Parking Brake … Electric Push Button
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Cool Nights & Hot Times: ’65 Rivi Shows Off Its Performance
A Great Tradition Continues …
Johnson’s Radiator Works
Tri-Five Sheetmetal:
Installing A Tailpan
Ironworks’ ’57
Ford Ranch Wagon, Part II
A Great Tradition Continues …
Johnson’s Radiator Works
Tri-Five Sheetmetal:
Installing A Tailpan
Ironworks’ ’57
Ford Ranch Wagon, Part II
Tommy “The Greek” Hrones
Wrapping Up The Legend’s Story
Tommy “The Greek” Hrones
October 2023
Preview Issue
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Series Restored by Lokar
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Flaming River: One good turn deserves another
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Modern Rodding CONTENTS
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Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
Jeff Mosing’s ’65 Buick Riviera GS
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
James Wolk’s ’34 Ford Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Josh Mishler
Stan Cox’s ’55 Ford Thunderbird
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Michael Christensen
Michael Frotten’s ’65 Chevy Impala SS
By Chuck Vranas, Photography by the Author
Can’t be Around for This Long and not Undergo Some Changes
By Brian Brennan, Photography by the Author
Johnson’s Radiator Works Builds a ’32 Ford Radiator
By Tommy Lee Byrd, Photography by the Author
Getting Rid of Decades of Deteriorating Metal
By Eric Geisert, Photography by the Author
Part 2: Making a Custom Interior
By Ron Covell, Photography by Rodger Lee
Installing Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake System
By Ron Ceridono, Photography by Brian Brennan, Videography by Ryan Foss Productions
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Special Feature
Part 2: Remembering Rodding’s Pinstriping Picasso
By Michael Dobrin, Photography by the Author and Courtesy of the Greg Sharp Collection and the Tyler Hoare Collection
On the Cover:
Demanding complete attention on behalf of the viewer is this month’s cover bursting with a ’65 Buick Riviera GS that belongs to Jeff Mosing. It was built at and by the craftsmen at Detroit Speed and Engineering. Meticulously assembled, it is the perfect blend of vintage looks and modern technology and performance. Covered in a beautiful PPG Ferrari Rosso Mugello … more a maroon hue. Beneath the “skin” is an impeccable interior, suspension, and powertrain providing all the luxury, comfort, and performance one would want in a beautiful Buick Riviera. Photo by John Jackson.
October 2023 cover
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 37 is published monthly by In the Garage Media, Inc., 370 E. Orangethorpe Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870-6502. Application to mail at Periodicals prices at Placentia, CA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Modern Rodding, c/o In the Garage Media, Inc., 1350 E. Chapman Ave #6550, Fullerton, CA 92834-6550 or email ITGM, Inc. at subscription@
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Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
Headshot of Brian Brennan
by Brian Brennan

A Little Fine-Tuning Might be in Order


have seen changes to our car world over the past half century and the way I currently see it there is more to come. I can remember when sitting down to write in the “old days” or going to an event I would think, “Wow, these Model As or Deuces were really old cars.” Well, they were then, and they’re really old cars by today’s standard. Heck they were 40 or more years old then. I get a bit of a chuckle now when I think the same thoughts. A 40-year-old car now wouldn’t even be considered hot rod material, or would it?

Something that I have observed over the past 10 years or so is the influx of later model cars into our hot rod ranks. It’s been 20-plus years since our traditional street rod events have done away with the pre-’49 cutoff date. Now there is a sliding scale or no cutoff. As it should be. Nowadays when you attend events where there is either a “no year” limit or if there is one the cutoff is somewhere in the late ’70s or early ’80s. While I find that a natural evolution, I do find it a bit uncomfortable. Just a little, not much, but enough to want to make a comment.

As the sliding scale came into being the new generation of hot rods that were allowed into formerly restricted year events proved to be a novel idea. It was interesting, and many would say it was a
“… welcomed breath of fresh air.” Once again, I would agree. The influx of new iron meant new friends to make, new products to be developed, new builds to marvel over, and fresh ideas that all of us could benefit from. It was all good. It still is good, but here comes the … but …

Rodding Around

By Brian Brennan

Red '27 Track T Roadster
red gear icon Goodguys Names the 2023 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year
Goodguys Rod & Custom Association congratulates Jon Hall and his ’27 Track T Roadster for being named their 2023 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year. This sought-after award was announced during the Goodguys 25th Summit Racing Nationals presented by PPG in Columbus, Ohio, July 8, 2023. Hall’s roadster graced the July ’23 cover of Modern Rodding and has been featured in several build stories.

The all-steel ’27 Model T body and frame from Shadow Rods of Saginaw, Michigan, is also where much of the initial sheetmetal and machinework took place. The project then went to Greening Auto Company, in Cullman, Alabama, for more details and custom components.

The heavily modified Model T features a unique track-nose grille, providing a vintage racing flavor that is highlighted by the extremely low, sectioned body. The engine is a 327ci all-aluminum Flathead built by MotorCity Speed, equipment inspired by the historic Ford V-8 engine. The chassis, wheels, headlights, and nearly every part of the roadster have been modified or custom-fabricated, making it an absolute one-of-a-kind street rod.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS

By Brian Brennan

4 different parts for cars
1. Buckle Down
Reduce underhood weight or solve a packaging problem with Detroit Speed’s battery relocation kit that comes with (PN 120107DS) or without (PN 120106DS) hardware.

It includes stainless steel fasteners and height adjustability to fit your battery. This kit is designed to relocate your battery to the trunk while providing a lateral removal method rather than needing to lift the battery out of a recess. It accommodates Optima, Odyssey, and Group 34/78 batteries. CNC machined out of 6061-T6 billet aluminum, the entire battery mount is a simple, strong, and great-looking way to hold your battery anywhere. Six mounting holes provide added flexibility. The dimensions of the battery mount are 11-1/2 x 8-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches tall.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Standard Bearer typographic title
This ’65 Buick Riviera GS is Everything That it Should be and Nothing it Shouldn’t
By Brian BrennanPhotography by John Jackson

he ’65 Buick Riviera GS is one of the most coveted starting points for any hot rod. Now, to this add some creative thinking to improve on an already award-winning design and apply today’s advancements in powertrain and suspension and you drive away with the best of all.

The ’65 Buick is part of the first of eight generations. There were 34,586 Rivieras produced but only 3,354 carried the GS option. From here the Buick was thought of as both a muscle and a luxury car that could also be transformed into a remarkable custom. The Rivi succeeded at everything a hot rodder wanted and this GS hit all the marks.

’65 Buick Riviera GS

Modern Rodding TECH

1. Alan Johnson takes on a new challenge by continuing the Walker Radiator Works legacy.
Guaranteed to Cool
Johnson’s Radiator Works Builds a’32 Ford Radiator
By Tommy Lee Byrd
Photography by THE AUTHOR

hen Alan Johnson builds a hot rod he takes design and functionality into account with every component on the car. Most of the Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop creations are built to be driven. Johnson has faithfully used Walker Radiator Works because of their durable construction and reliable performance. Vernon Walker revolutionized the street rod world with traditional brass and copper radiators that were guaranteed to cool. When Walker Radiator Works closed its doors, Johnson bought the entire operation. All the machines, patterns, and notes came with the purchase, but the name was not available, so he renamed it Johnson’s Radiator Works and moved the operation to a facility near his hot rod shop in Gadsden, Alabama.

Although there has been a learning curve, Johnson and his staff have devoted many hours to dialing in the manufacturing process. All the systems and processes that Walker implemented are still in place but transferring it over to a new facility and new staff took some time. Now the crew at Johnson’s Radiator Works is building up an inventory of cores, tanks, tubes, fins, and brackets, and fulfilling orders as quickly as possible. Every piece of the radiator, apart from the drain petcock, is built by a small but dedicated staff who want to build the very best handcrafted radiators right here in the USA.

Modern Rodding Special Feature

Tommy in his shop masking off the windshield opening on a car before painting
Tommy The Greek Hrones worked rapidly, taking charge of any project at hand. Even on his last day in his shop in East 14th Street in 1994. He was way ahead of everyone, quickly masking this coach for paint.
Tommy the Greek
Part II: Remembering Rodding’s Pinstriping Picasso
By Michael Dobrin
Photography by THE AUTHOR and Courtesy of the Greg Sharp Collection & Tyler Hoare Collection

n part I we tallied the prodigious Tommy Hrones’ body of work, his apprentice years in his uncle’s autobody shop, his roots in Oakland, and his early customs. Here, the Tommy Show unfolds with theatrical flourishes, his collaboration with builders like Joe Bailon, and a gallery of cars bearing his unique accents.

December 1994. Tommy is closing his shop in East Oakland. There’s one last car being masked for final spray. “Oh, hell, he can wait,” Tommy growls. His office is bare, with an unvarnished desk and a filing cabinet. He pulls out the desk drawer, spreading out dozens of snapshots—all young, very attractive women in ’40s-style Betty Grable swimsuits.

Wistfully, he sighs. “Yeah, we had a good time in those days. Go down to Forest Pool in the Santa Cruz mountains.”

Modern Rodding TECH

1. Out with the old sheetmetal and in with the new Golden Star Classic Auto Parts tailpan.
Getting Rid of Decades of Deteriorating Metal
By Eric Geisert Photography by THE AUTHOR

s you get into any metal repair or replacement work on your project you must always balance time versus money. Sometimes you may have more of one than the other (with rarely an abundance of both) but doing rust repair work on a vehicle can eat up a lot of time and money. Luckily for Tri-Five owners, Texas-based Golden Star Classic Auto Parts can save you a bit of both.

Golden Star is a family owned/operated business that sells a huge amount of replacement parts and pieces for everything from old Ford Broncos, Mustangs, Chevelles, GTOs, A- and G-body GMs, to ’60s VW Buses and Mercedes-Benzes, but they also carry a full line of ’55-57 Chevy replacement panels to make repair work more manageable.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
’34 Ford
Influencer typographic title
Influencer typographic title
Take a Cue From the Past
By BRIAN BRENNANPhotography by Josh Mishler

o question, when someone builds a hot rod it will have an impact on the few if not the many. James Wolk of Leavenworth, Kansas, has taken his ’34 Ford three-window coupe from a distinct dry lakes–appearing racer to that of an attitude-adjusted street hauler. When originally built, the ’34 Ford coupe had a distinct “dry lakes” look with its aggressive chop, patina-esque finish (achieved by sanding the glass gray originally applied), stance, and the “416c” scribed on the doors by James’ daughter, Ellie. But that was back in 2020 and within a few years the “itch” to make a change and enhance the appearance led to the single-stage urethane Dupont Gray giving the hot rod a much more finished look.

Modern Rodding TECH

illustration concept artwork for red interior
1. Beginning with Tavis Highlander’s artwork, the interior for the ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon has a starting point.
Ironworks’ ’57 Ranch Wagon
Part II: Making a Custom Interior
By Ron Covell
Photography by Rodger Lee
ARTWORK by Tavis Highlander

ork continues at Ironworks Rod and Kustom on Danny Schaffer’s ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon. The interior of this car has been completely redesigned, from the custom headliner to the numerous CNC-machined components on the dash, doors, and console. Each component is unique but crafted to have an OEM character. Using a ’60 Thunderbird as inspiration, most of the interior was fabricated from scratch, with Tavis Highlander, from Highlander Concept Rendering, making dozens of sketches for details, large and small, before the fabrication commenced. This design utilizes bucket seats both front and back.

A steel Thunderbird dashboard was modified to fit the cowl area of the Ranch Wagon, and all the details were custom designed, including the gauge cluster, the glovebox door, and the bezel for the radio faceplate and center air conditioner ducts. As with many details on this project, the locations of interest were scanned, then the components were designed in CAD and often 3-D printed in plastic for evaluation before CNC machining the final parts from billet aluminum.

The center console was a major project, with an elegantly machined bezel that incorporates the air conditioner controls, the shift lever, the door window controls, and two conveniently positioned cup holders. All of this was fitted above a custom-fabricated transmission and driveshaft cover.

Modern Rodding Feature

Early 'Bird typography

This Coyote-Powered ’55 Ford Thunderbird Can Catch Just About Anything

By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by Michael Christensen


t first glance this ’55 Ford Thunderbird, T-bird, or ’Bird appears to be stock, save the wheels. Yet upon closer examination you begin to see there is more than meets the eye. Stan Cox of Texas, along with the staff at Cotati’s Speed Shop out of Santa Rosa, California, joined efforts and came away with this tastefully modified and highly potent T-bird.

Modern Rodding TECH

 Left to right, Ryan Foss (videographer), Wilwood’s Mike Hamrick, and Modern Rodding Tech Center Manager Jason Scudellari begin the installation of Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake (EPB) components on Brian Brennan’s ’29 Ford roadster. In this case the roadster was originally equipped with internal parking brakes (IPB).
1. Left to right, Ryan Foss (videographer), Wilwood’s Mike Hamrick, and Modern Rodding Tech Center Manager Jason Scudellari begin the installation of Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake (EPB) components on Brian Brennan’s ’29 Ford roadster. In this case the roadster was originally equipped with internal parking brakes (IPB).
By Ron Ceridono
Photography by BRIAN BRENNAN
Brake Time
Installing Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake System

nyone who has been around performance vehicles recognizes the name Wilwood Engineering. Founded by Bill Wood in 1977, Wilwood is a leading manufacturer of cutting-edge, high-performance disc brakes and related components. One of their newest products is the Electric Parking Brake (EPB) system that eliminates cables and conventional actuation levers. Wilwood’s EPB kits include calipers, pads, brackets, hardware, control module, switch, wiring harness, and detailed installation instructions.

It’s interesting how the description of some automotive parts has changed over the years. As an example, the term emergency brake was once used to describe the system that was originally intended to be used in the case of a main brake system failure (not to mention Brennan by name, but lots of older editors still call it the emergency brake). Of course, as automobile technology evolved there was often a change in nomenclature as well and the emergency brake came to be more accurately described as the parking brake for obvious reasons. But regardless of what you call it, hot rods need one. Relying on leaving your car in gear or in Park can be risky. Take it from someone who watched his roadster try to roll away when it was assumed to be in Park and wasn’t as proof positive that an effective parking brake is a wise addition to any car.

Modern Rodding Feature

Third Time's a Charm typography
Third Time's a Charm typography
Michael Frotten’s LT4 Supercharged ’65 Chevy Impala SS
By Chuck Vranas Photography by THE AUTHOR

ooking back at history, it’s easy to see that Chevrolet’s designers hit a homerun when it came to the fourth generation (1965-70) of the Impala, especially with the refreshingly elegant body lines of the sport coupe and convertible. The model was so good that the manufacturer’s all-time annual industry sales records were smashed with over 1 million units sold in the U.S. alone. Add in details like their exclusive, new, full-perimeter frame with coil suspension as well as choices of inline six-cylinder, small-block, or big-block V-8s and it’s easy to see why it was a hit among consumers and hot rodders alike. The stunning ’65 Impala SS convertible owned by Michael Frotten of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a perfect example of a fullsize performance car fusing its factory pedigree with modern-day technology.

Modern Rodding EVENT

57th Annual L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap
Saturday was bright and sunny and not too warm, which in SoCal is perfect roadster weather, bringing out some 300 topless hot rods to be seen and enjoyed.
Can’t Be Around for This Long and not Undergo Some Changes

he L.A. Roadsters Show, Roadster Show, Father’s Day, Los Angeles Roadsters Show & Swap, by whatever name you have come to call it, there is no denying this local show has national appeal. Hot rod owners from around the country and from oversees come each year to get a “feel” for SoCal rodding. This year’s 57th Annual L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap felt like it enjoyed a bit of a resurgence over the past five or so years.

After the 50th show (2007) there was a noticeable drop-off in show attendance, with the hiccups in the economy and the pandemic creating a downward spiral. But it seems as though there was a marked improvement this year as we could see 300-plus roadsters, over 700 specialty parking hot rods, and over 1,000 swap spaces reminding us of what the show could be. There was also the manufacturers midway. The weather was a classic, thoroughly enjoyable SoCal mild summer day.

Formed in 1957, with the Father’s Day tradition beginning in 1960, the storied history began. This year saw the 57th presentation of the show and swap meet and the 41st year held at the venerable Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California. What started as a single-day show has turned into a two-day affair, Friday and Saturday are the official show days with Sunday, Father’s Day, set aside for being with family.

Parting Shot

Lady Luck II and T-Bucket Lore
By BRIAN BRENNAN Photography by Chuck Vranas & Eric Geisert

ome hot rods are just destined for a life of their own. In this case Chuck Vranas (longtime hot rod journalist and contributor to Modern Rodding) has ended up in the history books himself. Well, technically not himself but rather his ’23 Ford T “Lady Luck II.”

It is based on a Total Performance ’glass body powered by a 460-inch big-block Chevy put together at the Wallingford, Connecticut, shop back in 1994-1995. Chuck’s love and fascination of T-buckets was spurred on by Norm Grabowski, often referred to as the Father of the T-bucket, whose T was featured on the TV show 77 Sunset Strip that ran from 1958-64. The “Kookie T,” as it would come to be known, is as legendary a hot rod as there is. Chuck and Norm would later become fast friends, even traveling abroad as special guests to the 16th Annual NSRA UK Hot Rod Super Nationals.

Many early hot rodders will remember the Lady Luck I built by Mickey Lauria of Total Performance in 1993. It too was a lavender-colored roadster but this time Flathead powered. It now resides at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed. Before its final resting point, it was seen around the country with Chuck’s Lady Luck II.

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Thanks for reading our October 2023 preview issue!