Yesterday's Young GunsThe smiling young man's name was Gildo Zandomenego, but to all his friends he was known as "Red." He was about 27 years old in 1953 when he posed for this photo behind the wheel of his flathead-powered roadster. His talent for metalwork landed him a job at Marlboro Collision in Brooklyn, New York, and he eventually opened his own body shop. The tasty 'striping on the Deuce grille shell and front and rear fenders continues on the dashboard. Red passed away 23 years ago. His son Eugene, who sent us these shots, doesn't know a lot of the history behind this particular roadster but wanted to share these great old photographs of a truly traditional '50s-era East Coast car, and of his dad as a Young Gun back in the day.
If you've got photos of you and your hot rod from the '40s, '50s, or '60s, mail them, along with a brief story, to: Yesterday's Young Guns, ROD & CUSTOM, 2400 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92806, or E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org (3x5 @ 300 dpi for digital photos please).
R&C's Own Message BoardIt's no secret that a lot of R&C's editorial direction is influenced in part by feedback we get from various message boards. It took long enough, but ROD & CUSTOM finally has a board of our own. Check it out for yourself at www.rodandcustommagazine.com. Soon you'll be participating in the same level of hobby camaraderie, enthusiast encouragement, idea sharing, question asking, tech info swapping, anonymous belly-aching, opinion inflicting, name calling, apologetic back-pedaling, and, best of all, friend making we enjoy so much on all those other hot rod message boards. Of course, our real goal is to create a forum for communicating back and forth with our readers on a much more personal level. Log on and tell us what you really think.
Mid-Americruise Editor's Choice WinnersYou can read about the ROD & CUSTOM Mid-Americruise tour and event elsewhere in this issue. Right now, however, we want to honor the winners of the R&C Editor's Choice awards from the Mid-Americruise show in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June.Congratulations, guys!
Hottest Rod: Dan Troyer, N. Platte, NE, '33 Ford
Coolest Custom: Fred Goerisch, Las Vegas, NV, '51 Mercury
Best Unfinished: Greg Jordison, Lamoni, IA, '28 Ford
Flashback Award: Gary Anderson, Omaha, NE, '32 Ford
Car We Want To Drive Home: Ernie Adams, Maricopa, AZ, Dwarf '42 Ford
Automatic Advice From Speedy BillMany rodders who use their rods for regular driving choose the convenience of automatic transmissions. Speedy Bill Smith from Speedway Motors offers some maintenance advice for automatics.
When we get the street rod ready for a long-awaited cruise, one of the vital parts many of us forget is our automatic transmission. Heat kills these things. More cars break down with automatic transmission failure during the hot summer months than from any other cause. These tips can help.
+Change the fluid.
+Change the filter.
+Be sure to get a good cooler in the system. Many times, the tranny cooler is located in the radiator lower tank. This may not be sufficient. Add one in the fluid lines and make sure it is getting plenty of air moving though it or over it when you are on the road. This may require building a scoop or deflector.
Remember, heat kills automatic transmissions. Take good care of it and keep it cool!
Cyber Roddin'This month's trio of cool sites includes a treasure chest of rod racing memories, an album of George Barris' custom cars, and a primer on Chrysler Hemi engines.
The Early Yearswww.icnet.net/users/donutman14KKKKKIn case you haven't figured it out yet, we're suckers for Web sites loaded with crinkled photos of mid-century jalopy racers, like this one. To our delight, it's not limited to oval dirt-track coupes. There are pages devoted to late-'40s junk cars, pre-war "thrill show" cars (remember the Hell Drivers?), junkyards, and even a 3-second clip from the '53 movie, Jalopy. The site also includes scanned articles from '50s-era rodding and racing magazines, such as Speed Age, Motorsport, and Hot Rod Magazine. The home page message states that "this site is more about memories than anything else," and sure enough, the old-time stories told are every bit as good as the old-time photos posted.
King Of Kustomswww.barris.comKKKKKIt's the online home of George Barris, self-proclaimed "King of Kustomizers," and it's loaded with info about George himself, as well as the many custom cars he's had a hand in building. Read brief bios of George, his brother and partner Sam, who died in 1967, and Shirley, his wife of 43 years who died in 2001. This site also contains features on a few dozen of the cars that helped make Barris famous, from classic customs like the Fred Rowe '51 Merc (R&C's fourth cover car), to famous custom rods like A La Kart, and weird kustoms like the Voxmobile. Barris most recently worked on the Grand Torinos used in the upcoming Starsky & Hutch movie.
Hemis 101www.hotrodsandhemis.comKKKKKWe found a great crash course in the history, specs, and mechanics of the Chrysler Hemi engine, one of the most powerful and remarkable production engines of the '50s and the standard for drag racing's elite pro categories. In addition to a brief Hemi history and a look at parts interchangeability, there are oodles of tech data including rod and crank specs, weights, casting numbers, and torque specs, not to mention diagrams (such as an illustrated comparison of a Hemi and a traditional wedge-design small-block Chevy). Links and a few not-directly-Hemi-related pages fill out this informative site.
RB's Gets A New PlaceIf you're planning on doing your Christmas shopping at RB's Obsolete Automotive this year, make sure to order early. RB's is moving to a new location at the end of December and will not be taking or processing orders between December 19th and January 5th. Orders received online or by E-mail during that time will be processed after January 5th, and because they're so nice, RB's will pay the second-day shipping for gift certificate purchases of $150 or more between December 1st and December 18th (with some restrictions). RB's is thinking about having an open house in mid-February at the new 12,000-sq-ft location in Glendale, Arizona. Check the Web site for details. Contact RB's online at www.rbsauto.com, via E-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at (800) 426-6607.
Good-Bye To Jim Muller Of GlideWe heard sad news over the summer. Jim Muller, co-owner of Glide Engineering, industry leader, and friend, passed away on August 17 at the age of 60. Jim was a Southern California native. He and his wife, Rose Mary, started Glide in 1989. In the short time since, the company has become a leading designer and manufacturer of custom seat frames for street rods, custom cars, and trucks. Rose Mary did the administrative work; Jim built the seats. In his free time he enjoyed restoring cuckoo clocks and player pianos. Jim recently semi-retired from Glide-and the business will continue without him-but we will all certainly miss him.
America's Most Beautiful Street RodDespite the fact that it comes late in the season, the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton is one of the most popular street rod events in California. Great weather and beautiful fairgrounds have something to do with it, but just as important is the America's Most Beautiful Street Rod award, presented annually at this show. In 2003 Goodguys President Gary Meadors presented the sterling silver loving cup trophy and $1,000 cash prize to Ron Whiteside of Scottsdale, Arizona, for his '34 Ford coupe. It was a good year for Whiteside, who also won the Ridler Award and the Street Rod d'Elegance award. This coupe is no new car, however. Whiteside has owned it for more than 37 years. During that time it has evolved from a drag racer into an elite-level show winner.
Thacker & Shine's 190-mph DriverNot many people can brag that they have a 200-mph street-driven roadster, but Tony Thacker and Jimmy Shine came real close. After driving the Chevy small-block-powered Pro Action-equipped A roadster almost 800 miles from So-Cal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, to Bonneville for Speedweek (we hear Thacker slept most of the way), Jimmy, Tony, and the crew of Ernie Ladner, Danny Stephens, and Adam Sayers spent all night in the motel parking lot race-prepping the car: changing wheels and tires, adding an 8-71 blower, swapping street shocks for struts, yanking the windshield, adding a tonneau cover, and swapping the street exhaust for zoomies.
Shine's first run of 182 mph was a hair faster than '02's best of 181.3. A transmission problem was repaired on the salt, but Shine spun out on the next run, after going through the 3-mile mark at 192 mph. The car straightened up and Shine popped the 'chute. His comment, "It was spectacular."
As we go to press, Thacker and Shine are talking about building a new transmission and driving back out to the salt, still gunning for 200. This ain't over. Find out more at www.so-calspeedshop.com.