Story & Photography by Rick Amado
It's hard to turn a man away from a dream - especially if that man is a dyed-in-the-wool car guy. John Reed used to dream of an early-'60s fullsize custom. Smooth with scallops, tuck 'n' roll, and supremes: you know, the typical Bellflower cruiser, dragging its tail through his imagination until the vision was so vivid that he just had to make it happen.
He put the word out and sooner rather than later John received a call from one of his buddies in Southern California, who told him the tale of a solid '60 Poncho hardtop that fit the bill perfectly. John had the friend check the car out and, the following week, the Cat was transported to Michigan. It was solid all right, with a fairly recent green-on-green scallop job and a boss tuck 'n' roll in white. The only downer was the original drivetrain, which had seen better days.
In need of a drivetrain rebuild, John went shopping and decided that Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in Escondido, California, was the place to go. John had heard of Randy Clark and his shop from friends, and after speaking to Randy on the phone and again at the Detroit Autorama, where he saw some of Randy's Ridler-winning handiwork, a deal was worked out and the car went back out to California. Over the next year, Clark's crack team of builders completely refurbished the entire drivetrain and suspension, detailed it to the hilt, and delivered the freshened custom to its excited owner. Now that his dream is a reality, John's looking forward to show season and especially to the Woodward Dream Cruise - his dream within a dream.
Drivetrain: Under the hood is the 389ci Pontiac V-8 that came in the car. It's been rebuilt and sports a 10.5:1 compression. Dress-up includes finned Offy valve covers and an Offy 3x2 setup with Rochester two-barrel carbs. The carbs are topped with vintage Moon scoop air cleaners. Exhaust blats through a pair of Borla Mufflers and a custom exhaust by Watson engineering in Taylor, Michigan. The engine is backed by a painted and pinstriped '60 Pontiac four-speed Hydramatic, which was rebuilt by Oceanside Transmission, in Oceanside, California. Out back, the factory rear turns 3.38:1 gears. All paint and striping under the hood - including the pinstriped generator - is by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff staff
Chassis: HR&CS rebuilt, detailed and pinstriped the entire chassis. It's all rebuilt factory stuff with the exception of the dropped coils at both ends.
Wheels & Tires: John's Poncho rolls on a set of Astro Supremes wrapped in P205/70R 15 skinny white rubber.
Body: The car was already painted when john purchased it, and the HR&CS staff opted to leave well enough alone. It has shaved handles with solenoids for access and has been nosed and decked. Headlights are Adjure tri-bar units and the taillights are custom Maltese crosses by Johnny Smith from somewhere in Kentucky.
Paint: The car was painted Volkswagen Green by Brian's Restorations in Fullerton, California, while in the custody of the previous owner. Darker green scallops with cream pinstriping set off the paint.
Interior: The white vinyl tuck 'n' roll was also resident from the previous owner as well as the green carpet. HR&CS installed new wiring along with a Moon gauge panel loaded with Stewart-Warners. The factory steering wheel was painted green and pearl white to match the car.