When the thick envelope from Mart, Texas, arrived at the R&C offices, we tore into it wondering what treasures the mailman had brought us. What we found was a stack of pictures of the amazingly cool Shoebox Ford you see here, along with a letter from its owner, Brian Bass. We were floored not only because Brian took some great pictures, but because he built his car with a budget of only $3,000. How was such a feat accomplished? We asked the same question, and this is what the 25-year-old sign painter had to say:

"There are no creature comforts in this car, but they really aren't needed. The radio stopped working, but I don't mind because I couldn't hear it over the whine of the geardrive and thump of the exhaust anyway. It was built on a shoestring budget, with lots of horse-trading, junkyard scrounging, and swap meet searching. These are skills passed down to me from my dad. I've put over 25,000 miles on this car in the two years I've had it on the road. Sure, it's not perfect, but I drive it a lot and I drive it hard. Those things just add character to the car and give it even more of the one thing I think it has in spades...attitude."

For all those reasons and more, we're proud to present Brian with a certificate proclaiming him the September '03 Young Gun of the Month, along with a gift certificate worth $400 provided by Sanderson Headers. The gift certificate should come in handy, as this old Ford is packing Bow Tie power with a '72 350 under the hood. The front suspension has been modernized with a Mustang II front clip, while painted steel wheels shod in Coker bias-ply rubber keep things rolling. The car's clean lines are actually composed of parts from two different years, as the tub and doors are from 1950, while just about everything else came from 1949. After the car was nosed and decked, the door handles were removed, the headlights and taillights were frenched, and 96 louvers were punched into the hood. Brian felt that red-oxide primer was an inexpensive way to lay down a foundation for a nice set of flames, which he painted himself with PPG acrylic enamel. The striping was also done by the owner.

Congratulations, Brian, and keep up the good work!

Shut Up and ListenOne of the strangest things I've had to get used to as a magazine editor is fielding a steady flow of phone calls from friends, family, and acquaintances who are constantly coming up with cars I "just have to see" and people I "just have to meet." Of course, half of these cars usually don't even fall within the R&C realm, but I try to talk with as many of these friend's friends as possible, if nothing else, just to be polite. So it wasn't a big surprise last week when a guy I know with a custom paint shop in my old neighborhood called me up raving about a little Model T that some builder near him had recently completed, sure that it would absolutely blow me away. I made the trek out to the 'hood and soon found myself staring at what was indeed one of the most interesting little rods I had seen in a long time.