Back on the road Wednesday – I took Tuesday off from the hot rod vacation, and did some work in the hotel room in the morning on the computer, then took the roadster up into the mountains by myself and just rode around till dusk…no stopping, no pics…just me, cool mountain air, and an open car. I one read an article in Hot Rod I think it was about the 10 cars you should own – on the list naturally was a Deuce roadster, and the author described it as a “mood alteration vehicle”…someone google that and find out who wrote that…I remember a corvette was on the list, and the authors choice was “make mine a ’62 fuelie in honduras maroon”.
So Wednesday was back on the road – some friends from FL arrived today, Chuck Burns and his neighbor Daniel. They rented a Jeep Liberty, so we decided to give the roadster a day off, and the five of us hit the road to see the sights. Let set the Jeep into the wind – headed for Corona – to Marcel’s Custom Metal. I had never been to Marcel’s before, and thsi was real treat. I could not help buy stand in the shop and think of how many cars came out of that shop, shaped by Marcel and his two sons Marc and Luc, that changed not only hot rodding, but influenced production car trends as well. It is little known in the hot rod world that Marcel’s does quite a bit of work for the OEM’s, and does a great deal of restoration work, as well as aircraft sheetmetal.
When we arrived, Marcel was at the shop by himself, and was eager to greet us, and expectant of the various hot rodders that will likely be paying them a visit this week. Sitting just inside the door was one of the Kugel Muroc II roadsters. While this is far from my particular style of car, the metal work is unreal. Marcel’s has been producing these cars, sold by Jerry Kugel as rollers, ready for you to finish for a few years now, and this car was number 18. Marcel told us that they had done so many of them now, the Murocs, the Boydsters, etc – they could do one of those cars in 15-18 days – all three of them working on it – including the fenders. Wow. Also in the shop was a ’33 Packard Pheaton 180 – this car is a wooden super struction with an outer skin, so it was being skinned in aluminum. Also, a very rare Bugatti race car, a 1947 T6 – also getting new aluminum body.
I walked through the front office looking at the pictures of the walls of all the award winning cars – and Marcel followed me in there – I found a pic of the Boyd-built Roadstar on the wall, and told Marcel that the owner, Buz Divosta was an old friend of my dads. Marcel lit up with interest – that was apparently one of his favorite cars. Tons of pictures of the original yellow Boydster II, owned by my friend and former employer Gil Losi…Marcel could tell such detailed stories about each car – it was unreal. Pictures of cars he built from the ground up in his backyard when he first moved to the US…I want to go back and set down with him, record all this information, and document each of these cars and their story…
After leaving Marcel’s we walked across the street in Corona to Barry White’s Street Rod Repair. Barry’s shop has gotten pretty famous from his TV shows about building muscle cars has selling them at auctions. The shop was full of muscle cars mostly, with one ’32 project going together. The more interesting thing was all the junk out behind the building – tons of stock components – Tri-5 Chevy chassis and parts and engines – 265’s, 283’s laying around…and oddly enough, more than one of those yellow fiberglass roadsters that were so popular a couple years ago – sitting outside. Hmmm.
Next stop of the Jeep Wagon-train, Hollywood Hot Rods – HHR is located in Burbank, off of Olive St Downtown. When we pulled up, the Ardun powered roadster pickup they were working on last year was sitting out front, finished and running. Apparently they were giving organized shop tours, so we milled around in front of the building for a few minutes and chatted up some of the others – we met a group from Georgia, and swapped stories about our trip thus far. Once inside, I faded back in the group a bit, as the first part of the shop tour was pretty elementary – “this is Troy Ladd, he is the owner, this is orange roadster, etc” I did bump into Brian Bass, of HAMB fame on the tour, he was equally tuned out on the tour guide, and we were just looking at the cars. The right hand drive roadster that was assembled as a roller not long ago was back apart for some final pre-paint&plate touches. A lot of details on this car – I took a ton of pics – not all of them are below – comment at the bottom of this page if you want to see anything in particular. The cable driven alternator mounted back in the chassis was interesting, as well as really all of the bracketry from mounting just about everything from the brake lines to the exhaust.
Right next door is Bobby Green’s Old Crow Speed Shop – Bobby has a crazy collection of super-rare early ford speed equipment, as well as various fuel drop tanks, cars, art, and automotive coolness. Most of the people on the HHR tour I’m sure had never heard of Old Crow, as most of the people at HHR had probably only heard of him recently with his TV show about the Black Widow. The Old Crow shop general, Lucky, pulled in and unlocked the gate, and a few of us that knew what was behind that gate immediatlely began to slowly work our way out the door of HHR and slip up the block to Bobby’s shop. We didn’t want to pull all the ‘spectators’ with us. Just inside the front door of Old Crow was Bobby’s much covered ’30 on ’32 rails, with the solid Halibrand wheels – it was dirty as even, keys haning in the ignition, looking fresh from El Mirage. Speaking of El Mirage, the Old Crow belly tanker was sitting in the shop with the engine pulled out of it. Compared to Erik Hansen’s car this car is very different – Erik’s car has a triangulated 4 bar rear suspension, with a Watt’s link, and sway bars front and rear, and inboard cantilever bell crank actuated coilovers – The Old Crow car has the ’40 Ford Axle tubes welded directly to the frame -no suspension. Hmmm.(yeah that is two “hmm’s”)
By this time, we were ready for a late lunch – we walked over to the other side of Olive and grabbed some lunch at Bernie’s Beanery – this is a landmark restaurant, that has been located there on what was Route 66 at one time, since 1920. One claim to fame is being the location of Janis Joplin’s last meal – she apparently OD’ed after eating there – not sure if that is a good or bad report on the restaurant? They have had a few updates since then, but it is still an awesome place. I’m not sure where else you can get a burger made from kobe beef.
One of the guys in our group got a tip about a ’40 mercury for sale somewhere in Pomona – we drove around in the general area where the car was supposed to be, but never found it. However, a keen eye spotted the roofline of a ’32-34 pickup through a crack a fence. This let to a full panic stop U-turn in the Jeep. We went back around the block, behind the building and got a better peek inside of the fenced area. Not only was there a Deuce pickup hiding in there – but a ’33 3 window, and a ’34 Cabriolet. The side door of the building was open, so we yelled and rattled the gate until someone came out. The owner was very friendly and invited us inside. I was standing on the roof of the Jeep(don’t tell Alamo!) taking pics over the fence when he let the rest of the group in. When I entered the gate – I went straight for the cars, taking more pictures. The pickup was tagged up and in streetable condition. The coupe and cabrio were your typical sold California rust free cars. The guy had fenders and parts stashed everywhere in the yard.
I looked around a bit more, and decided to head inside of the building to see what they were doing. The roll up door on the side of the building had a curtain over it, to keep the block the sun out,so I had to part the curtains to get inside – as my eye’s adjusted to the dark they were met with a DIALED black ’36 roadster and an original ’33 Victoria, unrestored – behind these two cars was a building FULL of ’32-36 roadsters and coupes – all of them black, and in restored or mildly hot rodded. I stopped dead in my tracks and let out an “oh my god….” out loud, as I took in this scene from the front door. The others heard me and busted out laughing. I stood there looking down at the ’36 on my right, pulled out the camera and took the picture below of the shop looking inward.
This guy has two of everything – 2 ’32 roadsters, 2 ’32 3 windows, ’33 roadsters, ’33 3 windows, ’36 roadsters, ’36 3windows – a ’50 woodie – I didn’t even could. I just wandered around like a drunk 17 year old girl at a Justin Timberlake concert.
Tomorrow is the Limeworks Open House at BBQ – and who knows where we will end up from there.
Moving back to the hotel, I packed up my things, and went down to Huntington Beach’s Orange County RC, to do some RC Racing with the best RC drivers in the world. Great times, great day.