John Buttera '26 T Sedan
When Li'l John moved from Funny Cars into rods, he became the father of innovation. His sedan from the early '70s, with a two-piece tubular space frame, handbuilt four-corner independent suspension, braided hoses, power windows, smoothed body, and minimal use of chrome, was a first step toward the high-tech trend, which Buttera continued with his '29 A roadster. The T was rebuilt by Li'l John and Fat Jack Robinson around the same period.
Jim Ewing '34 Coupe
The late Jim Ewing founded Super Bell Axle and used his Bonneville-style coupe for transportation and fun and to test various products. In addition to the original steelies with Moon discs and dirt track tires, we've seen it with Halibrand rims. It saw a variety of powerplants, including Buick V-6s, small-blocks, and big-blocks. The chopped and channeled three-window with the recognizable aluminum nose was radical looking in its day; it's still radical looking today.
Tom McMullen '32 Roadster
Like most rods, this well known Deuce underwent many makeovers but is well known for its black body with wild flames, laid out by Ed Roth and painted by owner Tom McMullen. The car appeared in Hot Rod Magazine in the early '60s, drag raced, ran at El Mirage, and became the symbol for Street Rodder magazine in the '70s. The retro look was not particularly popular at the time, but this highboy, with its Moon tank, mags, drag chute, and other classic touches, helped revive that style.
"RealMad" '56 Nomad
RealMad, designed by Chip Foose and built by Steve's Auto Restorations, is one of the most prominent wagons in recent years and will be remembered as one of the classic customs of the '00s, along with the Chris Ito-designed NewMad '55. Unlike the typical resto treatment many Nomads receive, RealMad maintains the flavor of the wagon while modifying every bit of the car to create something genuinely original. Also cool: Marshall has owned this car since he was a kid.
Tom Prufer '34 Coupe
Gray Baskerville suggested in R&C that Tom Prufer's channeled coupe from the early '80s was the precursor to the '33-34s built by Boyd Coddington. Chassis builder Pete Eastwood, painter Rod Powell, and stitcher Ken Foster all contributed to Prufer's heavily louvered coupe (aka the Cop Shop Coupe), modeled after a Dave Bell cartoon. A '34 back half frame and deuce-style front end provided the radical rake, emphasized by serious big 'n' little rolling stock and a chopped top.
Jamie Musselman '33 Roadster
Boyd Coddington became rodding's biggest superstar during the '80s, creating some of the most innovative cars of the last 25 years. Jamie Musselman's '33 roadster was one of his first successes. The double-A-arm front suspension was built by John Buttera, and the billet rims were Boyd's start in the wheel biz. Done from a Thom Taylor illustration, the car won the AMBR prize in Oakland in 1982. R&C wasn't around at the time but revisited this early Boyd car in 1990.
Alexander Brothers '60 Pontiac
In Detroit, Mike and Larry Alexander were building some of the coolest rods and customs of the '60s. We selected this candy gold '60 Pontiac, owned by Mike Budnick, which we first featured on the cover of our November '63 issue. The custom headlight housings, frenched dual antennas, rolled pans, and chrome tube grille were all elements that made this car a standout, not to mention the white rolled and pleated Naugahyde swivel buckets. The fine custom was recently restored by New Jersey's Lou Calasibetta...
Bobby Alloway Speedstar
The Speedstar has created a new trend in rodding that started when Bobby Alloway created a 'glass replica of a Marcel DeLay body and Rats Glass began manufacturing the '33 Ford-inspired bodies. Alloway has created several outstanding Speedstars, but we really dig his Trackstar coupe-the track nose gives the whole car just that much more attitude. The lightweight Rat-powered car is a screaming ride. It was one of our 100 Best picks in 2001 and is still one of our favorite rods ever.
Boyd Coddington Led Zephyr
Boyd earned another spot on our honor roll for Led Zephyr, one of his most recent and most extreme creations ever. The body, handcrafted by Marcel DeLay & Sons, is a piece of art wrapped around a Gabe Lopez interior and riding on an Art Morrison chassis. When this car first made the scene in 2001, it knocked everybody out, just like the Boydsters, Che'Zoom, Smoothster, AlumaCoupe, and every other Boyd creation that also could've made this list.