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In the Land of Oze

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by Steve Temple  More from Author

There’s No Place Like a ’37 Ford Phantom

While Dorothy had some ruby-red slippers to transport her back home to Kansas, Brady McQueen has something a lot spiffier for getting around town. His ’37 Ford phantom, a modern interpretation by Oze Rod Shop, displays some extraordinary lines. While the original ’37 Ford looks pretty cool once you lift off the front bumper, Oze crafted a shape that’s even more magical. The two-door hardtop design is chopped and tweaked, with no B-pillar post to interrupt the flow. This resulting shape is so fluid, you’d think it had been fermented in a bottle, and then uncorked at just the right moment, like vintage wine.

McQueen certainly understands the importance of serving no wine before its time, as he looks back on his long association with cars and the automotive business as well (he currently sells BMWs in Pleasanton, California, but we won’t hold that against him).

“Growing up in the late Sixties in California, it’s understandable that I’m still into cars at this point in my life,” he observes. “Cars (and girls) were a very important part of our lives back then and it still plays an important part in my life—my wife of over 35 years just laughs about the ‘girl’ part, though. Some people don’t understand it, but it gets in your blood and you just can’t shake it. It’s like a sickness with no cure. I just take two aspirins, jump in the street rod and a blast down Main Street for temporary relief.”

That’s both an affliction and tonic that most rodders share. But McQueen has one of the more severe cases we’ve ever seen.

“I’ve owned lots of muscle cars, street rods and hot rods through the years,” he recalls. “I only wish I could have kept some of them, but as a working guy, I always had to sell one to get the next one. Most of my old cars were always fixers but in the back of my mind I hoped that someday I could have one of the ‘big boy’ cars.”

Well, McQueen you’ve obviously outgrown your britches on this one, because his ride has just about everything a rodder could ever want. From the chromed tubular A-arms with dropped spindles and remote-controlled Air Ride system, to the custom-fabricated Hagan teardrop lamps recessed into the rear fenders, this coupe just doesn’t quit.

Burbling under the hood is a new GM Vortec HO 350 V-8, backed up by a Corvette 700R4 with a switch on the dash for converter lock-up. The Street & Performance chromed “Ram Port” electronic fuel injection and two-inch plenum riser help to raise the engine output to 365 horses. S&P programmed the system to take full advantage of the extra flow from its Jet-coated custom headers and 2.5-inch MagnaFlow exhaust.

The power runs through an 8-inch Ford Posi with 3.55 Richmond gears. A triangulated four-bar setup plants the Toyo Proxes rubber, wrapping 20 x 10-inch Intro Matrix rims. Bringing the coupe to a sure stop are Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes with polished 4-piston calipers and 11-inch vented rotors.

Given this array of modern components, even though McQueen looks back fondly at the Golden Era of street rodding, he clearly isn’t mired in the past. He prefers to merge both old and new in his rides.

“The 1937 Fords were always my favorite, in fact I’ve owned four in recent years,” he explains. “Most were ‘drivers’ and I’ve owned both steel cars and fiberglass cars and had fun in all of them. Unlike some of my ‘purist’ friends, I really like the high-tech, modern look that some of the glass body builders are designing.”

So no surprise that McQueen ended up in the land of Oze. Was he carried there by a tornado? Not exactly. “A couple of years ago I sold a 37 Coupe and was going to car shows all over in hopes of finding another car,” he recalls. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my next car but felt that I’d know it when I saw it. While on vacation in Dallas visiting a friend, we went to the Goodguys Lone Star Nationals for a day of hot rods and sunshine. That’s when it happened.

“Oze Rod Shop from Quebec Canada had a fresh newly designed 37 hardtop coupe body on display. This car stopped me in my tracks,” he says. “It was the most radical, slammed, and chopped ‘37 I had ever seen!” And that’s coming from a guy who knows ’37 Fords inside and out.

 McQueen observed that this body has a striking resemblance to the famous Posie-built hardtop coupe built over 15 years ago. He feels that car was way ahead of it’s time and considered ‘over the edge’ by some, but in his opinion was an awesome step into the future of hot rod styling.

In keeping with his modern classic mentality, McQueen’s goal was to create an elegant classy style, while still having a hi-tech attitude. A lot of thought and planning was given to colors, graphics, interior design and wheel selection to give this car the look he was after. Probably the hardest decision was picking colors and graphic designs.

After many sleepless nights thinking about colors, he finally settled on PPG Black Rose Pearl over House of Kolor Orion Silver, all sprayed by Street Rods by Design. Details include graphics that were custom designed, air brushed, and striped by Steve Lainhart Graphics of Franklin, Ohio. Special highlights are 3D “chrome” spears and pearl orange accents.

As for the interior, the custom leather upholstery features “Gator” accents by Rick Davin of Vintage Auto Trim, Cincinnati, Ohio. Rimming the chromed Ididit tilt steering column is a Budnik Steering billet wheel with Gator trim, and even the trunk is fully lined in leather with Gator accents. Hidden behind the hides are six speakers for the Cyclone AM-FM stereo with an integrated 7-inch DVD & CD head unit. Keeping things cool in this hot ride is a Vintage Air/heat/defrost system with Streamline illuminated controls, and chromed compressor and accumulator. Classic Instruments’ All American Winged series gauges grace the dash.

McQueen’s obsessive attention to detail on the paint and interior eventually came in handy. He had Oze deliver the body to Street Rods by Design in Ohio, quite a distance from his California residence. Fortunately, McQueen had a lot of frequent-flier miles on tap, so he could make several trips back to check on the progress.

“As I found out, nothing goes exactly as planned and these projects always take longer than expected, but it was worth the wait,” he admits. “The best part about having a car built is being able to pick the parts and making all the design decisions. I certainly wanted to make myself happy, but also was careful to design it in a way that would be pleasing to others. That’s a hard line to follow.”

But it’s a line he followed just fine.

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