Photos by Mike Harrington
And the winner is…George Poteet’s GTP ’32 Ford Tudor, built by Alan Johnson and his team at Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop! This sleek, sinister and slippery sedan is your Goodguys 2017 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year.
George Poteet is no stranger to game-changing, ground-breaking hot rods, customs and muscle cars. As the hot rod hobby’s most notable patron, he regularly works with the best builders in the country, often simultaneously. He’s had several Deuces built through the years and called on Alan Johnson to craft his latest – a black, bad-to-the-bone sedan. As with anything built by Johnson and his team, this one is not nearly as simple as it looks. Nearly every aspect of the car – from the overall shape to many small details – was done with purposeful design, with input coming from artists Eric Black, Eric Brockmeyer and Jimmy Smith.
The chassis sports plenty of subtle tricks, including frame rails that are sectioned slightly, making the body look almost channeled. Johnson whittled a custom set of wishbone-style radius rods for the front and rear, along with a custom chromoly 5-inch dropped front axle. Johnson’s Kinmont-style disc brakes were used fore and aft, with a Winters quick-change rearend. It all rolls on 16- and 18-inch magnesium wheels (one of 12 sets made by Real Rodders Wheels a few years back) wrapped in Firestone rubber from Coker.
A build of this magnitude deserved a special engine, so Keith Dorton at Automotive Specialties Racing Engines was commissioned to build a 312c.i. Y-block Ford producing more than 450 horsepower. In addition to stout, fresh internals, the vintage Ford mill was exquisitely detailed, dressed in custom valve covers and fitted with a custom Hilborn fuel injection system. Study the images of the engine and you’ll find countless custom touches and one-off pieces, plus plenty of brightwork from Jon Wright’s Custom Chrome. Bowler Transmissions built the Tremec 5-speed transmission that backs it.
How do you give a Deuce sedan such a slick silhouette? For the GTP ’32, Johnson chopped the top with a slight taper – 3-inches in the A-pillar and 2-inches in the rear – along with narrowed B-pillars. He also raised the rear wheel openings 3-inches, re-arched them, rotated them forward, and then reshaped the inner tubs to better hug the Firestones. The custom hood has long louvers on both the sides and tops, which match the louvers underneath and elsewhere on the car. There are almost too many modifications and custom touches to list, from the hand-built door hinges to the contoured rear spreader bar and early VW taillights tucked up under the rear. All the sheet metal is covered in a flawless PPG black finish.
The custom metalwork continued inside, where a complete steel surround was hand formed and structurally welded to the inside of the body. The floor was constructed of high-density aircraft-quality plywood – 282 pieces individually laser-cut pieces assembled into six panels, which were then sanded smooth and stained for a rich, exquisite appearance. A pair of ’32 seat backs was stitched in-house at JHRS in a combination of leathers, while custom gauges from Classic Instruments were crafted to resemble watch faces. A JHRS Modern Vintage Wheel and Hole Shot shifter are just a couple of the fine finishing touches – to describe them all would take an entire book.
It’s lean. It’s clean. And it’s mean. Poteet’s sedan is another knockout that exemplifies how our industry’s top builders continue to redefine the Deuce, and refine the street rod as we know it. Congratulations to George Poteet, Alan Johnson and everyone involved in the GTP ’32 for creating a car truly befitting the Goodguys 2017 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title.