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Tag Archives: Hot Rod

Drag Racer’s Christmas List

Dear Santa,

Since I have been very good this year I would like

A 57 Chevy Pro Mod Body

a 502 All Aluminum Big Block Chevy motor

A Lenco Manual Transmission

A Set of Mickey Thompson tires

and This

scotty cannon superbird

and This

57 Chevy Pro Mod yellow



Just a Few Things this year.

The Phony Pony Funny Car

The fake funny car, the Phony Pony

The Phony Pony Funny Car was both a real funny car and a real “phony” car! The car was built by drag racer Junior Brogdon back in the late 1960′s.  It was a Ford and was based off of the Mustang, hence the “pony” in its name. Bordgon built the car to get into funny car racing after he had great success racing Super Stock in the AHRA. However when he built Phony Pony the car ended up being funny in a different way. A different way than just being a drag car with an altered wheel based and a flip top. It was funny because it was more like a dragster with a car body on top of it!

The Phony Pony was a slingshot dragster with a Mustang body on top of it (now you know why it’s phony) with it Brogdon would run a few different set ups, the most common set up was two Ford 289 HIPO motors. The 289s would sometimes be carbureted other times both would Injected. Other set ups he would run would just be a single injected 289, a single blown 289 or just a single 289.

When the Phony Pony debuted the NHRA would not consider it a real funny car so Brodgon always had to run it at Match races only. Even at Match Races most of the fans and spectators didn’t want to see it, they weren’t huge fans of the fake funny cars and didn’t want to see a dragster with a car body. (Weird because I think its cool as hell!)

The best time Phony Pony ever ran was 8.36 seconds @ 165.


Bruce Larson’s Mr. Clean

Bruce Larson Mr. clean

Have you ever looked at a hot rod and thought “now that is what a hot rod is suppose to look like!”? I know I have and the most recent time I have is when I saw for Funny Car champion Bruce Larson’s Mr. Clean 32 Chevy Olds powered coupe!

Bruce Larson Mr. Clean Chevy

Looks like a Pits straight out of 1962

Bruce Larson’s Mr. Clean 32 Chevy is a recreation of Bruce’s first true drag car! Actually the original Mr. Clean Chevy that Bruce raced back in the 60s his first car that he built for drag strip use only. He use to tow the car to the track with his daily driver and he would compete in the Gasser (yes this Chevy is a gasser) A/Gas class at the strips in New Jersey and New York.

Bruce Larson Drags

"Mr. Clean looks like its going 100 MPH just sitting, with the reflection coming off the trailer." George from the HAMB

Mr. Clean is a 32 Chevy coupe with a Ford grill, it is powered by a 1957 Olds J-2 Rocket motor (Olds 371) hooked up to a Hydro-Matic transmission. The car was built by EJ Kowalski from Reading Pennsylvania.

Bruce larson drag racing

Mr. Clean making a pass and taking the win!

Bruce has raced the car for the past few years at several events such as the Funny Car Reunion @ Englishtown New Jersey, and at the Nostalgia Nationals.

For those who don’t know Bruce Larson has been a life long drag racer and one the NHRA Funny Car National Championship in 1989.

bruce larson olds 57

A good look at the mighty 57 Olds J-2 Rocket Motor


Johnny Cash’s Psychobilly Cadillac


I know for a fact that over the years many of my readers have been brought great joy when the heard the line “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” then the opening riff to Folsom Prison Blues.

Since this is a Hot Rod magazine who can forget Johnny Cashes humorous song One Piece at a Time about  Johnny Cash “stealing” a one of a kind Psychobilly Cadillac. In honor of today being his 80th Birthday Todays article will be about the Psychobilly Cadillac.

I guess you could say Johnny drove up to the factory and picked up. Its cheaper that way!

The Cadillac was built by a mechanic friend of Johnny’s named Bill Patch. Bill and his friends built the car by searching through scrapyards and trying to get the car as close to the one discribed in the song as they could.

Sadly I can’t find much info other than a few pictures and what the song says about the Cadillac but here are the specs. (Most of them are guessed by the songs lyrics).

As for the Psychobilly Caddillac here are the specs

Engine: Cadillac 500 Ci

Transmissioon: Hydra-Matic transmission

Exhaust: Cadillac (or GM) Exhaust between 49 and 73.

What year model is it?

Body: Well the body is a fortynine, fifty, fifty one, fifty two, fifty three, fifty four, fifty five, fifty six, fifty seven, fifty eight, fifty nine, sixty, sixty one, sixty two, sixty three, sixty four, sixty five, sixty six, sixty seven, sixty eight, sixty nine, seventy body.

I could Imagine Johnny getting out and saying "Hello I'm Johnny Cash!"


Next stop, Folsom Prison? Down the Missippi? Along the rail tracks?


Hot Rod Surf’s 1928 Ford Special Silver Bullet

Hot Rods & Rat Rods by Hot Rod Surf

I have always been a fan of Hot Rod Surf and MWMs work, I love the traditional style rods they build. One of my favorite Rods by Hot Rod Surf is their 1928 Ford Special Silver Bullet roadster. Why do I like this Hot Rod you may ask? Why don’t I like this Hot Rod is the better question! The Silver Bullet roadster is a perfect example of a traditional style hot rod that is built to be driven and to have fun. Its low, simple silver paint job with detailed pinstriping, small block motor with zoomies, and its a roadster! Its everything a good simple hot rod should be!

The Silver Bullet features an original 1928 steel Ford body, and a Kustom hot rod surf z’ed A bone  frame. Also has a kustom chopped grill

Thats how a true Roadster should look!

Engine/Drivetrain: 1968 327 Small Block Chevy topped with a 650 cfm Edelbrock Carb which is hooked up to a GM TH400 transmission is hooked up to a Ford 9′ rear end. The engine is a high compression motor with double camel hump heads, so the motor needs 91 or better octain gas.

I can only Imagine the nice rumbling sound that 327 makes!

Tires/Suspension: 15 soild steel rims with new bias ply BFG tires, Ford disc break conversion was done, and a 1940 Ford front axle with reverse eye spring and split wishbones.

Interior: The interior has Kustom seats, mustang side steering wheel which has a quick release hub so it can be taken off for security reasons.

When I see a car like Hot Rod Surf’s 28 Ford Special Silver Bullet, it just makes me want to jump in it, do a burnout, drive recklessly through the streets of So-Cal while blasting Fu Manchu, then drag race other hot rods all night to get up at 6 am in the morning to go surfing! If it doesn’t make you want to do atleast half of those things, then you are either deaf, dumb and blind or not a true hot rodder!

Seriously who wouldn't want to drive this while blasting Fu Manchu!


Street Legal Dragster True Chevotion

True Chevotion’ block

Many of you remember that awhile back I did an article about a street legal dragsters. Well recently I got intouch with Graham Monk from New Zealand who had some old pictures from 1970 of a Street Legal Dragster built and owned by Harry Sisson who was in the U.S. Airforce stationed in New Zealand at the time. The Dragsters name is True Chevotion and it was powered by a 283 with triple carbs, with a 3 speed manual transmission and a Chevy rear end. Sadly True Chevotion is no longer around (its fate is unknown to me) but Graham has got intouch with Harry Sission recently and they are putting together the history of True Chevotion for a few publications.

A look at True Chevotion

True Chevotion's 283 Mill with its tripple deuces


I would love to see this thing do a burnout!




Twas the Night Before Christmas

Hope your Christmas is this good! (Photo Property of Rat Rod Studios)

Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the house

not a motor was running, not even the old Mighty Mouse.

The Stockings were hung by the lifts with care

in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

While Visions of blown Hemis ran in their heads.

Well I couldn’t think of the rest so I will just say this instead.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and you enjoy spending time with your Family and Friends. Enjoy getting new motors, new parts, new frames, gas tanks, etc.

So as Santa would see driving away in his Deuce Coupe or riding away on his Panhead Chopper

“A Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!”


She’s Real Fine that 409

409 5 window coupe

You’ve heard the famous song by the Beach Boys, which you probably have heard a thousand times on classic rock radio stations. To some hearing this song is just a nostalgic listen of a classic rock tune, and to others it brings back a whole lot of hot rod memoires! For those who fall in the latter of bring back memoires, you know what I am talking about. The old days of spending a week putting a 409 Chevy Big Block into your hot rod or gasser then going out cruising during the  weeknights, while picking up girls and street racing, then blowing up your 409 at the drag strip on the weekend. Even though the memories are mostly good memories with the 409, you may also have some bad memories and some times of frustration with the mill. Enough of a trip down memory lane lets get right to the point!

Bring back any memories?

Some of you hot rodders may have noticed in the last 3 to 5 years the 409 has made a bit of a comeback. It’s becoming a commonly used mill for people that are in nostalgia drag racing, people building era correct hot rods and gassers and it’s even used as an engine for street rods again!

Its said Russ Campbell uses a 409 in his 1962 Chevy Bel Air, here he is at the Hot Rod Reunion

We learned that these engines have made a recent comeback but why did they fade in the first place?  One reason for this is Gm stopped producing the 409 in 1965 and started producing the 396 (a different song entirely, we aren’t their yet so you can still talk about your HEMIs and GTOs). The other big reason was the number of maintenance problems with the 409, which a lot of you older guys will remember such as engines constantly blowing up at the dragstrips or on the strip.

The main reasons behind the frequent blow ups was power quality connecting rods couldn’t hand the power a lot of hot rodders were trying to make so they would break most of the time. Another problem was the unusual layout of the combustion chambers, the combustion chambers where located at the top of the cylinder bores instead of in the cylinder heads, which lead the deck of the engine to be only 74 degrees and lead to wedge shaped combustion chambers.

Because of this wedge shaped combustion chambers, heaver pistons were needed. These heaver pistons caused another problem because they were heaver on one side so they rock around in the bore and when hot rodders tired to go faster the weak connecting rods (as mentioned earlier) couldn’t handle the power so they would blow.

No blow ups here but this but a wheel stand because of this 409!

Despite this problems and issues hot rodders still had a lot of fun with their 409s and of course the Beach Boys did too and today, guys can have fun with the 409 motors again using newer modern parts! Everything from 4-Bolt main conversion kits, to new pistons, new cam, aluminum heads and one new part that will make all you 409 fans really happy new connecting rods! Hot Rod magazine built a 421 stroker to have 466 horsepower!

Not sure how much Horsepower the 55 Chevy Gasser "Phantom 409" has but Ill bet its 409 makes over 400!

Now if some of you guys are having trouble looking for a 409 motor to use, look in old Chevy Heavy Duty trucks from 1962 to 1966. Most of them came with a 409 that produced 252 Horsepower and 390lbs of Torque. Another place to look for the 409s is, instead of looking in the Coupes from the early 60s look in the passenger cars and the sedans. In junkyards these cars are more likely to be left alone and more likely to have an untouched 409!

A lot of the heavy duty trucks like this 62 Chevy C60 will have 409s

The Purple People Eater!

The Purple People Eater!

Have you ever seen a wild, crazy unique Hot Rod? I am sure you have, but have you ever seen one like the Purple People Eater? Not sure what that is? Well the Purple People Eater is what scientists have believe is single handedly reasonable for causing the 2011 Virginia Earthquake! Does that tell you something about the car? This car is an uncontrollable beast form another world!
The car was built back in the late 90s by Marky Izadardi of the shifters car club. If the Purple People Eater looks scary, dangerous, fun or wild to you, then Marky did his job when he built the car!

When Scientist saw the car at the Antique Nationals they knew it was going to cause trouble, did anyone listen? NO! But how could we all we could here is a rumbling 450!

The concept for the Purple People Eater came when Marky, his brother Alex and the rest of the Shifters Car Club wanted to build an early 60s style altered dragster hot rod with a bit of an Ed Roth influence that is actually driven and occasionally raced. A true Hot Rod that was homebuilt, fun, original and a piece of art compared to the thousands of Trailer Queen street rods that made up most of the hot rod shows at the time.

It was definitely nothing like the street rods that dominated the shows, look it the things a beast on wheels!

Markey and Alex got the project started when they found an old hacked up Model A Sedan body which would become the body of the project. Markey and Alex were both huge Pontiac fans so when they went looking for a mill they found an old 56 Pontiac 316 that had been bored and stroked out to 405! The motor was from an old altered that ran back in the early 60s at Riverside race way, it even held a record there!

The Blown Pontiac with its 8 Carbs

What Markey did  to the mill next was put a Hampton blower on top of it with eight Stromberg Carburetors on top it! (Yes eight of those things)! The Pontiac mill and the front end was placed higher up for weight transfer during launch on the strip (just like most of the cars in the 60s). After the engine and transmission where installed the car was then giving its famous Purple and White paintjob and it was ready to be shown to the hot rod world!

The Finished Purple People Eater

The Purple People Eater was first shown to the world at the West Coast Nationals Car Show in Paso Robles California and when it arrived at the show full of street rods PEOPLE WENT CRAZY! Some where excited to see it, others were running for there lives because they thought this car was a serious monster going to eat them! Ok maybe no one did that but people loved it! The car was an instant hit, it was what hot rodding had drifted away from years ago and it was what a hot rod was suppose to be; loud, faster, driven, homebuilt and one of a kind built to the owners liking!

The Purple People Eater with the Shifters Coupes

If you happen to bring up the Purple People Eater  at shows or online you will here a lot of people comment about how it can’t make a pass down the strip or it can’t drag race which just isn’t true. Even though the Purple People Eater wasn’t built to be a drag car it has made several passes down the strip over the years!
Overall the car wasn’t meant to be a functional hot rod it was meant to be a work of art to inspire builders and get people talking, in which it has done a really great job. The Purple People Eater is one of the most Amazing hot rods I have ever seen, I seriously think there should be a Hot Wheels car of it!

It may not be practical but its sure as hell fun!


The Purple People Eater in the pits at the Antique Nationals

Who ever said it can't make a Pass, doesn't know what they are talking about

Marky of the Shifters at the Antique Nationals

A Look at “Radical Rod”

Radical Rod featured

At First Glance the Hot Rod looks more like a Hot Wheels car then a traditional hot rod, its flamboyant, colorful, it has personality and it has a child like presence to it but not in the bad way, in a good way like Radical Rod was built straight out of a child’s imagination of dreaming big and having a real version of your favorite hot wheels car. This car built on childhood dreams and imagination is Bruce Harvey’s Radical Rod.

Looks just like a Real Hot Wheels Car that you can Drive

The Idea for Radical Rod came when Bruce was at a car show in Pittsburg and he saw an old neglected 1930 Ford A coupe and he know he could turn into a special one of a kind Hot Rod with the only limit being his Imagination. When Bruce started with Radical Rod he original built at as a Silver Rat Rod called Ratical Rod (how original) but then he kept getting new Idea’s and started changing the car more and more.

"Ratical Rod" being built

Ratical Rodin its early days

Side view of Ratical Rod


Soon the car was Radical Rod with its two tone Red and Orange pain job, its one of a kind, cut rear fenders, the Body is Chopped 4” and channeled and sectioned 8” and is 8” wider.

The build of the car becoming Radical Rod with its wild paint job


An almost complete Radical Rod just need Seats for the Interior and the Doors

The car is powered by 528 Keith Black Hemi Mill, 1471 Blower, two 1050 Dominator Carburetors, and Quick Change rearend. Radical Rod makes about 1300 Horsepower. This car isn’t all for show either, its daily driven and has made a few 1/8th mile pass at the drag strip with its best ET being 6.15 @ 110 MPH (the car is estimated to be a 9 second car in the ¼ mile).

Radical Rod at a car show with Rat Fink!


Radical Rod is a car built by Imagination, blood sweet and tears. It’s the kind of car that reminds me of when I was young when I use to dream of having a real version of my hot wheels car. It’s that car made of dreams.

Radical Rod getting ready to Drive

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