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September 29, 2019

FOR SALE: 1949 Mercury Woodie

by Dave

Here it is, the woodie that started it all. Don Iglesias bought the car in 1990, got it road-worthy, and was having so much fun running with the small crew of other Santa Cruz woodie owners that he decided to start a club. In 1993 Santa Cruz Woodies became the first chapter of the National Woodie Club west of the Mississippi. The National wasn’t quite sure what to do with this irreverent tribe of surfers and hot rodders, but their enthusiasm was certainly evident. Over the years Santa Cruz grew to be the largest NWC chapter in the country. It also hosts one of the best car events anywhere: Woodies on the Wharf.

This Merc’s history as a surf wagon goes back even further. Originally from Los Gatos, it had served as a parts chaser for the local Ferrari dealer. It moved “over the hill” to Santa Cruz in the 1970’s and passed through the hands of a number of locals, including surfing standout Dave “Spider” Preovolos and surf historian Mac Reed. When Mac sold the Merc to Don, it was ready for some TLC.

Don began an extensive restoration, including a number of mechanical updates designed to make the car more fun to run in today’s traffic. The body was stripped and repainted, the chrome trim was replated, and the interior – including all three rows of seat – was treated to new upholstery, headliner and carpet.

Mercury fans know that the ‘49 has an especially lovely two-toned, dark-and-light, wood-grained dashboard. Don took his, along with the car’s window garnish, to legendary Bay Area woodgrain specialist Craig Clemmons for restoration. Craig has since passed away but his work is treasured, gracing cars from Pebble Beach classics to vintage hot rods.

On the exterior, Mercurys have a unique fade-away design element that carries from the top of the fender line back into the doors. Don discovered that while this contoured panel is beautiful to look at, it’s pure hell to restore. The solution was to have it done by someone with experience and Don chose the best: Ron Heiden Woodworking. Ron crafted all new wood inside and out from Eastern Hard Rock Maple and Sapele Mahogany, then fit it perfectly to Don’s sheet metal. The amazing finish on the wood can be seen in the photos. It’s furniture-quality –- high end furniture.

Mechanically, the car is just as well-crafted. The original motor’s been fully rebuilt with Navarro heads, a SCAT 4 inch crank, Isky cam, and a pair of 97’s on a Navarro intake. Now converted to 12V, the car also sports a Mallory electronic ignition and alternator and has been rewired by another one of the best: Jim Vickery. The attention to detail in the engine bay is notable. From the firewall to the ceramic-coated headers to the new Brassworks radiator, everything under the hood is either painted, plated or polished.

The car features a couple of additional updates you might not spot, but you’ll appreciate when you get behind the wheel: power steering and an automatic transmission. Ask anyone who drives an original shoebox what they’d like to update and they’ll probably say the steering. Don upgraded his with a modern Saginaw power steering box. He also installed Ford C4 automatic overdrive transmission, another fairly common (and proven) update that makes these cars much friendlier on the freeway.

Cosmetically beautiful and mechanically modern, this car has something else you just can’t buy: soul. From its colorful history to its rolling collection of vintage surf decals, if you’re looking for a woodie, it doesn’t get much better than this.

For more info and contact information, click here

ASKING $52,000  

1949 MERCURY WOODIE WAGON

Owner CATHY & DON IGLESIAS , Santa Cruz CA 

BODY, PAINT & TRIM

Stock Mercury body, repainted single-stage Ford Maroon

Bumpers and trim replated and polished

Vintage glass blue-dot taillights

Vintage Mercury accessory exhaust tips

WOOD                                                                                                           

Eastern Hard Rock Maple framing with Sapele Mahogany panels, crafted and fitted by Ron Heiden Woodworking, Vista, CA

INTERIOR

Dashboard and window garnished restored and wood-grained by Craig Clemmons

New mahogany door and side panels by Ron Heiden

Custom headliner slats and “surfboard” mirror by Ron Heiden

Full instrumentation including tach and dual water temp gauges

Original three rows of seats, reupholstered by Ray’s Upholstery, Watsonville, CA

Ididit tilt steering column with custom wheel

Pioneer stereo

ENGINE

Original Mercury flathead, fully rebuilt

SCAT 4 inch crank

Navarro heads, polished

Navarro intake, polished

Dual Stromberg 97 carbs

Isky cam

Mallory electronic ignition

Red’s headers, ceramic coated

TRANSMISSION                                                                                               

Ford C4 automatic w/overdrive

ADDITIONAL…

Saginaw power steering

Custom Brassworks radiator with electric fan

12V conversion, wiring by Jim Vickery

Coker Classic whitewall radial tires

January 1, 2019

FOR SALE: 1941 Willys Coupe

by Dave

SOLD!!

Our buddy Rick Kimes spent his career with PG&E – Pacific Gas & Electric – the mega-utility that serves most of the state of California. His job description was simple: keep the lights on. During those freezing, gale-force Central Coast storms, when the rest of us were tucked in our warm beds, Rick was up a power pole, swinging like a metronome. Much of his work was done at night and on weekends and for the overtime Rick was paid well – and deservedly so. It was his Hurricane Money. He wasn’t about to spend it on a sissy car.

Rick started with a body and chassis from Outlaw Performance. There are a number replica ’41 Willys bodies on the market, but Outlaw is pretty much considered the gold standard. Rick knew exactly what he wanted to build and knew he’d need an experienced fabricator – someone with design, fabrication and sheet metal skills — to make it happen. He came to see Gary. Over the years Gary had been instrumental in several Willys builds; often there was more than one of them in the shop at the same time.

Rick wanted a killer motor, killer stance and a full aluminum interior. But he also wanted something well-engineered. A car that was a joy to drive. Here’s the result.

Read more…

September 11, 2017

FOR SALE: 1939 Ford Convertible

by Dave

SOLD!!

“Too nice to cut up…” It’s that timeworn observation you often hear about an old car, just before someone takes a hacksaw to its roof. In the case of Mark Kaplan’s ’39, you’re gonna want to pay attention.

Read more…

September 6, 2017

FOR SALE: 1930 Ford Tudor

by Dave

SOLD!!!

Hot rod guys, upon hearing the word customized, will conjure up images of tail fins, canted headlights, and frenched antennas. But custom work, even when ambitious, can be very subtle. “What’s going on here? Why’s that look so good?” Bob Achterberg’s Model A tudor falls into this second category.

Read more…

November 30, 2016

FOR SALE: 1932 Ford Roadster

by Dave

Gary_at speed

 

 SOLD!!

When Gary decided to put his roadster up for sale, I started buying lottery tickets. Seriously. This car’s special. It’s one of those remarkable hot rods that an experienced fabricator built for himself. Simple and traditional, it employs original Ford parts throughout. But Gary’s a machinist, so the tolerances in this roadster are more akin to NASA than pre-WWII Detroit. It’s obvious in the fit and finish. But it’s even more evident in the things you can’t see, like the absence of shimmies, shakes or rattles in the suspension, the buttery smooth transmission, the head-jerking performance of the big flathead, and the wonderful road manners.

Gary_03a Gary_02a Gary_04a

The car pulls from idle to over 5000 rpm smoothly and quickly, with no stumble or hesitation. With its 26 tooth Lincoln Zephyr trans and 3.54 ring and pinion you can easily hit 60 in first gear, 80 in second, and outlaw status in third.
Read more…

November 1, 2016

Personal Projects – A louvered hood for Gary’s roadster

by Dave

GARY_MAGAZINE
Many of you saw Michael Dobrin’s article on Gary’s roadster in Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. We spent the day with photographer Tim Sutton who snapped this at-speed photo spread laying in the bed of my truck as I raced along next to Gary on the street in front of the shop.
At the time, Gary wasn’t running a hood. He had a full hood for the car, but felt it would be a shame to cover up that handsome flathead. Maybe a hood top would be in order. Louvers were already an element in the car’s traditional character – there are a hundred in the deck lid – so they’d be a factor in the design of this project, too.
Read more…

October 4, 2016

Flatheads Liven Up Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance

by Dave

Old hot rods, especially if they have any notoriety, are the trendy new marque on the lawns of concours d’elegance events. We know they’re bitchen, but does recognition from the blue-blazer crowd add to anything to their cool factor? It really doesn’t matter. In the end, we’re all just car guys and an event like Palo Alto provides us an opportunity to ogle machinery we don’t often get to see. (We were also treated to a free lunch and beer).

While many concours cars travel in trailers, our crew opted to meet at oh-dawn-thirty and drive to the show. That’s Gary’s roadster, Jesse Nichol’s Clay Slaughter-built pick-up, and Dave Wilkerson’s ’39 woodie.
Read more…

September 5, 2016

Installing a Pines Winterfront Grille on a 1932 Ford Vicky

by Dave

From fuzzy dice and dummy spots to license plate toppers and laminated dash knobs, accessories have always helped define a car. Unfortunately, some don’t know when to stop. It can turn an otherwise cool car into a rolling curio cabinet.

Then there are guys like Don Triolo. His cars are so subtle that it’s easy to walk right by ‘em. The exquisite craftsmanship, the perfect stance, the flawless finishes; they’re all lost on the unwashed masses. But we know, don’t we? His cars stop us dead in our tracks.

Don’s ’32 Vicky was no exception, and when it rolled into our shop it was sporting just two accessories: a vintage rearview mirror-clock, and a set of original Lions wire wheel covers. When Ford introduced its steel disk wheel in 1936, millions of ’35 and older Ford wire wheels instantly became old hat. For a few bucks, a fellow could walk into Western Auto, buy a set of Lions caps, mount ‘em over his spokes, and be totally current. If they look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them on the Roy Brizio-restored Vic Edelbrock deuce roadster. They’re ultra-rare, and they’re really handsome.
            Don had a third accessory he wanted us to install on his Vicky: a Pines Winterfront grille insert. These inserts feature vertical vanes that can be opened and closed with a control knob mounted under the dash. In cold weather they’re closed to keep your flathead warm and comfortable. When it’s hot, they’re opened to allow free air flow to the radiator. Also extremely rare, they’re the holy grail of Deuce accessories — and they’re priced accordingly.

Read more…

April 5, 2016

Top Chop: Model A Ford Coupe

by Dave

Adam Barton is a Santa Cruz-based tattoo artist. Extremely talented, he travels the world in pursuit of his craft. He’s also a hot rodder who has owned an impressive succession of traditionally-styled cars. His latest is this full-fendered, flathead-powered ’31 Ford coupe. Adam, screen name xadamx, is a regular contributor to the HAMB. When he first posted photos of his new coupe, he also posed the question “should I chop it?” An overwhelming majority of the respondents cried “leave it alone!” Conformity and herd mentality are obviously not part of his character, so Adam, true to his hot rod roots, launched plans for a haircut.

In our humble opinion, four inches is the ideal chop for these coupes. Any more and the car gets cartoony: the corners of the quarter windows loose their graceful flow, and the proportions begin to look squashed. Any less just isn’t worth all the work. Read more…

April 1, 2016

Top Chop II: Model A Ford Coupe

by Dave

In our last post, we’d finished the cuts to Adam’s  coupe, freed the top, then temporarily set it back on for a sneak peek at its new profile. We’d put some effort into the layout of our cuts, so the sheet metal came down square and required very little trimming.

Hot rod folklore says Model A chops are easy: just cut ‘em, set the top back down, and weld it all together. Right. Read more…

March 5, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: Engine Swap

by Dave

Quint Meland likes big motors. While his high school peers in Southern California were still messing around with flatheads, Quint dropped a 303 inch Olds V8 in his Model A roadster and went racing. Extremely successful, even as a young gun, his drag racing strategy was brilliantly simple: find out where the big name guys were running — and go somewhere else.

Quint_5.19_1As a pilot in Viet Nam and later with TWA, Quint went on to run bigger engines, but his love of hot rods never let up. Several years ago he acquired the Phil Cool 1978 AMBR roadster. Running a blown L-88,  this landmark car was famous for putting the “hot” back in hot rod. It ended a run of silly, over-the-top show cars that had dominated the Grand National Roadster Show for a decade.
PhilCool
Read more…

March 1, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Engine Swap Part 2

by Dave

Quint Meland’s new Deuce roadster is a tribute, although somewhat more civilized, to the Model A he raced in high school. The car arrived at our shop with a 351 Cleveland motor and a C4 trans. Our first task was to swap in a big 400 inch Oldsmobile and Turbo 400 Quint had built at Mondello Performance. It took a lot of shoehorning, you can see photos here

When we left off, Gary had started to build the headers. A key part of the tribute, Gary was able to capture the look of the original roadster’s headers, but at a level of craftsmanship appropriate to the new build.
Quint2_2 Quint2_3 Read more…

February 13, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: New hot rod in the shop

by Dave

For months we’ve been looking forward to the arrival of Todd Anderson’s roadster. The chassis was built and the body assembled by Erik Hansson in Huntington Beach, using an impressive collection of original Deuce parts Todd has patiently gathered over the years. Our job will be to finish the car.

Obviously, the work is just getting underway – the first punch list is already three pages long — but we’ve got a full head of steam and we’ve completed work on the exhaust, fuel system and steering. Click here, we’ve posted a bunch of recent photos: Read more…

February 11, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Part II: Headlights and more

by Dave

Occasionally we get up off the concrete and out from underneath these cars. A man needs a little perspective, something more worldly than the weekly car-guy caffine-fest at our local Starbucks. Gary spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, and I took off for Hawaii for some wetsuit-free recreation. The warm, balmy water worked wonders on the kinks I’d accumulated climbing under these hot rods and woodies.

In spite of the time away, we’ve made progress on Todd Anderson’s Deuce roadster. Before heading off to the GoodGuys West Coast Nationals this weekend, I thought I’d share some photos.

In our last post, we’d started on the exhaust and steering. We’ve also added an under-floor box for the fuse panel, mounted the battery, and built a set of floorboards.


Read more…

February 9, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Part III: Progess Continues

by Dave

In our last post we’d tacked together the headlight bar, then left for a couple days to attend the GoodGuy’s West Coast Nationals. Upon returning to the shop, we still liked the headlight placement, so with Todd’s blessing, Gary welded it up and ground it smooth.

We made another little change at the same time, and it made a big difference.  When Todd’s roadster first arrived, we just weren’t feeling the front-wheel-and-brake-drum set-up. We felt there was too much drum exposed, so we swapped the 4 inch wide Coker wheels for a pair of 4 ½ inch wide OEM Ford truck wheels. Check the new wheel and brake combo in the photo below versus the earlier photo below that. An extra half inch of cover made all the difference.

When the car arrived there were also issues with the front suspension. Read more…