Back in 1980, Hot Rod magazine ran a story on a project car built entirely from brand-new parts ordered by phone from the aftermarket. Nothing original. Nothing salvaged. Nothing hot rodded. At the time, the idea seemed extraordinary-even a little nuts. Today, you can walk through any high-profile hot rod event and see all kinds of mail-order rods like that behind velvet ropes or plastic chains.
At shows like the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals in Santa Maria, California, on the other hand, you're far more likely to find hot rods built without the benefit of catalogs and credit cards-hot rods like this '25 Dodge roadster, built, owned, and driven by Derrek Boling.
When Derrek bought the Dodge a few years ago, it wasn't to build it up. He wanted a '26 T sedan body that a friend of his owned, so he bought the Dodge from another friend to trade for the T. A couple years later, the Dodge hadn't progressed very far, so Derrek did some more trading to get it back.
What he started with was a rough, old, untouched touring body-minus the doors-rusting on the stock frame. Derrek's original plan was just to build a cool hot rod roadster out of it, using spare parts he already had or could get easily, and fabricating the rest. He never strayed from that plan.
The first part fabricated was the new frame, built from 2x4-inch tubing to replace the original 'rails. A radical 15-inch Z at the rear drops the channeled body below the height of the tires. He said that once the frame was finished and he started hanging the suspension, the whole thing started coming together.
Much of the original steel was completely rusted and had to be replaced, especially the floor and cowl. While repairing or removing those damaged areas, Derrek was able to convert what was once the front portion of a touring into a complete modified roadster. That included building side skins to replace the doors-and creating holes in the rocker area for the split wishbones to attach to the frame. He said the biggest challenges of building such a low-riding car and keeping it drivable were hanging the rear suspension and building the steering system to keep the geometry correct.
The drivetrain is a Chevy small-block and Powerglide combination transplanted from a Chevy pickup. The interior was kept as simple as possible to fit the whole general concept of the roadster.
The vast majority of the buildup was done by Derrek at his shop, Boling Brothers Early Iron, with assistance from Jerrad Gilpin, Pepper Sanchez, and Daniel Castro, who are his fellow members in the Royales car club. When the Dodge made its public debut in Santa Maria, it got a lot of attention and appreciation. Attention because of what it looks like and appreciation because of how it was built.