Goodguys 2022 Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year! Mike Whitney’s homebuilt ’32 Ford Roadster
Mike Whitney drove his black, back-to-basics ’32 Ford roadster to the 2022 BASF Nashville Nationals presented by Blueprint Engines last weekend. He drove back home to Ohio a few days later with a little extra hardware sitting next to him – the 2022 Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year award!
More than any other Meguiar’s Top 12 award, the Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year is about attitude, drivability and use, not strictly build quality and execution, making it one of the most diverse and hotly contested awards in the Top 12. It is not unheard of to have owner-built rides going up against pro-built machines in the Top Five, but it has been a long time since a homebuilt hot rod took home the top honor.
Mike says he collected parts for years to build a car that was stuck in his head – one with heavy influence from vintage sprint cars and Indy cars. He began putting some of those parts together six years ago, starting with a pair of frame rails that he built into a chassis using a ’37 tube front axle, split wishbones, a 9-inch rearend located by fabricated ladder bars, and an F100 steering box converted to cowl steering. Vintage Halibrand 16×4.5- and 18×7-inch wheels with safety-wired knock-offs and Firestone dirt track tires help capture that vintage racing vibe, and Mike even found vintage Halibrand disc brakes to use up front.
The small-block Chevy began as a 327 and now displaces 331 cubes. It employs performance goodies like aluminum Trick Flow heads, an Offy dual-quad intake with Edelbrock carbs, and Corvette dual-point distributor to produce more than enough power for this lightweight flyer. A Tremec TK 600 five-speed offers the proper three-pedal hot rod experience.
Mike got help from Mike Krummens and Nick Hammond on the Brookville body, which had the rear quarter panel reveals raised and the hood lengthened, among many other more subtle nips, tucks, and adjustments. The chopped and heavily raked windshield adds attitude, while details like the aluminum blister for the cowl steering and quick-flip fuel cap add competition influence. Mike credits the Krummens and Hammond team for the beautiful black finish.
The cockpit is as basic as they come, wearing Stewart-Warner gauges across the dash, hand-built aluminum pieces sprinkled throughout, and a vintage-style Shaw four-spoke steering wheel. Stewarts Upholstery stitched up the simple brown leather that covers the seat and side panels, which is augmented by vintage aircraft harnesses for seat belts.
After earning his spot in the Top Five, Mike summed things up simply on social media: “This ol’ car was built in my backyard shop with the help of the best friends a guy could ask for,” he said. The roadster went up against some incredible pro-built rods in a diverse Top Five that included many different interpretations of the term “hot rod.” Ultimately, Mike’s Deuce was deemed to have the right stuff to meet the criteria of being “regularly street-driven, having a mean attitude, and screaming the words ‘Hot Rod!’” Congratulations to Mike and everyone else involved in the construction of this bitchin’ Deuce on this well-earned Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year award!
Photos by Jason Lubken & Todd Ryden | Video by John Jackson