Sather’s ’69 Pontiac Firebird
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
George Lange’s ’56 Chevy 210
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Doug Beattie’s ’32 Ford Five-Window Coupe
By Dale M. Moreau, Photography by the Author
’35 Chevy Coupe Gets the Upgraded Chassis Complete With 8-Stack Injection
By Ron Covell, Photography by Rodger Lee
Lokar’s Drive-By-Wire Throttle Pedal is a Solution for Late-Model Engine Swaps
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by Brian Brennan
Add Stainless Molding for a Dash of Detail
By Gerry Burger, Photography by the Author
Diagnosing and Fixing a Faulty Alternator
By Ryan Manson, Photography by the Author
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Choosing and Installing Driveline Components
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by the Author & Brian Brennan
Living That Traditional Hot Rod and Kutom Vibe
By Chuck Vranas, Photography & Videography by the Author
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On the Cover
It’s that time of the year when we show off the recipients of the Triple Crown of Rodding categories: Best Street Rod in Sonny Freeman’s ’32 Ford highboy three-window coupe, Best Street Cruiser in Dan Duffy’s ’61 Chevy Impala, and Best Street Machine in Brad Sather’s ’69 Pontiac Firebird. As a bonus there is George Lange’s ’56 Chevy that took home Tri-Five of the Year honors during the summer of 2022.
Photography by John Jackson
Hot Rod Industry Alliance logo: 2021 Recipient of the HRIA Business of the Year Award
Modern Rodding February 2023 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 29 is published monthly by In the Garage Media, 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, 1350 E. Chapman Ave #6550, Fullerton, CA 92834-6550 or email ITGM at Copyright (c) 2023 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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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER

What’s in Store for the New Year

By Brian Brennan

his time every year I like to look at what I think will be happening in the months ahead. Now, I am not clairvoyant, and I don’t have any kind of powers to see beyond my next meal. What I do have are rodders, such as yourself, who keep telling me what’s happening in their parts of the country.

So, what’s up for 2023 in the world of rodding events? 

Especially for rodders on the West Coast and neighboring states, a great way to kick the year off is with the Barrett-Jackson Auction coupled with its prestigious Barrett-Jackson Cup and the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) with its combination of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and Slonaker awards. No longer suffering from overlapping dates, rodders can now take advantage of seeing the best of both events.

The Barrett-Jackson Cup, part of the massive auction and weeklong festivities that runs from January 21-29, 2023, will once again feature the top prize. The winner of the Ultimate Best of Show receives a handsome check for $20,000 along with a custom trophy and a custom-wrapped tool chest, plus gift cards from Summit Racing. It should be noted that of the 50 selected competitors (based on applications) the Triple Crown of Rodding winners are invited to compete. Last year Bob Johnson’s ’36 Ford roadster (originally built for George Poteet) took home the top honors. There are plenty more awards for the four runner-up positions as well as a People’s Choice. 

Rodding Around

3 billet aluminum trophies

red gear icon The Newest Major Show of 2023

The Triple Crown of Rodding (TCR) continues its march to be one of the exclusive events within the hot rod world. Come September 8-9, 2023 (weekend after Labor Day), TCR is coming to Nashville Superspeedway, brought to you by Bobby Alloway and Gary Case.

TCR will showcase the best in pre-’49 and post-’48 hot rods, muscle cars, and street cruisers/customs through 1972. For the first time, American-made trucks through 1998 will be represented and participate in their own three TCR categories. There will be six Triple Crown winners: Best Street Rod, Best Street Machine, Best Street Cruiser and (new this year) Best Truck Up To 1972, Best Truck 1973-87, and Best Truck 1988-98.

Also, a brand-new ’23 Chevrolet pickup will be given away to a single lucky registered participant—not just any new Chevy pickup, but one that has passed though the hallowed halls at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and received a number of custom touches. 

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
High Angle Swivel Ball Floor Mount, Early Mustang Cool Air, Under Wraps, Ultimate LS EFI

By Brian Brennan

1. High Angle Swivel Ball Floor Mount

Ididit’s High Angle Swivel Ball Floor Mount was designed for more complex, unusual installs that require steeper angles where the column meets the firewall. Ididit’s new floor mount provides up to 35 degrees of articulation of the column tube, which is 10 degrees more than other designs. Manufactured from billet aluminum, this floor mount offers a sleek, more-refined appearance and is available in a machined or black anodized finish. This floor mount accommodates 2- and 2-1/4-inch columns.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Triple Crown of Rodding: Best Street Rod title
Sonny Freeman Takes Home Top Honors for His ’32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By Brian Brennan
Photography by John Jackson
ARTWORK by Eric Brockmeyer Design

wning a hot rod of this caliber is no small feat. Knowing this, should you find yourself speaking with Sonny Freeman from Lafayette, Louisiana, about his ’32 Ford three-window coupe you might find out he has a simple philosophy about owning a topflight hot rod. According to Sonny it’s not a difficult decision.

“My view on awards is very simple. Pick a car you like and would like to own. Pick a builder who is good at what they do and communicates well with you. Then, how do you lose?” Sonny will tell you that once you have the car of your dreams, “Love the car first, awards become added appreciation.” Good advice.

brown '32 Ford
Modern Rodding FEATURE
Triple Crown of Rodding: Best Street Cruiser title
Dan Duffy Takes Home Top Honors for His ’61 Chevy Impala Bubbletop
By Brian Brennan
Photography by John Jackson
ARTWORK by Tavis Highlander

f there was ever a ’61 Chevy Impala bubbletop that has captured hot rodders’ attention nationwide it’s Dan Duffy of Marietta, Georgia’s Chevy built by Big Oak Garage (BOG). It should also be mentioned that it has brought home the awards to warrant this attention. The ’61 Chevy Impala bubbletop has taken home Goodguys Custom of the Year, helped BOG, under the direction of Will Posey, take home Builder of the Year, and a Meguiar’s Top 12. It was also a multi-award winner at the Grand National Roadster Show by capturing the Sam Foose Design Award and the Sid Chavers Stitch of Excellence honor. Added to this it won the “Go For The Gold” Award at Darryl Starbird’s National Rod & Custom.

However, there is one more significant award to mention and one to hope for. The ’61 Chevy also won Triple Crown of Rodding’s Best Street Cruiser award and as such received an automatic invitation to the Barrett-Jackson Cup in Scottsdale, Arizona, held in January 2023. Here it will compete for $20,000 and other notable prizes.

illustration of a green '61 Chevy Impala
illustration with an outline of a green '61 Chevy Impala
illustration of a green '61 Chevy Impala
illustration with an outline of a green '61 Chevy Impala
green '61 Chevy Impala
Modern Rodding FEATURE
"Triple Crown of Rodding Best Street Machine"
Brad Sather Captures Top Honors with His ’69 Pontiac Firebird
By Brian Brennan
Photography by John Jackson
ARTWORK by Victor Fulton Designs

f you grew up near a dragstrip you always dreamed of having a dual-threat hot rod. You know your dream ride, one that would get you back and forth from school in “kool” style and one that was quick enough to have fun on the weekends. Brad Sather has such a hot rod. His ’69 Pontiac Firebird can be driven on the street, but its goal is a bit loftier than a dragstrip. You see, his ’69 Firebird is very capable of registering speeds into the triple digits. To be exact, the Firebird has seen 199.027 mph (203 mph past the traps) at the “flying mile” Harvest 2022 event hosted by ECTA Motorsports.

There are plenty of street-quick Firebirds, but we doubt there are many, if any, that are as proficient as Brad’s Pontiac. Not only is it capable of 200 mph and can be street driven, but it too is a truly amazing build and is a champion on the street, under the lights, and the track. You see, it is a multiple-award-winning ride. The Firebird has captured a Top 10 at SEMA’s Battle of the Builders, PPG Street Machine of the Year at Goodguys, and most recently the Triple Crown of Rodding’s Best Street Machine. We are looking forward to see how the ’69 Pontiac Firebird fares against the competition for the Barrett-Jackson Cup in late January.

Modern Rodding TECH

"Laying the Foundation"
1. Every project starts with a vision. Eric Black’s renderings set the stage for this chopped, lengthened, and subtly pie-wedged beauty.
’35 Chevy Coupe Gets the Upgraded Chassis Complete With 8-Stack Injection
By Ron Covell Photography by Rodger Lee Artwork By E. Black Design

n any automotive project the chassis is the foundation that holds all the components together. Sometimes a stock chassis can be used, but when the suspension and drivetrain are updated, the chassis usually needs to be strengthened and reconfigured.

This is the first in a series of articles about Greg Heinrich’s outstanding ’35 Chevrolet coupe being built by Ironworks Speed & Kustom, in Bakersfield, California. This is a multi-year, no-holds-barred project and we think you’ll enjoy seeing the bleeding-edge design and fabrication lavished on every component.

The body modifications on this project are subtle, and Eric Black, of e. Black Design Co. was called in at an early stage to make renderings, which was key to keeping all the modifications harmonious and on track. The top has a sweet chop, with the A-pillar laid back, the rear of the body is lengthened around 2 inches, the rear wheelwells are raised, and the body has a wedge section–lowering the front of the grille shell a tasty amount. The fenders are re-contoured for the larger wheels and tires, and there are dozens of unique features you’ll see in future articles, making use of the latest technology available.

Modern Rodding EVENT

By Chuck Vranas Photography & Videography by THE AUTHOR
The 7th Annual Jalopy Jam Up typography
two cars, a black classic coupe and a classic chevy DeLuxe with orange and green flame paint, parked at the Jalopy Jam Up
There were plenty of hot rods, customs, and tail-draggers laid out across the fairground, bringing plenty of magic for everyone attending the Jalopy Jam Up to check out firsthand.
Living that Traditional Hot Rod and Kustom Vibe

t’s been a longtime coming. Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 7th Annual Jalopy Jam Up in Canada is back. Back in 2014 a trio of like-minded hot rodders gathered their collective thoughts to lay down plans for creating a unique traditional hot-rodding experience with a dynamic fusion of all the right elements. Fresh from the inventive minds of Jeff Norwell, Brandon Roberts, and Jay Tyrrell, the initial ideas for the Jalopy Jam Up evolved to spotlight pre-’64 traditionally styled hot rods and customs built to reflect eras from the ’40s-60s.

Initially, the ghoulish twist was that it took place in the sleepy town of Durham, Ontario, within the rustic confines of Frontier Ghost Town. Flanked by small rustic structures creating the town, it was the perfect destination for a two-day event spotlighting vintage hop-ups, kustom kulture, high-octane sets of rockabilly music, and an old-timey swap meet. The inaugural year brought with it plenty of windswept rain that would have created havoc at any other venue, but at the Jam Up, the muddy roads acted as a right-of-passage for the hard-core traditionalists who all claimed the event as their own.

Modern Rodding TECH

No Strings Attached
1. Drive-by-wire might sound intimidating, but Lokar makes it easy with custom throttle pedal assemblies.
Lokar’s Drive-By-Wire Throttle Pedal is a Solution for Late-Model Engine Swaps
By Tommy Lee Byrd Photography by Brian Brennan

wapping a late-model engine into an old car isn’t a new concept, but there have always been challenges along the way. When early hot rodders were installing overhead valve V-8s between the ’rails of their ’32 Ford, there were plenty of hiccups that were eventually sorted out with custom-made and aftermarket components. Today, the technological obstacles can be much more complicated, but trusted companies in the automotive aftermarket bring new products to the marketplace to make engine swaps and customization much easier.

While Lokar is known for its famous shifters, the Tennessee-based company manufactures a wide variety of parts, including this Billet Drive-by-Wire Electronic Throttle Control Pedal Assembly, which is part of the Clayton Machine Works product line. This product offers an easy solution to a tricky issue when swapping a late-model engine into an old car.

Modern Rodding FEATURE

By Brian Brennan Photography by John Jackson
Tri-Five of the Year typography
This ’56 Chevy 210 Took Home Top Honors at the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals

ftentimes the “beauty” of any hot rod lies in the subtleness of the build. It can be said that the key to constructing a good-looking hot rod for the street, regardless of year, make, or model, rests in your eluding the exaggeration of the build. We believe this can be applied to George Lange of St. Louis, Missouri’s ’56 Chevy 210. It was built under the care of Bobby Alloway at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. The subtle yet eye-catching build was also noted by the judges at the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals this past year. While in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the panel selected this ’56 as the Tri-Five of the Year. It was literally selected from a field of thousands to take home the honors.

three quarter passenger side front view of the white '56 Chevy 210
Modern Rodding TECH
1. We wanted an art deco look for our dashboard, so the ’47 speedometer and clock worked well. We decided to add some stainless steel molding to complete the look. The molding is reproduction ’35 Ford hood trim available from your favorite rod shop or restoration parts supplier.
Fit n Trim title

Add Stainless Molding for a Dash of Detail

By Gerry Burger Photography by THE AUTHOR

ur project ’36 phaeton is making steady progress. Reshaping and modifying the dashboard has been a fun project that has been involved and has also evolved. One example of this was putting the final touches of detail on the dashboard. We had already mounted our ’47 Ford speedometer and clock, then we hit to order up some super traditional black Stewart-Warner gauges. Once all the gauges were mounted we thought the dash could use a bit more sparkle, so we are searching for some small stainless steel moldings for the dashboard.

After a bit of research, we discovered ’35 Ford hood trim was 9/32-inch wide, making it the perfect width for our application. We also found the ’35 Ford stainless steel hood trim to be affordable. As an added bonus, the reproduction pieces come with a new mounting system involving small bolts that slide in the trim, as opposed to the original push-in clips.

Modern Rodding FEATURE

By Dale M. MoreauPhotography by The Author

Henry Would Be Proud title
Henry Would Be Proud title
The Sum of His Parts Makes a Sweet ’32 Ford Five-Window Coupe

By Dale M. MoreauPhotography by The Author


he history of old Fords and engine swaps practically began with the first one of Henry’s cars called a Model A in 1903. By the time the ’32 came around and changed history forever, guys had tried every way possible to make their Fords faster—and 112 years later it is still going on. Doug Beattie, of Vancouver, Washington, has gone back to the early days of the OHV V-8 swap and emulated that practice, but at a higher level than was possible at the time. His ’32 Ford highboy five-window coupe is just such an example.

Starting with an original Ford Sport Coupe body, restored by Donne Lowe master metalman, the plan was to make a five-window coupe using sheetmetal from Brookville. While doing this, he gave it a haircut and removed 4 inches off the top. He also redid the original dash to accept a genie ’30s Auburn dash insert and filled it with vintage Stewart-Warner gauges. The body and framerails are covered with a rich tone of PPG ’50 Mercury Green darkened with black and topped with a gold pearl by Joel Jones. Night driving is assisted by a set of ’30 American LaFrance firetruck headlights and ’37 Ford taillights with handmade trim and stands made by Doug. Check out the rear bumper, Doug took a page out of the Little Books of the past and came up with a cool nerf bar with plating by Jon Wright. Open a door and you’re invited right in by beautiful stitching in leather by Dave Feeken. So many stitchers of today have flat pleats and the seats look hard. Dave has the talent to make you want to go for a drive just to experience the touch of real workmanship. The ’40 Ford chromed steering column is topped with a beautiful Ford Crestliner steering wheel painted to match the upholstery.

Modern Rodding TECH

1. Probing a vehicle’s charging system using a multimeter can tell us a lot about the system’s health and whether the components are performing as intended, but a visual inspection can result in information that can be just as valuable. The incorrectly sized alternator cable and lack of ground wire tells us this ’33 Ford isn’t charging as well as it could be, regardless of what the readings are on the multimeter.
Charging Forward
Diagnosing and Fixing a Faulty Alternator
By Ryan Manson Photography by THE AUTHOR

igns of a charging system that’s on the brink can vary from dim headlights to a dead battery. But, regardless of the symptoms, they’re not to be ignored. An improperly operating alternator can damage sensitive electronic components if not adequately addressed, not to mention the potential of leaving one stranded once the battery is sufficiently discharged. Speaking of a deeply discharged battery, oftentimes traditional flooded cell batteries cannot be recharged once significantly discharged, requiring the replacement of not only the impaired alternator but what may have been a perfectly fine battery as well. Long story short, if you find that voltmeter reading anything less than 13 V going down the road, you might want to have a look at your charging system and give the guys at Powermaster Performance a call.

Modern Rodding TECH

1. This comes under the heading of “stuff happens.” Too much power and an inadequate driveshaft and this is the result.


Choosing and Installing Driveline Components

By Ron Ceridono Photography by The Author & Brian Brennan


t’s been said that “the devil is in the details,” which is another way of saying that many things are more complicated than they appear and overlooking all the factors involved are sure to cause problems. That more or less describes building a hot rod in general and is especially true when choosing and installing drivetrain components.

Drivelines seem simple enough: they connect the transmission to the differential. The universal joint accommodates the changes in driveshaft angle as the suspension moves up and down. A slip joint absorbs changes in the distance between the transmission and the differential as the axle housing moves up and down and rotates during acceleration and braking. But while none of that seems all that complicated, the wrong parts and/or improper installation can cause problems ranging from an annoying vibration to total failure that may result in a crashed car and injured occupants.


It’s 1977, Chapouris and “The California Kid” are both in their “glory.” Both now have come off multiple magazine covers, stories, model car kits, and, of course, the made-for-television movie. The California Kid with a very hot movie star in the making, Martin Sheen, in all its hot-rodding lore is settling in.
The California Kid … The Hot Rod and The Movie

ur industry has accumulated history (lots of it) over the past many years. It’s because of this history that we now have iconic hot rods. Many of us know of and can talk about these memory makers. Interestingly, many of these hot rods are so well known we can speak of their peculiarities without having seen them in person. Such is the case with “The California Kid,” a chopped ’34 Ford three-window coupe that once belonged to Pete Chapouris of then Pete & Jake’s Hot Rod Parts. Oh, did I mention it has a distinctive flame paint scheme and the highly specific lettering on the door at the base of the window opening? (Today The Kid is owned by Jerry and Jason Slover, the current owners of Pete & Jakes, purchased in 1986, as well as Jim “Jake” Jacobs’ distinctive ’34 Ford coupe.) The California Kid ’34 Ford three-window coupe can be found in a movie, subject of model kits, and countless magazine articles. The Kid is a generational hot rod bringing together car types whose age difference spans decades, but their passion is totally in sync.

Modern Rodding logo with dropshadow
Thanks for reading our February 2023 preview issue!