Nick Kallos’ ’29 on Deuce ’rails first came to our attention when we walked out onto the floor at the Grand National Roadster Show earlier this year to check out the contenders for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) title. For the first time in years that list contained at least three owner-built cars, at least that we know of. We’ve already brought you the “Takeout T” from that bunch. Note we didn’t say homebuilt cars, as Nick was given the opportunity to put his A together on the floor of SO-CAL Speed Shop Las Vegas, in full view of customers.
As Nick says, “For 30 years I’ve dreamt of competing in the GNRS as an AMBR contender, with a simple, cool car, put together not by some ‘name’ rod shop, but by me and some of my friends in the back of a speed shop.” That dream was specific about the color, stance, and old-school look, too. “The color was easy; ’50 Chrysler Haze Blue,” Nick says. “My dad had one on the farm when I was 12, and that was all he’d let me practice buffing on. I just love the color.
“I’ve always wanted a ’29 on Deuce ’rails, so when I couldn’t find one I liked, I decided to build one using a Brookville body. SO-CAL Speed Shop has always been my choice for frames. Building this car on the floor at SO-CAL Las Vegas was a neat experience. Not only did I have access to parts, but Lenny and his staff were on hand to help with heavy lifting or whenever I needed another pair of hands. The customers loved watching it grow from a bare frame into the finished roadster too!”
Ideally, Nick says he’d have liked a Flathead in the roadster, but “with the economy what it is, the $15,000 Flathead I wanted had to wait! I had an original triple-deuce carb setup for a small-block Chevy in a wooden box for five years, so that dictated the engine I used instead of the Flatty.” That engine may be a hot rodding staple, but Nick went to great lengths to use different parts on the roadster, without going overboard. “I like to incorporate unique parts, no matter where you look,” he says. Take the rear light for example; a ’49 Plymouth woodie item that is incorporated into the rear door trim from that model. “It was bulky but very retro-looking, and I love Art Deco. I have as many hours in that piece as any other, but it was worth it.” Likewise, the exhaust tailpipes are different, exiting through the extended rear pan in fabricated rings. “Exhausts are always important,” Kallos continues. “On both cars I’ve built from scratch I’ve used V-bands on the exhausts, with no parts hanging below the framerails.”
You probably noticed that there’s not a whole lot of chrome on this roadster. Instead, much of the brightwork is powdercoated. For one, Nick prefers the look to chrome, plus again it’s a little different, and secondly, given that the car has been driven every day since leaving the Roadster Show, and Nick has plans to use it for a number of long trips, it’ll stand up to road miles better than chrome.
Speaking of the GNRS, how was that experience for Nick? “It is something I can tick off my bucket list after 30 years, and I achieved all my goals there. I met some great people.” Sounds like there’s one man who’s definitely livin’ the dream…