Ron Cizek’s “Checkered Past” ’40 Ford from Bennington, Nebraska won the Goodguys 2013 March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance Award at last weekend’s 13th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals in Del Mar, California. The Cranberry-hued ’40 Ford was first introduced to the hot rodding world back in March when it won the prestigious Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama. It gets its name from a decades-long dirt track lineage.
Although Cizek himself originally started the build three years ago as a “weekend project”, it was finished and coach-built by his partner Andy Leach and the talented team at Cal Automotive Creations in Omaha, Nebraska. Leach apprenticed for six years under the watchful eye of Troy Trepanier prior to joining forces with Cizek.
Checkered Past is the shop’s first completed concept-to-finished-show-car project, stamping them as major players to keep an eye on going forward. Winning the Ridler then the Street Rod d’Elegance crown has been pulled off by only a select few over the years.
Sitting on the ground, the car has a perfect profile. Like all big show cars, it’s been hand crafted and reshaped while keeping a fair share of its factory lines. Leach and his team wedge-sectioned the car one inch from front to back then chopped the top 3/8” for the perfect hot rod rake. The hood and fenders have been reshaped as were the meticulously hand-shaped running boards. Finishing off the front end mods is a custom grille with thinned out headlamp rings.
The motor in “Checkered Past,” assembled and prepped by Erik Hansen, accelerates the heart rate just looking at it. Atop the ’53 Mercury flathead sits a 4.71 GMC blower – the entire package coated in a muted gold anodize to match the gold one-off Halibrand style wheels. The original chassis was boxed and beefed-up to accommodate the Tremec 6-speed transmission, independent rear suspension, custom A-arm front suspension and disc brakes on all four corners.
Boss Interiors of Iowa stitched the saddle brown English Leather upholstery with suede inserts. The stock ’40 dashboard features subtle modifications and custom gauges.
Tying the coupe together is an eye-pleasing cranberry red hue. Charlie Hutton’s Color Studio painted the car in three stages, blending red, gold and brown. The gold & red combination works perfectly for the car. While it was shown mostly indoors under the lights in Del Mar, fans had the chance to see it as well as the other Goodguys d’Elegance finalists outdoors for Sunday’s awards ceremony held in the world famous Del Mar paddock where it sparkled like a diamond.
For the ’40 Coupe’s big win, Cizek will receive a custom toolbox from Snap-on as well as travel accommodations to the Goodguys 16th Southwest Nationals November 15-17 in Scottsdale, Arizona to join the “Champion’s Arena” display featuring Goodguys’ Top 12 Cars of the Year.
Fellow finalists for the Goodguys 2013 March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance award included Harold Chapman Jr (’33 Ford), Jerry Kjensrud (’39 Chevy), George Sepulveda (’38 Ford) and Roger Hill (’39 Chevy).