Even the gray-green Glasurit paint is kind of a Troy trait, though it's even more understated than the earthy hues on the Sniper or the Chicayne. Troy seems to relish its subtlety. "Hey Troy, what's the hot color for street rods this year?" he asks in a mock reporter's voice. "Gray-green!" he answers with a chuckle.

The cockpit is as simple as the rest, with a dash devoid of switches housing a '33 Plymouth instrument cluster. The only visible knob is the starter switch mounted on the under-dash heater-turned-speaker box. A painted '40-style wheel tops the So-Cal column, while Jim Griffin-stitched buffalo hide complements the body color with supple style.

Study the list of individual elements and you may conclude that Ritzow's roadster is not "traditional" at all; in many ways it's a thoroughly contemporary car that salutes hot rodding heritage-a creative interpretation of classic design. With a timeless look and modern craftsmanship and engineering, this "Trad Rod by Troy" represents the best of where hot rods have been and where they're going, and proves that nostalgia need not be clich.

Roger RitzowMilwaukee, WI'32 Ford Roadster

Chassis: Beginning with a Pete & Jake's frame, the Rad Rides crew crafted new rear rails with 3-inch kickups and C-notches. The new front rails are thinned an inch and incorporate 2-inch kickups. A Model A rear crossmember supports a Posie's SuperSlide spring connected to a Dutchman quick-change rearend and '36 Ford truck rear wishbones. Up front, a custom crossmember and another Posie's spring are used in conjunction with a modified Super Bell axle, Vega steering box, and '40 Ford car wishbones with machined coves to match the rears. Wilwood front disc brakes are housed inside custom billet "drums" carved by Billet Specialties; the rear drums match the finned Buick look. The bolt-on panhard bar and engine mounts are made to look riveted. Both spreader bars are slightly curved to match the grille shell and reshaped gas tank. All non-painted and non-stainless parts wear nickel plating with a satin clearcoat.

Wheels & Tires: Billet Specialties carved 16x5- and 19x7-inch wheels to look like '48 Ford steelies, even machining trim rings into the edges. The wheels are painted a tan color and are wrapped in 5.25-16 and 6.50-19 Firestone rubber from Coker Tire.

Drivetrain: Built by Bob Sweeney (FX Engines) and Rad Rides by Troy, the smooth-block '49 Merc flattie now displaces 273ci and incorporates a Scat crank, JE pistons, Isky cam, MSD distributor, and Edelbrock heads painted to match the nickel plating on the chassis. The Hilborn injector stacks are smoothed off and now only provide throttle-valve butterflies; electronic injectors are housed in a custom intermediate plate sandwiched between the stacks and block, with fuel rails hidden in the lifter valley. Injection guru John Meaney built the EFI control system using Big III electronics. Cooling comes from a Griffin radiator with a custom shroud assembled using more faux rivets. Custom lakes-style headers branch off through windows in the frame to the under-car exhaust. A Cornhusker Rod & Custom bellhousing links the flatmotor to a Tremec 5-speed transmission.