goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

Get In Your Garage – March 2021

There may still be some cold days and long nights of winter to contend with, but the promise of springtime and warmer days ahead seems more and more realistic as we work our way through the early months of 2021. Don’t worry – the time for cruising will be here soon!

The question is, will you be ready? Based on the continuing feedback we’re getting on the Get in Your Garage series, many of you have been making great headway on your projects during these cold, dark winter months. Sometimes inclement weather is the best time to hunker down and dig into those serious projects you’ve been putting off.

This month’s Get in Your Garage lineup includes some long-term projects that have made it through to completion, and others that are getting so close the builders can smell the sweet aroma of success. Others have the luxury of polishing, maintaining, and making minor upgrades on finished rides. No matter the stage of their project, though, all of these do-it-yourselfers are making good use of their time in the garage.

What about you? Are you making headway on your projects this winter? Let us know by sharing some photos and information about your build. Just email us at [email protected], use Get in Your Garage as the subject line, and give us a little background on you and your vehicle. Your progress can inspire other Goodguys members – and it might just be the motivation they need to get their own project started (or finished) before cruising season begins.

We love Get in Your Garage submissions that show the payoff to all those years in the garage. Vince Kirchoff’s Model A from Wisconsin is a perfect example.

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

“This 1930 Ford Tudor sedan was a five-year build with my father,” Vince says. “This car came about because of some major life changes. Prior to building this ’30, my father and I built a chopped ’37 Ford pickup. A couple years after finishing the pickup, my wife and I welcomed a baby girl into our family and decided we needed a “family car” hot rod, so I sold the ’37 and began searching for a project with a back seat. I found this complete, rust-free ’30 not far from my home that had last been titled in 1962.

“I purchased a Cornhusker frame and did all the subsequent fabrication,” Vince continues, “including the ’32-style fuel tank, modified taillight mounts, firewall modifications, custom headlight bar, and so on. My father is a retired body/paint guy and he did all the metal and paint work. The car is painted a custom-mixed vanilla color and the rims are accented by a mid-’70s Cadillac maroon. Special thanks to my friend Eric Koopmeiners for building, testing and tuning the GM 350 before dropping it in the frame. I did the wiring and upholstery myself, including the first time I’ve ever done a landau-style StayFast fabric top.

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

“There are still loose ends to wrap up,” Vince says, “including installation of hood and side panels, but got it on the road this fall with my now five-year-old daughter enjoying rides in her booster in the back seat! Looking forward to driving it a lot more in 2021 and hopefully to the Goodguys show in Des Moines!”

“When life deals you COVID lemons, shine up your rides and clean out the garage,” says John Yale, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. John’s great-looking garage includes a candy red ’55 Chevy Nomad, a ’55 CJ-5 military Jeep, and a replica IndyCar go-kart, #3 driven by Al Unser Jr. We sure wouldn’t mind polishing – or cruising in – any of those rides!

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

When he’s not busy tearing up the Goodguys AutoCross track in his LTG-powered Vega or LS-powered 240Z, David Carroll stays busy in his Morgan Hill, California garage with a variety of cool projects. One of his latest is a ’63 Nova wagon that promises to be a bitchin’ people mover when finished.

The wagon is set up with a new front subframe from Church Boys Racing and a Church Boys four-link rear suspension connected to the Currie 9-inch rearend, with RideTech Shockwaves on all four corners. Wilwood disc brakes are mounted behind the Jongbloed Racing wheels, which are wrapped in Falken tires.

The wagon is getting a 5.3-liter L83 LT engine for power, with a Magnuson TVS2300 supercharger from Superchargers Online and an 8L90 transmission with paddle shifters. It will use tubing and mufflers from Magnaflow for the exhaust. Mike at On the Road Again Classics gets credit for the beautiful dark blue PPG paint. With goodies from TMI, Dakota Digital, IDIDIT, and Vintage Air planned for the interior, this long-roof Chevy II is shaping up to be a cool and fun family cruiser. We can’t wait to see it on the road – or maybe out on the Goodguys AutoCross track!

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

“The truck was a barn find from West Virginia,” says Gary Unverzagt of his 1939 Diamond T. “I did a complete nut-and-bolt frame-off restoration.”

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

Gary says the rusty truck required plenty of metalwork, which was all done by him. He also rebuilt the engine and transmission, crafted the wooden bed, and upgraded the electrical from 6- to 12-volt. “I have little background and learn as I go,” Gary says, “with little to no help, except to help put heavy parts back together. The only thing I outsource is final paint and some upholstery.

“It’s been to approximately 20 car shows and has won best in show or best in class every time,” Gary continues. “I do extremely well at car shows against people who pay for most of their work. I think my work can motivate people with little experience and equipment to do more themselves.”

“In the last year I have built this 1937 Chevy Master I got from my father-in-law,” says Erich Heinig. “I have done 99-percent of the work by myself. I’m a 17-year, three-deployment medically discharged Vet.”

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

“I used a 1974 Chevy dually as the frame,” Erich says, “shortening it 30-inches and tossed a dana 44 under the front. I hand built the bed and I’m working on buttoning up the 427c.i. tall deck. The transmission is a completely rebuilt SM465/NP205, and I had the NP205 input shaft enlarged, with the 4:10 gears and 32-inch tires I should be able to pull our camper to shows and vacations once it’s done.”

Roy Sorenson calls his ’68 El Camino “Project Fixer Upper” and wanted to share the back story that got it started.
“I spread the word amongst family and friends that I wanted a ’60s El Camino,” Roy says. “Just when I’m about to give up I get a call from a relative in SoCal. I drove down to look at it – a one-owner ’68 El Camino that had hardly been touched (130,00 miles on the odometer). The woman got the car brand new for her 16th birthday! She even cried a little while signing over the pink slip.”

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

After trailering the car back to his home in Castro Valley, California, Roy got started on the upgrades. “I had a Hotchkis suspension kit sitting on the shelf, so that was the first thing to go in,” Roy says. “The front end will receive QA1 tubular A arms, a 14:1 gearbox for the steering, and a disc brake conversion kit. Everything rides on Rocket Racing Nitro wheels and BFGoodrich tires.”

The inside is getting some upgrades, as well, including a Vintage Air system, Dakota Digital gauges, and a Custom Autosound stereo, all in a new dash assembly purchased from Original Parts Group. The numbers-matching 327c.i. small-block V8 and TH350 transmission will be rebuilt and treated to an EFI conversion.

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

“Not counting the bodywork and paint, I figure two years to complete the car,” Roy says. “The lady in SoCal gets regular updates on the car’s progress, says she’s glad to see it getting brought back to life. I can’t wait until I can drive “Elca” (her pet name for the car) to Southern California and take her for a ride in it.”

There are still plenty of early Ford street rods being built, as evidenced by rides like Mike Melanson’s ’28 Model A Tudor.
“It’s all steel,” Mike says. “I removed all the wood in the cab and replaced it with square tubing and put in a steel top. I built the chassis myself, including all welding and fab.”

goodguys get in your garage, homebuilt hot rods

That chassis includes a Currie 9-inch Ford rearend with a TruTrac limited-slip unit and 3.70:1 gears, riding on a four-bar suspension with QA1 coil-overs. Up front is a Pete & Jakes dropped axle with a Unisteer rack-and-pinion setup. There’s a small-block Chevy for power backed by a 700R4 overdrive automatic. A stainless-steel exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers expel the spent fumes. It all rolls on Billet Specialties wheels.

“It has been a long time in the build process,” Mike says, “but with long winters here in Calgary, Alberta, it allows lots of time for getting things done. I did all of the work in my home garage. Currently its being painted, then upholstery goes in.”
We look forward to seeing your Model A out on the road soon, Mike!

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.