Steering Solutions: Microsteer & VDOG Come to the Rescue
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Drop-Tops & Sunny Skies: Make the Road Ahead
at Home:

Flat Panels
How to Channel a Deuce Coupe
Roof Insert for Your Model A
Part 2: Building Your Own LS
Learning Upholstery at Home: Stitching Flat Panels
How to Channel a Deuce Coupe
Roof Insert for Your Model A
Part 2: Building Your Own LS
Syracuse Nationals … East Coast Rodding at its Best
October 2022
Preview Issue
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
October 2022 article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
George & India Sepulveda’s ’56 Buick Special
By Fuelish Media, Photography by Fuelish Media
Bruce Benson’s ’36 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By Fuelish Media, Photography by Fuelish Media
J.D. Terry’s ’61 Chevy Brookwood
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Grant Cox
Garrett Jedlicki’s ’37 LaSalle Opera Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Tim Sutton
Aubrey King’s ’56 Chevy
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Shawn Brereton
Syracuse, New York
By Chuck Vranas, Photography & Videography by the Author
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Lowering the Profile on a ’32 Ford
By Curt Iseli, Photography by Cody Walls
Part 2: Wrapping Up the Rotating Assembly on Our Iron Block LS330
By Ryan Manson, Photography by Brian Brennan
Videography by Ryan Foss Productions
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Here’s a Steering Solution to Overcome Two Concerns
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
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Fabricating a Model A Insert
By Ron Covell, Photography by Not Stock Photos
Part 1: Stitching Upholstery at Home
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by John Winter
On the Cover
George and India Sepulveda’s ’56 Buick Special ‘vert, built at Premier Street Rods, represents everything that makes drop-top driving amazing. It is powered by an LS3 resting between the framerails of an Art Morrison Enterprises chassis. Photography by Fuelish Media.
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Modern Rodding October 2022 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 25 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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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
A headshot picture of Brian Brennan grinning
By Brian Brennan

hen you have attended as many national events as I have you notice certain things. One such observation is the enduring devotion that the Michigan Hot Rod Association (MHRA) has to its Rod Repair Shop (RRS) and the events that they offer their services to.

I just came back from the 53rd NSRA Nats and as sure as the sun rises in the East there was the MHRA RRS in their all-familiar location ready and willing to help out-of-town rodders with their woes. This was the 50th year the RRS has been onsite to help rodders. They are only outdone in years of attendance by the Memphis Street Rods (registration), which is in the 52nd year and on par with the Early Times Custom Car Club from Mentor, Ohio (registration), also in its 50th year.

It was 1972 when the RRS first appeared at an NSRA event–the 3rd annual Nats held in Detroit. In the first years the RRS was an area to clean off your car after a long out-of-town drive and to supply an assortment of equipment and tools to make repairs–at no cost! It was a critical factor back then, as it is today, to get the hot rod back on the road so the owner could make the reverse trek home. More so then, as it was more common for the cars to be fully homebuilt. So, the owner/driver would jump and get to work. Nowadays the cars are still being driven and things still break and the RRS staff is ready and willing to help where they can. I can’t tell you how many wheel bearings I have seen changed, how many electrical woes chased down, and water pumps changed.

Rodding Around

Shades of the Past: Hot Rod Roundup sign
1932 Ford Highboy Roadster in black
red gear icon The Last Roundup

his year will be the last Hot Rod Roundup event sponsored by the Shades of the Past Car Club out of Maryville, Tennessee. This will be the 39th year and it marks the end of a long tradition for the two-day car show. It has long been recognized as one of the finest events in the country.

It appears that the contract that Shades of the Past has had with Splash Country Water Parks runs out this year and it cannot be renewed. The club has looked about and feels it cannot find a suitable location. We can only hope something can happen and the event in some form or fashion “rises from the ashes.” It should be noted that the Triple Crown of Rodding will continue in the coming years. Location is yet to be determined.

What has turned out to be one of the most sought awards offered by any show over the past 39 years, there is no denying that their Top 25 is true recognition for a “job well done” for all sorts of hot rodders. In the recent past the Magnificent 7 as well as the Triple Crown of Rodding has added another level of topflight awards. Coupled with this there are (were) 33 other recognition awards. Additionally, it must be one of the largest 50/50 drawings in the country when it comes to an automotive event. Often the cash pot approaches $50,000-$60,000. There is also a $10,000 cash prize awarded to another individual selected via a drawing who has preregistered prior to the approximate May 15 deadline. Of course, one cannot forget about the giveaway hot rod. In the past few years, it has been a ’32 Ford highboy roadster that is truly an amazing hot rod, and what an amazing prize to win. For the past number of years, the car, no matter what style, was built at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. The remaining funds are used by the club for numerous local charities. This will be a shame to see this magnanimous gesture go away.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
New Products

By Brian Brennan

1. Engine Electronics
With ’80s muscle cars and trucks showing up more in the hot rod world there are bound to be a few false readings and values from spent sensors causing issues with a stock fuel management system. Duralast offers a vast number of drivetrain sensors, solenoids, and switches that provide a direct plug-in fit and are to OE specifications. From mass airflow to temperature sensors, crank, or cam position to knock sensors, Duralast has your engine management replacement sensors ready! Plus, every sensor is built to meet or exceed the OE design so you can be assured that each new sensor will function with the OEM (or aftermarket) fuel management system. In addition to sensors, Duralast also offers a full line of vehicle electronics parts to complete the job as well as many other OE and better-quality replacement parts.
Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Fuelish MediaARTWORK by “Pinstripe Chris” Dunlop
Reminisce title
This ’56 Buick Special Convertible has a Special Purpose in Mind
By Fuelish MediaARTWORK by “Pinstripe Chris” Dunlop

ehind every influential fabrication shop is a support system that helped make a dream, the ’56 Buick convertible you see before you, turn into a reality. Now, that dream is as different and unique as each individual business, but in the case of Ross Logsdon of Premier Street Rod, of Lake Havasu, Arizona, he was looking to turn his passion of tinkering in the back of his parents’ parts shop into a full-blown automotive revolution.

If you pay any attention to customized classic vehicles at all, then you’ve most likely run into the Premier name a time or two. While Ross’ folks, Rob and Kerry, laid the foundation for their son’s passion by opening a retail service most notable for offering GM-licensed vintage Chevy truck bodies, it was ultimately two friends of the family who proved to be the real catalyst in Ross’ fast track to the limelight.

red '56 Buick

Modern Rodding TECH

This Eric Black rendering of Cody Walls’ East Coast–style Deuce coupe details the deeply channeled proportions achievable while maintaining driveability and a modicum of comfort.

Channel Job typography

Lowering the Profile on a ’32 Ford

By Curt Iseli Photography by Cody Walls

n the earliest days of our hobby, innovative hot rodders identified that increasing power wasn’t the only way to go faster in their stripped-down coupes and roadsters. Decreasing wind resistance was also key. Chopped tops and lowered stances not only looked cool, they reduced the overall height of the bricks-on-wheels these racers were trying to push across the dry lakes. But there was another modification that came into favor early on known as channeling.

The premise is simple: cut out and raise the floor of the car to slide the body down over the frame. The result thins the car’s profile and reduces wind resistance, shaving valuable seconds from e.t.’s in the process. Aesthetically, channeling has just as much impact as chopping a car. Though we all love the styling of American iron from the teens, 1920s, and ’30s, the basis of the designs wasn’t all that far off from the buggies that preceded them—straight-railed, ladder-style frames with steel and wood boxes bolted on top. Stripping the fenders and dropping the body down over the ’rails created a more slippery appearance, hinting at the European sports cars of the era and foreshadowing the design evolution that began in the ’30s when OEs started lowering bodies over frames and continued through the ’60s with the popularization of unibody construction where the body, floor, and frame became one.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Feisty Ford Coupe title
Feisty Ford Coupe title
Bruce Benson’s ’36 Three-Window With Devilish Good Looks
By Fuelish MediaPhotography by Fuelish Media

here’s nothing worse than the feeling of passing up a truly golden opportunity. This nagging emotion doesn’t usually rear its ugly head until it’s too late to do anything about it. Not one to put himself in such a predicament, Bruce Benson, of Chandler, Arizona, made sure to purchase a very special hot rod when the opportunity arose—and it did when this ’36 Ford three-window coupe was put in front of him.

Bruce worked in the auto dealer business as well as being an avid hot rodder since the early ’70s, and in that time he has developed quite the palate for unique cars. While he is retired from work, he is still very active in building custom cars. Over the years, he has made a lot of friends and connections within the industry. This would include his good friend Squeeg Jerger of Squeeg’s Kustoms, who’s always tinkering with fun vehicles.

Squeeg, the shop’s namesake, grew up and became involved in the local custom car culture of Mansfield, Ohio, which was later moved to Chandler. Now, the car was a super-cool ’36 Ford three-window coupe that was once owned by Kenny Gartman, who had originally modified the car back in the ’60s. Gartman performed most of the car’s body mods, including the 3-inch top chop, peaked fenders, cowl vent removal, and a whole lot more.

Modern Rodding TECH

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

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

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

Bare Block Performance Package

Part 2: Wrapping Up the Rotating Assembly on Our Iron Block LS330
By Ryan Manson Photography by Brian Brennan Videography By Ryan Foss Productions

hen we concluded our Summit Racing LS (330ci) engine build last time we had the block all dialed in and the 3.622-inch stroked crankshaft in place. And while it doesn’t sound like a lot of progress, working with the team at American Heritage Performance (AHP) and their chief engine builder Kyle Martelli, we illustrated just how much prepwork is involved before engine assembly can begin. Thorough block inspection is paramount to a successful performance engine build, and Martelli’s attention to detail will no doubt show through when we put our LS engine through its paces on AHP’s dyno. But before that can happen, we need to continue with the assembly process, starting with the rotating assembly.

To continue with our Summit build, it should come as no surprise that we chose to use their LS Pro line of products for nearly all the moving parts in our motor. Starting with their 6.125-inch H-beam connecting rods and concluding with a set of their forged 2618 alloy pistons, the top end of our LS is a complete assembly of Summit Racing LS Pro parts. Like the crankshaft installation, Martelli inspected all the components, noted the results, and compared them to the specs provided by Summit and the bearing manufacturer. Pleased with the results, Martelli proceeded to file the ring pack to spec before assembling the piston/rod assembly. From there, using an ARP piston installation tool, Martelli dropped each slug pack into their respective cylinder, torquing every rod cap to spec via ARP 2000 rod bolts.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Brian Brennan Photography by Grant Cox
Family Cruiser
This ’61 Chevy Brookwood was Always Intended to Haul the Family Everywhere
61 Chevy Brookwood station wagon

ne of the realities of hot rodding is once you are married a family is not too far behind. J.D. Terry, of Oklahoma, could see the handwriting on the wall. He purchased his ’61 Chevy Brookwood station wagon as a stocker and all original. His intentions were to build a cross-country driver that could hall himself, his wife, Carissa, and their two daughters, Layla and G.G.

Once J.D. had the Brookwood home he got with his longtime friend Seth Curry of Curry Custom Fab and disassembled the car, returning the chassis and body parts to J.D. From here J.D. went to work. Eric Banks of B T Powder Coating helped with the complete frame, inner fenders, core support, and numerous other odds and ends that needed to be powdercoated.

Supplying the power is the always-popular big-block Chevy, this time running 496 inches (bored and stroked). The machine work was handled by Gerald Brand of Brand Racing Engines. The final assembly and tune came by way of Bob Bales of Bales Performance. The BBC now pushes 600 hp and 700-plus lb-ft of torque. The internals are based on a Bales Performance custom grind hydraulic roller camshaft, Wiseco 10.1 pistons, and factory iron heads that are ported and polished and feature larger valves. Of course, there is lots of ARP hardware holding matters together.

Outside, an aluminum Edelbrock Performer intake is used, topped with a Holley Sniper EFI and a Holley electric fuel pump. The Holley HyperSpark Ignition System is also used. The factory-style air cleaner and plug wires come by way of Delmo’s Speed & Kustom. Exiting the used fuel load are a pair of Sanderson 1-7/8-inch headers linked to 3-inch custom exhaust pipes run through a pair of Flowmaster 50 Series mufflers, all fabricated by Curry Custom Fabrication. The cooling chores fall to PRC Performance Rod & Custom for one of their electric fan and radiator systems while the water pump comes by way of Edelbrock. The Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine belt system works the power steering, alternator, and air conditioning hardware. Backed up to the BBC is a 700-R4 outfitted by Monster Transmissions that utilizes a B&M 3,000 stall converter, a modified TCI Automotive valvebody and shift kit.

Modern Rodding TECH

VDOG and Microsteer installed in '32 Ford
1. We installed a VDOG and a Microsteer system inside the engine compartment of Don Prieto’s ’32 Ford roadster that features a Lexus V-8 underhood. The powerplant has proven to be amazing but there is little room leftover and that’s where the Flaming River products came in handy.
Two For One... Sort Of title image
Two For One... Sort Of title image
Here’s a Steering Solution to Overcome Two Concerns
By Brian Brennan Photography by THE AUTHOR

hether you drive an early hot rod or a postwar ride, the fact is you will undoubtedly need to overcome a steering issue or two. Maybe it’s an engine compartment fitment issue. Maybe you want power steering but don’t want to change the steering box and then add the required accessories to pull it all together. Flaming River offers a solution to both steering fitment and gaining electric power-assisted steering. They offer the VDOG Variable Angle Gear and Microsteer as the solution for electric power-assisted steering.

So, here we are today in an industry that has come up with solutions for many problems. Flaming River back in 2019 won a SEMA Best New Street Rod Product and Best Engineered New Product for their VDOG Variable Angle Gear (PN FR20303, standard finish). Think of it as a means to overcome severe steering angles within your engine compartment. It gives you options you heretofore didn’t have when linking up to a rack-and-pinion or traditional steering box.
Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Brian Brennan Photography by Tim Sutton
What it Could Have Been
A Lot can be Said for the Big Cars Designed During the ’30s … More can be Achieved

ustoms designed and crafted today are a far cry from the customs of the ’60s yet each have their place in our world. Garrett Jedlicki of Minnesota is no stranger to the world of hot rods or customs, and neither is his association with Cole Foster of the Salinas Boys Customs. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pair teamed up once again to test their “limits.” The result is the ’37 LaSalle Opera coupe done in a modern custom car approach. (A few years back Foster built a traditional ’32 Ford highboy roadster for Garrett, complete with an ARDUN-powered Flathead. Simple in its approach yet exceptional in its result.)

Garrett had his heart set on the Series 50 while Foster was harboring more of a ’40 Merc feel. In time, Foster grew to see that much could be done with this successful ’30s car by bringing his ideas to the forefront in making this a modern-day custom. Because of the inherent trust each had for the other the geographic “undesirability” proved not to be an issue. Foster proudly stated, “Let me do my thing without red flagging me.”

’37 LaSalle Opera coupe

Modern Rodding TECH

By Ron Covell Photography by Not Stock Photos & Courtesy of Craftworks Fabrication

Making a Unique Roof typography

Fabricating a Model A Insert

the Model A coupe body as it arrived at Craftworks Fabrication

1. Every project starts somewhere, and this is the Model A coupe body as it arrived at Craftworks Fabrication.


odel A coupes have an iconic look that has been considered cool since people started modifying them back in the ’40s. A lot of builders chop the tops on these cars, and the original fabric insert in the center of the roof is often replaced by welding in a metal insert.

Natalie Bolea wanted a traditional A coupe on a ’32 frame, but she wanted something that stood out from the crowd, so she contacted Craftworks Fabrication in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, to get their take on it.

E.J. Talik, the proprietor, has a long history of doing finely crafted metalwork, and he loves to find unique ways to add style to his customer’s projects. The top would be chopped of course, but instead of welding in a metal roof insert, he thought it might add a point of interest to make the insert as a separate piece and give it a finish that contrasted with the paint scheme.

Modern Rodding FEATURE


’56 Chevy may look like all other ’56 Chevys but such isn’t the case within the world of hot rods. For Aubrey King, of Tennessee, he knew he wanted a ’56 Chevy, his favorite Tri-Five. He also knew he wanted all the modern accessories that would turn this vintage tin into a modern hot rod rolling under traditional sheetmetal. To pull all this together Aubrey, along with a number of close friends, and, most importantly, Mike Hoover of Fab-Auto, teamed up to bring this project together.

The ’56 Chevy is based on a 210 Delray, and from the outside, with very few giveaways, this is a stocker. Danchuk supplied all the exterior and interior trim along with the glass and bumpers to bring this ’56 together. The sheetmetal at one time was impeccably prepared to accept the Meca Red (or should we say Hot Rod Red or Pull Me Over Red!). While Aubrey obtained the ’56 Chevy painted it was in a “rough and dirty” condition. During the build process he has continually been buffing and polishing to bring the car to its current state. We must admit the paint looks great.

What Appears to be an Old-Time ’56 Chevy is Brand New Beneath its Skin
Red ’56 Chevy

By Brian Brennan Photography by Shawn Brereton

Looks can be Deceiving
Modern Rodding TECH

Sew Fine title image
1. John Winter decided to tackle upholstering his hot rods at home with excellent results. It takes time and practice to become a proficient stitcher, but it’s worth the effort.
Sew Fine title image
1. John Winter decided to tackle upholstering his hot rods at home with excellent results. It takes time and practice to become a proficient stitcher, but it’s worth the effort.
Part 1: Stitching Upholstery at Home
By Ron Ceridono Photography by John Winter

ike many homebuilders putting a hot rod together on a budget, John Winter received a form of sticker shock when it came time for an interior in his ’32 Ford coupe. The estimates he received were much higher than expected, but Winter is not a man easily discouraged. So, despite never having done it, Winter decided to upholster the car himself. Winter’s latest effort was a full interior in his ’36 Ford Tudor sedan and he was kind enough to show us how he did it. We’re going to start with some relatively easy tasks, like covering flat panels, then we’ll get into more complicated jobs, like seats and headliners, in subsequent installments.

For those who want to do upholstery at home, there are a few things you’ll need, not the least of which is a proper sewing machine. Not to be confused with a common household variety sewing machine, the most common type of machine for upholstery work is the single needle, “walking foot” lockstitch machine. With an ordinary sewing machine, as the stitches are made the fabric is pulled past the needle by what are called “feed dogs.” This mechanism pulls on the bottom layer of fabric only. By comparison a walking foot sewing machine pulls the material through from the top and bottom, feeding multiple layers of material evenly. Like anything else, the best way to learn how to sew straight lines is to practice by making chalk lines on scrap material.

Modern Rodding EVENT
22nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Syracuse Nationals title image
Hot Rods and Customs, East Coast Style
By Chuck VranasPhotography by The Author

ne of the greatest pleasures of owning a hot rod or custom is the freedom to pack your bags, top off the tank, and hit the open road with a fun destination in mind. There’s nothing better than the sound of a fine-tuned V-8 as it moves though the gears while putting down the miles to one of the East Coast’s largest events. For the 22nd year, the NAPA Auto Parts Syracuse Nationals played host to some of the country’s hottest hop-ups at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse for the three-day horsepower festival packed with an endless schedule of cool things to do.

Once checked in at the host hotel it’s a short hop to the fairground to start the weekend as you cruise into the venue, motoring on perfectly paved roads across 360 acres packed with classic architecture and livestock barns. Once settled, it’s easy to stroll the grounds and check out literally thousands of the coolest hot rods, customs, classic trucks, and muscle cars that will make your head spin. The Nationals staff has taken plenty of care in setting up an array of festivities packed into the program, starting with their Syracuse Signature Showcase featuring plenty of cool mini events into the main feature.

Various Model A hotrods at Syracuse Nationals meet
’26 Ford T
 The ’26 Ford T may have looked old on the outside but for the day was a modern ’72 Eldo underneath.
Lil’ John Buttera hopping out of this ’26 Ford
 Lil’ John Buttera hopping out of this ’26 Ford T while at the 1974 NSRA Street Rod Nationals.
Lil’ John Buttera Set a Standard That is Still a Tall Bar to Reach
By Brian Brennan Photography By the Author

s we wrap up another issue of Modern Rodding, I thought it would be fun to take a reminiscent look at one of the true innovative thinkers and craftsmen our industry has produced. Lil’ John Buttera was “the name” within our industry beginning back in the mid ’70s, and his influence remained at the forefront for the next 30 years. He was no stranger to building race cars or hot rods. But it was his hot rods that, I believe, made him truly special.

John told me on many occasions, “Starting a hot rod project wasn’t the issue, it was finishing it that proved to be a real issue.”

Modern Rodding logo with dropshadow
Thanks for reading our October 2022 preview issue!