If you've followed the cars coming out of Pinkee's Rod Shop, you know they have established quite a niche in the hot rod world. Eric Peratt, the man behind the Pinkee's name, hit the ground running years back with a succession of innovative, clean cars that simply had "The Look", including a Ridler Award-winning '33 roadster. A number of years back, however, Eric, Royce Glader, and the boys hit one clean out of the park with a little Model A roadster pickup simply called "Loaded". It's a car that set an entirely new benchmark in newstalgic hot rods. Other great projects have rolled out of the shop's doors since, but Eric had the itch to up the ante once again.
This time, he wanted to apply his trademark "Tradition Meets Innovation" school of thought to a '32 sedan. I get a phone call and Eric says, "I've got this nice little sedan body, I want to put it on a set of our new sectioned Deuce 'rails and do something with that". Trading it to me for a lifetime service of hot rod art was not in the cards, so the next best thing was to start shooting ideas back and forth. Eric said he wanted to build a stunner ... a car that has obvious Pinkee's lineage but something most definitely new! We bounced the idea of morphing the classic sedan shape with a forward tilt at the rear, interesting, but we were really just trying to make a Vicky out of an already beautiful sedan profile. Let's just take what's there and accentuate and, yes, exaggerate the great lines that make a '32 Ford sedan so sexy. If a stock-bodied '32 is Judy Garland then this one would be Sophia Loren! Everyone, it seems, loves a Hemi, so with a Pinkee's spin, that would be the only engine for this car: the HemRod. Eric had a vision and this car could only be bright Candy Green. Like every other car Pinkee's turns out, each component from the body down to its tiniest bracket complement each other and make one harmonious statement. Eric and myself spent a lot of time piecing together, essentially, a color map. With the bold choice of main color, we felt the car could be reined in a bit with the use of some industrial, muted colors. Of course much thought was spent on utilizing a proper amount of finishes, such as blasted nickel as well as brushed nickel and of course a bit of chrome here and there. The drivetrain and wheels are finished in similar but definitely different hues of a color that border somewhere around Dow 7 coatings and old Air Force-style zinc chromate. This hot rod is essentially a dolled up version of an old war bird. The design was well established up front but as the build progressed, so did the evolution of the componentry.
So, with a solid design foundation, work commenced. Eric, wanting to utilize his cool 4 1/2-inch-high sectioned Deuce 'rails naturally fabbed up a set for this project, tied together with custom crossmembers front to rear. The front spring and dropped axle are mounted under their flat crossmember while the Winters quick-change rear axle is hung with quarter elliptic springs. A stock-ish '37-style X-member in concert with the new skinny 'rails look as if Henry might have made this frame especially for himself! All of this rolls around on a set of one-off, Indy-styled mag wheels dreamed up by yours truly and whittled by the incredibly gifted craftsman, Mike Curtis. Curtis did the machine work on all of the one-offs involved in this project. Neat Sherm's-chromed nerf bars out back and alongside round out the chassis.
A car named HemRod has to have a Hemi, right? This one is a '58 vintage 392 with aluminum heads and a set of new Strombergs sitting on a rare quad-carb Cragar intake, topped with a custom, quick-release flip-top air cleaner assembly. Magneto-driven spark runs through wax-coated, laced and braided cloth wiring as does all of the electrical on this hot rod. Custom Pinkee's-built headers mimic the look of cast-style marine headers with custom spin-out, Curtis-cut plugs. Real hot rods have three pedals, right?! Well, this one certainly does and it's a custom cable and pulley actuated TKO-600 five-speed churning that Winters quick-change equipped with Ford axle bells, and '40 Lincoln brakes reside at each corner for era-correct, good stopping power!
Many serious modifications were performed to achieve this subtly outrageous profile and were masterfully handled by Pinkee's. The body was shortened 2 inches through the rear quarters and the top was chopped along with re-crowning the roof. The rear panel was re-rolled under more radically, to meet the quick-change rearend, where a new radiused reveal was built to hug said quickie. Meanwhile, the crew at Nice Rides Resto bodyworked the frame, and the finishes on this car were handled by Squeeg's Kustoms in Mesa, Arizona.
The command center of a car like this is a place to drive home (horrible pun, sorry) the vintage racer vibe-and I think the fellers nailed it here. A Frank Wallic-built bomber bench seat with about 10,000 rivets looks right at home here along with all of the custom-made bracketry and gadgetry that went into this business-like cockpit. The dash is home to a '49 Pontiac insert flipped upside-down and re-gutted with Classic Instruments gauges. An MC-whittled tach bucket is mounted to the bare bones steering column that leads to the Schroeder (16:1 reduced to 8:1) steering box. A Jimmy's Hot Rod designed (yeah, shameless) steering wheel tops it all off. Filling this car's tank with fuel entails lowering the rear glass and flipping open the gas cap. Be careful though, as the rest of the interior, whatever is not aluminum or paint, is rustic Pumpkin-colored leather trimmed up in fine style by P-Jays Upholstery (Denver). These guys were great as they actually relocated into Pinkee's digs to make this all happen due to the time constraints that always seem to creep up on a car. This one wanted to debut at the Goodguys Indy show and that time was near!
As the car's construction drew to a close, ex Pro-Stock truck driver Don Smith decided he had to make this car his own. As the owner of a stable of much more conservative Deuces, you have to wonder if HemRod is accepted by the others. This project was such an undertaking to all involved, it is definitely rewarding to see this green sedan all buttoned up! Personally, we're very proud, and it was an honor to have been involved with this one and to work with Eric and the guys. It's been a long road and I think we are all glad to see this sucker finally on the road!