You Could Have Won This Very Cool '55
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Trucks ... They Come In Drop-Top Too!
Roadworthy Chassis For ’49-51 Merc Customs
Prepping Your Small-Block Ford To Run
IFS For Tri-Fives
Roadworthy Chassis For ’49-51 Merc Customs
Prepping Your Small-Block Ford To Run
IFS For Tri-Fives
November 2022
Preview Issue
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Make It Yours. Make It Lokar. Modern Performance. Classic Style. Endless Options.
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
November 2022 article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
David Kennedy’s ’32 Ford Highboy RPU
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Tri-Five Nationals Giveaway Car: ’55 Chevy
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by the Author
Steve Hudsons ’53 Studebaker
By Dale Moreau, Photography by the Author
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Carl Jones’ ’37 Ford Coupe
By Dale Moreau, Photography by the Author
Doug Scott’s ’69 Camaro
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Louisville, Kentucky
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
Videography by Tommy Lee Byrd
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Bowling Green, Kentucky
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by the Author
This Full-Custom ’50 Merc Leaves Us Green With Envy
By Gerry Burger, Photography by E.J. Talik
Heidts Front Suspension and Wilwood Brakes Upgrades on a Tri-Five Chevy
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by Brian Brennan
How to Make a Crate Engine Run
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by Brian Brennan
Part 3: Big Power From a Conservative Package
By Ryan Manson, Photography by Brian Brennan
Videography by Ryan Foss Productions
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On the Cover
David Kennedy, of Tennessee, has one of the earliest Brookville Roadster roadster pickups and has done an amazing job of blending together modern materials and vintage looks.
Photography John Jackson
Hot Rod Industry Alliance logo: 2021 Recipient of the HRIA Business of the Year Award
Modern Rodding November 2022 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 26 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) 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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Wes Allison, Rodney Bauman, Gerry Burger, Tommy Lee Byrd, Ron Ceridono, Michael Christensen, Ron Covell, Grant Cox, John Drummond, Eric Geisert, John Gilbert, Joe Greeves, Ken Gross, John Jackson, Chadly Johnson, Barry Kluczyk, Scotty Lachenauer, Don Lindfors, Ryan Manson, Josh Mishler, Dale Moreau, Don Prieto, Todd Ryden, Jason Scudellari, Chris Shelton, Tim Sutton, Chuck Vranas, John Winter — Writers and Photographers


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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER

Losing a Good Friend is Never Easy

By Brian Brennan photography by The Author

hen the doors are closed and locked, when the lights are turned off, and the A/C is shut down, it is time for most Americans to go home. It’s time for dinner, afterschool sports, or maybe you can squeeze in a few hours to work on your project. Not so for your favorite “magazine guy.”

For a “magazine guy” that’s when our work really begins. For Pat Ganahl and others like him we understand there are the demands of the daytime portion of our job. After the sun goes down there are other demands. It’s now we would wander over to a local rodder’s garage and gather photos while swallowing a piece of pizza–in two bites. Or during these afterhour missions we would visit the local hot rod shop so the owner could help you gather story material without losing a day’s pay. It was a lifestyle Pat understood well, very well. If you want particulars on Pat’s life, he died on August 19, 2022. For his magazine or rodding career, you will have to look elsewhere. This is about Pat, my friend.

I find myself enduring another of life’s “hard shots.” The existence of a hot rod journalist, while appearing glamorous (I tell myself that), it’s still a job. I see that it’s late and dark while I write this editorial. My heart is heavy and my fingers are shaky. In Pat all of us lost a dear friend, a great journalist, and one hell of a hot rodder. I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating this is to Anna, his wife, and Bill, his son. It’s utterly life altering.

Rodding Around

red gear icon Steele Rubber Products Named NSRA Manufacturer of the Year

Steele Rubber Products has been named Manufacturer of the Year by the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) at this year’s Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

Steele Rubber Products representative Eddie Lail accepted the award on behalf of the company at the NSRA award ceremony on August 5. “I appreciate everything that everyone has done for us,” Lail, new products manager at Steele Rubber Products, said. “I appreciate all of our employees who have worked hard to make our parts the way our customers want it, and I want to thank the NSRA for this award.”

Steele Rubber Products is a family owned business and a well-known name in the automotive restoration industry. For more than 60 years Steele Rubber has been manufacturing and offering high-quality weatherstripping for classic cars, trucks, and hot rods.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
New Products

By Brian Brennan

1. Tight Grip

These compression-style hose clamps provide five times the clamping force of a traditional worm gear clamp and apply that force evenly around the circumference of the hose without deforming. A hex bolt secures the clamp to the hose with little chance of popping off. These features make the clamps a great choice for silicone tubes and couplers used for custom cold-air intake and cooling systems.

Granatelli Billet Aluminum Hose Clamps are available in 83 precise size ranges, so finding the right size is a snap. They’re available in your choice of polished or black, red, blue, and gold anodized finishes.

For more info, check out by Summit Racing Equipment calling (800) 230-3030 or visit

Modern Rodding FEATURE
The Forgotten Hot Rod title
The Forgotten Hot Rod title
The Roadster Pickup Has a Long and Storied History
By Brian BrennanPhotography by John Jackson

he Ford roadster pickup, whether it be a Model T, Model A, or a Deuce, has a noted hot rod history. As such, it’s no wonder why the ’32 Ford highboy roadster pickup belonging to David Kennedy of Tennessee strikes such a cord. Additionally, it is also one of the three original Brookville Roadster RPUs and an amazing example of what can be done in our modern times.

Roadster pickups have been part of the hot rod scene for decades and one can only imagine that with David’s Deuce this legacy will continue. If his name rings a bell, it should, as he is the David Kennedy of Kennedy’s Hot Rod Shop. Building cool rides comes as second nature to he and his staff, which is important as it was his son, Kirby, and the crew at the shop, as well as Mike Ragan on the interior, and Danny Kilborn for the brightwork, who made this project come together.

Modern Rodding TECH

a metal-finished ’50 Merc parked in a garage
1. This ’50 Merc is sleek, slippery, and sinister, all in one beautifully metal-finished package. The reshaped side window opening visually lowers the roofline more than the 4-inch chop. Note the perfect panel gaps, all thanks to Craftworks Fabrication.
The Merc in Metal typography

This Full-Custom ’50 Merc Leaves Us Green With Envy

By Gerry Burger Photography by E.J. Talik

ike Green has many interests in life; now that he is retired, he has time to pursue two of his favorites: early customs and baseball. His garage currently holds a ’50 Merc Fordor, and while he has enjoyed this early custom, he always wanted a Tudor version of the classic custom. He is also the assistant coach for the Fairview High School varsity baseball team in his hometown of Fairview, Pennsylvania.

With visions of timeless customs rolling in his head he turned to Tavis Highlander to collaborate on the design of a ’50 Mercury Tudor. In Mike’s words: “I wanted to build a custom with some features no one has seen before, while still paying homage to all the things that have been done by all the talented customizers from generations of years past.” Armed with Highlander illustrations the build began.

In the summer of 2020, Mike located an old, chopped Merc, a car with a nice profile but in dire need of repair. Northeastern weather had taken its toll and while the early chop had a nice profile it would require a lot of work. Enter E.J. Talik and his shop Craftworks Fabrication, located in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Like many great customs, the end design would come from the collaboration of the owner, the designer, and the fabricator. With input from these three hot rodders, one unique ’50 Mercury custom was born. In the end it would be Talik’s responsibility to turn visions and renderings into reality.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Tommy Lee ByrdPhotography by The Author
Give & Take title
The Tri-Five Nationals Giveaway Car Has ’60s Charm and Modern Performance
By Tommy Lee ByrdPhotography by The Author

e all remember the first hot rod that grabbed our attention. For some it was a ’32 Ford, but for many of us it was a Tri-Five Chevy with a radical cam, uncapped headers, and cheater slicks. Back then you had to sacrifice comfort in the name of speed, and that compromise could be extreme at times. Lucky for us, the modern age of hot rodding has transcended the obstacles that we once faced while still being able to pay homage to the glory days. A perfect example of this concept is the 2022 Golden Star Classic Auto Parts Giveaway Car, a ’55 Chevy built by Woody’s Hot Rodz. This car’s specific purpose is to go home with a lucky individual who registered a car at the 2022 Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

light green '55 Chevy
Modern Rodding EVENT
53rd NSRA Street Rod Nationals
Even Damp Weather Couldn’t Keep the Enthusiasm Down
By Brian Brennan Photography by THE AUTHOR Videography By Tommy Lee Byrd

ne thing about Louisville, Kentucky, is if you aren’t fond of the weather hang on as it will change shortly. 2022 was no different, with a little rain on Thursday and Friday followed by a predominately dry Saturday with loads of participants and spectator traffic and a sunny Sunday. For the record, there were 8,825 participants, 209-plus exhibitors, and 54,723 spectators.

The 53rd National Street Rod Association Street Rod Nationals calls the Kentucky Exposition Center “home” for their annual event (28th time in Louisville). It’s been held there continuously since 1997 and for the foreseeable future this looks to be an enduring trend. And why not? The grounds are as fine an area as there is in the country, the exposition building is approximately 1.3 million square feet (sixth largest facility of its kind in the country, and that’s over 300 acres under roof), and it has what can be described as the “greatest air conditioning system” in the country and there are plenty of housing and food choices. Oh did I mention there is also a theme park located on the grounds and available to all of those participating at the Nats?

NSRA Street Rod Nationals
Modern Rodding TECH
1. Our objective is to remove the factory IFS and replace it with a more modern, better functioning system coupled with the latest in braking capabilities.
Double Upgrade title image

1. Our objective is to remove the factory IFS and replace it with a more modern, better functioning system coupled with the latest in braking capabilities.

Heidts Front Suspension and Wilwood Brakes Upgrades on a Tri-Five Chevy
By Tommy Lee Byrd Photography by Brian Brennan

e’re sure you can relate when we say an old car is never truly finished. There is always a way to continue refining and upgrading your project car. Such is the case with this ’56 Chevy Nomad, a mildly modified street cruiser that has plenty of miles under its belt. The car recently rolled into Hot Rods by Dean, and the intention was to upgrade its suspension and braking system. Although plans involve a complete front and rear overhaul, we’re focusing on the front in this installment and will cover the rear suspension upgrades in a future issue.

For this series of upgrades, the guys at Hot Rods by Dean called Heidts, as the Illinois-based company is known for its Tri-Five suspension components. With numerous options on the table, the Nomad would receive Heidts (PN CA-203-M) polished stainless steel upper and lower control arms, adjustable coilovers (PN CB-120), drop spindles (PN SP-002-A), and Wilwood Dynalite 12.19-inch disc brakes. This is a large improvement over the car’s existing setup, which consists of stamped steel lower control arms, generic tubular upper control arms, conventional coil springs, and ’80s GM disc brakes. While this setup offered many miles of service, it was time for an upgrade and the combination of Heidts and Wilwood parts were up for the task.

You can expect to install this collection of parts in a few evenings of shop time, as all the parts simply bolt in place of the originals. Obviously, painting and cleaning add to the time line, but you can expect a straightforward install with the components featured in this article. It made a huge difference in the stance and ride quality on this classic Nomad, and we’ll be ready to tackle the four-bar rear suspension soon.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Dale Moreau Photography by THE AUTHOR
A Hot Rod Marriage … a Custom ’53 Studebaker Powered by a Supercharged Cadillac V-8

teve Hudson is a lifelong hot rodder and it all began with the influence his dad, Don, bestowed on him. To listen to Steve, you can see this influence. “I literally grew up in the car hobby. My dad, Don, started hot rodding before World War II, and jumped right back in after returning from the war. He learned the upholstery trade and opened his own shop (Don’s Trim Shop in Norwalk, California).”

It was here that Steve spent his youth. We must think this wasn’t a bad way to grow up. (And for those hot rodders with some history of their own, Don’s Trim Shop should ring some bells.) Steve’s boyhood was spent among the cars his dad was working on plus the ones he built himself. There was one famous roadster, or it would become famous, that Steve clearly remembers, that being the ’32 Ford highboy roadster belonging to its future owner Tom McMullen–yes that “Tom McMullen” and that Deuce roadster.

Side view of the - ’53 Studebaker

Modern Rodding TECH

1. Willie Wray at Hot Rods by Dean sorted out all the parts required and handled the installation of a Ford Performance small-block in Brian Brennan’s Model A pickup.

Thinking Outside the Box
How to Make a Crate Engine Run
By Ron Ceridono Photography by Brian Brennan

t was a great day for hot rodders when automobile manufacturers discovered there was a market for factory performance engines. It’s true that manufacturers have always seen the value of offering engines for replacement, industrial, or other purposes. That’s why even though the last Model T was produced in 1927 Ford produced the same basic Model T engine from 1908-41, which was arguably Ford’s first crate engine. But things have changed dramatically since the Model T days. Today Ford Performance offers a variety of brand-new engines in a range of performance levels; big-block, small-blocks, and modular engines are all available. To make them even more of a bargain, other than sealed race engines and those with mechanical lifter camshafts, Ford Performance crate engines come with a 24-month, 24,000-mile warranty.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Dale Moreau Photography by THE AUTHOR
Ride Retirement
This ’37 Ford Coupe … is No Ugly Duckling

n the early days of the street rodding era, the ’70s, the hot ticket was a ’32 Ford phaeton. Those same schools of thought loudly proclaimed that the ’37 Ford was an “ugly duckling” or “grocery getter.” It was in the late ’30s and the heyday of the art deco period was still present—when design and function worked hand in hand. Architecture, furniture, radios, fashion, even trains and the design of the automobile were all involved. It was a time when design was the norm, making life a little easier on the eyes.

Side view of the - ’37 Ford Coupe
Modern Rodding TECH

1. We are almost there! Our Summit Racing– and American Heritage Performance–built potent street LS is ready for our ’55 Chevy wagon that it will be dropped into.

Kyle Martelli of American Heritage Performance (AHP) is ready to begin the assembly of the block by dropping in the first piston

1. We are almost there! Our Summit Racing– and American Heritage Performance–built potent street LS is ready for our ’55 Chevy wagon that it will be dropped into.

Bare Block Performance Package

Part 3: Big Power From a Conservative Package
By Ryan Manson Photography by Brian Brennan Videography By Ryan Foss Productions

rapping up an engine build and strapping it onto a dyno can be an anxiety-ridden experience. But if you’ve been following our LS330 engine build process, you’ll know that between the quality of parts we’ve used from Summit Racing and the experience and expertise from the guys at American Heritage Performance (AHP), we had no worries when it came time to start spinning the motor up and putting some numbers down. But first, AHP’s engine builder-in-chief, Kyle Martelli, still has a couple items to install before Kohle Heimlich can slide into the dyno operator’s chair.

We ended the build process last time with a completely assembled long-block, so it should come as no surprise that the first task is to get the AHP-inspected Trick Flow cylinder heads assembled and installed. Once the cylinder heads were in place, Martelli measured for pushrod length before finalizing the valvetrain assembly. New sensors, spark plugs, AHP’s base dyno induction setup, along with the necessary wiring harness completes the preparation phase, and the engine is ready to be tested.

Modern Rodding FEATURE

By Brian Brennan Photography by John Jackson
Ground-Up Ground Pounder
This ’69 Camaro has an LSA for Power and a Custom Chassis for Handling

ot rod dads want their lifelong dream project but oftentimes living just prevents that from happening. Doug Scott was able to realize his “family affair” with his wife and kids. The result is this amazing ’69 Chevy Camaro powered by a supercharged LSA crate motor nestled between the ’rails of a custom Total Cost Involved (TCI) chassis.

Doug had always wanted a high-performance ’69 Camaro, and what you see on these pages fills the bill very nicely. With the likes of Camaro Concepts, Fat Boys Custom Paint, Gabe’s Custom Interior, Pat Maxwell Designs, and Mile Goldman Customs helping with the build there was little doubt the end result wouldn’t be stunning. Literally every piece of this ’69 Camaro was touched from the ground up.

’69 Camaro
Modern Rodding EVENT
Tri-five Nationals title image
More than 2,500 Classic Chevrolets Roll Into the 7th Annual Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals
By Tommy Lee ByrdPhotography by The Author

s summer winds down and the kids prepare to go back to school, car show season intensifies in the Mid-South. The NSRA Street Rod Nationals kicks off August, and the following weekend is the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals held at historic Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 2022 marked the seventh rendition of this incredible event, a car show and drag race, that brought more than 2,500 classic Chevrolets into town. The idea of focusing strictly on ’55, ’56, and ’57 Chevrolets allows like-minded enthusiasts to converge each year for the world’s premier Tri-Five event.

The Beech Bend Raceway Park facility offers plenty of parking for car show participants, drag racers, and spectators, and it’s easy to find shade on the beautiful property. This year’s weather was warm and sunny, encouraging a huge crowd throughout the three days of activities. The event kicked off on Thursday and featured a special drag racing program after the sun went down. Friday and Saturday had packed schedules, with drag racing exhibitions, regular drag racing classes, as well as access to dozens of vendors and a huge swap meet. Thursday’s car show area featured a special section that paid tribute to prior Lokar Top 25 winners. Then, Friday featured a special area where cars would be judged for this year’s Top 25. After those cars were selected, they parked in another special parking area, where the Top 25 would be narrowed down to the Top 5 and finally down to the Tri-Five of the Year. The excitement surrounding this event’s award program keeps folks coming back year after year.

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Parting Shot

 Gene Winfield, still active at car shows, isn’t opposed to chopping the top while at a show. We’ve seen it many times and it is always fascinating and draws large crowds for the process.
Gene Winfield, We All Should Be This Lucky
By Brian Brennan Photography by the Author & Chuck Vranas

’m going out on a limb, but a sturdy one, that there isn’t a rodder who reads car magazines who hasn’t heard the name Robert Eugene “Gene” Winfield or hasn’t seen his work in magazines. And most likely many, if not all, of us have been to a show and seen the man and his cars.

Gene has been around for a while, 95 years to be exact, and unlike what many of us will be doing when we see that kind of number, he is still traveling to events, building hot rods and customs, and driving race cars. The fact that he grew up in a healthy lifestyle by not having smoked or drank coffee, soft drinks, or alcohol, could be the secret “speed” ingredient that has keep Winfield so “on top” of his game.

When one thinks of the influence on our hobby by the earliest custom car builders, names that come to mind are the likes of George Barris (and his brother Sam), Sam Foose, Dean Jeffries, Bill Cushenbery, the Alexander brothers, Harry Westergard, Darryl Starbird, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, and then there is Gene Winfield.

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Thanks for reading our November 2022 preview issue!