Ask any gearhead over the age of 50 what he thinks of the current "traditional" craze sweeping the rodding ranks, and he's likely to tell you that this new "trend" is in fact nothing new at all, simply a bunch of young guys (and gals) looking to re-create the glory of stripped-down speed and simplistic beauty enjoyed by the original rods of yesteryear. Of course, many of these re-creations are more than a little lacking when it comes to actual tradition, as whitewall-wearing, 'glass-bodied cars sporting flat-black paint and brand-new crate motors are becoming more and more popular--not that there's anything wrong with fiberglass cars or crate motors, as yours truly is currently using both in a project. The oddity lies in the fact that many young rodders new to the "scene" try to pass off their current rides as nostalgic artifacts from the hobby's formative years, when more often then not the cars are recently assembled collections of new parts with just a taste of vintage style. The super-sano A V-8 roadster you see here is not such a car. In fact, Bobby Green's outstanding hair blower is the real deal, a born-to-run hot rod built from a pile of vintage tin with the singular goals of speed and style in mind. We think he succeeded on both counts.
Thirty-year-old Green owns a bar in the Los Angeles area and is a card-carrying member of not one, but two SoCal hot rod clubs. One has an amazing history, the other tries to re-create history. The club plaque proudly displayed on the nose of the roadster bears the name THEM!, an L.A. club known for its traditional ways and period-perfect rides. Bobby credits fellow club members Piero, Zack, Charles, and Troy for helping him in the construction of his bitchin' Model A, which went together in a year for the bargain basement price of around $14 grand. The other organization he calls home is the Sidewinders, a group legendary for their annual pilgrimage to the dry lakes and salt flats for sanctioned land speed racing, something they've been doing since 1938. Why join the two clubs, you ask? Because Bobby is no cruiser or car show shiner; he's a hot rodder in the truest sense of the word. The roadster has been driven to the lakes and raced at the drags, and the next project on the drawing board promises to be even wilder: a vintage belly tanker infused with Ford four-banger power.
Speaking of power, the 283 Chevy sporting triple Rochesters and ported fuelie heads provides more than enough grunt to turn a 13.90 at 120 mph at the drags, which are pretty stout numbers for an open-roof street car on bias-ply tires. The motor is nestled between the rails of a Cornhusker frame that has been pinched in front and Z'd in the rear, while a Ford 9-inch rearend with Traction-Lock puts the power to the pavement and '41 Lincoln drums pull in the reigns when it's time to stop. The body was an old hot rod Bobby found with the floor cut out for a channel job and an Auburn dash leaded in for a touch of extra style. After replacing the firewall, cowl sides, subframe, and floor, the body was delivered to Fine Lines Auto Body in Venice, California, for a little smoothing out. Bobby then sprayed his own custom shade of PPG red with flattener to get the perfect shade of red. A Victor Montez black and white roll tuck 'n' roll job on a Glide Engineering bench is set off by Stewart-Warner gauges in an owner-built panel. Other vintage touches include a Lincoln Zephyr wheel and a "telescoping" mirror from a '60s Jaguar.
So did Bobby accomplish his goal of attaining vintage rod nirvana? Judging by the constant flock of people surrounding the car while your humble photographer attempted to shoot this month's cover, it appears so. However, like all hot rods, this car is a continuously evolving work in progress, and we expect to see more great things to come from this young gearhead, including what promises to be an outrageous take on one of racing's coolest animals: the land speed racer. In the meantime, the import-driving young street racers of L.A. would do well to steer clear of the little red roadster bombing down the blacktop, because this car is no fancy trailer queen; it's the real deal.