A Hemi-Powered Roadster is the 66th Grand National Roadster Show Big Winner
There are a lot of ways for a farmer to have some fun but receiving the recognition as the 2015 America's Most Beautiful Roadster at the 66th Grand National Roadster Show is a great start. Larry Olson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is no stranger to hot rods. He's had them all his life and he's had all years and makes but his latest definitely separates himself from the rodding crowd, and this roadster is one-of-a-kind within his own collection. Having already teamed up with Bobby Alloway of Alloway's Hot Rods out of Louisville, Tennessee, on several previous occasions this current ride represents the epitome of what can be accomplished. Construction took two years, which in the rodding world is barely a fortnight.
Upon first and maybe second glance, this 1933 Ford roadster looks stock—but it isn't. There are both subtle as well as dramatic changes that lead to the striking appearance. The changes are much more significant than anyone taking a casual view would catch, which makes the subtle changes even more dramatic and appealing.
Steve's Auto Restorations (SAR) supplied the 1933 Ford steel sporting a 2-inch chopped windshield that was laid back 3 inches from its upright stock position. If you want to go by the numbers, get ready. The front fenders were stretched 2 inches just in front of where they meet the running boards. Next the SAR sheetmetal was dropped onto the Alloway-fabricated chassis based on reproduction 1933 Ford 'rails from Hotshoe Hot Rods. Alloway modified the 'rails with his crossmembers along with a 1932 front crossmember and stretched the frame 2 inches, increasing the wheelbase to 114 inches. Holding the fenders in position are Alloway custom-made braces that also serve as upper shock and headlight mounts. At this point the front wheels were centered in the wheel opening by reshaping the fender sheetmetal. The front fenders also were "pulled down" to go beneath the custom-made aluminum Valley grille and insert. Did we mention with the stretched wheelbase and reshaped front fenders a stock length Rootlieb hood was used. However the louvered hood sides and splash aprons were lengthened. It's here the casual eye is thrown off and may not notice the front sheetmetal mods. So as not to feel "left out" the rear fenders and gas tank cover were bobbed—each 3 inches. Sitting between the fore and aft fenders are sedan, yes sedan, doors that were modified to fit the roadster body—they're approximately 4 inches longer than roadster doors. Why? The larger doors give greater and easier access to the interior. The roadster is striking in its appearance and the PPG black (9700 basecoat with DCU 2002 Concept clearcoat) over the Alloway shop bodywork and resting beneath the Josh Shaw flame layout and 'striping and along with the Wade Hughes flames makes it all happen. Lighting front and rear comes by way of a 1933 Ford but the stanchions are custom from the workbench at Alloway's Hot Rod Shop.
We mentioned all this beauty is resting on an Alloway chassis but we didn't mention the particulars. Johnson's Hot Rod/Perfection Hot Rod Parts supplied the 5-inch drop and drilled billet axle, Super Bell spindles, Pete & Jake's shocks, and held in position by PHRP billet wishbones with a Posies front spring. Steering is the hot rodding staple—Vega box linked to an ididit steering column. Braking is more from PHRP in the form of Kinmont-style drum covers over Stainless Steel Brake Corporation calipers; the master cylinder is a Wilwood product. Operation of the custom brake package falls to a Kugel Komponents underdash swing pedal assembly. Braking in the rear is something many hot rodders are familiar with—Ford 9-inch drums now resting within the PHRP Kinmont-style brake covers.
Since we mentioned the rear braking we should also point out the basis for the rear suspension is centered on a Winters V-8 quick-change, PHRP drilled billet ladder bars, a Posies buggy spring, Pete & Jake's shocks, the aforementioned Kinmont-style brakes, while all of the brightwork throughout the car was handled by Dan's Polishing.
This bad boy looking hot rod sits on another Alloway trademark—an impressive set of big 'n' littles. Manufactured by Billet Specialties the Alloway ET-style wheels wrapped with Michelin rubber pencil out at 18x10 rears and 15x4 fronts with 275/60R18s and 135/75R15s. It's both impressive and distinctive and will only be found on Alloway-built hot rods. Adding to the overall appearance is the black leather stitchwork by Steve Holcomb the caretaker of Pro Auto Upholstery. Carpeting is more of Holcomb's handiwork, utilizing black Daytona-weave carpeting. Some call the interior "plain" but Alloway says, "An interior shouldn't be the first thing you see when looking at a hot rod, it should complement the overall look." We would have to agree the interior is good looking, it's not overpowering, and it's spacious and oh-so comfy—you gotta drive 'em, so you might as well be comfortable. Other interior viewing points include the 1933 Nash instrument cluster and insert cradled within a 1933 Ford dash. Classic Instruments massaged the gauges, making them striking in appearance but not removing their original appeal. The basic yet elegant interior approach also shows off the '50s-era Motorola accessory radio that is linked to a 1957 Cadillac speaker—both center mounted beneath the instrument cluster. We've mentioned the ididit steering column but we didn't mention that it's topped with a 1962 Corvette steering wheel—homage to the Corvette's performance lineage and its ties to hot rodding. Look past the three-spoke wheel and you will see a Johnson Hot Rod Shop shifter and shift knob that aptly controls the Legend Super Sport five-speed mechanical box. The shifter is drilled similarly to the spokes on the wheel and reminiscent to the holes drilled on the I-beam axle, wishbones, and ladder bars.
Saving the best for last: Any hot rod, especially one that is to represent America's Most Beautiful Roadster, should have lots of thunder underhood. Couple this with Alloway's reputation for copious amounts of horsepower and you truly have a hot rod! The rumble from within comes out of a 1955 Dodge 241-inch Red Ram Hemi built by Keasler Racing. It really does take a sharp eye to "see" that all of the vintage go-fast parts we have come to admire are really there for show and a little for go. The "go" is hidden and hidden very well, as this Hemi is as modern in its operation as any mod motor but looks the part of a vintage V-8.
There is no mistaking a pair of Hemi valve covers but in this case these didn't come by way of Detroit—no these came from O'Brien Truckers. Did we mention they're polished to a mirror-like finish by Dan's Polishing? There is a stunning amount of brightwork within the engine compartment and it is easy to become caught up in the mirror finish and not pay attention to the mechanics. The polished Weiand Drag Star intake is topped with six, yes six, Stromberg 97 carbs and decked with OTB Gear air cleaners. But that's where their function stops. No fuel passes through these chrome-plated vintage two-barrel carbs; air is all that passes through these venturis. The baby Hemi was converted to electronic fuel injection, utilizing Big Stuff computer and harness. Keasler Racing hid the EFI components within the heads and under the billet valley plate. Exiting the spent gases goes by way of the custom headers and exhaust system from Barrillaro Speed Emporium run through Porter mufflers. Other engine appointments include the MSD ignition and Taylor primary wires, Powermaster alternator, and a copper/brass radiator by Steve Long.
It's never easy and it's never unanimous but having your roadster selected as America's Most Beautiful Roadster at any Grand National Roadster Show is an overwhelming honor. The way we see it Larry will have to limber the legs on this roadster come the summer rodding season to prove to one and all it deserves the accolades.
Article courtesy of Hotrod Network, written by Brian Brennan.