Wes Rydell and Rad Rides by Troy Team Up to Create the Goodguys 2021 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year
When street rod patrons Wes and Vivian Rydell team up with the team at Rad Rides by Troy, expect the results to be spectacular. Rydell has distinctive and discerning tastes and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of GM vehicles from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s that generates some pretty creative “what if” concepts. And the Rad Rides team is extremely well versed in turning such conceptual dreams into real-steel reality. The latest result of their collaborative efforts is this gorgeous ’41 Chevy Fleetline that was crowned the Goodguys 2021 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year during the 23rd Summit Racing Nationals presented by PPG in Columbus, Ohio.
Those who know their Chevrolets might point out that in 1941, the Fleetline was only offered as a four-door sedan. That’s exactly what this one started as. Rydell imagined what might have been if Chevrolet designers had developed a two-door model, one with a formal design that was statelier than a coupe, yet sportier than a sedan. To achieve that vision, the Rad Rides team, led by Adam Banks, not only shortened the body and top, lengthened the front doors, and eliminated the rear doors, but also raised and widened the fenders, chopped and sectioned the top, sectioned the hood, and made a host of more subtle sheet metal modifications that allow the body lines to flow well and look proportional. They augmented that with ’40 LaSalle taillights, custom trim, nickel plating and gorgeous pearl red Glasurit paint, a modified Nissan color.
The classy, formal body rides on a modern Art Morrison frame with independent front and rear suspensions and active adjustable electric shocks. The Rad Rides team machined the custom 18-inch wheels, which draw inspiration from a ’58 Oldsmobile hubcap. They’re wrapped in whitewall tires from Diamondback Classics.
There’s plenty of horsepower thanks to an LT1 engine modified by Lingenfelter with a custom camshaft, stroker crank, and a host of other tricks. The Rad Rides team built custom stainless steel 180-degree headers and designed and machined the valve covers and air intake. A modern GM 10-speed automatic transmission will make for easy driving around town or on the Interstate.
The inside has a similar blend of classic style and modern comfort and amenities. The modified stock dash is updated with Dakota Digital instruments and a Flaming River tilt column topped with a beautiful custom steering wheel. A custom console bisects Cadillac ATS bucket seats, which are complemented by a custom-built rear seat. Red Garrett Leather upholstery is beautifully stitched and augmented with custom trim and gray square-weave carpet. A Kenwood stereo and Vintage Air climate controls are just a few of the many creature comforts.
The Chevy went up against field of more than 15 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year contenders in Columbus and an extremely impressive Top Five lineup. In the end, the Rydell “Fleet ’41” rose above the other contenders by exhibiting the best elements of modern coach-built street rodding – thoughtful design, contemporary mechanicals and conveniences, creative details, and the utmost in craftsmanship and execution. It’s an incredible build that’s more than deserving of its new title.
Photos by John Jackson, Damon Lee & Steven Bunker