So, off we went to the 2014 Rodders Journal VIntage Speed and Custom Car Revival, at the Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore. For us, the weekend started at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel for the 55-mile cruise to the quaint town of Havre de Grace. And even better, we caught a ride with our new best buddy Brian Auderer in his awesome green Model A sedan, ‘The Jewel’. What a privilege! After that, the whole weekend was a blur of activity day and night. The Race Course was packed with cars of awesome quality. The hotel car parks and the many off-site events extended the days into the nights. And as ever, we crowd-sourced a whole new bunch of friends. Our pictures are a little random, I’m afraid, and very Stromberg 97-oriented, too. I suspect we were too busy talking to take more (and better) pics. We certainly enjoyed the weekend. Get yourself along next year!.
There’s been so much written already about The Race of Gentlemen (or TROG as it has been labelled) that it seems a little pointless expanding on the actual event here. Suffice to say, Stromberg was well represented in both personnel and product, with so many of the racers running Stromberg 97 carburetors, of course. I guess the big question is whether we believe there is change in the air. Have people (in particular an ever so slightly younger demographic of “traditional” hot rod types) had enough of parked car events and will we see more and more of this kind of trip harking back to ‘fun with cars’ – actually driving the damn things. We’re already climbing hills, racing round circuits, dragging in the dirt and dodging the waves on four wheels – who knows what next? Whatever it is, if it’s even half as good fun as the vibe throughout the weekend at TROG 2015, bring it on!
As ever, thanks to all the great friends we met and made over the weekend. Our pictures are just a rambling pile of different things that caught our eye throughout the weekend. For more of the same, check out the website: www.theraceofgentlemen.com and book your diary for October 2 – 4 2015. Wildwood, NJ, USA.
The Stromberg Pontiac got a little update recently, in the form of some very cool period sign painting by our good friend Neil Melliard at ProSign. Neil is regarded as one of best guys around when it comes to this sort of work, and you can see why. This stuff is hand painted with good old One Shot enamel. We just told him what we had in mind and after a short discussion about styles and what was and wasn’t possible, we just left him to it. Two days later, we were done. And about a fortnight after that we got out the trusty red 3M Scotchbrite pad and mucked it all up! Instant patina.
Pontiac fans will recognise the period advertising lines. The rest are all our own. Look out for a lot more BIG 97 promotion in 2015. And more news on the Stromberg Pontiac. Great job Neil. Thanks! As usual, click on the pics for a closer look.
Back in the summer we took the Stromberg Pontiac to Neil Tadman at Neil’s Auto Interiors, down in Essex, (here in the UK) for a little interior trim work. When we bought our ’55 Pontiac, the trim condition was one of the main things that made us click “BUY IT NOW”. But it was pretty filthy and the driver’s seat area was a little ripped too. Still, we set to with various interior cleaning products and a bucket of soapy water and pretty soon we knew what we had. The back seat came up like NEW, which amazed us. The door panels too, cleaned up great, and the rear trunk area responded well to a lot of scrubbing and silicone based detailing spray.
The front seat, though, was onto a loser from the get go. Not just the previous too-bright red repair and the sun shrinkage, but also my jeans caught in the rip and made it about ten times worse. Fact is, the vinyl was so hard and nasty, it was well beyond saving, so Neil found some new materials which matched the sun-faded rear and trimmed the whole front seat. It may not look it in the pictures, but the match is incredible. To say we were pleased is an understatement. It’s given the car a whole new lease of coolness.
On the floor, the car came with a red plastic mat, which after so many years was way crispy. Every time anyone got in the car, it cracked some more and fell apart. And once we had to get it all out to put new metal floors in, of course, it all had to go. Neil replaced the lot with some nice red square weave carpet, backed with sound deadening and edged with cotton binding that he dyed up to match. He added a couple of practical heel pads in the front and we were home free. As you can see, it goes all the way under the rear seat.
So, one more tick off the list for the Stromberg Pontiac. Click on the pics for bigger views. It’s about time we fitted those 97s. Stay tuned!
We had an enquiry from someone today who is building a T-bucket inspired by Norm Grabowski’s Kookie car. It reminded us about the time we supplied four new 97s for one of the first Kookie clones – way before we started this blog and well worth a revisit.
This new “Kookie car” clone, owned by Detroit’s Ron Kregoski and built by Reno Rods and Customs in Oklahoma City is a very accurate recreation of the original, built in the 1950’s by actor, artist and hot rod legend Norm Grabowski. Featured in hundreds of magazines and a highlight of the 1950’s television series 77 Sunset Strip, driven by Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, the original Kookie car is one of the best known hot rods of all time.
Running a hopped-up 1952 Cadillac engine with four chrome 97s, Ron’s clone is as accurate as possible to the 50+ year-old hot rod. He contacted Stromberg back in 2008 because our new and improved 97s are faithful in every detail to the original 97s Grabowski bolted to the Caddy’s rare Horne four-carb intake manifold back in the day.
The Genuine Stromberg 97 bowl and airhorn castings, stainless steel linkage and miscellaneous screws and fittings were all shipped to Advanced Plating in Nashville, TN, for chrome plating or polishing, then shipped back to Stromberg for final assembly onto new bases, specially colour matched to the red engine block. The perfectly chromed 97s are an exact copy of the original set-up, and the crowning touch to Kregoski’s Kookie clone.
Looking like it just pulled up from its April, 1957 Car Craft magazine cover shoot, Grabowski said, “It’s the closest clone done yet,” at the 2009 Detroit Autorama in March, where it took 2nd place in the Modified T-Bucket category. Owner Ron Kregoski said, “For Stromberg, Reno Rods and everyone else involved in the build, Norm’s approval is the ultimate accolade”.