It’s Bikini (Clip) Time for Our ’57 Ford Wagon typography
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How-Tos: typography
Better to be Seen: Installing '37 Ford Tailights typography
Punched Out: Behind the Scene on Louvers typography
It's in the Details: Refreshing Brake Calipers typography
High Roller: Building a Maxed-Out Chassis typography
LS-Powered Mid-Engine "RareVair" typography
The 52nd Annual NSRA Street Rods Nats article snapshot
Back and Better:

The 52nd Annual NSRA Street Rods Nats
November 2021
Preview Issue
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
November 2021 Table of Contents article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Lonnie Gilbertson’s ’65 Corvair
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Dale Moreau
Dennis Varni’s ’39 Mercury Custom
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Michael Christensen
Tom Firth’s ’32 Ford Roadster
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Wes Allison
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Fred Hardee’s ’52 Nash Rambler Airflyte Greenbrier Wagon
By Shawn Brereton, Photography by the Author
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Scott Downey’s ’64 Chevy Chevelle
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Grant Cox
Dressing Up a Chassis With an AME Bikini Clip
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by Brian Brennan & Tate Radford
The Venerable ’37 Ford Taillight Finds a Home Bringing Up the Rear of a Model A Pickup
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
Jimmy Shine Gives Us the Inside Story
By Tony Thacker, Photography by the Author
The Sather Coupe Chassis is Ready
By Gerry Burger
Refresh Your Brake Calipers Without Breaking the Bank
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by the Author
Louisville, Kentucky
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
Modern Rodding November 2021 cover
On the Cover
You will not often see a Corvair on the cover of a hot rod magazine but we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity with Lonnie Gilbertson’s ’65 Corvair aptly titled “RareVair.” The mid-engine LS-powered Chevy sports car packs plenty of wallop and can easily carve up those turns.
Photography by Dale Moreau
Duralast official oe replacement parts of Modern Rodding
Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 14 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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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


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Printed in the USA.

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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
Brian Brennan headshot
It’s Like I’ve Taken a Fresh Breath
By Brian Brennan

t’s time to wrap up 2021, and for all it’s been a year worth remembering. On behalf of most of us it was a better year than 2020 but not quite where we would have liked it to be. I sheltered plenty of apprehension as I still couldn’t get out and about like in the “old days.” There was this lingering and continual heightened awareness, which I am sure all of us shared. However, I believe I have just taken my first full and deep breath in nearly two years.

Life, you know the one where we have a family to watch over, a yard to mow, a dog to walk, a cat to answer to, and (in my case) grandkids to smile over–that life. All the normal things we have come to take for granted during our lifetime that within the past two years has endured a major reset. If it wasn’t politics then it was a national health crisis, but life most assuredly threw us curves along the way. And, how many of us could have imagined an economy that was growing exponentially just to be hit with severe supply chain issues that appear will be with us for at least another year and a half. I can look off the coastal beaches where I live and I’m told there are as many as a 167 freighters and tankers just idling. Well, that can’t be good! So now I’m wondering what Christmas will be like for those who like to “shower” their kids and grandkids with gifts? I am going to be a bit self-serving here, but what about my car parts? (Mentioned this topic in a previous issue.) But let’s stay positive as we have plenty to be thankful for. I’m not prepared to say life is over as we once knew it, but there’s a monumental shift in life’s plan and each of us will have to withstand this change.

Rodding Around
By Brian Brennan
red gear icon Barrett-Jackson Helps Raise $1 Million for Honor Flight Network
It’s about time but we as a nation, and individuals, are finally realizing it’s time to help those who help so many of us. Barrett-Jackson is no stranger to car auctions and lending a helping hand to many charities and worthwhile causes. Charitable auctions are a mainstay at Barrett-Jackson events as the auction company has helped raise over $135 million for non-profit organizations to date. Recently the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Houston event was held and while all of the “good things” that happen at any car auction took place there was one in particular that really stands out. A ’56 Chevy 150 that spent its life as a U.S. Army sedan came up for auction. The goal was to use it to help raise $1 million for Honor Flight Network.

Barrett-Jackson’s generous bidders opened up their hearts in support of our nation’s veterans and their families. This Chevy 150 was initially sold for $425,000 on Saturday afternoon. It was immediately donated back, igniting a second round of bidding that raised an additional $400,000. Another generous bidder pledged $175,000 at the event, bringing the total raised to $1 million benefiting Honor Flight Network.

Now, that’s stepping up helping those who really can use a bit of help. According to the Honor Flight organization their mission is to transport American veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country.

For more info on the Honor Flight Network visit

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
E3 Spark Plugs ultra-lightweight lithium iron phosphate starter battery; Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs’ CNC-machined billet aluminum universal Hot Rod Gas Pedal parts; 2 Wilwood 2-inch drop ProSpindles
E3 Spark Plugs ultra-lightweight lithium iron phosphate starter battery
Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs’ CNC-machined billet aluminum universal Hot Rod Gas Pedal parts
2 Wilwood 2-inch drop ProSpindles
1. E3 Spark Plugs Introduces E3 Lithium Batteries
E3 Spark Plugs announced the introduction of a line of ultra-lightweight lithium iron phosphate starter batteries. Born from cutting-edge nanoscale materials, these batteries were chosen by the world’s supercar manufacturers and proven on the Formula 1 and NASCAR podiums.

Initially, the product line features nine offerings, covering applications for hot rods and street rods, motorsports, powersports, and marine. The two flagship batteries are the SuperLite 1200 and the SuperLite 1600. The SuperLite 1200 is a 13.2V, 1200 Pulse Cranking Amp battery that features 24.8 amp hours of capacity but weighs a feather-light 6.9 pounds (3.1 Kg). The larger SuperLite 1600, also known as The Beast, puts out a whopping 1,600 pulse cranking amps and has 32 amp hours of capacity. Thanks to its custom carbon-fiber case, the 13.2V Beast weighs a mere 8.9 pounds.

Both batteries feature an Integrated Double Redundant Battery Management System that maintains constant cell balancing to ensure that the output of the individual lithium packs inside the battery maintain equal output and charge levels at all times. In addition, the BMS offers the following attributes to ensure years of trouble-free power delivery from your E3 lithium battery.

For more info, check out E3 Spark Plugs by calling (904) 567-5994 or visit
2. Pedal to the Metal
Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs’ CNC-machined billet aluminum universal Hot Rod Gas Pedal features a reversible mount, reversible pedal pad, and clockable arms to fit as many applications as possible. The internal needle-bearing thrust washers and brass bushing provide a lifetime of smooth operation. The spring-loaded pedal pad with machined grip maintains 100 percent contact with your shoe throughout travel, giving you that solid and secure feel like a brand-new car.

Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs manufacturers IFS, four-bar kits, and an extensive list of chassis for any vehicle from 1925-1987. Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, in April 2018.

For more info, check out Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs by calling (800) 273-5195 or visit
3. Next Generation of Spindles & Brakes
Wilwood has released their 2-inch drop ProSpindle for General Motors second-generation ’70-81 F-body, ’73-76 A-body, ’75-79 X-body, and related B-body cars using Wilwood brakes. The high-strength, cast-steel ProSpindle is more rigid than OEM and eliminates the factory sliding caliper mount, allowing multiple Wilwood brake upgrades. The steering arm has also been strengthened for more accurate steering and better handling with modern tires. Wilwood engineered the direct caliper mount to provide a fortified attachment for five new brake kits. Options include rotors ranging from 11.000 to 14.00 inches in diameter and high-performance four- or six-piston calipers. The ProSpindles mount to OE ball joints in stock or aftermarket control arms with no change to steering geometry.
For more info, check out Wilwood Engineering by calling (805) 388-1188 or visit
Modern Rodding FEATURE
’65 Corvair Sports a Mid-Engine–Mounted Corvette LS3
By Brian BrennanPhotography by Dale Moreau

e could have easily titled this story “Pull Me Over Red” as that truly is the Chevrolet name of this factory color. But alas we didn’t give way and stayed the course as to what the ’65 Corvair Corsa really is–a RareVair. (The Corsa is to the Corvair what the SS is to the Chevrolet line.) If you have followed along the past two issues of Modern Rodding you will be aware of the construction articles penned by Ron Ceridono on this RareVair. What was once an old and tired ’65 Corvair is now resurrected into a ’65 RareVair brimming full with great ideas, amazing craftsmanship, and nifty parts all from the fertile mind of Lonnie Gilbertson of Oregon.

Modern Rodding TECH
By Ron Ceridono Photography by Brian Brennan & Tate Radford
Bikini Season - Article Title Typography
Dressing Up a Chassis With an Art Morrison Enterprises Bikini Clip

t’s been fascinating to witness the changes that have taken place in hot rodding over the years—most notably the inclusion of cars that at one time would not have been considered to be raw material to build a legitimate hot rod. While the foundation of the hobby was based on cars of the ’40s and earlier, the interest in vehicles produced during the ’50s and ’60s continues to grow—and some of the coolest of them all are station wagons. A case in point is Colin and Sue Radford’s ’57 Ford Del Rio Ranch Wagon.

Two-door wagons, like the Radfords’ long roof, can be cool cruisers and utilitarian to boot. What a great way to haul family and friends to a show, a swap meet, or just go for a cruise. But while cars of this era are arguably better drivers than their earlier counterparts, they can certainly benefit from upgrades. Typically these cars can use improvements in the suspension department—standard steering can require the arm strength of Popeye to turn a corner, not to mention parking, and the power steering of the day was usually over-assisted, vague, and prone to leaking from a variety of hoses. Brakes are generally not what you want to rely on in a panic stop and the front suspension geometry wasn’t designed with spirited driving in mind.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
To the North Pole and Back title
To the North Pole and Back title
You Think We’re Kidding; Read On …
By Brian BrennanPhotography by Michael Christensen

hile this story is about a ’39 Merc mild custom, it’s also as much about the owner Dennis Varni. Dennis is no stranger to hot rodding, swap meets, Bonneville, or the Bay Area Roadsters. He’s been part of all aspects of the rodding life for most of his “many” years on this planet. Nonetheless, if there ever were a rodder who all of us should meet it’s Dennis. To say “he’s done it all” may be hyperbole but it isn’t too far from the truth. And we aren’t kidding about the North Pole–really.

Modern Rodding Tech

1. We stopped off at Hot Rods by Dean and enlisted the help of Dean Livermore for the ’37 Ford taillight project on our ’28 Ford pickup. Needed something smoother than a stocker lamp.

1. We stopped off at Hot Rods by Dean and enlisted the help of Dean Livermore for the ’37 Ford taillight project on our ’28 Ford pickup. Needed something smoother than a stocker lamp.

Sometimes it Truly is Better to be Seen

The Venerable ’37 Ford Taillight Finds a Home Bringing up the Rear of a Model A Pickup

By Brian Brennan Photography by The Author


here’s an old adage about “being seen and not heard.” Well, that has a significant impact (excuse the pun) when you are driving a hot rod and the subject are your taillights. In this day and age it really doesn’t matter how many taillights your hot rod came with, you should have two and if at all possible the LED style with their incredible brightness is an ideal way to go. When building our ’28 Ford Model A pickup there was little doubt that two taillights would be far better than a single. But we didn’t want to go with a Model A type twice over. What to do? In talking it over with Dean Livermore of Hot Rods by Dean he suggested a pair of ’37 Ford taillights. He has done this exact swap a number of times in the past and it always turns out to be very good looking. So, we did it.

Back in the day a Model A would have had a single taillight from the factory but it was a common practice for Ford to recommend to dealers to install a second taillight on Model As as a way of selling more product and boosting safety. It was also recognizing the fact that several states had already mandated that all new cars sold should have two taillights. The proverbial handwriting was on the wall. It wouldn’t be long before all Detroit-produced iron would have two taillights.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
North of the Border by Way of SoCal
By Brian Brennan Photography by Wes Allison

everal years ago, this ’32 Ford roadster belonging to Tom Firth of Canada and built by Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory was in contention for the 2020 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster—and no wonder as the look and craftsmanship are outstanding. Frequently you can tell if a hot rod truly has the right look by how it stands the test of time. Do the rodders of today like it as much as the rodders of the day? This Deuce roadster is a long way from being an “old build.” Now, having seen it again for the first time in several years I believe it can be said that this car will be a favorite for many years to come. Affectionately called the “Brownstone Roadster” (the GM color sprayed on), it was the name given to it during the AMBR competition. It’s the type of hot rod that you look at once, walk away, and then find yourself going back multiple times. You want to make sure you didn’t miss some detail, as in my case, for I went back multiple times and quickly realized how much I had missed in my previous visits.

Tom Firth’s ’32 Ford Roadster Hails from Canada but is all SoCal in its Heritage
’32 Ford Roadster
Modern Rodding Tech
Punching Hot Rod Louvers
Jimmy Shine Gives Us the Inside Story
By Tony Thacker Photography By The Author

oogle “louvers” and odds are you will find images of Datsuns, DeLoreans, Mustangs, and the like with louvers—plastic rear window louvers not hot rod louvers. Despite their popularity, very little seems to have been written about this aesthetic and functional device.
Few, if any, early hot rods, say from the ’30s, had louvers beyond those that Henry Ford punched in the hood sides. Of course over on the oval tracks you can see louvers begin to pop up and down in the hood sides of race cars where they were nothing but functional to get hot air out of the engine compartment.

Of course the legendary American race car builder Harry Miller was not opposed to a row or two but if you really wanted louvers in your race cars you had to look to the German “Silver Arrows” of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz. They were literally covered with innies and outies.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Shawn Brereton Photography & Videography By THE AUTHOR

s the United States recovered after World War II, the automotive industry was dogfighting to capture customers’ attention. Good news for consumers, seeing as three out of five families owned cars. Competition breeds innovation and auto manufacturers developed ingenious inventions for an increasingly mobile country. Unfortunately, some smaller pioneering companies like Nash Motors couldn’t survive the skirmishes, but some of their ideas still live on today.

Green With Envy text
Fred Hardee’s ’52 Nash Rambler Airflyte Greenbrier Wagon
1952 Nash Rambler
Modern Rodding Tech
1. Of course before any of the final finish could be applied the entire chassis was assembled, from fuel and brake lines to big items like engine and trans. Once all systems checked out it was disassembled for paint, polish, and plating.
By Gerry Burger
The Sather Coupe Chassis is Ready

uilding a hot rod involves decisions, lots of decisions. They range from wheels and tires to the myriad of possible body mods, paint colors, and then there is the whole group of decisions that define how your hot rod performs. If all of these decisions are made thoughtfully you end up with the perfect hot rod harmony.

The first decision for most of us is stock frame or aftermarket frame. That turned out to be a non-issue for Bill Sather as he began this build with just a steel ’34 Ford five-window coupe body. Since there was no original chassis aftermarket would supply the frame and since one very early decision was to have a BDS 6-71 blown, LS-family 427 between the rails the chassis would have to be stout. Understanding all these requirements the team at BBT Fabrications placed a call to Walden Speed Shop and had them build an all-new ’34 chassis with tubular crossmembers. Like the rest of this build the chassis is a blend of traditional hot rodding with the finest modern construction methods.

Continuing in the traditional vein, the front suspension consists of a buggy spring and dropped I-beam located with a set of hairpin radius rods. Shock brackets and shocks are from SO-CAL Speed Shop and every bit of the front suspension is either polished stainless or chrome plated so there is plenty of sparkle up front. Front brakes are yet another melding of traditional looks and modern safety. Inside the Walden Speed Shop Kinmont-inspired brakes you’ll find a set of Wilwood calipers bringing things to a halt.

Out back the tradition continues with a chrome-plated transverse spring mounted to a polished quick-change rear with a set of tube shocks putting a damper on things. Long rear radius rods locate the housing.

Power for the coupe comes in the form of an ’18, 427ci Chevrolet engine built by Texas Speed to accept the aforementioned fully polished BDS 6-71 Blower and Hilborn/Holley fuel injection. The engine is dressed with Billet Specialties–adapted, traditional-style, small-block valve covers, so at first glance you could be forgiven if you thought this was an early small-block motor. A Gearstar-modified 4L75E transmission passes the power to the rear wheels with a Lokar shifter selecting the gears. All this rolls around on a set of genuine magnesium Halibrand wheels. When it comes to traditional rolling stock you just can’t top a set of real Halibrands wrapped in Coker Tire Firestones.

So that’s a quick overview of the chassis and driveline that will reside under the Sather coupe. All of it is assembled and formed with the usual outrageous attention to detail team BBT puts into every build. This story is not particularly about how to build a great chassis, rather it is an illustration of making good decisions and assembling all the right pieces to provide the looks and performance desired. So, take a closer look at the photos and you are sure to find details that may help you when it comes time for you to make your own hot rod choices. In the end it’s up to you, hot rod harmony or maybe a song only you can sing.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Brian Brennan Photography by Grant Cox
A Stitch in Time typography
When You Own an Upholstery Shop, Your Ride is Both Your Car and Your Card

his ’64 Chevy Chevelle 300 two-door wagon is rare indeed. The Chevelle was the U.S. auto industry’s only all-new car for 1964 and was positioned to fill the gap between the small Chevy II and the fullsized Chevrolet models. Although there were almost 340,000 Chevelles (coupes, convertibles, sedans, hardtops, and wagons in two- and four-door) produced, the two-door 300 wagon is a rarity. This also included a coupe utility (El Camino), which was a derivative of the two-door wagon. In line with other Chevrolet series, the two-door hardtops were called Sport coupes. Four-door hardtops, dubbed Sport Sedans, were available in 1966-1972. A two-door sedan and station wagon was available in 1964 and 1965 in the base 300 series. 

Scott Downey of Kansas has long been a hot rodder, having grown up in a family obsessed with this era of cars. Following through, he’s currently an automotive upholsterer with a real passion for Chevelles and El Caminos and figures this Chevelle 300 wagon is the best of both worlds. It took Scott and his friend Ross Harrison two years to bring this two-door wagon to its current state, which many call “state of the art.”

'64 Chevy Chevelle 300 two-door wagon
Modern Rodding Tech
By Tommy Lee Byrd Photography by THE AUTHOR
Budget Brake Job
Refresh Your Brake Calipers Without Breaking the Bank

hances are likely that you’ve performed your share of brake jobs. Whether it’s a daily driver, a hot rod, or an old truck, a good day’s work (as long as things go smoothly) can give you a sense of satisfaction that your vehicle will now be safe and dependable for thousands of miles. But what if you buy an old car that runs and drives great but looks terrible underneath? No matter how nice it drives, you’ll pick away at the details until the appearance meets your standard. Some might use this as an excuse to upgrade to an aftermarket brake kit. We were pleased with the performance and simply wanted a new look.

The car we’re working on already has disc brakes that work nicely. Upon inspection, the rotors look a little worn but they still function properly and have many more miles of service ahead of them. However, when we decided to swap to a new set of wheels, we realized that everything in the wheelwell shared the same shade of rust. This was especially apparent after we slid a new wheel over the studs and saw the crusty old brake caliper making itself visible between the spokes. It was time for a quick fix that would not only help our immediate dilemma, but also prevent rust from damaging the components.

Our search sent us to and we immediately found an extremely affordable option produced by POR-15. It’s a caliper painting kit (PN POI-42839) and it included everything we needed for a quick refresh on our brake calipers. We also wanted to freshen the inner fender, framerail, and suspension pieces, so we grabbed a can of Summit Racing Rubberized Undercoating (PN SUM-941232). Our bill came out to about $50 and the materials arrived a couple days later. After a few hours of work we were able to make a huge difference in our hot rod project for less money than it takes to fill the gas tank.

Budget Brake Job
Modern Rodding EVENT
52nd Annual NSRA Street Rod Nationals
… Getting Back to Normal
By Brian Brennan Photography by THE AUTHOR

urpassing the half-century mark is a big deal in any one of life’s ventures. This is especially true with the 52nd Annual National Street Rod Association’s Nationals, a four-day event from Thursday through Sunday of the first full week in August each year. Since 1997 it’s been held yearly at Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

For the most part, the NSRA, its events, and we rodders have overcome the many pitfalls heaped upon us during 2020, so now it’s time to move forward. While the pandemic of 2020 piled mountains of woes on individuals and businesses alike, the NSRA and rodders were able to work our way through the malaise of pitfalls, not the least of which was the COVID-19 virus.

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