Columbus, OH – Tennessee’s George Poteet and Nebraska’s Ron Cizek collected the top two awards at the Goodguys 16th PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio last weekend. Under brilliant sunshine and in front of record crowds, Poteet’s vintage NASCAR-inspired ’69 Torino won the Goodguys 2013 Optima Batteries Street Machine of the Year while Cizek’s popular Ridler award-winning ’40 Ford coupe collected the Goodguys 2013 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title. For Cizek, it’s the second major Goodguys award of the year he’s collected (the car won the Goodguys 2013 March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance in Del Mar in this spring).
Both cars capture the essence of hot rodding’s current trend of blending retro styling cues from bygone eras with modern technology and masterful build quality. Poteet’s Torino – a machine which would look right at home in the 1969 Talladega 500 or on today’s demanding & twisty AutoCross tracks, was built by Troy Trepanier and his talented “Rad Rides” team in Manteno, Illinois. Cizek’s cranberry red ’40 Ford, built by Andy Leach (Cal Automotive Creations) represents the time-tested appeal of a smoothed out flathead powered early Ford. Blown flathead that is!
Known for such legendary street machine builds as “Chicayne,”, “Sniper” “Sick Fish” and so many others, Trepanier and his team spent the better part of three years hand-crafting Poteet’s Torino taking an otherwise bulky, heavy looking stocker and transforming it into a sleek, refined machine representative of today’s pro-touring landscape. The idea of the car, nicknamed the “GPT” Special was to blend the dash, hood and other favorable design traits of a Mercury Cyclone together with a Holman Moody NASCAR-style Torino. After all the meticulous bodywork was done, the Torino was shortened 3 inches in the front fenders, widened 5 inches, and had a 1-inch-shorter-than-stock wheelbase. Everything else, including the rear quarters, was made from scratch. The grille, taillight bezels and other trim parts are CNC’d from large chunks of billet aluminum, while the interior, adorned with original Holman Moody logos on the gauges is all race car, including oval-shaped punch plates and a full-on roll cage. Under the menacing Cyclone hood scoop lies a monstrous, fuel injected (that’s another story in itself) 750hp Ford Boss 429 coated in a delicious muted bronze finish. After a thousand man-hours of paint prep, the car was sprayed with a “Tennessee Whiskey Gold.”
For handling, Trepanier dialed up an Art Morrison chassis featuring C5 Corvette front suspension and a Detroit Speed four-link in the rear with a Watts link and a Mark Williams 9-inch axle. The GT40-style knock off wheels (8×10 front & 20×12 rear), coated in a beautiful root beer hue are courtesy of Billet Specialties. Wilwood 6-piston front calipers with 14 inch rotors stop the monster on a dime.
During the award acceptance speech in Columbus, Poteet, an avid salt racer on the Bonneville Salt Flats, tipped his hand claiming that in just a few short weeks the GPT Special, fresh off its Street Machine of the Year title, would head to Bonneville to run on the salt during the SCTA Speed Week in a street-legal, 150mph class!
While the GPT Special perfectly encapsulates a modern Street Machine, Ron Cizek’s Street Rod of the Year-winning ’40 Ford dubbed “Checkered Past” represents the time tested appeal of a flathead powered hot rod, albeit with refined hi-tech twists.
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 the build 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 Sprayed by Charlie Hutton’s Color Studio.
For their big wins in Columbus, Poteet and Cizek will receive travel accommodations to the Goodguys 16th Southwest Nationals, November 15-17 at Westworld in Scottsdale to appear in the “Champion’s Arena” with all other Goodguys Terrific 12 award winners. Both men will also receive custom toolboxes from Snap-on.
The top five finalists for the Goodguys 2013 Optima Batteries Street machine of the Year award were; Sid Tracy, Champaign, IL (1969 Firebird) George Poteet, Memphis, TN (1969 Torino) Jimmy Shaw, Forest, MS (1967 Nova), Alan Woodall, Cary, NC (1965 Corvette), Skip Walls, Knoxville, TN, (1969 Camaro).
The top five finalists for the Goodguys 2013 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year award were; -Kenneth DelCour, Louisville, KY (1934 Ford), Terry Hudson, Strawberry Plains, TN (1937 Chevy), Ron Cizek, Omaha, NE (1940 Ford), George Poteet, Memphis, TN (1934 Ford), Harold Chapman, Andice, TX (1933 Ford).