Back on the road again

I would normally be just starting production on the next season’s shows now, but we’re actually still finishing up the last few shoots for this current season. A couple weeks ago we shot a Corvette piece in Texas that will air on May 15th, and last week we shot an absolutely killer pair of cars in Glendora, CA. A ’39 Ford Pro-street and customized ’53 Stude.

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I am a known Stude guy, but regardless, both cars were excellently done and fairly extreme, yet completely streetable. The streetable part might be debatable with the ’39 since I’m sure it bumps up against the noise pollution limits of peaceful Glendora, but man what a sound!

I had first run into the Stude and its owner, Leonard Knight, at the SEMA charity car show last year in Pasadena. There were a lot of nice cars at that show, but that one really caught my eye. It didn’t hurt that it was green either. (I’m also a known green-car guy).

I’ve always thought the so-called Lowey Coupe (even tho it was actually designed by Bob Bourke) was one of the best automotive designs ever. It also seems to lend itself particularly well to customization.

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

Leonard had gone for sort of a Bonneville look. It had a fairly low ride height considering it wasn’t on air. Leonard’s philosophy is that bags are for groceries. It also had two inch chop but that was accomplished by taking most of it out of the cowl and laying the windshield back. That way he was able to still use a stock windshield resulting in much better visibility than you usually get in a chopped car.

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

The interior was gorgeous with Bentley-inspired insert in the seats and a virtually gaugeless dash.

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

But it was what was under the hood that was most impressive; a twin turboed LSX block built to a 454 cui with LS9 heads and some of the craziest headers I’ve ever seen. The nose of the car actually had to be slightly elongated to accommodate the turbos and the custom intake. It was a beauty to behold and packed considerable punch at close to 1000 hp!

When we took it out to get the driving footage, I was surprised at how well mannered it was; as long as you stayed out of the turbos that is. Somewhat to my surprise tho, Leonard let me light it up once and that was captured on his son, Jade’s, iPhone. I think the coolest thing about the video is that the tires break loose as soon as I hit the accelerator, but within about 20 feet the turbos kick in and then the tires really start smokin’!

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

The ’39 coupe was a completely different animal, and indeed, it was an animal. Leonard had owned this car for quite a while and this was its fourth incarnation, with each one being considerably different than the previous. This latest version was sporting 572 with Kinsler stack injection. It was seriously tubbed with at least a foot and a half of rubber on the road on each side. The Detroit Locker rear end meant that it didn’t like slow tight turns, and the 4000 rpm stall converter meant that it was hard to do a slow tight turn. Its Copper Penny and Silver paint scheme was striking and the interior was surprisingly plush considering everything else about this pro-street was all business.

Of course driving this baby was a blast too, and it seemed to get even more attention on the street than the Stude, but I think that’s because it was hard not to notice something that was making that much racket.

My Classic Car - Back on the road again

I figured if Leonard let me do a burnout in his Stude, he’d probably let me do one with this beast too; and I was right! Jade got this one on the iPhone too. There was no turbo lag with this car, and she lit up immediately and burned till I let off the accelerator. Oh, and Ben, the cameraman, put in for a pair of safety goggles after that one.

The fact that I’m running behind schedule means that you won’t have to wait long to see this episode either. It’s currently scheduled to air June 12th, which is good since I can’t wait to see it myself!

Happy Motoring,

  1. Tim Painter says:

    Can’t wait to see this episode. Custom ’53 Studes are close to my heart. My wife and I have one done by her dad and uncle in the late 50′s. They wanted it to resemble a ’56 T-Bird. They used parts from 17 cars in the customizing. We kept the original V-8 engine and transmission. Restoration completed recently here in Yuma, AZ. In 2010 Dennis covered the Midnight at the Oasis car show here where we showed our “Studebird” for the first time this last March. If interested, pictures at

  2. Walt Lewis says:

    I can’t wait to see this episode. That Ford sounds absolutely wicked!!! The Stude is very tastefully done, and is very cool!!!

    Are you coming to Michigan for the 100th Chevrolet Anniversary held in Flint by the VCCA? I sure hope you do, as there should be some great classic Chevrolets.

    Thanks for doing such a great TV show!!!

  3. Alec C says:

    Both The 39 Ford and 53 Studebaker are head turners and Both cars are works of art and that would be a sight to see if those cars raced each other

    From Alec

  4. Alec C says:

    Here some specs on the 39 Ford: 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe, highly modified body. Top chopped 2.5″, rear fenders widened and molded into body, suicide doors with rounded corners, electric doors, electric windows, custom full leather interior, silver over copper custom paint, custom made chassis, roll cage, power 4 wheel disc brakes, line lock, 13″ front, 12″ rear, custom gas tank, fully finished trunk, matching steel hood, engine is a Deluxe 572 Cu. In, chevy, 12 to 1 compression, Kinsler fuel injection, custom valve covers, electric water pump, front and rear motor plates, solid mounted. Nearly 800hp. Power glide trans with reverse valve body, trans brake, ford 9″ rear with 456 gears and locking differential, Hoosier slicks, coil over suspension, 4 bar rear. Car won Best Street Machine, Best engine, best paint at the 2006 Grand National Roadster Show. Many awards since. Car has not been raced but should do mid to upper 5 sec in 1/8 mile. Can be driven on the street but is loud. Has turn signals, lights, brake lights. No horn or wipers. Uses 112 octane gas. Over $150,000 invested.

    From Alec

  5. Alec C says:

    The 39 Ford was built by J V Enterprises I also like how thc car was called BLW-BI-YU

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