Wheel Wright's Ride: Mike Stallings Contemporary Rendition of a Traditional Roadster.

Mike Stallilngs '32 Ford Roadster

Wheel Wright's Ride: Mike Stallings Contemporary Rendition of a Traditional Roadster. Street Rodder, Sept., 2007

By Ron Ceridono
Photography by Brian Brennan

People are involved in street rodding for all kinds of reasons-for many it's a hobby, other's it's a business, some got hooked as kids thanks to a relative, and then there are those who just love cool things on wheels. To make things easy if you ever have to describe Mike Stallings, all you'd have to say is "all of the above."

392 Chrysler Hemi

Although his name may not be the household variety, Mike's Fresno-based firm, Wheel Vintiques, is probably familiar if SRM is found in your abode. Mikes involvement with things with wheels came early in life. As a kid he built reversed steel wheels with his father by removing the centers, turning them around in the hoops, and stick welding them back together. He started a garage-based endeavor of his own in 1993 that today occupies a 30,000-square-foot-and-growing manufacturing facility producing more than 80 styles of cast alloy, steel, wire, and billet wheels.

Wheel Vintiques spoked wheels with Excelsior radials.

Along with the challenges of managing a growing business, Mike's automotive love spans the gamut from hard-charging circle-track sprinters to the blistering performance of straight-line Funny Cars, but street rods-particularly the traditional '32 Ford type-are also objects of his affection. Taking all his automotive interests into consideration, it's not surprising that a number of influences came into play when Mike decided to build the roadster you see here. The highboy would combine a variety of early styling elements such as the front and rear lighting, steeply raked windshield, and of course the one-off wire wheels; the racing influence of the big Hemi with zoomies at one end and the quick-change at the other is unmistakable; and the fit, finish, and execution is as state-of-the-art as it comes.

Winters quick-change rear end

After the concept of the car was established, Mike enlisted the aid of some of the most talented people in the business to make it happen. Randy Clark of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff was called for one of his signature dropped, pinched, and stretched Deuce Steel Chassis and a Brookville Roadster body sits on top of that. Joe Bettencourt built the 392 Chrysler with most of the parts, including the adapter that allows the use of a GM Turbo 350 transmission, coming from Hot Heads.

1932 Ford Roadster

Once the chassis was complete and the engine was installed, Rob Fagundes and the crew at Custom Concepts made the sheetmetal as perfect as humanly possible before Rob shot what Mike calls a '50s gold and black paint combo.

It goes without saying that having talented friends helps with a project like this one, and it certainly doesn't hurt to know someone in the chrome business either. Mike's brother, Jeff Stallings, owns Visalia Chrome, where all the plating was done.

Weiand intake manifold and RetroTek EFI

Although there were lots of difficult decisions to be made during construction, the list of candidates was short when it came to picking an upholsterer for the roadster; the only name on it was Gabe Lopez. Considering the amount of thought and planning that went into every detail of this Deuce, Mike uncharacteristically gave Gabe absolute free rein to do as he would when it came to the interior; but who can argue that kind of decision-making given the results.

Jimmy Skoglund pulley system

After two year in the making, wiring, plumbing, and final assembly chores were assigned to Mike's longtime friend and fellow Fresno resident, Jimmy Skoglund.

When it comes to building a '32 highboy roadster the real challenge is incorporating all the traditional elements that define the style while ending up with a car that is different from all the rest. That's what Mike Stallings wanted, and we'd say that's exactly what he got.

Mooneyes gauges and LimeWorks steering wheel and column.


 Dashboard  Brookville Roadster
 Insert / Guages  Bob Drake / Mooneyes (Santa Fe Springs, CA)
 Steering wheel  LimeWorks (Whittier, CA)
 Steering column  LimeWorks
 Interior mirror  Bob Drake (Grants Pass, OR)
 Seats  custom by Gabe Lopez (Bloomington, CA)
 Upholsterer  Gabe Lopez
 Material / Color  buckskin leather
 Carpet  tweed

Buckskin leather interior by Gabe Lopez


 Body style / Material  roadster / steel
 Body manufacturer  Brookville Roadster (Brookville, OH)
 Hood  Rootlieb (Turlock, CA)
 Hood Hinges/support  Hot Rods & Custom Stuff
 Grille  Brookeville Roadster
 Bodywork  Custom Concepts
 Painter  Rob Fagundes
 Headlights / Taillights  Guide / '37 Ford.
 Windshield  Wanlass / Rodwell

Leather trunk panels.


 Frame / Manufacturer  Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (Escondido, CA)
 Wheelbase  109"
 Modifications  stretched / pinched
 Chassis plumbing  stainless by Jimmy Skoglund
 Rearend / Ratio  Winters quick-change / 3.00:1
 Rear suspension Bilstein (Poway, CA) coilovers
 Rear brakes  Willwood (Camarillo, CA) discs.
 Front suspension  Pete & Jakes (Peculiar, MO) Hot Rod Parts
 Front Brakes  SO-CAL Speed Shop (Pomona, CA) discs.
 Master cylinder  Corvette
 Steering box  Flaming River (Berea, OH)
 Front wheels, make & size  Wheel Vintiques (Fresno, CA), 16x4-1/2"
 Rear wheels, make & size  Wheel Vintiques, 18x5-1/2"
 Front tires, make  Excelsior from Coker (Chattanooga, TN)
 Rear tires, make  Excelsior from Coker
 Gas tank  Hot Rods & Custom Stuff

32 Ford Roadster with Deuce Steel frame.


 Make  GM Turbo 350
 Shifter  Gennie Shifter (Denver, CO)
 Trans mods  mild shift kit
 Driveshaft  Inland Empire Driveline (Ontario, CA)

Chrysler Hemi


 Make  Chrysler
 Displacement  396 (.030" over 392)
 Assembly  Joe Bettencourt
 Pistons  KB hypereutectic
 Camshaft  Isky
 Water pump  Chevrolet
 Cooling fan  Cooling Components
 Radiator  Walker Radiator Works (Memphis, TN) Z-series
 Alternator  GM 1-wire
 Heads  stock cast iron
 Valves / Springs  stock / Hot Heads Research & Racing (Lowgap, NC) replacements
 Rockers  stock, non-adjustable
 Valve covers  Hot Heads
 Manifold / Induction  RetroTek (Corona, CA)
 Ignition  Joe Hunt Magneto / HEIs
 Headers  zoomies by Steve Kent
 Mufflers  Harley-Davidson baffles.

Wheel Wright's Ride: Mike Stallings Contemporary Rendition of a Traditional Roadster. Street Rodder, Sept., 2007

Click here to see build photos of this car.

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