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2018 Back To The 50’s Painless Performance/STREET RODDER Top 100 Winners Part 1

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 7/7/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
001-SRO-180600-2018-BACK-TO-THE-50S-TOP-100-PART-1
001-SRO-180600-2018-BACK-TO-THE-50S-TOP-100-PART-1© Hot Rod Network Staff 001-SRO-180600-2018-BACK-TO-THE-50S-TOP-100-PART-1

Back To The 50's presented by the Minnesota Street Rod Association has been part of the Painless Performance/STREET RODDER Top 100 program for several years.

Research

In case you're unfamiliar with Top 100, we visit 10 shows during the year and select 10 vehicles at each of them. By the end of the show season, we've awarded 100 winners.

The last event where Top 100 winners were selected was the Detroit Autorama (see those picks at hotrod.com/articles/2018-detroit-autorama-painless-performancestreet-rodder-top-100-winners). Our selections there reflected the flavor of the event, including some big-dollar pro-built rods, several of which were in competition for the prestigious Ridler award. Our selections at Back To The 50's in St. Paul also reflect the flavor of the show—in this case "real world" rides. Most of them are owner-built on a mid-range budget and are seen on the street as much as they're seen at a car show. Beyond that, it's a diverse group—Thirties, Forties, Fifties, and Sixties rides; roadsters, sedans, coupes, and pickups. Some are time-honored survivors, some are recent rebuilds, and some are fresh out of the shop. Nine are from Minnesota. One is a Wisconsin custom, added to the mix to shake things up a little. The common denominator is that each one of these vehicles is a combination of imagination, history, and hard work.

Here are the first five selections from the Painless Performance/STREET RODDER Top 100 winners from Back To The 50's. Five more will be posted soon.

The Painless Performance/STREET RODDER Top 100 program will be in New York in July for the Syracuse Nationals and 10 more winners.

1932 Ford Roadster

Vadnais Heights, MN

1950 Mercury Coupe

Hutchinson, MN

Les found the Merc in a salvage yard 36 years ago and built it inspired by the famous Louis Bettencourt '49 Merc from the early Fifties. The Merc was a fun cruiser for their family, and in 2002, Les started the rebuild with his sons Kyle and Lance. Traditional custom elements include a healthy chop, filled seams, radiused corners, fade away fender line, canted B-pillar, smoothed bumpers, '51 Merc front bumper, '53 Kaiser rear bumper guard, '51 Kaiser grille, and more. Maciks Paintin' Place did the metalwork and John's Auto Body added the House Of Kolor Candy Oriental Blue paint over a white base. The 455 Olds is bored 0.030 over with an Edelbrock carb. Trans is a 700R4. A '49 Merc frame with a Nova subframe was Z'ed in front, C-notched in back, and given AccuAir suspension to ride low on Wheelsmith 15-inch wheels and Diamond Back whitewalls. The traditional interior includes vinyl tuck 'n' roll from Upholstery by Stichbitch.

1941 Willys Coupe

Mike Hughes

Faribault, MN

It's impossible to walk past a Willys Gasser. Mike says it's the car everyone wants, and he gets a ton of attention with his. He also says the cops are always pulling him over, not to give him a ticket, but just out of interest in the car. He bought the all-steel Willys at his wife Kelly's insistence, to replace the '40 he owned years ago. A 6-71 BDS blower crowns the 410-inch '57 Hemi backed by a Chrysler A-833 4-speed. The chassis includes a front straight axle and leaf springs, with coilovers and a narrowed 3.73-geared 9-inch in the rear. Fifteen-inch five-spokes are wrapped in Mickey Thompson Sportsman rubber. The all-business drag race interior features a pair of fiberglass race buckets, a Grant steering wheel, and Stewart Warner gauges (including the dash mounted race tach). Creative Metal and Vescio's Restoration participated in the project and House Of Kolor provided the Candy Red paint.

1947 Chevy Fleetline

Bloomer, WI

Here's another owner-built driver. When Wayne found the Fleetline, it was rusting in a field alongside two others. He bought all three to create one beauty. Sheetmetal work was a combination of a lot of rust repair and a lot of cool custom changes. Frenched headlights, radiused corners, a welded-up hood center, the V-butted windshield, shaved drip rails, one-piece door glass, shaved handles, and a relocated "foot scraper" plate are just part of the exterior mods. A Mustang II IFS set-up and a '76 Camaro rear plus RideTech shocks, are built on the stock frame. The paint is Light Green Mist Metallic. A Demon carb tops the Chevy 406 small-block, backed by a TH350. Interior features include Ultraleather upholstery by Gotcha Covered, Vintage Air A/C, VDO gauges, a Premier stereo, Billet Specialties wheel, and a custom console designed by Wayne. The 15-year build was interrupted by family life, but now it's driving time for Wayne and Pat.

1949 International Pickup

Joseph Ackerley

Forest Lake, MN

Joe found his pickup at a swap meet after it had been sitting in a Minnesota body shop for 20 years. When he started the build 15 years ago, he had no specific plans for it except "just build it," which he did in his home garage. He shaved the door handles and drip rails, welded the hood into a single piece, and added a Chevy box with an aftermarket wood floor. When it was ready for paint, he sprayed the Viper Red finish; it's hard to believe that's a 13-year-old paint job. The engine compartment is packed with a 383ci stroker Chevy fed by a Demon carburetor and tied to a 700R4 transmission. The frame has been shortened 10 inches. The suspension includes Fatman Fabrications IFS plus rear leaf springs with a Ford 9-inch, rolling on 16- and 17-inch Americans wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber. Tan leather and vinyl upholstery, '40 Ford style wheel on an ididit column, Lokar pedals, VDO gauges, and a Pioneer audio system are cab upgrades.

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