More than 20 years after working for Pete Weber as a teenager, Mike Keller of Big Creek Restoration in Ellis, KS is still working for him. Now it’s a bit different work, after finishing a killer 39 Mercury street rod Weber and Keller were at Great Bend, KS for a drag racing reunion meet when they saw a 1934 Ford that they both liked. Both agreed that the 33-34’s if done correctly could be timeless traditional hot rods, which planted a seed for this project
“No, that’s not for sale.” We’ve all heard it before, the car sitting in the field every time you drive by and when you talk to the owner they tell you it’s not for sale. That was the story when a buddy called Scott Mills and told him of a Model A sedan and a pickup in a yard a couple of cities away.
It’s rather fitting that I’m posting this article today. If you’re reading this on the day it comes out I’m on the way to the 2015 Hot Rod Hill Climb right now, these photos were shot after the 2014 Hot Rod Hill Climb just down the road about a mile.
We’ve all seen it, we’ve all done it. NO not that, I’m talking about people who buy a vehicle with one plan in mind and then it turns into something else. That’s exactly what happened to the simple shop truck build by Ryno Built of SW Missouri.
“You’re going to want to replace that flathead.” That’s the first words of many people when we talk about my 51 Ford. They tell me how they would be good for tooling around town or this or that but for the amount that I drive I’m going to want to replace it with something more powerful and modern. My counter argument is Roy Fields’ 1949 Ford. Not only has this car been all over the country including taking Fields to Bonneville to run he and his brother’s LSR car. Tales of that drive include extended high speed runs proving the motor’s longevity.
A long time tri-five fan, Rick Salyer enjoyed driving his gorgeous black 1957 Chevy to some shows with his fellow Tulsa, Ok area friend Robert Roggendorff. In a “it’s a small world” twist Roggendorff was a high school buddy with my Dad and his older brother Tom, and after a surprise party reunited Roggendorff with the Scanlans we started going to shows together. The KKOA Leadsled Spectacular, the H.A.M.B. Drags and the Greaserama were all shows that we’ve attended as a big group for a few years.
In the Summer of 1959 at the Kansas City Drag Strip, a young eight year old boy eyes a bright red 1939 Chevy staging against its competitor.The snarling beast inches forward trying to unleash its wrath as the driver Bob Worley fights her back. The signal is given, the clutch releases and the red monster roars, breaking free from its confine! The slicks dig into the track! The front tires are sent into the air and are gaining altitude as the young boy intently stares on. With no desire of letting up, the red Chevy keeps digging in until she’s resting on her back bumper and light is shining under her rear slicks!
The list of reasons that a particular project gets delayed can be a long one. “Life gets in the way” is how most of that list is summed up. It’s fairly rare to see “our house and garage burned down” on the list, but that’s exactly what happened to Jerry & Cynthia Curry shortly after Jerry brought home a 1936 Ford pickup.
As Hot Rod Walt alluded to recently on Episode 9 of my Chrome Pipes & Pinstripes Podcast the current state of kustoms would not be where it is without the hard work of the Kustom Kemps of America. The KKOA’s Leadsled Spectacular started in the Wichita, KS area not just because that’s where Jerry Titus was from, but because a group of folks in Wichita never lost the kustom faith when the rest of car world became muscle car and street rod obsessed.
The phrase “Built, Not Bought” gets ballied about quite a bit these days. Not all of us feel up to the task of building our rides, yet. So when you see a guy at a show that isn’t advertising that it’s “Built, Not Bought” you find yourself assuming that maybe it was bought or at least paid for and shop built. Not the case with this 1926 Ford RPU.
What if a race shop in the late 50’s to early 60’s wanted to build up their shop truck a bit? That was the question Steve Thomason asked himself when he began to build his daily driven 1952 Chevrolet pickup. He carefully selected parts and set out to build a truck that would be at home in a race shop as a parts hauler.
The very first time that I remember seeing a Galaxie was before my classic car obsession started. At that time I was just in a cars in general mode with an emphasis on car stereos. So while attending a show in Omaha, NE I saw a car that was completely alien to me, I mean it really looked like a UFO to my ignorant eyes, but I loved it. That car was a 1963 Galaxie 500 Sports Roof (1963 1/2 Galaxie 500) and it ignited a love affair that burns through to today.
Often when you find a great looking ride on the streets or at a car show, you find that the owner is typically a bit older and has had decades worth of rides to practice on before getting to this great one. It’s rare to find a young owner with a great car, and to find one that’s 22 and built it himself almost never happens. So when I first saw Austin Grabowski roll into the Starliner car show at Wichita’s Kansas Aviation Museum, I admit it, I assumed it was a car that had been passed down to him. That first impression was dead wrong.
Sometimes you have to practice for years to get good at something, other times you get it right on your first effort. Brandon McCullough from Tulsa, OK got this 1931 Model A right on his first effort. As a kid he attended “every car show that we could find” with his dad who was always talking about wanting a hot rod coupe. After a few well detailed beautiful bike builds McCullough decided it was time to build a coupe for himself just like Dad had always wanted.
It’s hard for me to come up with something to say about this car and it’s owner, Doug Reed. Doug has become a great friend and mentor of mine over the last few years. He’s been covering the hot rod/kustom scene in this area for over 3 decades, doing his part to get publicity for the talented builders and dedicated car owners of the region, just as I am attempting to do now. No words that I come up with express how much I dig this car and the man that owns it.
Feature Car: 1951 Cadillac Series 62
Some are very rare,some were free if they were just drug off the farm they were rotting on. All of them have a story, and I wish they could speak so that we could hear them.
In The Domino Effect Pt. 1 I explained the basic principle, what started as a simple upgrade with parts I’d already purchased became a much bigger project. It’s gotten worse… and finally it’s gotten better.
The brackets that I ordered up all came from CVF Racing. I did not get them as a kit, but individually.
For a few days I poured over the internet, the car was not at my house so instead of going out and looking at the pieces in the car I went online. An online parts store listed the factory Galaxie power steering pressure hose as a 3/8″ inverted flare fitting, another listed the saginaw pump as a 5/8″ inverted flare fitting. Where was I going to find an adapter??? Turns out you don’t need one. The 3/8″ and 5/8″ referred to the wrench size, they threaded right together with no problems. (I should have known that or I should have at least tried to fit them together about a week before I did)
So after fighting through a few fitment issues we created some shims, we shave down some spacers that we made all the brackets go together and mount it only took 10 or 15 times of taking everything off of putting it back on to make it work.
Then I took the car down to my friends at Chaotic Customs who finished up a list of items that were over my head or out o my time budget to fix. I picked the car up and drove it home the weekend before LSRU.
A vibration that I had been feeling in the car above 60 mph was the next problem. After a couple hours of looking and driving I couldn’t find the issue. So on Easter Sunday Chris at Chaotic said to bring the car back down and let them take a look.
The crew busted their butts and went way beyond good service to get the car road worthy for the LSRU. A new crossmember was built for the trans since the one fabbed & put in by my old mechanic was not up to the task.
Chaotic Customs made this Lonestar Roundup Trip possible. From the bottom of my heart thank you guys for caring enough to do what it took to get the car on the road!
See you at a show,
At the 2011 KKOA Leadsled Spectacular I was approached by my friend Mickey of Stray Kat Kustoms car shows with some good news. Our mutual friend and fellow Stray Kat, Krobe had been asked to do a feature of his beautiful 30 Model A Ford for Car Kulture Deluxe. Mickey and Krobe had been kind enough to mention to Alan Mayes of CKD that they knew a photographer at the show that could handle photographing the car, lucky for me that was me!
I’ve had my 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 since 2004. When she first entered my life she looked like a 70’s cruiser. Stock body, dark tinted windows (80’s probably), Cragar S/S wheels and some fairly large raised white letter tires.