Learning How To MIG Weld
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Slonaker-Winning ’32 Ford Coupe From Hollywood Hot Rods
A Complete
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& Decklid Redo
Knowing More
About Springs
Will Make
A Better Ride
Installing A Complete EFI Gas Tank System
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Knowing More About Springs Will Make A Better Ride
Kugel Komponents: A Family Who Races & Builds Hot Rods Together
June 2022
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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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
June 2022 Table of Contents article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Pat Gauntt’s Slonaker-Winning ’32 Ford Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Wes Allison
Richie Strauss’ ’55 Chevy Bel Air
By Chuck Vranas, Photography & Videography by the Author
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Woody Smith’s ’38 Ford Coupe
By Gerry Burger, Photography by the Author
Art Fortin’s ’31 Ford DeLuxe Tudor Phaeton
By Brian Brennan, Photography & Videography by Michael Christensen
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Gumer Alvero’s ’69 Chevy Camaro convertible
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Things About Springs
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by the Author
Swapping Your Chevelle Gas Tank to Accept Fuel Injection or Just Upgrade is a Worthwhile Project
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
’47 Dodge Fender and Decklid Sheetmetal Upgrades
By Curt Iseli, Photography by Cody Walls
’32 Ford Highboy Coupe Shows off its Metalwork
By Ron Covell, Photography by Troy Ladd
Portable Miller Home Units Make MIG Welding Open to all Hot Rodders
By Ron Covell, Photography by the Author
In the Shop
High-End Hot Rod Parts, Killer Projects, and Bonneville History
By Tommy Lee Byrd
Photography by Brian Brennan
On the Cover
Gracing this month’s cover is the Grand National Roadster Show’s Slonaker award-winning ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe owned by Pat Gauntt and built at Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods.
Photography by Wes Allison
Hot Rod Industry Alliance logo: 2021 Recipient of the HRIA Business of the Year Award
Modern Rodding June 2022 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 21 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 subscription@inthegaragemedia.com. Copyright (c) 2022 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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Fuel-Injection Tanks & Systems, Hydraulic-Assist Systems
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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
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By Brian Brennan
Times They are a Changin’ … Faster Than I can Ever Recall

hange is a part of life, whether we like it or not. While change is inevitable it is also inevitable that “change” isn’t going to change. For the most part we grumble but most of us adapt to change so that it fits better within our daily life. We see it all the time. However, it does seem changes are coming faster than at any time in the past. We have survived a lot, and my guess is we will continue to do so, but there are a few changes coming down the road that might be just a bit harder to swallow.

I remember the first smog emission–equipped factory muscle cars in the mid ’60s. It was a bitter pill to swallow but over time I have come to see that truly was for the better (but still a bummer). Then there was the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-1974, which put the U.S. in the crosshairs of the OPEC countries. This came about because of the Arab-Israeli War and this was my first true experience with skyrocketing gas prices. I’m sure this sounds a bit familiar to those who pay attention to the current headlines. I remember when the national speed limit went from 65 to 55 mph. You could have put a fork in me and called me “done.” I struggled with that one for its duration. Well, changes are coming faster and are more impactful. Frankly, I cannot remember a time when gasoline prices have escalated so quickly and achieved such record highs. Unfortunately, this current escalation doesn’t appear to be going downward anytime soon.

And that brings me to our latest—especially for those of us living in California, but don’t get too smug. This change will make its way across the country like so many other automotive and other lifestyle changes have a way of doing.

Rodding Around
PHOTO By Ed Justice Jr.
Alex Xydias and his family celebrating his birthday

red gear icon Happy 100th to Alex Xydias

There are some birthdays that just seem to mean more to us than others. But for any of us to reach our 100th, that’s an accomplishment. This is a birthday bash worth sharing with our friends. Such was the case for Alex Xydias of SO-CAL Speed Shop fame, land speed racer, industry notable, and all around hot rodder. His list of accomplishments throughout the years is truly staggering.

Bruce Meyer hosted a “birthday party” of note on Alex’s 100th birthday (March 23) and did so by inviting an impressive list of friends and hot rodders who have made a difference over the decades. These hot rod pioneers included Ed Iskenderian, himself having celebrated his 100th birthday, Ed Pink who is 90, Don Prudhomme who is 80, and many others we recognize from the accompanying photo. It was up to Myer to serve as host and began the day’s activities with great stories of the past, including the restoration of Alex’s SO-CAL Speed Shop belly tank.

Congratulations to Alex on his 100th birthday and thank you for the so many great memories he created that fill our record books in many ways.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
New Products

By Brian Brennan

1. Bolt-In Underdash Hydraulic Clutch & Pedal System
American Powertrain now offers new Hydramax applications for five- and six-speed GM models. This Hydramax kit is designed for a wide variety of the ’64-72 GM A-body, ’67-81 GM F-body, and ’62-74 Nova, all equipped with five- and six-speeds. There are many other Hydramax kits available for other GM models, including ’55-57 Chevys.

The new Hydramax kit includes a master cylinder, clutch pedal, lines, and a billet Hydramax hydraulic slave cylinder bearing. The conical slave cylinder is pre-bled, dual-sealed, and comes with shims to adjust the distance to the clutch fingers for any type of clutch setup. Included is a billet reservoir to finish out the installation. These kits work with any TREMEC transmission, including the T5, TKO/TKX, and T56 Magnum six-speed. The included clutch pedal allows for easy conversion to hydraulic or an automatic car to manual. The hydraulic pedal is also available for purchase separately, with no hydraulic slave.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Brian Brennan Photography by Wes Allison Illustrations By e. Black Design Co.
Like a Fine Wine typography
The Idea and the Build of This ’32 Ford Three-Window Coupe Took Time … Lots of Time
’32 Ford

well thought out hot rod build is much like a fine wine: It gets better with time. To rush to completion will only lead to disappointment. Use wisely the obligatory time and the results will yield the look and “taste” of success.

A quick backstory tells us this ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe originally gained traction through the ideas of Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods (HHR) fame and expressed through the crisp and well-detailed artwork of Eric Black of e. Black Design Co. This idea gained its impetus through a magazine story put forth by Tim Bernsau of Rod & Custom many years back. The thought was to take a traditional American hot rod and add European sports car design elements. Over the course of time the project went from a collaboration of Ladd and Black to a hot rodder with the foresight and wherewithal to make sure the build would come to fruition—Pat Gauntt. And so went Pat’s ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe built at HHR in Burbank, California. Although the original design concept with Ladd and Black began in 2007, the actual physical build took about six years, making its debut at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show. It caught a lot of people’s attention, especially the judges for the Al Slonaker Memorial Award presented by ARP, as they awarded the coveted trophy to this ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe.

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Modern Rodding Tech

By Ron Ceridono Photography by THE AUTHOR & Courtesy of Eaton Detroit Spring & The Hot Rod Library
Suspension Basics Title
Things About Springs

1. Eaton Detroit Spring has been manufacturing springs since 1937. Today Mike Eaton and his daughter Kim, grandson, and great-granddaughter of the founders run the company.

1. Eaton Detroit Spring has been manufacturing springs since 1937. Today Mike Eaton and his daughter Kim, grandson, and great-granddaughter of the founders run the company.

hen most hot rodders think of steel it likely has something to do with a structure that requires strength and rigidity. When Mike Eaton of Eaton Detroit Spring thinks about steel his concern is strength and flexibility.

As Eaton explains it, springs must be made from steel with high yield strength. In other words, a material that will bounce back to its original shape after significant pressure is applied, and the best material for that is SAE 5160 high alloy spring steel. While you can’t tell by looking, there are cheap off-shore springs that use inferior 1095 steel that will sag or possibly break—the best indication of quality is to remember you get what you pay for.

Leaf springs are found in three basic configurations: Multileaf springs are made from heat-treated strips of SAE 5160 steel, in diminishing lengths, formed to a predetermined arch and held together by a bolt to the center; monoleaf springs are a single, heat-treated plate of steel whose thickness is uniformly tapered from the center toward each end; and parabolic springs are multiple monoleaf springs that consist of two or more tapered leaves.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Chuck Vranas Photography & Videography by THE AUTHOR
Time Traveler
Richie Strauss’ Classic ’55 Chevy Bel Air

t doesn’t matter if your car was pro built, crafted in a home garage, or recently purchased on the used market, evolution will naturally follow as the years pass by. The classic ’55 Chevy Bel Air laid out across our pages, owned by Richie Strauss of Westwood, Massachusetts, is one such car that’s traveled through the time tunnel with a great story to tell since being originally built by the talented team at Classic Resurrection in Grove City, Ohio, well over a decade ago for longstanding client Michael Haughn of Columbus. Thankfully, the Bel Air had spent its entire life in California and was never subjected to the horrors of East Coast living where steel gets ravaged on a yearly basis from harsh winters and road salt.

One of the coolest things about hot rodding is that once a build hits the streets, it can continue to evolve after the owner starts laying down the miles. It’s a rare moment in time where you can consider a hopped-up car ever really done thanks to an endless stream of innovation arriving on a regular basis from the aftermarket incorporating the latest technology into everything from engine performance to chassis and suspension dynamics, advanced braking, interior comforts, and electronics. Automotive performance being the backbone of our hobby lets us fuse the latest and greatest advancements into our rides.

Modern Rodding Tech


1. Geoff Jones at Hot Rods By Dean is positioning our Classic Performance Products (CPP) complete fuel injection–ready gas tank under our project ’64 Chevelle.

A Tank Full Title
1. Geoff Jones at Hot Rods By Dean is positioning our Classic Performance Products (CPP) complete fuel injection–ready gas tank under our project ’64 Chevelle.
Swapping Your Chevelle Gas Tank to Accept Fuel Injection or Just Upgrade is a Worthwhile Project

By Brian Brennan Photography by THE AUTHOR


aintaining a clean fuel system is imperative to keeping your hot rod running. In our case, we have a ’65 Chevelle in need of a fresh tank and one that will handle the performance demands going forward. (This tank will also work on ’64-67 A-body cars.)

One of the major fuel system components is the gas tank. It’s here we incorporated a Complete Fuel Injection Ready Tank Kit with a 24-gallon tank (PN MS6467CFIT-K) from Classic Performance Products (CPP) that will be up to the demands of our EFI-equipped motor. The CPP tank kit includes a 255-LPH in-tank pump that supports up to 600 hp. You can also order an optional high-volume pump with the proper installation components ready to handle your higher horsepower needs. Something else to keep in mind as this gas tank system will work very well with your small-block Chevy or an LS motor. It should also be noted should you have a carburetor this CPP gas tank will work just fine. However, to make the system work properly you will need to use a different filter/regulator setup. The main issue here is to regulate the fuel pressure down from approximately 58 psi to something along the lines of 5-7 psi. The CPP fuel filter/regulator provided is factory set at 58 psi. It should be noted that the pump included in the CPP kit unregulated can push upwards of 100 psi but the flow rate will drop significantly. Additionally, the adjustable-external regulator would be accompanied by a separate inline fuel filter. (Should you be wanting to run one of the LT family of motors there’s a separate system required because of the fuel delivery demands. We will come back and visit this same CPP gas tank, but this time set up for an LT V-8 later.) Next stop was onto Hot Rods By Dean to work with Geoff Jones to take care of the installation.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Baby Zephyr title
Baby Zephyr title
A Perfect Blend of Vintage ’38 Ford Parts Produce One Smooth Burgundy Coupe
By Gerry BurgerPhotography by THE AUTHOR

oody Smith is not new to traditional hot rodding. He has been into cars since he was a kid growing up in Tucson, Arizona. He fondly remembers going to the local theater with his dad to watch the Indy 500, live, in black and white, on the big screen cheering on local hero Roger McCluskey. Yes, and while he left Tucson for Louisville, Kentucky, a long time ago, the racing and rodding seeds were sown. All this leading up to this ’38 Ford coupe powered by a vintage Flathead V-12.

Fifteen years ago he built a ’28 Ford roadster, fenderless, full belly pan, with a hopped-up V-12 Lincoln between the ’rails. The roadster was a fun hot rod that provided miles of smiles and went on to win the Extreme Nostalgic Roadster Award at the Detroit Autorama in 2009. Not long after Detroit Woody began thinking of his next hot rod. This time it would have a roof, and it would be a roof like no other.

You see, he had this vision to build the coupe Ford never built, a ’38 Ford three-window coupe. Ford stopped making three-window coupes in 1936, yet the Lincoln Zephyr, while larger, had a beautifully flowing three-window coupe. Woody wanted to combine the elegant sweeping lines of the Lincoln with the proportions of the smaller Ford body. To say this is a complex build would be an understatement and while Woody had the vision for his “Baby Zephyr,” he was wise enough to know his limitations. Being a retired aircraft mechanic, he knows his way around a hot rod, but this level of metal fabrication takes a master metal man. That’s where Randy Riall and his shop, Rods by Rowdy in Floyds Knob, Kentucky, came into play. Woody and Randy are longtime friends, so after several lengthy bench racing sessions Randy simply said, “You bring me the car and we’ll build it.” The year was 2010.

Modern Rodding Tech

Making it Better typography

1. A phone call to Eric Black of e. Black Design brought forth some ideas on where to take this ’47 Dodge.

1. A phone call to Eric Black of e. Black Design brought forth some ideas on where to take this ’47 Dodge.
Making it Better typography
’47 Dodge Fender and Decklid Sheetmetal Upgrades
By Curt Iseli Photography by Cody Walls Illustration by e. BLACK DESIGN CO.

he story of Doug Melson’s ’47 Dodge coupe is an all-too-familiar one. Doug is a hot rodder from the quaint Delaware town of Dagsboro, just a few minutes inland from the sands of the Atlantic shore. Back around 2007 he was at an auction a short hop down the eastern seaboard in Ocean City, Maryland, when the ’47 crossed the block and Doug waved the high bid. It was a finished, painted car, modestly customized and ready to cruise. Or so he thought.

Seventeen miles into the 20-mile drive home the rearend seized and spit out the driveshaft. Apparently, the car left the shop where it was built without a drop of gear oil in the rear. It would have been nice if that was the builder’s only oversight, but Doug soon discovered it was a harbinger of a long list of “oversights” that would lead to the complete de-construction and re-imagining of the car at the hands of Cody Walls at Traditional MetalCraft.

Walls has been practicing metal shaping since 1999 when he enrolled in high school auto body class in his native Georgetown, Delaware. His early efforts earned him a full scholarship to WyoTech (during which time he sold the slammed, wire-wheeled ’64 Impala he built in high school to cover his living expenses), and by 2002 he was working at the well-known East Coast Hot Rod Garage under the tutelage of Ray Bartlett. After five years with Bartlett’s crew, he struck out as a freelancer for various East Coast rod and restoration shops. Then in 2015 he founded Traditional MetalCraft where he single-handedly tackles everything from mild custom modifications to complete, hand-crafted bodies and ground-up hot rod builds.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Tale of a Tub

Art Fortin’s ’31 Ford DeLuxe Tudor Phaeton With Vintage V-8 and Chevy Tri-Power

By Brian Brennan Photography & Videography by Michael Christensen

t’s been a while since the phaeton has been seen much on the hot rodding scene. Over the past few months, we’ve shown you how Art Fortin of NorCal put together his ’31 Ford two-door highboy phaeton over the past 10 years. The build articles by Gerry Burger showed us how the Deuce chassis was fabricated and outfitted with many traditional rodding fair (MR Apr. ’22 and May ’22; inthegaragemedia.com/build-a-deuce-chassis-for-a-1931-ford-model-a-phaeton-tale-of-a-tub/ and inthegaragemedia.com/1931-ford-phaeton-vintage-tin-model-a-deluxe-tale-of-a-tub/). He wanted the traditional build to mimic something that would have been around in 1959 or 1960. From there it was onto the body- and paintwork on the original steel ’31 Ford DeLuxe Tudor phaeton. Our build coverage is wrapped up so onto the results.

Modern Rodding TECH


By Ron Covell Photography by Troy Ladd Illustration by e. BLACK DESIGN CO.
Before the Slonaker Award There was Lots of Metalwork typography
’32 Ford Highboy Coupe Shows Off its Metalwork
renderings for the Gauntt coupe, done by Eric Black
1. Eric Black did the renderings for the Gauntt coupe.

ome of the most eye-catching vehicles at the recent Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) in Pomona were in competition for the Al Slonaker award—the contest for all vehicles not eligible for the headlining America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award. The winner was the Pat Gauntt ’32 Ford coupe built by Hollywood Hot Rods (HHR) under the direction of Troy Ladd; it took home the ARP custom trophy and the $15,000 check.

Gauntt had his eye on some of HHR’s past work, but since the car he wanted wasn’t for sale, he commissioned them to build a very special car for him. The concept of this car is rather unique—adapting European sports car elements to a thoroughly American hot rod.

This was a multi-year project, and Gauntt gave Ladd free reign to develop the concept to the ultimate extent of his vision. Ladd works closely with designer Eric Black, and they had hatched the concept for a car with this theme several years ago. He built a roadster with a related theme a few years ago, the “Brooklands Special,” and with the green light for the new project from Gauntt, they doubled down and found some creative ways to expand the vision, then quickly commenced with the construction.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
A True Fair-Weather Friend title
A True Fair-Weather Friend title
This ’69 Camaro Drop-Top Was Made for Florida
By Brian BrennanPhotography by John Jackson

any of us build our dream hot rod based on what we have envisioned in our mind. For Gumer Alvero of Minnesota his dream was to have a ’69 Camaro convertible built to represent a modernized Pro Touring ride. Coupled to that, the convertible top was to sit below the beltline when recessed. Gumer, having followed the work of BBT Fabrications out of Illinois, was intrigued with their talents, which led him to contact Troy Gudgel.

Working from renderings put to paper by artist Victor Fulton, Gudgel could see immediately that there would be a problem with the soft top sitting below the beltline. Noting this was a requisite of Gumer’s final plan, Gudgel began to work on a solution. The problem stemmed from the size of the compulsory wheelwells that were obligatory to house the oversized wheels and tires. Gudgel realized that the staff at BBT could overcome this problem by building an aluminum liftoff hardtop. Having a liftoff top would be a relatively simple obstacle to overcome as the Camaro is intended to spend much of its life in Florida—topless. What started out as a handful of sheetmetal mods to be performed at BBT turned into a complete build.

A quick review of the BBT sheetmetal work performed is substantive. Along with the liftoff top there was more aluminum handiwork, such as the hood and engine bay panels. From here the front valance, rocker panels, taillight panel, rear lower valance, rear spoiler, and front and rear bumpers were devised. More one-offs include the taillights, door handles, mirrors, and exhaust tips along with flush-mount windshield and back glass. Once this metalwork was accomplished, the final body- and paintwork was handled by Dutchboys Hotrods in Michigan. The BASF Bentley Moroccan Blue Pearl was sprayed under the watchful eye of the father and son team of Joe and Paul VanNus of Dutchboys. All the appointed black chrome comes by way of Ogden Plating in Utah.

Modern Rodding Tech

Learning How to Mig Weld
Portable Miller Home Units Make MIG Welding Open to all Hot Rodders

1. This is a modern, affordable MIG welder that has all the capability needed for nearly any automotive project, including bodywork and chassis repair or modification.

Modern Rodding Tech

Learning How to Mig Weld
Portable Miller Home Units Make MIG Welding Open to all Hot Rodders
1. This is a modern, affordable MIG welder that has all the capability needed for nearly any automotive project, including bodywork and chassis repair or modification.

By Ron Covell Photography by THE AUTHOR


elding is a transformative skill for anyone who works on vintage vehicles. It enables you to accomplish so many tasks that require permanently joining metal components, and it’s a skill that most people can learn with some practice. The principles of welding are easy to understand: the parts to be welded are heated to their melting temperature, then caused to flow together—often with the addition of some filler material. As simple as this sounds, there is some knowledge and skill required to make a weld that is strong and good looking.

Welding technology is always evolving; the newest machines are small, light, and easy to set up. If you want to learn to weld, there has never been a better time. Oxyacetylene and stick welding have been around for ages, and they still have their place, but in the world of car builders, MIG and TIG welding lead the pack. We’ll focus on MIG welding in this article and cover TIG soon.

MIG is the most popular type of welding worldwide. The equipment is affordable and easy to set up, and the process is relatively easy to learn. MIG works well for nearly any automotive application—from the thin metal used for bodywork to the heavier material used for chassis modification and repair.

Modern Rodding In the Shop
Kugel Komponents
High-End Hot Rod Parts, Killer Projects, and Bonneville History
High-End Hot Rod Parts, Killer Projects, and Bonneville History
In The Shop
 Jerry Kugel stands next to a beautiful ’32 Ford roadster, with a great selection of project vehicles in the background.
By Tommy Lee Byrd Photography & Videography by Brian Brennan

cons of the hot rod world often share a love for speed, but very few can compare to the lifelong passion of Jerry Kugel and his gearhead family. Not only has Jerry conquered many milestones at Bonneville, but he has also provided innovative products for hot rodders around the world. His company, Kugel Komponents, is known for its independent front and rear suspension systems. We recently had the chance to visit the shop in La Habra, California, and a closer look reveals a multitude of problem-solving hot rod parts and a shop packed with great project vehicles.

From a wicked ’64 Ford Fairlane project with a 427ci Ford SOHC engine to Jerry’s personal record-breaking Bonneville cars, the shop has a wide variety of eye candy. The shop is also where parts are designed, developed, and built, and then go through real-world testing before entering the marketplace. While Kugel Komponents is the brainchild of Jerry Kugel, he relies on his sons, Jeff and Joe, as well as his daughter Jerilyn to keep the business rolling. The other employees in the company feel like part of the family and have decades of experience.

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Thanks for reading our June 2022 preview issue!