Stunning hot rods win big US awards

Last updated 08:30 18/07/2013

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George Poteet and Ron Cizek have collected two top US hot rod awards at the Goodguys 16th PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

Poteet's vintage Nascar-inspired 1969 Torino won the street machine of the year while Cizek's popular Ridler award-winning 1940 Ford coupe collected the street rod of the year title.

For Cizek, its the second major Goodguys award of the year after the car won the street rod d'elegance in Del Mar.

Both cars capture the essence of hot rodding's current trend of blending retro styling cues from bygone eras with modern technology and masterful build quality.

Poteet's Torino a machine which would look right at home in the 1969 Talladega 500 or on today's demanding and twisty AutoCross tracks, was built by Troy Trepanier and his Rad Rides team in Manteno, Illinois.

Cizek's cranberry red 40 Ford, built by Andy Leach (Cal Automotive Creations) represents the time-tested appeal of a smoothed out flathead powered early Ford. Blown flathead that is!

Known for such legendary street machine builds as Chicayne, Sniper Sick Fish and so many others, Trepanier and his team spent the better part of three years hand-crafting Poteet's Torino, taking an otherwise bulky, heavy looking stocker and transforming it into a sleek, refined machine.

The idea of the car, nicknamed the GPT Special, was to blend the dash, hood and other favourable design traits of a Mercury Cyclone together with a Holman Moody Nascar-style Torino. After all the meticulous bodywork was done, the Torino was shortened 7.5 centimetres in the front fenders, widened 12.5cm, and had a 2.5cm-shorter-than stock wheelbase. Everything else, including the rear quarters, was made from scratch. The grille, taillight bezels and other trim parts are from large chunks of billet aluminum, while the interior is all race car, including ovalshaped punch plates and a full-on roll cage.

Under the menacing Cyclone hood scoop lies a monstrous, fuel injected 750hp Ford Boss 429 coated in muted bronze finish.

After 1000 man-hours of paint prep, the car was sprayed with a Tennessee Whiskey Gold.

For handling, Trepanier dialed up an Art Morrison chassis featuring C5 Corvette front suspension and a Detroit Speed four-link in the rear with a Watts link and a Mark Williams 9-inch axle. The GT40-style knock off wheels coated in a root beer hue are courtesy of Billet Specialties. Wilwood six-piston front calipers with 14 inch rotors stop the monster on a dime.

Poteet, an avid salt racer on the Bonneville Salt Flats, claimed during his award acceptance speech that in just a few short weeks the GPT Special would head to Bonneville to run on the salt during the SCTA Speed Week in a street-legal, 150mph class!

In contrast, Cizek's 40 Ford, dubbed Checkered Past, represents the time tested appeal of a flathead powered hot rod, albeit with refined hi-tech twists.

Sitting on the ground, the car has a perfect profile. Like all big show cars, its been hand crafted and reshaped while keeping a fair share of its factory lines.

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Leach and the build team wedge sectioned the car 2.5cm from front to back then chopped the top 3/8 for the perfect hot rod rake.

The hood and fenders have been reshaped as were the meticulously hand-shaped running boards. Finishing off the front end mods is a custom grille with thinned out headlamp rings.

The motor in Checkered Past, assembled and prepped by Erik Hansen, accelerates the heart rate just looking at it. Atop the 53 Mercury flathead sits a 4.71 GMC blower with the entire package coated in a muted gold anodise to match the gold one-off Halibrand style wheels. The original chassis was boxed and beefed-up to accommodate the Tremec 6-speed transmission, independent rear suspension, custom A-arm front suspension and disc brakes on all four corners.

Boss Interiors stitched the saddle brown English Leather upholstery with suede inserts. The stock 40 dashboard features subtle modifications and custom gauges.

Tying the coupe together is an eye-pleasing cranberry red hue.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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