In just five years, it has exploded into America's greatest automotive competition. Six of the cars on these pages will be battling it out for that special brand of glory that only comes from one event: the Asphalt Ego-Rama, Rod & Custom's exclusive performance shootout of hot rods and custom cars. The cars aren't show queens, and they're not dragstrip rats. They're real-world, built-right rods and customs that can do it all--stop, go, corner, stay on the road for hours without breaking a sweat, and make people stop and stare. The Asphalt Ego-Rama isn't a race, and it isn't a beauty contest. It's a one-of-a-kind on-the-road experience that takes camaraderie and competition, throws them together, and doesn't let the action stop until we've got one winner.
So who gets to play in R&C's prestigious playground? That's up to you. We published an entry form in the April issue, and have reduced the pile of entries down to the 15 semi-finalists pictured on these pages. Now it's your job to tell us which six will be there when the Asphalt Ego-Rama '05 hits the road. You might notice that we have a few repeat entrants. That's because, in addition to liking their cars, we like their persistance. Will that persistence pay off? We'll find out when we count the votes. Your ballot and instructions are at the end of this article.
Acceleration: Dragstrip testing determines the quickest 1/4-mile elapsed time. Lowest e.t. gets the most points. The highest gets the least.
Braking: The car that gets from 60-to-0 mph in the shortest distance wins.
Cornering: We throw down the cones and point the radar gun. Zip through the pylons in the quickest time to win the category.
Gas Mileage: We'll fill the tanks and hit the road to calculate every car's mpg fuel efficiency.
Ride & Drive: Members of the R&C staff ride shotgun (or drive, depending on if we can sweet talk our way into the driver seat) during the road trip to evaluate the ride quality, comfort, practicality, and overall impression. Don't even think about bringing a trailer, unless you're pulling it with your rod.
Engineering: R&C staffers will judge your car for technical and functional excellence, fit and finish, quality of workmanship, imagination, and attention to detail.
Budget: It's all about low-buck. We estimate the cost of duplicating each car and award the highest points to the best budget-built ride.
People's Choice: We'll take the Ego-Rama to a car show, and let the spectators vote for their favorite of the bunch.
Style: This category is about the participants, not the cars. It rewards sportsmanship, positive attitude, and overall contribution to the fun and success of the event.
We've got 15 favorites on the ballot, but only six get to compete in the Asphalt Ego-Rama '05. Vote for your six favorites by checking the appropriate boxes and mail this page (or a photocopy) to us.
* One ballot per person. Duplicate ballots will not be accepted
* You must pick six cars for your ballot to be counted
* You can also vote at the end of this article. Only one vote per computer will be counted.
Mail your ballot to:
R&C Asphalt Ego-Rama,
774 S. Placentia Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870
Ballots must be received by Sept. 9, 2005. Finalists will be notified by September 18. We will announce the finalists on our Web site at www.rodandcustommagazine.com.
Click on the next page to view the participants and their cars. There you'll be able to cast your vote for the six you think should compete in the 2005 Rod & Custom Asphalt Ego-Rama.
'47 Oldsmobile Convertible
Why we picked it: Denise enters year after year, and we like that never-give-up attitude. Plus, she's spent the last year making a bunch of sheetmetal mods on the 455-powered Olds, including a completely reworked hood and some fresh custom paint. Will her friends on the HAMB help Denise finally get into the Ego-Rama this year? We'll find out.
Why Denise thinks she deserves your vote: "If the Oldsmobile was chosen, I would be able to represent the females who are in the hot rodding hobby."
'23 Ford T Roadster
Why we picked it: Dave built his hand-fabricated T completely himself (and we mean completely) in the style of the old European sports car builders. He even learned to TIG weld to get the job done. The bare-metal roadster-with-a-top runs a Chevy small-block, and has been driven all over the United States in the last three years. It's outstanding.
Why Dave thinks he deserves your vote: "I need your vote so we can find out if my low-buck, homebuilt performs!"
'56 Oldsmobile Coupe
Why we picked it: Maybe we just love the bloodhound stance of Jim's two-tone Olds, or the ZZ4 hiding under it's hood. Or the fact that Jim drove a '56 Olds across Route 66 with his wife and daughter in 1962 to report to Navy duty. Or that his daughter Denise now has an Oldsmobile of her own--and it's also on this ballot. See where this is going?
Why Jim thinks he deserves your vote: "It's a homebuilt hot rod that should do well in most of the categories."
'47 Ford Coupe
Corey R. Cummings
Why we picked it: We'd really love to see this big ol' '47 snaking through the cones in our cornering test. And with a bunch of Corvette C4 suspension parts, it would probably catch everybody by surprise. Add an EFI Ford 302 crate mill, Art Carr automatic, and Corey's lead-loaded right foot, and this coupe could make trouble for five other egos.
Why Corey thinks he deserves your vote: "It's a low-buck, Ford-in-a-Ford rod, certified by the California Highway Patrol to do at least 102 mph."
'59 Chevy Biscayne
Jerry & Cheryl Krob
Why we picked it: Jerry and Cheryl sent us a stack of buildup photos, so we know the amount of work and level of details that went into their Porsche Guard Red Chevy. The stock body and frame have been extensively reworked, the 350 mill amply muscled up, and the interior entirely redone. Now that we know how it looks, we wonder how it runs.
Why Jerry and Cheryl think they deserve your vote: "Being chosen will validate the many hours of labor, loving, cursing, and complaining we've put into our '59 Chevy."
'32 Ford Roadster
Las Vegas, Nevada
Why we picked it: When it comes to hot rodding, Jim just gets it. Whenever we go to a show, his small-block Deuce roadster is there. Jim, a drag racer in the '60s, says he took the inspiration for his high-mileage traditional '32 (he's put 31k miles on it in just two years) from early hot rodders who used their cars for fun and performance, as well as daily transportation.
Why Jim thinks he deserves your vote: "I have so much fun driving this car, I just don't want to put it in the garage."
'36 Ford Coupe
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Why we picked it: It's owner-built from an all-original rust-free car on an owner-built chassis, which you've got to respect. It has all of the original trim. It looks fat, but it's loaded with muscle--in the form of a mega-torque 454 Chevy Rat motor and a TH400. It's covered a lot of miles. It's from Canada, which would make the Ego-Rama a truly international event.
Why Al thinks he deserves your vote: "It's a blast to drive around the corner and on long- distance trips, but more importantly, it gives the antiquers heartburn when they hear I rodded an original car."
'32 Ford Roadster
Why we picked it: Here's another Deuce roadster for you folks to consider. Alan has driven his '32 through two engines, two paint jobs, 115,000 miles, 18 years, and some tough Chicago snow. A late-'60s 302 and C4 automatic keep it all Ford, and all owner-built. Could it add an Ego-Rama trophy to its impressive list of credentials?
Why Alan's '32 thinks it deserves your vote: "I'm a Deuce, homebuilt, with lots of horsepower and over 100,000 miles, and besides, if Al doesn't get picked he will cry!"
'26 Ford T Tub
San Rafael, California
Why we picked it: We liked Joe's T enough to put it on the 2003 and 2004 ballots, and still like it just as much. The screaming yellow tub, running a Ford 302, is driven all over the West, and won an '03 Grand National Roadster Show award by just sitting there. It'll have to do more than that to win the Asphalt Ego-Rama. Third time's a charm. Want to give him a chance?
Why Joe thinks he deserves your vote: "It's a driver and a fun ride, but it still wins car shows, so why not vote for an old-school hot rod with no top, no heater, but lots of horsepower?"
'41 Dodge Business Coupe
Brooklyn, New York
Why we picked it: Joel is the Mopar crowd's only hope to defend Pentastar honor in the Asphalt Ego-Rama this year--especially since his tomato red business coupe is Chrysler on the inside, too. The 360ci engine is tied to a 727 transmission. And with some well-executed body modifications, the car's an absolute knockout as well.
Why Joel thinks he deserves your vote: "I thinks it's one cool car."
'41 Ford Coupe
Why we picked it: A 454 Chevy big-block powers Jack's chopped and dropped '41. In addition to being built to impress--with four-wheel discs, Chassis Engineering suspension goodies, and that Rat motor--this purple ego-eater can hold it's own in the looks and comfort department with a contemporary leather cockpit, and covers a lot of miles.
Why Jack thinks he deserves your vote: "It's a homebuilt hot rod that should do well in most of the categories."
'29 Ford Roadster
Rich "Pure Hell" Guasco
Why we picked it: Any guy who first built his roadster in 1952, drag raced it for a decade before rebuilding it to win the AMBR title in 1961, drove it constantly for the next 35 years before restoring it for the 50th Grand National Roadster Show in 1999, and still enjoys driving it across country at a moment's notice definitely gets our vote! Besides the 450hp '29 on '32 'rails, Rich also still owns his restored original "Pure Hell" Fuel Altered. We'd love to have him along just for the stories.
Why Rich thinks he deserves your vote: "I always put on a good show and I don't believe in Second place."
'33 Ford Five-Window Coupe
Marina Del Rey, California
Why we picked it: Don't let the suede body throw you off--the finish is the only dull thing on Michael's unusual, chopped five-window. The small-block is fed by an electronic Hilborn injection system and hooked to a six-speed manual. A Porsche gave up its brakes to make sure this coupe stops when Mike stomps 'em. Anybody want to see how it performs?
Why Michael thinks he deserves your vote: "I built my car the old-school way--with my own hands in my own garage, with the inspiration of my friends, and good rock 'n' roll on the radio."
'50 Chevy Sport Coupe
Grants Pass, Oregon
Why we picked it: Bruce paid the original owner's son $900 for a rusted hulk, restored it, then rodded it. He did all the work completely himself (from the Chevy 350 engine to the exhaust to the woodshed paint job--even the chrome). He tallied up his budget at just under $8,000. If voted in, Bruce will make the trip towing his camper behind the Chevy.
Why Bruce thinks he deserves your vote: "This is a real backyard, shade-tree, junkyard hot rod that is owner-built, using 90-percent old, used parts."
'46 Oldsmobile Coupe
White Heath, Illinois
Why we picked it: The list of body mods on this Olds is incredible. They're hard to see, but there are flames painted on the body of Lyn's big boat, which was chopped, changed into a hardtop, and channeled over a '73 Cutlass frame. The Caddy 501 is connected to a TH400 with Gear Vendors split gears. He says it's fun and fast. We'd love to find out.
Why Lyn thinks he deserves your vote: "It is a full-bore custom that has as much go as it does show, was built to drive, and should perform well."