A “Hot Rod Guy’s” Hot Rod
For some people, success comes early. For others, it takes many years of hard work. For those like Rob Logsdon, it was a combination of both.
Logsdon, 42, is co-owner of the Vancouver, Wash.-based Chevs of the 40′s and Street Rod Headquarters. When Logsdon was in his 20s, he started a compressed air and gas supply business. After just 10 years, he turned in a tidy profit and wondered what he was going to do next. Being longtime friends with Chev of the 40′s Ron Wade, Logsdon and Wade talked about joining up, and the place would never be the same. In the six years that he has been with the company, business, along with that of their new venture Street Rod Headquarters, has increased five-fold.
Logsdon retained the stock 1947 Chevrolet truck frame, though as expected added upgraded suspension pieces. In an unexpected move, he had Corvette suspension pieces installed by Time Machines NW of Vancouver, Wash. That’s right, the truck now has fully polished C4 Corvette IFS (independent front suspension) and IRS (independent rear suspension) components. Equipped with Air Ride Technologies AirWave shocks, the truck has the best of both worlds: the great handling of the Vette suspension and the ability to lay frame thanks to the AirWave’s. Also packaged with the Vette suspension are the huge front and rear Chevy disc brakes that bring Corvettes down from speed.
Thanks to the widened rear wheel fenders, there’s plenty of room under the Chevy for the huge Billet Specialties “Rat Tails” wheels, with the rear units measuring out to 22 inches, while the fronts are a comparatively sedate 20 inches tall. Both have been wrapped with low-profile Toyo rubber.
The Chevy was undoubtedly going to be a well-handling truck, so Logsdon wanted it to also be fast. Hearing good things about Kearney, Nebr.-based Blueprint Engines, Logsdon acquired one of its 383ci Chevy units and added a very cool Barry Grant Six Shooter Tri-Power Fuel System and intake manifold. Of course, a Barry Grant air cleaner, one especially for the Six Shooter, is in place to keep the engine free of debris. A set of aluminum Dart heads provides power and style, while the MSD Ignition system gives the combustion chamber all the spark it can handle. Sanderson Headers begins the spent fuels journey, which travels through Borla mufflers and the stainless steel exhaust system on its way to the outside world. Providing plenty of form and function are the Billet Specialties serpentine belt system and Billet Specialties valve covers, which have been enhanced with the Street Rod Headquarters script milled right into the tops of them.
What with the plethora of performance parts added to the already potent Blueprint engine, the horsepower comes up to 425, which is well within the range of the Art Carr/GM 4L60E transmission that sits behind it. With the trans cooler integrated into the PRC Custom aluminum radiator, and the trick polished aluminum driveshaft that came from Driveline Services of Portland, Ore., the Chevy’s drivetrain is every bit ready for the road as Logsdon could make it.
As detailed and upgraded as the running gear is, it pales in comparison to the body. When asked if bodywork was needed, all Logsdon would say is, “Oh yeah.” Logsdon wanted the Chevy to look like it did when it came from Detroit, only better. To that end, he contacted Len Darnell & Keith Grendall of New Start Auto Works in Vancouver, Wash., who set about making the Chevy do what it never could before – lift up. Yep, now both the hood and bed lift, aided in front with air jacks, while the rear uses electricity to upend itself and display the polished pieces hiding underneath. Also done were custom touches, such as a new smooth front valance, shaved door handles, a Bitchin’ Products smooth firewall and various patch panels to repair rust. A one-piece, V-bent windshield replaces the stock two-piece unit, and a polished stainless hood center strip and glass mouldings add style where there was none. Another neat touch was that the headlights were Frenched, and 7-inch HID units with integrated LED signal lights were installed.
Custom touches include re-arched fenders, while the stock rear units were replaced with Dynacorn units that are widened by 3 inches. To blend in better, the smooth steel running boards widened 3 inches at rear and custom exhaust tips added that exit through the side of the boards. As stated, the entire bed now hinges up, but thanks to Legend’s flip up kit, a single bed board hinges up to reveal the gas filler of the custom Doc’s stainless steel gas tank. Also added to the bed was a Chevs of the 40′s steel roll pan, which features Lokar oval LED taillights.
After all of the bodywork was done, Keith Grendall loaded up his Binks, and applied the eye-catching DuPont Chromabase silver and purple paint scheme. A splash of purple in the interior was done at Dave’s Upholstery in Brush Prairie, Wash., who also covered the RodDoors seats with platinum-colored UltraLeather and purple suede inners. The door panels also got purple swaths in UltraLeather upholstery. Speaking of the platinum UltraLeather, it covers the custom center console and the entire dash. Into that dash, Logsdon installed a pair of Classic Instruments All American Series gauges. It was in the center console that he placed the touch screen-activated Kenwood Audio/Visual units (with Nav, DVD, CD), as well as the controls for the Vintage Air air conditioning system. The crew installed the stereo system over at Car Toys of Portland, Ore., who used the Ron Francis wiring kit to tie everything together.
Where is the floor shifter info? Mounted behind the Billet Specialties “Rat Tail” half wrap steering wheel are the Master Shift Paddle Shifters, which are actually mounted to and just behind steering wheel. Now Logsdon can channel his inner Michael Schumacher when cruising through the great Northwoods. That wheel sits atop a chromed Flaming River tilt column.
Ever since its debut, Logsdon’s Chevy has garnered many accolades. But what gets Logsdon really excited about is the invitation he and his truck received to the 2010 Ameri-Carna show, which is to be held in New Zealand. Open only to American-made cars, Logsdon says the event is basically a tour of the “Land of the Long, White Cloud,” much like the Power Tour.
He is also busy with readying the upcoming launch of the new Street Rod Headquarters ’57-64 Ford full-size car catalog. Logsdon considers himself a lucky man; he has a beautiful family and being involved with the hot rod business, he is doing what he likes. We should all be so lucky.
Events Attended / Awards
2008 Portland Rod & Custom “Sweepstakes” Best Truck
2008 Seattle Rod & Custom “Sweepstakes” Best Truck
2008 Boise Roadster Show 1st Place Best Truck
2008 Spokane Speed & Custom “Sweepstakes” Best Truck
2008 Goodguys “Early Truck of the Year” finalist
2008 NAPA Trick Truck Award
2008 Foose Pick
2008 Coddington Pick
2008 Carlisle Carlilse “Elite” Award
2008 Street Rodder “Top 100″ Award
2008 Meguier’s “Magnificant Masterpiece” Award
2008 Classic Instruments
Several “People’s Choice” Awards
Best Paint · Best Interior · Best Engineering