Street Rodder Magazine

August 2003

Pegged: Dan, Pat, and Daniel Pegg's '39 cabriolet.

By Chris Shelton

From a dialect point of view, "pegged" carries great weight in the hot rod world. A phrase like, "I pegged the tachometer," conveys at least the notion of speed. A passenger that confesses, "That last blast pegged me to the seat!" only confirms it. Pegged can also place an article in a definitive category, for example, "Man, you pegged that wheel and tire combo." Combining the word pegged with an adverb, as in "pegged away," evokes the feeling of thoughtful and diligent work. Yeah, it's all wordplay on the Pegg's name, but we think a little of each phrase pertains quite well to Dan, Pat, and Daniel Pegg's '39 Ford cabriolet.

That's by no accident, either. Early on, the Pegg's started looking for a bitchin' ride for Daniels 16th. However, as these searches usually transpire, Dan, Daniel's father, "decided it time for dad to get back into cars." After a year of mulling the options, the Pegg's settled on a '39 Ford cabriolet-the last of the rumble seat cars. Within a matter of weeks, the trio found a car and worked up a vision.


There's just no match for a '39 Ford cabriolet's cabin, and we've yet to see a match for this treatment. Hot Rods & Custom Stuff fabricated the handformed steel dash, an exercise that represents hundreds of hours of design and fabrication to house not only an audio system, but a DVD-fed video system, Vintage Air climate control, and Classic Instruments gauges. Ron Mangus trimmed the cabin, including the Wise Guys seat, in cream and green leather, which even the rumble seat cabin wears.

With a stone stock Ford in the garage and buildsheet in hand, they went shop shopping. "I contacted some of the best builders that surfaced during our original search," Dan said, "but in our meeting with Randy Clark, of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (HR&CS), we got straight answers. The commitment he showed to helping us achieve our vision was the deciding factor." Originally planning to enjoy the '39 as a stocker for awhile, their excitement got the best of them and 30 days after they purchased it (the '39), Randy and his team had it in pieces.

After rendering the cabrio to its essential components, HR&CS started from scratch. They procured a Total Cost Involved independent front suspension chassis and outfitted it with a Kugel Komponents independent rear suspension. Aside from the liberal paint and plating detail, the chassis wears Bilstein shocks and 12- and 13-inch discs. The corners boast 17- and 18-inch Wheel Vintiques Lakesters with Pirelli P-Zero hides.

You could say the Street & Performance-prepped RamJet 502 will have pegged a number of white-knuckled occupants to their seats in its lifetime. The big-inch rat a host of top-shelf components like a Walker radiator and Street & Performance stainless headers.

The Pegg's cabrio sports an '02-vintage GM Performance 502 mill prepped by Mena, Arkansas' Street & Performance. During assembly, Street & Performance outfitted the big-inch rat with a port-style injection system, their own brand of headers, and one-off rocker covers machined with the "Rumblin' Rag" moniker Randy Clark dubbed the car. A Jet Performance-prepped GM 4L80E transmission backs the 510-horse ground pounder.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff chopped the cabriolet's windshield posts a mere 2 inches and leaned them back another inch. They filled the cowl vent, but left everything else pretty much intact. The team worked the panels perfect before applying the pearled and green-tinted PPG Designo silver. Even the stock bumpers went back on the car after their brackets underwent the knife. Escondido Plating brightened all the stock trim and detail work.

As you could probably infer, the Pegg's cabriolet started coming together understated to the point of sublime-a presumably simple objective if not for the curve ball they threw at the HR&CS crew. Apparently the high-tech interior amenities the Pegg's had in mind wouldn't fit behind the '39's dash, but "Randy and the team took the challenges and turned each into an opportunity to produce a better result," Dan said. HR&CS handcrafted an alternative dash "that's more in keeping with our vision than the original," Dan said. The dash now houses a Vintage Air Gen II unit, Classic Instrument gauges, a Kenwood DVD unit and screen, and a global positioning system.

The interior doesn't stop there, either; The HR&CS crew built a full structural support cage to buttress the door posts and top hardware. Bloomington, California's Ron Mangus stitched the cabin, including the Wise Guys six-way articulated bench in a combination of cream and moss-green leather.

The Peggs pegged the look with the 17- and 18-inch Wheel Vintiques Lakesters. The large diameter with generous sidewall rubber visually diminishes the size of an already visually efficient design. Save for the mild top slice, bumper tuck, and deftly tweaked PPG Designo silver, the cabrio sits largely unadulterated body-wise.

And how does it all work together? Well, "I've always enjoyed unique and fine craftsmanship," Dan said. "This project was a way to have both. With the extraordinary amount of ingenuity the HR&CS team used along the way this project rolled up into one really great toy.

"Now as a completed project, we're having nothing but fun," Dan said. Remember how this all started as a search for Daniel's car? Well, ironically, "at this point our son has more miles on it than we do," he said. "But we plan on changing that real soon… we built it to drive!"

That's Dan Sr. with Daniel, one lucky junior; he's logged the most miles to date in the verdant drop-top. Even though Daniel gets healthy driving rights, things will change; Dan and Pat Pegg have plenty fo time to burn, and the right car to burn it up in!

Facts & Figures

Dan, Pat, and Daniel Pegg, La Jolla, California.
1939 Ford deluxe cabriolet

Frame / Manufacture: Total Cost Involved.
Chassis plumbing: polished stainless.
Rearend / Ratio: Kugel Komponents IRS / 3.73:1, limited slip; Bilstein coil-overs.
Rear brakes: 12" brakes.
Front suspension: Total Cost Involved IFS; Bilstein coil-overs.
Front brakes: 13" disc.
Front wheel make, size: Wheel Vintiques Lakester, 17 x 7.
Rear wheel make, size: Wheel Vintiques Lakester, 18 x 8.
Front tire make, size: Pirelli P-Zero Russo, 225/45ZR-17.
Rear tire make, size: Pirelli P-Zero Russo, 225/45ZR-18.

Year and make: 2002 GM Performance RamJet 502
Machining / Assembly: GM / Street & Performance, Mena, AK.
Water pump: polished aluminum.
Cooling fan: CCI electric with shroud.
Radiator: Walker Z-series.
Alternator: Street & Performance.
Manifold / Induction: GM big-block RamJet.
Ignition / Wires: GM HEI.
Headers: Street & Performance, stainless.
Exhaust / Mufflers: HR&CS 2-1/2" stainless, cutouts, Flowmaster three-chamber.

Year and make: 2001 GM 4L80E.
Assembly: Jet Performance, Huntington Beach, Ca.
Driveshaft: Oceanside Driveline, Oceanside, Ca.

Body style / Material: deluxe cabriolet / steel.
Body manufacturer: FoMoCo
Body mods: chopped 2", windshield angled back 1"; bumper brackets shortened; fabricated firewall and floors; new inner fenderwells to accommodate rear wheel / tire combo.
Bodywork: the team at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff.
Paint type / color: PPG / Designo Silver with green tint and pearl.
Painter: the team at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff.
Other body items: halogen headlight conversion, all plating by Escondido Plating, Escondido, Ca.

Dashboard: custom, steel, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff.
Gauges: Classic Instruments
Audio: Kenwood KVT 911 AM/FM/DVD player, video screen; KNADV2100 GPS system with voice guidance / visual navigation system; KDCC X89 10-disc CD changer; Kenwood KFCXR601 component speakers; JL Audio TR690TXL woofer.
Air conditioning: Vintage Air GEN II.
Wiring: Painless Performance and Street & Performance by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff.
Steering wheel: '39 Ford banjo by Steering Wheel Restorations, Poway, CA.
Seats: Wise Guys, six-way articulated.
Upholsterer: Ron Mangus, Bloomington, CA.
Material / color: leather / cream and green.
Other interior items: structural tubular member fabricated to support door posts and top hardware.

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.