Virgil Winland’s No-Fluff, Aviation-Themed P33 Roadster
Tom Brokaw brought us the term “The Greatest Generation,” and he was right on the money. Not only did our forefathers defeat the forces of evil in World War II, but they also ushered in the world order as we know it today. America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” was also tooled up in Detroit at this time and created some of the coolest aviation designs ever. From NAA P-51 Mustangs to the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, it was a fertile industrial era borne out of America’s non-negotiable quest for victory.
Fast forward to 2022 and check out the incredible P33 Roadster from Garret’s Rod Shop out of Columbus, Ohio. We talked with company owner Garret Kitchen, and he brought us the backstory on the car. “We didn’t want to do another ‘painted teeth and badges’ WWII car,” he said. “Our goal was to put together something with the timeless patina of an old mid-century military aircraft. So, we leveraged all the talent in our shop and created this no- fluff, aviation-themed roadster.”
Starting with an Alloway 1933 Speedstar fiberglass roadster body, Garret’s massaged and smoothed the shell, then added a reverse-opening deck lid and ’39 Ford beltline trim. The custom CNC-machined side cutouts off the engine bay allow an exit point for the fully suspended EVOD exhaust. Other cool touches include a split windscreen, custom tonneau with fairings, and Euro-style dual roll bars. True to form, the roadster is finished off in PPG Gloss Olive Drab.
The chassis incorporates Heidts independent front and rear suspensions and power comes from a 525hp Chevrolet Performance LS376 V8 mated to a 4L70E transmission. As a crowning touch, Garret’s fabricated 120 pieces of jewelry for the engine bay and the results are eye watering. Believe it or not, the 17×7- and 20×10-inch wheels are off-the-shelf units from Raceline and are the perfect finishing touch.
Inside the cockpit, the theme is repeated with a heavy dose of aviation cues. Pro Auto Interiors handled the bomber jacket-styled leather upholstery, while Garret’s (with help of Metal Brothers Hot Rods) created the CNC gauge bezels filled with Classic Instruments gauges, trick steering wheel, and other aircraft-themed custom touches.
Not only was the P33 Roadster selected by Bobby Alloway for a Builder’s Choice Top Ten award in Nashville, but it also snagged a coveted Chevrolet Performance GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist spot for Garret’s Rod Shop. It’s a great honor for a shop that has turned out some spectacular builds through the years. Congratulations to all the guys who willed this roadster to life.
Photos by Todd Ryden