Rad Rides by Troy earns a GM Iron Finalist Spot with Wes Rydell’s ’41 Chevy
It’s been three decades since Troy Trepanier burst on the hot rod scene with a trio of high-impact rides: a raspberry-hued, monochromatic ’66 Chevelle, turquoise ’60 Chevy, and a big ’50 Buick Sedanette, all done in fat-tire, pro-street-meets-street rod styles. Trepanier quickly established himself as a trendsetter and has solidified that reputation in the years since by surrounding himself with a first-rate team of craftsmen at Rad Rides that routinely turns out amazing custom creations.
The latest masterpiece from Rad Rides is this stately ’41 Chevy Fleetline built for return patrons Wes and Vivian Rydell. It’s a bit of a concept custom, imagining what the Fleetline body profile – which was only available as a four-door sedan in 1941 – might have looked like in a two-door package.
The Rad Rides team, led by Adam Banks, started with a four-door Fleetline, which was extensively redesigned by shortening the body, chopping and shortening the top, lengthening the doors, raising and widening the fenders, sectioning the hood, and much more. Taillights from a ’40 LaSalle and custom-built, nickel-plated trim complement the pearl red Glasurit paint.
An Art Morrison chassis was used for the Chevy’s foundation, with independent front and rear suspensions, active adjustable electric shocks, and custom-machined 18-inch wheels modeled after ’58 Oldsmobile wheel covers and wrapped in Diamondback Classic whitewall tires. Modern power comes from a Lingenfelter-built LT1 engine with a stroker crank, custom camshaft, stainless steel 180-degree headers crafted by the Rad Rides team, plus one-off machined aluminum valve covers and air intake. The Rydells regularly road trip in their custom rides, which will be much easier thanks to the GM 10-speed automatic transmission.
Classic, thoughtful style is on display throughout the cabin, where a modified stock dash incorporates Dakota Digital instruments and a Flaming River tilt column is topped with a beautiful custom steering wheel. Cadillac ATS bucket seats and a custom rear seat are tastefully upholstered in red Garrett leather complemented by custom trim and gray square-weave carpet. Vintage Air climate controls and a Kenwood audio system are just a few of many creature comforts.
You’ll read much more about the “Fleet ’41” next month on FuelCurve.com, as it followed up its Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist award in Des Moines by being crowned the Goodguys 2021 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year in Columbus. Cars like this not only elevate street rodding to a status on par with fine coachbuilding, they also put elite shops like Rad Rides on a level all their own.
Photos by Steven Bunker and Damon Lee