Chris Williams '49 Chevy Coupe
Chris William's West Coast car, built by Randy Clark at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, impressed the Motor City and knocked out some heavy competition when it won the Ridler Award (and a few others) at the '01 Detroit Autorama. Clark managed to strip the Chevy to its barest elements but still keep the overall look of the car. Nicknamed the M-80 and loaded with an LS1 engine and Kugel independent suspension parts front and rear, the Viper Red Bow Tie really hauls.
John Milner '32 Coupe
Milner is fictional, but the chopped five-window from American Graffiti is a real star. It was a wreck before George Lucas put it in his movie, and neglected afterwards, but the popularity of American Graffiti, the revival craze the film inspired, and the fact that the coupe-with bobbed fenders, and a 327 SBC with Man-A-Fre manifold and four Rochesters-had all the right early-'60s stuff, has made "Milner's coupe" one of the most cloned rods around. It was purchased by Rick Figari and rebuilt by Brizio Street Rods.
Richard Zocchi '57 Buick
During the '60s and '70s, when customs were either getting goofy or falling out of favor, a handful of guys like Richard Zocchi kept an ember glowing with some cool customs, such as his '50 Merc and this chopped '57 Buick, modified with frenched '56 Olds headlights, '56 Packard taillights, and tasteful body mods. The car, painted Lemon Chiffon Pearl with Art Himsl scallops, won numerous awards for paint and interior and was Zocchi's driver for a time.
Gray Baskerville '32 Roadster
Of course we've included Ol' Dad's famous '32. Styled after R&C's first cover car, Gray's Deuce was built as a drag car in 1956. B-Ville took ownership 10 years later and drove it on the street for the rest of his life. He insisted on keeping it traditional: buggy springs, small-block, Powerglide, tuck 'n' roll, even the famous primer spots. Pete and Jake freshened it up in 1975, and Art and Mike Chrisman redid it again about three years ago. It is now owned by Jim Shelton.
Larry Watson "Grapevine" '50 Chevy
Larry Watson was a Southern California rodder who learned to paint by hanging out at the Barris shop watching Dean Jeffries. Grapevine was Watson's personal driver and, according to Thom Taylor, the first car he painted. It is a great example of Watson's talent for eye-popping colors and crazy graphics that worked perfectly with the lines of the car. Watson sold the car in 1958, and there has been at least one replica built since then.
Rick Dore '36 Ford
At the '98 Grand National Roadster Show we got our first eyeful of Rick Dore's stunning '36 Ford. Hard to believe this Westergard-inspired custom rod (that's a '40 Packard grille) was once a five-window coupe. The stretched hood, handbuilt running boards, shaved Zephyr rear quarters, and handbuilt Carson top add to the overall elegance. It's up-to-date and traditional at the same time. The paint is House of Kolor Custom Tangerine with gold highlights.
Andy Brizio '23 T Roadster
In November 1970, we shot Andy Brizio's Instant T for our cover. The 'glass-bodied T, featuring a blown small-block and psychedelic pearl paint job, was that year's AMBR winner. Andy built a bunch of these cars and was one of the first pro rodders to sell street rod kits to do-it-yourselfers. It's not exactly typical of the rods of the day but definitely reflects the era, and Andy's Instant T kits were a precursor to 'glass replica aftermarket rods available today.
Orv Elgie '37 Ford Panel Truck
Can the fat-fendered movement of the late-'70s be traced back to this good-looking, low-budget, and regularly driven '37 that appeared on our April '70 cover? Pat Ganahl hinted at that a few years ago. It's stock-looking on the outside, but the chassis is incredibly well engineered and detailed. Same goes for the engine compartment, where a 292 Chevy resides. Still a fat-fendered fan, Orv Elgie had a '33 Pontiac Vicky in Pros Picks at the '02 Street Rod Nats.