Cut 'n' Buff ... How To Bring "Out" An Outstanding Paintjob
AMBR One-of-a-Kind Hemi V-8
July 2023
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Make It Yours. Make It Lokar. Modern Performance. Classic Style. Endless Options.
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
July 2023 table of contents feature article thumbnails
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
Jon Hall’s ’27 Ford Highboy Roadster
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Jim Bobowski’s ’36 Ford Custom Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Wes Allison
Beau Renfroe’s ’41 Willys
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by John Jackson
Greg Tidwell’s ’50 Ford Woodie
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Tim Sutton
Dave Jacobsen’s ’60 Chevy Impala
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Stopping Power can be Improved With the Smallest of Components
By Brian Brennan, Photography & Videography by Ryan Foss
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Could This Be America’s Most Beautiful Hemi?
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by Speed Dome Engineering & Donnie Anderson
Color Sand and Rub Tips ’N’ Tricks
By John Gilbert, Photography by the Author
Aldan’s New Road Comp Suspension for Rivieras
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by Brian Brennan
Custom Metalworking is Something We All Want for Our Hot Rods
By Ron Covell, Photography by Jon Hall & Dave Autin
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On the Cover:
As outstanding an example of workmanship is the ’27 Ford highboy roadster owned by Jon Hall of Shadow Rods and Motor City Flathead fame. Jon and Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Company collaborated on the building of this truly amazing ride. Complete with a prototype all-aluminum Flathead, this roadster made an impression at both the Grand National Roadster Show and the Detroit Autorama. Photography by John Jackson
July 2023 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 34 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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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
Headshot of Brian Brennan

First Impression

by Brian Brennan

omewhere in the deepest recesses of our minds lies that first impression of hot rodding. Doesn’t matter if it was at the curb in front of your house, your buddy’s garage, outdoor or indoor car show, rod run, drag race, or at the dry lakes or Bonneville. It’s where your imagination became “lit.” Having been exposed to all I have some experience on this topic.

Where did your first love of all things mechanical and that of future hot rods begin? More importantly, have you shared your love of cars with someone much younger to help them gain all of these life’s memories?

Rodding Around

By Brian Brennan

red gear icon 1st NSRA Street Rod Nats Peoria … Identity Found

In our May ’23 issue of Modern Rodding, we showcased a vintage photo and were able to identify several of the people in the photo. Unfortunately, we couldn’t identify who the recipient of the award was in the photo. The photo was taken at the awards ceremony of the 1st Rod & Custom Street Rod Nationals held on August 14-16, 1970, in Peoria, Illinois. Aside from the staff of R&C pulling duty it was also the Slo-Pokes Car Club out of Peoria who were instrumental in pulling off the first event. It wasn’t until a few street rod nationals later that the event carried the name it does to this day: the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. Technically the National Street Rod Association wasn’t created until after the first event.
Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS

By Brian Brennan

New Products
1. Latest in Tri-Five Garnish Molding
Should you have a Chevy Tri-Five (’55-57) Bel Air, 210 two-door hardtop, or Nomad and find yourself needing a windshield garnish molding, look no further. Golden Star Classic Auto Parts spent several years developing this highly desirable product and now it’s here. Offered as a painted pair, the windshield garnish molding (PN WS13-55GP) is also available in chrome.
Modern Rodding Feature

Outstanding typography

What More Can Be Said About Jon Hall’s ’27 Ford Highboy Roadster

By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by John Jackson ARTWORK by Eric Brockmeyer

his track-nosed ’27 Ford highboy roadster comes from longtime and well-known hot rodder Jon Hall. Many car guys will know Jon as he is the founder and owner of Shadow Rods and the owner of Motor City Flathead, both of Michigan. Both companies are longtime hot rod fixtures and an integral part of this build.

It’s been said that it takes a “lot of friends” to build your hot rod; such was the case for Jon and his ’27 Ford roadster. Beginning with a “clean sheet” and ending up with a roller, it was all done at Shadow Rods led by Jon with the likes of Randy Norton and Ashley Root. Substantial amounts of sheetmetal work was then performed by Dave Autin while considerable machining was handled by Cliff Samual. Once this team accomplished their efforts it was onto Jesse Greening and the team at Greening Auto Company (GAC) for the final push…

Modern Rodding TECH

There are three popular Duralast brake pads that can be used on your cars or trucks: the Duralast, the Duralast Gold, and the Duralast Elite.
1. There are three popular Duralast brake pads that can be used on your cars or trucks: the Duralast, the Duralast Gold, and the Duralast Elite.
Enhanced Braking Performance
Stopping Power can be Improved With the Smallest of Components
By Brian Brennan Photography & Videography by Ryan Foss

hen setting up our project car or truck, it often comes down to the smallest or simplest of parts that can make the biggest of differences. Such is the case with the brakes on our hot rods. Braking is something that we should never take for granted. As such, the brake pads (while not the most glamorous of parts) can yield the most significant results. To make sure we have the right brake pads, we looked at the Duralast line. Duralast’s three-tiered brakes offering gives you the greatest opportunity to match your driving needs.

Modern Rodding Feature

By Brian Brennan Photography by Wes Allison
"A Long-Lost Friend... Comes Back"
"A Long-Lost Friend... Comes Back"
The Jimmy Summers–Built ’36 Ford Custom Coupe Set the Tone

t was at the Grand National Roadster Show in 2022 where I first saw the Jimmy Summers ’36 Ford custom coupe. I had heard stories of this forerunner of outstanding early customs but had never seen it in person. Over the years I may have seen a few old-timey black and white snaps before being exposed to some pics of it at a recent Pebble Beach Concours. I remember thinking, “What a distinctive look.” But thanks to Jim Bobowski of New Jersey, the current owner and the one responsible for the impeccable restoration, I and many others were able to stand back and take in the amazing style.

Finally having a chance to stand there in front of the custom and take it in I thought to myself, “The stylized and flowing front-to-rear fenders truly give this custom a one-off look.”

As I’m standing there, who walks up but Alex Xydias. I figure Xydias has seen it all so I should ask him about this custom. Wow, the stories that followed.

Modern Rodding TECH

"One-Of-A-Kind Dodge"
Donnie Anderson with the assembled 354ci Hemi
1. Veteran engine builder Donnie Anderson was responsible for fabricating many of the special engine components, machine work, and the final assembly of the 354ci Dodge Hemi.
"One-Of-A-Kind Dodge"
Could This Be America’s Most Beautiful Hemi?
By Ron Ceridono Photography by Speed Dome Engineering & Donnie Anderson

o build any hot rod it takes tenacity and a clear vision of what the car will be, two traits Jack Chisenhall obviously possesses. He’s been thinking about his ’32 Ford roadster for 40 years and was determined to incorporate his love of Indycars in its construction. The culmination of his efforts is the stunning ’32 Ford roadster that was named America’s Most Beautiful Roadster 2023.

Inspired in part by Tony Capanna’s 270ci Dodge Red Ram Hemi-powered Indycar from 1955, Mopar’s littlest Hemi was deemed the best choice for his Deuce roadster project when compared to the larger DeSoto and the even larger Chrysler versions. A 325ci Dodge D-500 block was found and shipped off to Bonneville record-breaking engine builder John Beck at Pro Machine (530-343-9228). Beck blueprinted the block, bored it 0.060-inch oversize to 3.751 inches, then offset ground the crankshaft’s rod journals, increasing the stroke to 4 inches, resulting in 354 ci (actually 353.6 for those who like math).

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Cat Skinner title
Cat Skinner title
Beau Renfroe’s ’41 Willys Has Show-Winning Details and Drag Racing Roots
By Tommy Lee ByrdPhotography by John Jackson

hen Willys-Overland Motors debuted the Americar, performance was never part of the program, but the Willys coupe became a common sight at just about any dragstrip in the country during the ’60s. The Candy Apple Red ’41 Willys on these pages has gone through a huge transformation, but it once burned up the dragstrips in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas during the gasser wars of the mid ’60s. This is one of three Willys coupes campaigned by Atlanta-area racer Bogan Renfroe from 1965-70, and now belongs to his son Beau of Murrayville, Georgia, and will be handed down to the third generation. After all, this is more than just a car—it’s a member of the Renfroe family.

Modern Rodding TECH

Patience is key during any phase of the body- and paintwork
1. Patience is key during any phase of the body- and paintwork. It is also particularly true when you are cutting and buffing the final paint. Now is NOT the time to hurry. It will take plenty of hours, but perfection is worth the effort.
Color Sand and Rub Tips ’N’ Techniques
By John Gilbert Photography by THE AUTHOR

here are two types of rodders: the DIY guy who likes to do as much work on his car as he is able and the guy who can’t afford to take the time building a car demands but has the means to pay a professional.

For the DIY guy, this article will help him learn how to achieve professional results cutting and buffing paint to perfection. For the guy who can afford to pay a professional, it will help him understand why cutting and buffing to concours quality is such an expensive proposition.

Modern Rodding Feature

If at First You Don't Succeed typography
If at First You Don't Succeed typography

The First Effort was a No-Go, Then Came This ’50 Ford Woodie

By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by Tim Sutton

ne of the most frustrating experiences for any of us trying to build our next hot rod is to put the time, effort, and money into a project only to find out that it isn’t what we thought. In fact, if it is worse than we could have imagined it’s now back to square one. Such was the case of Greg Tidwell of Northern California and his current project. The ’50 Ford woodie that you see before you is the result of overcoming adversity and it’s as fine a result as one could wish. What came before, not so much.

Modern Rodding TECH

1. Buick’s ’63-65 Riviera was a stunning example of the less-is-more design philosophy. The clean and simple lines have stood the test of time. Now, thanks to Aldan American, these cars can be as pleasing to drive as they are to look at.
By Ron Ceridono Photography by Brian Brennan
Making A Buick Better
Installing and Adjusting Aldan’s New Road Comp Suspension for Rivieras

t one time Buick’s advertising slogan was: “When better automobiles are built, Buick will build them.” Arguably some of the best examples of those better Buicks they made were the ’63-65 Rivieras. Marketed as a personal luxury vehicle, Rivieras were designed to compete with such cars as the Ford Thunderbird, Chrysler 300-J, Studebaker Avanti, and even the Pontiac Grand Prix.

Introduced in late 1963 as a ’63 model, along with the classy sheetmetal came a revised version of GM’s X-frame that would be the basis for the Riviera’s new E-body chassis. While the frame was in fact new, the suspension was standard Buick with the roll centers lowered to reduce body lean. As a result, automotive writers of the day gave the Riviera high marks for its excellent balance, comfort, and agility, but there is certainly room for improvement. To that end, Aldan America has found a way to make a good thing better.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
The Right Look
Dave Jacobsen Combined the Right Amount of Looks & Power
By Brian BrennanPhotography by John Jackson

here are two for sure iconic Chevy body styles: the “bat wing” cars of 1959 and 1960 and the “bubbletop” cars introduced in 1961. In fact, at first glance, one might think a ’60 Chevy might be the revered bubbletop but, alas, it isn’t. The ’59 and ’60 body will continue to be one of the most sought-after body styles in our world of hot rodding. Dave Jacobsen of Naples, Florida, is one such hot rodder who truly is keen on the ’60 Chevy Impala and he shows us just what can be done (not overdone) to a ’60 Chevy Impala to come away with an amazing-looking hot rod.

In an interesting twist of “how did you come by your project?”, Dave found the ’60 Chevy Impala he thought would make a good starting point after stopping by a Mecum Auction. From here he brought home a pristine ’60 Chevy Impala and turned it over to Thom Speed at SaltWorks Fabrication in Sarasota, Florida.

'60 Impala in Black and Red with powder blue sky behind

Modern Rodding TECH

The first step in making a track nose is to start with the known dimensions. Here the radiator is mocked-up and a strip of steel is being bent to check the desired profile
1. The first step in making a track nose is to start with the known dimensions. Here the radiator is mocked-up and a strip of steel is being bent to check the desired profile.
By Ron Covell Photography by Jon Hall & Dave Autin
Making a Hood and Nose
Custom Metalworking is Something We all Want for Our Hot Rods

rack roadsters have been popular since the beginning of hot rodding. The style was first developed for pure race cars, but this iconic look has been used on street-driven cars for generations. Jon Hall, the founder of Shadow Rods, wanted to build a car based on one of his XL27 bodies that boasts a modern interpretation of this traditional theme.

The car was meant to be special in many ways. It features the first all-cast aluminum Flathead V-8 engine from Motor City Flathead, a division of Shadow Rods. It is fitted with numerous, one-of-a-kind accessories; most are made of cast aluminum as well. Subtle modifications to the body and chassis abound, such as a wedge section to lower the cowl, lengthened and flush-fitted doors, and a Shadow Rods–stamped ’32 Ford–style frame that has been pinched in front and sectioned in height by 1 inch. All the bodywork on this car was custom fabricated from the unique stamped firewall forward. This article shows the details of this fabulous build.

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Parting Shot

There Was Only One ... Henry Hirise typographic title
By BRIAN BRENNAN Illustrations By Dave Bell

t’s been some 11 years since we lost one of the most creative spirits our hobby has ever produced. Dave Bell left us on May 5, 2012. He spent a lifetime making people happy, making them smile, and each of us would stand in awe of his work. He was an artist, an illustrator, and a hot rodder of the highest measure.

For those of you who have been around this hobby for some time you will remember “Henry HiRise.” The unique artwork of Dave Bell was seen monthly on the pages of Street Rodder for some 40 years. With each new issue you would flip to the back of the book and begin looking at and reading Henry HiRise. It was often referred to as a “cartoon,” but the reality was it was the forerunner to social media. Henry HiRise was both a visual experience and one that you could read—yes you could read his artwork. There were all kinds of clever turns of a word or phrase. There were clues as to what was coming from a builder’s shop or what would show up at an event. His work had a visual impact but to truly enjoy it you had to read all the tidbits that filled every bit of open space. It was social media before there was social media. Dave was one of the original influencers.

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Thanks for reading our July 2023 preview issue!