July 13th, 2010

When is a woodie not a woodie? When instead of wood, it has artisan applied paint that looks like wood.

When Brian Vanzant of Paducah, Kentucky brought his 1950 Chevrolet to the crew at Brad Starks Rod & Custom, also of Paducah, Ky., It was painted solid white, had 4 doors, was running but un-restored and as Starks deadpanned, “it needed brakes.”

Starks and his crew wasted no time and set about transforming the hulk into one that bared little resemblance to what they were given or what had rolled from the factory. First, they did the give and take when they added 7-inches to the two front doors then shaved the handles. Next, they chopped out 2.5-inches in the front and 3-inches in the rear of the top, slanted the B-pillars back before working the driprail back to a stock appearance. They pie-cut the hood by 1-7/8-inches and added the windshield from a ’50 Olds. Other tricks included custom made front and rear splash pans, the bumpers were flipped, shortened, and narrowed and Joe Taylor, Paducah Ky custom cut the side and rear glass. The rear tailgate was leaned forward, and a set of Lokar taillights were Frenched in. When all was done, it was Brad Starks himself who added the Dupont HotHues Cappaccino Craze paint and the intricate airbrushed woodgrain.

Based on a 502ci Chevy, this engine sports a trick Hilborn injection system, aluminum heads, a Vintage Air Front Runner and trick hand painted valve covers.

While Starks had his body men working on the shell, his mechanics were busy adding a Mustang II front end and a C-notch to the rear rails of the stock frame. A set of Air Ride Technologies ShockWaves gives the car the ability to lay out nicely. A Currie 9-inch rearend has been equipped with a posi unit and Richmond 3:70 gears as well as 11-inch Wilwood disc brakes. A set of 12-inch Wilwoods adorn the front end, and both units have been highly polished.

Highly polished also describes the Budnik Gassers wheels

(Front: 19×7, Rear: 22×10) while ultra low profile Nitto tires (Front: 245/35/19, Rear: 295/35/22) keep the woodie stable through the corners.

While most Woodies are cruisers, this one is also a bruiser. Power comes from a 502ci Chevy engine that has been equipped with a Hilborn electronic injection system that features custom built stacks by Brad Starks. A HiIborn intake manifold connects to a set of aluminum heads, and speaking of the heads, it again was Starks who adorned then with custom paint. A Vintage Air Front Runner pulley system keeps everything spinning while the MSD ignition system keeps everything lit up. A set of Street and Performance headers connects to the Magnaflow mufflers via the stainless 2-1/2″ exhaust tubes.

Putting the estimated 500hp to the rearend is a Gearstar Level IV 700R4 that features a Yank 2500rpm stall converter. Long Machine Shop of Paducah, Ky. spun up a custom driveshaft to connect the dots.

Looking better than they ever did in the Sunfire they came out of, the bucket seats and custom rear seat have been covered with pecan and parchment colored leather that was installed by Tracy Weaver of The Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors.

Appearing like beach sand, the interior features pecan and parchment colored leather that was installed by Tracy Weaver of The Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Woodies are made for sun, right? Well, the front seats came from a ’97 Sunfire while the rear unit is custom made, as is the cool center console. Housed in that console is the B&M Floor shifter, the controls for the Air Ride Technologies suspension system, Sony stereo system and oddly enough, the tachometer. Yep, while the rest of the Classic Instruments All American instruments are where they are supposed to be, which is in the dash (in this case that dash is a custom built steel wrap around by Brad Starks), but the tach is housed at the front edge of the console. Other cool items include the Vintage Air air conditioning sytems (cool…get it?) and the Budnik Gasser X Steering wheel. Lastly, Starks custom-made the aluminum dash trim that wraps around onto the doors and quarter panels.

This custom Chevy was chosen as a finalist at the Goodguys 8th Midwestern Nationals on September 4-6, 2009 and went on to be named the Goodguys/Lincoln Electric 2009 Custom Rod of the Year. The car came a long way from being a deliver car for a Colorado florist to where it is now, but owner Brian Vanzant and builder Brad Starks knew that even in Paducah, Kentucky, it’s an endless summer.

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One Response to “TIN SOLDIER”

  1. JerryandMary (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/JerryandMary) says:

    To call this ride awesome is not saying enough! What a total package. The drive train, interior, and that gorgeous paint make this ride one for the books.


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