Thee Swillco Roadster – Scott Williams’ ’60s Hot Rod
The problem with some nostalgia-style hot rods is that they mix metaphors, using elements from different eras that don’t always work well together. Not so with this bitchin’ Deuce roadster built by Scott Williams at his Minnesota-based Swillco Speed Shop. It perfectly captures the ’60s hot rod vibe.
Scott says he drew inspiration from iconic hot rods like the McMullen roadster and Pete Chapouris’ “Limefire” ’32 to achieve the look he was after. Still, over an eight-year build period, he admits it wasn’t always easy staying focused. “The most challenging part was to spend time making good design decisions,” he says. “The Eric Black rendering helped me stay on track with the plan.”
Scott used American Stamping frame rails as the basis for a chassis, which was built by land speed record holder Steve Laugtug of 313 Garage. It features a dropped front axle, hairpin radius rods, and a quick-change rearend suspended by a Model A leaf spring. Finned Buick front brakes and Boling Brothers rear drums were mounted behind 15×4.5- and 16×8-inch American Rebel wheels, the rears shod in Radir cheater slicks.
The small-block Chevy engine is straight out of the ’60s, with dual Holley carbs atop a polished 4-71 blower, a Joe Hunt magneto, finned and polished Weiand valve covers, and white painted headers. Even the stainless exhaust pipes have bell-shaped tips. The Tremec TKO five-speed blends right in thanks in part to the Hurst shifter.
Metal man Don Groff put in plenty of hours on the fresh Brookville steel, welding seams and massaging metal to achieve a precise fit. Josh Wallen then bodyworked everything straight enough for a gorgeous black Glasurit finish, which Matt Snopek polished to a mirror-like gloss. The defining elements are those tasty white outline pinstripes by Mike Iverson, which extend beyond the body to the firewall, rear axle, gas tank, and other pieces.
Those pinstripes are also found on the dash, which wears original Stewart Warner Twin Blue gauges and is fitted with a Limeworks column and a three-spoke steering wheel. White vinyl upholstery by Mark Millbrant, covers a modified Glide seat and perfectly captures the ’60s hot rod look.
Thee Swillco Roadster captures a classic hot rod style and has the performance to back up its appearance. It looks just as good blasting down the highway as it did competing for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show. There’s no doubt Scott enjoys driving the roadster and appreciates the accolades it has earned, but he’s most proud of building a hot rod to meet his vision, with help from his best friends.
Photos by John Jackson & Marc Gewertz