If you're not careful, this '50 Pontiac fastback could fool you. That large center strip on the hood and the massive original grille might draw your attention from the car's abundant details, instead of drawing you in for a closer look.
Dick Ling of Rochester, New York, loves his fastback's long, sweeping lines and called upon Mark Rasmussen, owner of Rod Tech in Hall, New York, to improve them. Thus began the three-year project of turning a bulky stocker into a smooth-as-butter custom.
Rasmussen frenched the headlights and recessed the '54 Merc headlight rings 2 inches after pie-cutting the front of the fenders for a subtle drop to the profile. The hood was pie-cut 2 1/4 inches, enhancing the new fender lines. The door handles and trunk were shaved, and lower rocker panels were extended to eliminate the pinch-weld. The fender skirts were extended to fit the body, making the car look even lower. The front bumper was peaked and recessed under the grille, with bumper ends flipped for a cleaner look.
The rear quarter-panels were sectioned 2 inches, and the top was chopped 2 1/2 inches at the center post. A '50 Olds provided the windshield. To keep proportions right, the trunk lid and opening were moved forward and down, and the rear bumper was recessed under a body extension and dressed up with '54 Chevy bumper guards. The '50 Pontiac taillights, seen frequently on customs and rods, look right at home in recessed housings. The body was finished in Sherwin-Williams Thunderbird Yellow, with a dusting of gold pearl beneath several layers of clearcoat.
Marty's Chop Shop grafted an '85 Malibu subframe to the original chassis to put the front of the car in the weeds. The rearend and original rear suspension were maintained but drastically lowered. American Racing 15x6 chrome smoothies are mounted on Diamondback wide whitewalls. Jason Baldwin at Rod Tech added spinners to the baby Moons and put bullets in the center, totally changing the appearance of the wheels.
Under the hood, a Pontiac 400, bored .030 over, breathes through an Edelbrock carb and intake. A Turbo 400 shifts the gears, with exhaust emptying into 2 1/2-inch tubing built by Jason Baldwin with help from Steve Walczak.
Brian Schuler, owner of Fly Boyz Street Rod Design in Horseheads, New York, created the interior, covering the door panels, Honda front seats, and '87 Olds rear buckets in doeskin leather. The dash and door moldings were painted but not clearcoated to give the appearance of upholstery. The console was built from an '02 Cadillac piece and a section of '87 Olds console. A LeCarra steering wheel tops a GM tilt column, and Auto Meter instruments fill the modified original dash. Cruise control, power windows, remote door entry, Pioneer stereo system linked to a CD changer under the rear seat, and Vintage Air A/C all boost the comfort level.
Now that you've had a closer look, you know why Ling's outstanding Pontiac won First Place for Radical Custom and Outstanding Custom Interior when it debuted at the 51st Detroit Autorama. Ling and Rasmussen were approached by a well-known custom car designer/owner who commented, "You really nailed the look," words that made three years of hard work all worthwhile.