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FOR SALE: 1932 Ford Kugel Zipper Roadster

by Dave on November 28, 2018

1998 was a low point for the nearly half-century-old Grand National Roadster Show. Its home for years had been the Oakland Coliseum, but it was booted out in ’97 and held in rain-soaked tents in the Coliseum’s parking lot. It desperately needed a new home.

In 1998 the show moved across the bay to San Francisco’s Concours Exhibit Center, a dark, sprawling, low-ceiling series of halls with ratty carpets. Cars had to be dusted constantly because of the crap floating in the air. How do I know? It’s the year I debuted my woodie.

It rained the entire weekend and, because the venue was located right downtown, trailer loading and staging had to be done in a vacant lot, six blocks away. We literally sat in the rain, in small groups, waiting our turn to be called into the hall.

The venue sucked, but the cars sure didn’t. After all, this was the Grand National Roadster Show. It always had (and still does) feature the finest cars in the nation. America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 1998 would be chosen that weekend from eight finalists. This slippery, high tech roadster was one of them.

Originally built by Leonard Lopez’ Dominator Street Rods for Bay Area custom painter Kevin Vornhagen, this roadster was designed from the ground up to be a show winner. It’s also a crazy fast, fun-to-drive hot rod that handles like a sports car. Starting with a Kugel Speedster fiberglass body from Zipper Motors, Dominator dropped it onto a full custom, low-slung chassis that’s based on ASC rails, stretched to 112 inches. It features a fully-polished Kugel IFS up front and a Winters aluminum rear end with Currie axles and custom made tubes. Polished Wilwood disc brakes anchor all four corners.

S&S Automotive in San Leandro, famous throughout the Bay Area for its race motors, built a 355 inch Chevy for the project. It’s backed up by a 700R4 transmission with a Transgo shift kit. Detailed specs are below, but in a nutshell, this roadster is a rocket ship.

Vornhagen painted the car himself, a combination of House of Kolor Chrome Yellow and Porsche silver. A subtle gold leaf stripe separates the two, accenting the sleek curves of the car’s flanks.

In the cabin, Rich Santana stitched up a show-worthy matching grey interior of MB-Tex vinyl. Everything was hand fabricated by Rich, including a console that houses inset seat belts, extra gauges and a killer stereo.

As an AMBR contender — and Street Rodder Magazine cover car — this roadster features the best of the best – design, materials and fabrication. With only 3000 miles on the clock, it’s dialed in and ready to go. Available for a fraction of its original build cost, all it needs is a new owner.

Asking $55,000



Zipper Motors fiberglass 1932 Ford

Custom hood, cowl and windshield, stretched doors, gas door

Dan Fink grille

Custom taillights, Halogen headlights


House of Kolor Chrome Yellow and Porsche Silver by Kevin Vornhagen

Gold leaf striping by Eric Reyes and Kevin Vornhagen


Custom design and fabrication by Rich Santana, San Jose, CA

Grey Mercedes Tex vinyl, wool carpet

Zipper Dash with VDO Gauges

Custom fabricated console with gauges, hidden seatbelt anchors

Finished trunk, Sony stereo

Custom steering wheel by Jeff Vornhagen, Mullins column

18 gallon fuel tank


ASC rails stretched to 112 inches with custom tubular cross members

by Dominator Street Rods, Tracy, CA


Kugel polished stainless independent front end

Aldan coilover shocks

Manual rack and pinion steering


3-link by Dominator

Winters aluminum center section, 3.50 gears, Dominator tubes, Currie axles

Aldan coilover shocks



Polished Wilwood disc



17 x 8 Colorado Custom, fully polished



18 x 10 Colorado Custom, fully polished


Michelin Pilot SX



Chevy V8, bored .030 over to 355 cubic inches

Brodix Street 1 heads

Cast 10-10 crank

TRW 10:1 pistons w/Speed Pro moly rings

Competition Cams camshaft

2.02/1.60 Manley stainless valves, Comp Cams springs

Comp Cams Pro-Magnum rockers

Edelbrock intake, Holley 750 cfm carb

HEI ignition

HPC-coated headers and exhaust by Dominator


700R4 GM transmission

TransGo shift kit

Lokar shifter


Custom aluminum radiator by Steve Long

18 gal aluminum gas tank by Dominator

Grille by DF Metalworks

Wiring by Brizio Streetrods

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