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