Whoa. Hold up. Wait a second. Is that a motorcycle featured in the pages of ROD & CUSTOM magazine? What's next, a return to go-karts and model cars? Not exactly. You see, street rods and hogs share a common timeline that dates back to the very beginning of what is known as the American Century. Both started life as affordable modes of transportation in the first decade of the 1900s, as products of free-thinking inventor-industrialists who sought to replace the horse and buggy with more modern forms of motorized transportation. Both the motorcycle and the roadster soared in popularity through the end of the '30s, and each made a comeback in the hands of rebellious speed-seeking youth in the '50s. Unfortunately, the American-made chopper and open-air roadster each faded from the public eye throughout most of the '70s and '80s, only to make a huge comeback when graying baby boomers took control of the marketplace in the last ten years of the 20th Century.
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of both Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Ford Motor Company, which is ironic since neither of the two vehicles shown here features a single part from either of those two companies. Both were hand-built by professional craftsmen at the top of their game, and each serves its purpose admirably. When So-Cal Speed Shop's resident wordsmith Tony Thacker asked us to come out and take a look at the two outstanding vehicles owned by Southern California-native Dan Kruse, we agreed, knowing that pretty much anything that rolls through the So-Cal doors qualifies as cool in even the most critical circles. What we saw upon arrival,, however, was a matched set of open-air cruisers so perfectly detailed and incredibly well engineered that it took our breath away. So what if R&C doesn't usually feature photos of bikes; we reasoned that any fan of quality workmanship and vintage style would dig the two-wheeled wonder you see here. As for the Deuce, well... between the LT5 dual overhead cam engine and the hand-built suspension, the car speaks for itself. So on to the story.
Dan is in the meat processing business Monday through Friday, but on the weekends he's a diehard hot rodder, with a list of former rides that include some of the coolest vehicles to ever roll out of Motor City, including a '49 Buick Roadmaster convertible and a '55 Chevy. Having always wanted a '32 roadster, he approached legendary builder Boyd Coddington in 1994 about building a high-tech hot rod with a bevy of high-performance goodies under the hood. The Hawaiian-shirt-wearing metalman commissioned Chip Foose to pen the car's lines, and soon a road map was drawn up for the crew at Boyd's to follow. Three years later the roadster was finished, and not long after that Hot Rods by Boyd closed its doors. Six years and many cruising miles later, the car was brought to the talented craftsmen at So-Cal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, where it was debugged, detailed, and fixed up with a whole new look. While Kruse enjoys driving the roadster, he has never taken it to a car show, and we were the first shutterbugs to ever lay a lens on it. Luckily for us, its two-wheeled brother happened to be lurking around the shop the same day, and we invited both machines along for a few snapshots
'32 Ford Roadster
Drivetrain: The roadster was originally destined to receive an LT1 nestled between the framerails, but while visiting his car that was coming together at Boyd's shop, Dan happened to notice a brand-new ZR1 in the driveway. Upon closer inspection he realized that the all-aluminum Lotus-designed dual overhead cam, 32-valve, 405hp V-8 supercar powerplant would be perfect for his project, and the game plan was modified. The exotic engine is as big as a Chrysler Hemi, so frame bits had to be modified and a 700-R4 automatic was mated to the back for space-saving considerations. A 2,500-rpm Gilbert Nevarez Racing converter spools, spins, and channels power to a Boyd's independent rearend with Posi-traction. In case you couldn't tell already, this car hauls
Chassis: A set of Just-A-Hobby rails were pinched in front and kicked up in the rear by the crew at Hot Rods by Boyd, and the result is an ultra-low stance perfect for this high-tech rod. Hand-fabricated tubular four-wheel independent suspension is complemented by Carrera shocks and a Corvette rack-and-pinion setup. Wilwood brakes reside on all four corners.
Wheels & Tires: Boyds spindle-mount billet wheels measure 15 inches in front and 17 inches at the rear
Body: A Wescott's Auto Restyling fiberglass '32 body served as the starting point for this piece of rolling artwork, and Keith at the Boyd shop fabricated a three-piece aluminum hood to match. A deuce shell was shortened 1.5 inches and filled with a Dan Fink grille, while the taillights and license plate were recessed in the rear for a cleaner look. Teardrops were incorporated into the hood sides to clear the mammoth LT5 cylinder heads.
Paint: Keith at Hot Rods by Boyd sprayed the Midnight Black and Cadillac Green paint, thereby creating the first two-tone Deuce ever done by the shop. The mask line was set at the car's beltline, which helps blend the two colors together gracefully.
Interior: The father and son team of Chip and Sam Foose designed and built the custom seats, which feature teardrop armrests and a stitch line that matches the lines of the dashboard. Dark green leather and tweed cover virtually everything in the cockpit, and a custom gauge cluster and polished aluminum steering wheel finish things off.
'00 So-Cal Cruiser
Drivetrain: This hot rod might only have two cylinders, but it still packs plenty of punch. The experts at Bill Chambers Racing assembled a 96ci Evolution out of a Delkron case, S&S rods, Harley-Davidson pistons, and Axtell cylinders. The heads are also HD Evo pieces, which are actuated by a Mackie cam and fed by an S&S carb. Jimmy Shine fabbed the pipes, and a '98 Delkron five-speed tranny case filled with Andrews gears and a Primo clutch was tapped to channel the power. While some Japanese bikes are shaftdrive like a car, and most Harleys are chaindrive, the Cruiser uses a Primo beltdrive hidden in a custom vented housing by Shine.
Chassis: A '98 Atlas frame was chosen for the project and then stretched 5 inches to accommodate Dan's 6-foot, 4-inch frame. An Atlas swingarm works with White Brothers rear suspension and Ceriani forks to keep the ride cushy. A 34-degree rake lends the proper attitude. Every billet part on the entire bike has been "aged" by rounding all the sharp corners and shot-peening all exposed aluminum for a duller, more "cast" appearance. This is a trick we could actually use on the hot rod side, as well.
Wheels & Tires: The bike has bigs 'n' littles just like a rod, but backwards! A 19-inch Akront wire wheel resides up front and an 18-inch version rolls out back. Avon tires were used for their period-correct image.
Body: The bodywork is the truly the highlight of this fully custom cruiser. The front and rear fender and tank were all hand-fabricated by Shine, as well as the taillight, oil tank, and fender struts. So-Cal Speed Shop's legendary metalworker Birdman whipped up a pair of teardrop-shaped air cleaners for either side of the motor, one of which actually serves as a housing for the bike's electronics. Shine wired the bike exclusively with YNZ cloth-covered wiring, just like a traditional rod. A K&N (not the air filter company) handlebar is attached to HD risers, with a 6-inch bucket headlamp bolted to the front.
Paint: So-Cal Speed Shop's in-house spray men Tim Beard and Bryan Fuller coated everything on the bike that wasn't chrome or blasted aluminum with a thick coat of PPG Black enamel. Every part was rubbed out and buffed to perfection, and the detail work is amazing.
Interior: Finishing touches can make or break the end result of a custom vehicle, whether it's a car or bike. The So-Cal boys realized this and came up with some pretty cool ideas for the cruiser lifted straight from the hot rod camp. The '47 Indian floorboards are topped with a clutch and brake pedals from a Model A Ford, and the hand shifter is actually a '39 Ford top-shifter piece. The tan leather saddle is also from Indian.