When this '27 Chevy modified roadster made its appearance at the Grand National Roadster Show in January, a lot of people were asking the same question: "Why isn't this competing for the AMBR award?"

Why Tiffany Collins' channeled, early '60s-style show rod wasn't displayed in the main hall with the contenders for the big prize, and how it would've done competing against some of the big boys, are hypothetical questions several months later. But, one thing's for sure: This car's amazing.

Tiffany had wanted a roadster for a long time and found the potential raw material, a '27 Chevy touring, for sale on Craig's List. Her husband, hot rod builder Dan Collins, was in Texas, picking up another project at the time, so she and a friend drove out to Temecula, California, to see the Chevy in person. What she found barely qualified as a car-a rusty husk is more like it, stripped to bare metal and propped on a pile of tubing and old shopping carts.

Today, the body is the only remaining part of what Tiffany hauled home from Temecula. As you can see, even a basket case can become cool. All it takes is imagination, patience, and in this case, a talented builder in the house.

Without a chassis to work from, Dan had to design and build a fresh frame. He used 2x4 tubing, tapered from rear to front, and massaged every inch, so the scratch-built 'rails don't look scratch-built. Elements of the touring sheetmetal can still be seen, but the dimensions were shortened and narrowed to drop the body over the 'rails. Nick O'Teen painted the whole thing. And, since you can't have an early '60s show rod without lots of chrome, Astro Plating (Sun Valley, California), and Artistic Silver Plating (Long Beach, California) applied it everywhere-from the gas tank to the driveshaft, not to mention suspension and steering components.

Dan says the only mistake they made on the car was calculating the budget. He figures he could've built a pair of '40s-style rods for what Tiffany has in the roadster. But, what's money when you have a hot rod like this to drive? Since debuting the modified at the GNRS, Tiffany has shown it in Sacramento and Fresno. The crowd reaction at each of these high-profile shows was overwhelming. Just think what it's going to be when she gets this roadster on the road.

Tiffany and Dan knew the roadster was going to be a modified as soon as they started planning the buildup but bounced around a little when thinking about the theme. At first, they talked about building a '40s-style rod-picture this car with dark monochrome paint, blackwall rubber, a Flathead, and minimal brightwork. But, Tiffany wanted something very driveable, and Dan already had a running small-block and lots of parts to fit an early '60s build, so they cranked the style dial 15 years forward. It's hard to believe a car that looks like this was born out of practicality, but that's the way it went.