There isn't a hot rodder around who doesn't have some standard for how well his car should be built. Your standard might be faithfulness to a particular era in history. It might be a certain level of technical excellence, or performance, or imagination.
If you've been a professional race car driver and team owner for 30 years like Tom Gloy has been, your standards are going to be extraordinarily high, and your willingness to settle for "good enough" is going to be nonexistent.Tom got hooked on cars as a high school kid. It wasn't long before he moved from merely playing with cars to racing them for a living. In the decades since, he has been successful in practically every corner of motorsports from Trans Am to NASCAR to Indy. A few years ago, he began to expand his interest into the world of street rods.
Roy Brizio helped Tom buy a '37 Ford cabriolet, designed by Chip Foose and built by Boyd Coddington. As Tom started attending shows with the '37, he also started to like the looks of Ford's one-year-earlier body style. He found this '36 in a garage in Redondo Beach, California. It had been hot rodded years before, but hadn't seen daylight in 25 years. The Chevy engine had seized, but the body was in excellent shape. Tom bought the car and hauled it north to Roy's shop for a complete reworking.
Roy had been familiar with the car and was eager to redo it and get it back on the street. For the next two years, the two of them worked together, combining ideas to bring the forgotten '36 back to life. When it was finished in August 2005, it was the perfect balance of contemporary and traditional that you see on all of Brizio's hot rods.
Brand-new front and rear independent suspensions were added to the Brizio-built custom tube chassis, and the engine compartment was filled with a Ford 351 crate engine with a five-speed transmission. The top was chopped 2 inches and the factory steel body was straightened and shot in pale yellow. A lot of the trim was removed to emphasize the body style that Tom likes so much, but the sheetmetal wasn't radically reworked, and enough elements, such as door handles and locks, were kept in place to keep the car pointing in a traditional direction. Jack Hageman's aluminum hood slants downward enough to improve the profile of the car without being noticeable.
Since his conversion to street rodding, Tom has been involved with the same level of enthusiasm he's always had for racing. He owns several other rods, including an original '50s '32 three-window, and a '57 T-bird with a modern chassis. His '40 Ford custom convertible was an original Valley Custom creation, recently restored for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it won a class award.
The Boyd Coddington-built '37 was recently sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale so we asked Tom if this yellow '36 will ever follow the '37 onto an auction block. "This one's a keeper," Tom says. "This car is my driver. I drove it out of Brizio's, and put 2,000 miles on it in two months, and I'm going to keep driving it as much as I can. It's my everyday, I-love-that-car-to-death car."