If you were to pick one car that aptly represents street rodding, it would likely be the ’32 Ford roadster. If expresses the essence of rodding: open-top motoring in a sleek shape that’s too loud, too fast, too short and too much fun.
And if you were to pick any single company that feeds the desires of rod builders, it would be Edelbrock. This company has a storied history in annals of automotive performance (for a through and entertaining account, see Edelbrock: Made in USA, by Tom Madigan).
Long before the company became a large and successful corporation, founder Vic Edelbrock, Sr. was drawn to the dry lakebeds of California where he stomped on the go-pedal of his fenderless, Flathead-powered ’32 Ford, besting many racers of the day. That car has been fully restored and found its rightful place in the Edelbrock museum (including carefully preserved remnants of old newspaper comics found stuffed in the door panel to deaden noise).
Today, Vic’s son Vic, Jr. heads Edelbrock, and his car collection includes just about every type of rod and muscle car you can imagine. What’s intriguing is how the updated, street-rod version of Dad’s original ’32 represents a special link between the past and current operations of the company. It captures the feel of old days, but runs on modern mechanicals. And fittingly, Vic, Jr.’s daughter Camee, who also helps run the family business, ably piloted the rod to our location shoot several miles from the company headquarters in Torrance, California.
Constructed by renowned rodder Roy Brizio, who has built more than a hundred ’32 Fords over the last three decades, this Hiboy was not meant to be an exact duplicate of the rod that ran on the dry lakes. Like so many rod projects, it has some personal touches that enhance the original’s design in subtle and significant ways.
For instance, the LRS frame rails are stretched two inches from the cowl forward, and then pinched in almost an inch at the grille shell, to bring it in tighter at the front. Boxed rails from the grille forward also create a cleaner look. In addition, for that downhill hot rod look, the grille shell is an inch lower than stock, and the windshield has a three-inch chop.
The traditional front suspension features hairpins from Pete & Jakes and a Super Bell beam axle, but fitted with Wilwood brakes. Bringing up the rear is Currie 9-inch with a ’57 Ford-style, round-back cover for that smooth finish. This setup is suspended by ladder bars, also from Pete & Jakes, along with Aldan coilovers. These underpinnings roll on Billet Specialties Legacy rims, wrapped with rubber from BFGoodrich (F: 195/60R15 and R: 295/60R17). To make sure the underbody looks as pretty as the upper body, Rolfe & Boogie painted the chassis.
Even though the steel body is from Brookville, Jack Hagemann handled the hood, while Mickey Galloway massaged the body in preparation for Darryl Hollenbeck’s paintwork. Those hot licks came courtesy of famed flame artist Art Himsl.
At the heart of this hot rod is an Edelbrock mill, its most popular Chevy crate engine, the 400+ hp V-8. A Hurst shifter stirs the gears on a Tremec 5-speed. Heralding this Highboy’s arrival is a pair Brizio exhausts, protected by RS Performance’s Chromex coating.
In the cockpit, upholstered by Sid Chavers, a Haneline dash insert with a machine-turned finish and Auto Meter gauges. The Brizio steering wheel turns Borgeson shaft and column that’s fitted with a tach cup.
Although this Hiboy is clearly of trophy-caliber, it’s by no means a trailer queen. As already noted, our driver for the day was Camee Edelbrock, who is no stranger to street rodding and vintage racing, and we had a hard time keeping up with her lead-footed antics (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!). That’s something Brizio would be glad to hear, since his greatest pride comes from building dual-purpose show winning drivers, and he boasts about all the smiles and miles on his street rods. And we can imagine that somewhere, Vic, Sr. is beaming as well.
Borgeson Universal Co.
Roy Brizio Street Rods
Sid Chavers (interior)
Mickey Galloway (bodywork)
Art Himsl (flames)
Jack Hagemann (hood)
Darryl Hollenbeck (paintwork)
Pete & Jakes
Rolfe & Boogie (chassis painters)
Sherm’s Custom Plating and Chrome
Super Bell front axle and brakes
Jim Vickery (wiring)
Wilwood Disc Brakes