Orv Elgie '37 Ford Panel Truck
Han 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.
Jimmy Shine '34 Pickup
Younger traditional-minded rodders have caught flak in recent years for building poorly engineered, thrown-together cars. Jimmy Shine's chopped and channeled bare-metal '34 pickup, built the way a hot rodder might have built a car in the late '40s, got a ton of attention because it was remarkably traditional, handbuilt on the cheap using lots of salvaged parts, really cool, and extremely well engineered. We've seen a few Shine-inspired rods lately, but this was a true original.
'63 Buick Riviera
It was almost a toss-up between this car and Vaughan's '51 Chevy. We picked the bluesman's Buick because it's one of the few custom Rivs to actually improve on factory styling. The Gary Howard bodywork is understated yet extensive, including extended fenders, '68 Imperial headlights, a one-off grille, '65 Corvette taillights, and a sneaky 2-inch chop. The Skylark wires, stunning candy lime gold pearl paint, and pearl white rolls 'n' pleats cap off the spot-on '60s flavor.
"Jade Idol" '56 Merc
In 1990, we published a story on the restored Jade Idol, which Gene Winfield originally built in 1959 for LeRoy Kemmerer. Winfield did a beautiful redesign on the sectioned '56 Merc, adding '57 Chrysler rear quarters among other mods. Rod Powell did a reconstruction in the late '70s, before it made a showing at Oakland in 1979. Jade Idol changed hands several times, and when we ran our story, it belonged to Billy Belmont of Belmont's Rod and Custom, who had completed a restoration of his own.
"Matador" '40 Ford
The Matador was used by builder Bill Cushenberry to promote his shop. By 1961, the custom trend was moving farther away from original-appearing cars, and little about this one looks stock. The car is loaded with one-off elements, most noticeably the oval tubes used in the grille and fender scoops. The Matador was destroyed in a fire in the '90s but has been restored. Is this the link between trad customs and the kind of customs Roth and others would popularize?
Squeeg Jerger '41 Ford
This recent custom '41 was inspired by a Dave Bell drawing. Squeeg Jerger's '41, built at Squeeg's Customs in Phoenix, features a modified original chassis, 5-inch windshield chop, extended nose, and fiberglass Carson top built by the owner. Chip Foose helped design the interior, which has '64 T-bird seats covered in white Naugahyde, plus a custom-fabbed center console. Squeeg's son, Doug, did a great job on the paint. To us, this recent custom is as exciting as many of the '50s-era cars.
Clif Inman '57 Chrysler
We liked Clif Inman's '57 Chrysler enough to run it twice-first in 1964 and with an update in December 1991. Built by Joe Wilhelm, the Chrysler's secret is its simplicity. Other than the top chop, there aren't any radical mods-just shaved trim, peaked fins, a tube grille, and slightly reworked taillights. Rod Powell redid the car in the early '80s for a mystery musician who collected customs but never showed them. The car is a reminder of how a little restraint can work wonders on late-'50s customs.
'29 Ford A Roadster
Old meets new with Bob Anderson's recent Model A roadster, which could be considered a modern interpretation of a '60s show car. Evidence includes the Kandy Green paint, custom '62 T-bird quad headlights, white tuck 'n' roll, and Lancer caps right out of the old days. The tube frame is hidden beneath the channeled body. The Hemi under the hood sports an Edelbrock intake and six Rochesters. Not a classic yet, let's see if Bob's A is still making the A list in another 50 years.