Install A Quick-Change To Transform Looks & Performance
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Tradition Is In
The Latest A/C For ’82-88 Chevys
How To French Taillights
The Latest A/C For ’82-88 Chevys
How To French Taillights
Part 2: Life & Times of Blackie Gejeian
September 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
September 2022 article snapshots
Brian Brennan
Industry News
New Products
Those Supporting Our Industry
Brian Brennan
Gene McCoy’s ’31 Model A Tudor
By Shawn Brereton, Photography by the Author
Johnny Hall’s ’32 Ford Tudor Highboy Sedan
By Brian Brennan, Photography by John Jackson
Ron James’ ’33 Ford Coupe
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Wes Allison
Kevin and Gabrielle O’Neil’s ’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda
By Brian Brennan, Photography by Michael Christensen
Larry Tremaine’s ’55 Pontiac
By Dale Moreau, Photography by the Author
Special Feature
Part 2: Remembering Blackie Gejeian
By Michael Dobrin, Photography by the Author, Eric Geisert & The Blackie Gejeian Collection
Part 1: Prepping, Inspecting, and Assembling the Bottom End of Our Summit Racing LS
By Ryan Manson, Photography by Brian Brennan
Videography by Ryan Foss Productions
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In This Case, Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
By Gerry Burger, Photography by Glenn Sinon
How a Quick-Change Axle can Transform How Your Rod Looks … and How it Goes
By Chris Shelton
Time Made the ’82-88 Monte Carlo and El Camino Cool. Vintage Air Made Them a Whole Lot Cooler.
By Chris Shelton
On the Cover
Gene McCoy, of Tennessee, used all of his skills as a sheetmetal worker and built his ’31 Ford chopped and channeled sedan. Photography by Shawn Brereton
Hot Rod Industry Alliance logo: 2021 Recipient of the HRIA Business of the Year Award
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Modern Rodding ISSN 2692-2371 (print) ISSN 2692-238X (online) Issue 24 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
It Feels Like We are Almost Back to Normal

he annual L.A. Roadsters Father’s Day Show is back. Having just attended the 56th annual show (several years were passed over) was a reminder of what the “good ol’ days” were like. The one-day event has grown into a two-day event now held on Friday and Saturday. It was a wise move to leave Sunday (Father’s Day) alone so that families can honor their get-togethers.

The club was formed in 1957 and the first show was held in 1960 at the Hollywood Bowl. This year was the 40th time it has been held at the Pomona Fairplex. The first year in Pomona it was a single-day event but beginning with the next year it became a two-day event. (I was club secretary during that time frame.) Before that it was held at the Great Western Exhibit Center as a one-day event. (I know I’m missing one of the sites; maybe one of our readers will remember and let me know.)

After several years of pandemic-initiated absence, it truly was a good feeling to be back to some impetus of “normal.” For me the “show” has a steep tradition beginning in 1971. That’s a long time and I’ve spent every year wandering the parking lots of several venues to enjoy all the happenings. There was a time when I was a member of the L.A. Roadsters and worked the show. It is a staggering amount of work. Nowadays I drive my roadster, enjoy the show, grab my pewter mug (thank you), and head home. It was (is) something worth looking forward to. The irony of being a famous magazine guy is how little I get to drive my roadster. There were many years when this was the only time I could get out and drive it. (That’s a sad commentary.)

Rodding Around

Red and White 1957 Chevy Corvette
red gear icon New Displays at Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed

ince 2015 the American Tri-Five Association has produced the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals hosted at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Coming soon is the seventh edition of the Tri-Five Nats that has plenty of drag racing, a show and shine area, large vendors and swap meet area, and plenty of awards. The event is now a three-day get-together covering Thursday, Friday, and Saturday … August 11-13, 2022. (Be careful, it’s a Thursday through Saturday event, which is a bit different than most summertime rodding events.)

Our favorite car museum is the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, because it covers so much in so many different aspects of our hobby. The museum also features many other unique displays, including the largest collection of vintage pedal cars, gas-powered miniature race cars, automobile-themed toys, automotive art, lunch boxes, and more.

Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
All new products grouped together

By Brian Brennan

1. Hot Seat
Developed by Design Engineering (DEI) to add a protective layer to dyno straps that run close to exhaust exits or other hot areas of an operating vehicle, the protective sheaths (PN 10466) are made of a high-temperature-resistant aluminized material to withstand 500 degrees F direct heat and 2,000 degrees F of radiant heat.

Dyno Strap Heat Guard protects against such scenarios by easily slipping on over standard tie-downs, allowing them to be positioned near exhaust pipe exits. The sheaths measure 5×36 inches and include an attractive silver finish.

For more info, check out DEI by calling (800) 264-9472 or visit

2. Grasping the Difference
Wilwood now offers upgraded direct replacement calipers (PN 120-16510) for the ’65-67 Ford Mustang, Fairlane, and ’66-67 Ranchero originally equipped with Kelsey-Hayes brakes. They are also available as complete kits (PN 140-16801) with Wilwood premium rotors, pads, and flex lines. These new four-piston Wilwood calipers weigh half of what the original iron units did, with a forged aluminum body utilizing stainless steel pistons. Engineered with internal crossovers instead of the external lines on the originals, which break, leak, or rust with time. Available in Type III Hard Ano with a stock-look finish, or gloss black or red powdercoat. Caliper kit (PN 140-16799) works with Wilwood or original-style master cylinders and maintain the factory front/rear brake bias.

For more info, check out Wilwood Engineering by emailing or visit

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Chasing Perfection title
Chasing Perfection title
This ’31 Ford Tudor Sedan is Well on its Way
By Shawn BreretonPhotography by THE AUTHOR

e live in a constant quest for perfection. Or we like to think so. Can anyone (or anything) truly achieve perfection? The problem is its immeasurability. What is perfect to you might not be to someone else, and what is perfect to you today may not be tomorrow. Chasing perfection takes patience, persistence, determination, and passion. For car builders, it can destroy the average man. Luckily for us, Gene McCoy is virtually a superhero. The journey to building his vision of a perfect ’31 Model A Tudor sedan is a study of all four characteristics of a perfectionist.

At 70 years of age, Bartlett, Tennessee’s Gene McCoy, is an old-school, old-timer who has been in the car hobby since the late ’60s. He courted his wife, Linda, in a ’67 Plymouth Barracuda but credits the 1975 NSRA Street Rod Nationals for kick-starting his street rod passion. Recently retired after 44 years as a union sheetmetal worker, all of Gene’s acquired skills are evident throughout this exquisite ’31 Model A Tudor sedan. Purchased from his friend David Meek, the project started in 2007 but wasn’t finished until 2018.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Teenage Dreams
A Dream From Decades Past Comes True … and it’s a Good Thing
By Brian Brennan Photography by JOHN JACKSON

or Johnny Hall, of Lizella, Georgia, it’s been a longtime coming but worth the wait … every minute. Having spent a lifetime as a hot rodder building and owning any number of different cars and trucks it was time for an age-old dream to come true. He always wanted a ’32 Ford Tudor highboy sedan. And what a Deuce Tudor sedan it is.

For those who attended a past NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville this car may not come as a complete surprise. Odds are you saw it in the Builder’s Showcase. (In fact, that’s where we first saw it and knew we had to track it down for a feature to appear in Modern Rodding.)

Modern Rodding TECH

mechanic torques an ARP fastener on the LS block
LS Bare Block Performance Package typography
LS Bare Block Performance Package typography

Part 1: Prepping, Inspecting, and Assembling the Bottom End of Our Summit Racing LS

By RYAN Manson Photography by Brian Brennan Videography by Ryan Foss

hen it comes to building a performance LS engine package, there’s no better source for not only those internal components but also the tools required to properly measure and inspect those components than Summit Racing. Not only does Summit stock all the usual suspects when it comes to engine parts and speed equipment, their private label line offers a laundry list of products with an eye toward quality and affordability. From the pan to the valve covers, we turned to Summit at every corner of our latest LS build, and they had everything we needed.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Attitude Adjustment
This ’33 Ford Coupe Required a Little Extra Effort to Look the Part
By Brian Brennan Photography by Wes Allison

here are about as many ways to build a hot rod as there are grits of sandpaper. And that’s what makes owning a hot rod so much fun and a worthwhile hobby. Ron James, of Paducah, Kentucky, found himself owning a ’33 Ford three-window coupe. Now, when Ron picked up his latest ride, it was a functioning hot rod complete with a Flathead and a T5 tranny. A respectable hot rod, to say the least. But it wasn’t “Ron’s” hot rod.

Back in the day the late Pete Chapouris (of Pete & Jakes Hot Rod Parts, PC3, SO-CAL Speed Shop fame) had an expression: “shave and a haircut build.” He would keep much of what was there and gently (or not-so gently) massage the look so that the result was a very cool looking hot rod.

’33 Ford Coupe
Modern Rodding TECH

1. A nicely frenched light that is vertical enough to be seen flows with the fender and is straight as an hour.

Headlight of a car being worked on
1. A nicely frenched light that is vertical enough to be seen flows with the fender and is straight as an hour.
Frenching… for Style & Safety
In This Case, Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
By Gerry Burger Photography by Glenn Sinon
Let’s face it; we’re all guilty of it at some time in our hot-rodding life—thinking style over safety. Not in a big way, mind you, but maybe those lights are a bit low and maybe seal beams behind vintage glass lenses don’t form the sharpest focus beam, but, hey, we get by. Why even ol’ Henry Ford did it, as anyone who has ever followed a ’40 Ford will tell you, nigh on impossible to tell when the skyward brake lights are illuminated, but darn those Chevrons sure look good.

Now none of this was lost on longtime hot rodder Dwight Winter. There is simply no denying the good looks of the ’39 Ford, or even better ’39 Lincoln taillights. Their classic style comes from utter simplicity wrapped in the perfect shape. With that thought in mind, Dwight opted for a set of ’39 Lincoln taillights from Speedway Motors, and much like Ford did in 1939 he mounted them to the rear fenders of his fine ’35 Ford Tudor. All that sounds simple enough but finding the perfect mounting surface on a ’35 Ford rear fender is no small chore. The new lights were mounted, wired, and the new LEDs illuminated the lenses far better than anything available in 1939.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
By Brian Brennan Photography by Michael Christensen
Dream Machine typography
The O’Neils’ Wish Come True is Their ’70 ’Cuda

hen you are a Mopar fan, building and owning a ’70 Plymouth ’Cuda most definitely is at the top of your list. Such was the case for Kevin and Gabrielle O’Neil of San Bruno, California, along with the opportunity to work with Zane Cullen of Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, California.

The basis for this hot rod is a ’70 Plymouth ’Cuda that underwent the sheetmetal and powertrain modifications while at Cotati Speed Shop. Fundamentally the Cotati crew took what was presented and “tightened” up the presentation. All the panels were massaged and their factory gaps tightened to what is expected from our hobby. The front and rear bumpers were reworked and fit more tightly to the body. Lastly, the Cotati crew went outside the shop to have a custom rear roll pan fabricated by Dave Hitchenson, who helps on projects from time to time. The rear tubs were also modified for the oversized rubber by the Cotati crew. From here the bodywork and paint was handled by the Cotati crew. The color is a Brilliant Blue Pearl from Axalta in a basecoat/clearcoat combination. Look closely at the hood and you’ll see the same color but in a matte clearcoat that, according to the crew at Cotati, is a homage to the AAR ’Cudas. There is also a reddish orange pinstripe that runs from the headlight back to the end of the rear quarter window on both sides following the breakover bodyline that was applied by Eric Sedletzky.

blue '70 'Cuda

Modern Rodding TECH

1. The result is the Winters quick-change rearend under your project. Does anything else say “hot rod” better than a quick-change?
Geared For Success Title
How a Quick-Change Axle can Transform How Your Rod Looks… and How it Goes
By Chris Shelton
Photography by Danny Tesar

h, there’s nothing quite like the look (or whirr) of a quick-change axle. Inspired by circle track racers who needed to fine-tune their gearing to suit course conditions, the venerable quick-change axle has made its way under just about everything, including land speed cars, sports cars, dragsters, Modifieds, and even drift cars.

A quick-change axle is basically a conventional axle with a gear case modified or designed to use a pair of spur gears. In a conventional axle, the driveshaft and pinion rotate at a 1:1 ratio. In other words, the pinion rotates at the same rate as the driveshaft. But the spur gears in a quick-change axle alter the ratio between the driveshaft and pinion. Depending on how it’s oriented, a spur-gear set can spin the pinion faster or slower than the driveshaft to alter the axle’s final drive, or its total gear ratio. That’s a big deal when trying to tune an engine to operate within its peak powerband on a racetrack.

Modern Rodding FEATURE
Granddad's Old Car title
Granddad's Old Car title
Larry Tremaine’s ’55 Pontiac was Purchased New by His Granddad
By Dale MoreauPhotography by THE AUTHOR

t’s not often that a car has been in the same family for over 60 years. In 1955, Harry Tremaine Sr., Larry Tremaine’s grandfather, was driving a ’53 Pontiac when it was hit by a log truck, causing permanent damage to his leg. Once Harry recuperated, he went to Windolph Pontiac in Portland, Oregon, and ordered this top-of-the-line ’55 Pontiac Star Chief Catalina two-door hardtop.

Many years of driving pleasure with the Pontiac came and went until Larry’s grandfather died. His grandmother drove the car until 1979 and then put it into storage. In 1991, she transferred the title to Larry. In 1992, Larry and his family moved to Oregon to complete his medical residency. The car sat outside for a time and then was put into storage until 2017. That was when the old Poncho was put into Terry Morrison’s capable hands for restoration. Terry and Laurie have run Terry’s Kustom Auto in Wilsonville, Oregon, for many moons and have gone the extra mile to make the ’55 the best of the best.

Modern Rodding TECH

The Climes They are a-Changin’ title
Time Made the ’82-88 Monte Carlo and El Camino Cool.
Vintage Air Made Them a Whole Lot Cooler.
By Chris Shelton

’ll admit, it seems a little odd to replace the factory climate-control system in an ’82-88 Chevrolet Monte Carlo or El Camino with anything else. After all, these were cars built by a corporation that owned Frigidaire, a manufacturer so renowned for refrigerators that some cultures still refer to refrigerators in general as Frigidaire. But there are reasons. Hear us out.

As good as they are, GM’s systems aren’t without shortcomings. First off, they were designed to use R12. Yes, R12 is still available, but good luck getting any without a license. Sure, a system designed for R12 can be converted to operate on its replacement, R134a, however, it requires replacing every O-ring with compatible material, gambling that the old non-barrier hose won’t sweat refrigerant, replacing damaged or sweating old hose with new barrier hose, replacing the filter/dryer, flushing the system—including the compressor—filling the compressor with compatible oil, installing R134a adapter ports, and, in some cases, replacing the old tube-and-fin condenser with a more efficient parallel flow design—and that assumes everything from the original system remains and functions properly, which is unlikely after 40 years; less likely if the car sat for any period. Maybe a prior owner removed and lost critical components when the system stopped working. Or maybe in their haste they damaged or cut those critical components when the fittings that connected their hoses wouldn’t break free easily. Or maybe just all that plastic in the system finally had enough heat cycles and started to decompose. And let me tell you, it seems that cars from this era were made of nothing but plastic.

Modern Rodding Special Feature
By Michael Dobrin Photography by THE AUTHOR, Eric Geisert & the Blackie Gejeian Collection
Part 2: Remembering Blackie Gejeian
Blackie’s T–not yet named the “Shish Kebob Special”–on the staging lot for the Oakland Roadster Show, 1955.

n Part 1 we looked at the influences that helped shape the Gejeian driving wheel: his family, love of farming, life on the ranch, and racing hardtops. Here, we look at his showmanship, his daring and innovative show rods, and his Armenian racing brotherhood in Fresno, as well as his honored contributions to the history and cultural life in Fresno.

“There’ll never be another Blackie,” Fresno’s late Kenny Takeuchi, the dean of Central Valley track announcer, said. In an earlier interview before his death in 2019 at 92, “Tak” recalled his four decades as track announcer, historian, media manager, and statistician as well as his respect for Blackie’s diligence and attention to detail. “We had a four-track modified circuit. Friday night we’d race at Kearney Bowl, Saturday at San Jose, a Sunday day race at Altamont, and then close the series Sunday night at Clovis.

“We had 60 cars, enough for A, B, and C main events,” he said. “Blackie’s biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be enough cars and drivers left after three races; we raced the same cars, pavement, dirt, didn’t matter. Officials from San Jose and Altamont would have to high tail for Clovis. But we were good. We arrived on time and Blackie’s show was well run, well officiated, everyone in and out on time. The track was well prepared when we got there—no waitin’ around. But when he was upset his voice would carry a mile. It was time to clear out.”

 ’68 Dodge Charger
’68 Dodge Charger Makeover
By Brian Brennan Artwork By Bo Zolland design

his month we thought it would be fun to take a look at one of the iconic muscle cars of the glory years of the mid ’60s. The ’68 Dodge Charger is one of these such cars. We thought we would go to Bo Zolland who has designed many a car and massaged many more to bring to life the dreams of hot rodders worldwide. Before we get into his imagination and what a ’68 Charger could look like, how about a little background.

The ’68 Dodge Charger was a redesign; Dodge anticipated that 35,000 units should cover demand. They misjudged. Instead, 96,100 were eventually produced. Chrysler used its B platform and to this there were subtle changes, which included mostly cosmetic alterations. These changes occurred both on the outside and the inside. For instance, the grille was now “undivided,” running the width of the front end with its hidden headlights, while the taillights were now rounded.

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Thanks for reading our September 2022 preview issue!