2012 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Winner
2012 AMBR Winner – The Indy Speedster
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America’s Most Beautiful Roadster: Bill Lindig’s Indy Speedster
I got lucky, or was I good? I managed to find Houston’s Bill Lindig while the crowds started pouring into the Fairplex on Friday of the 2012 Grand National Roadster Show. I asked for an interview and the gracious Bill did NOT say, “I’m waiting for Rodder’s Journal”.
I started the interview by saying I think the “Indy Speedster” is this year’s AMBR winner. Bill humbly replied, “If the other nine cars don’t win, we will.” Guess what Bill, you did it!
The story of the Indy Speedster goes back 16 years. Bill’s friend, Jack Howerton, is an Indy Car and sprint car driver – and builder as you can see – that wanted a race car inspired hot rod like the old sprint cars he used to drive.
About 12 years ago, Jack had started the chassis, then the build kinda stalled a little, then Steve Moal from Moal Coachbuilders helped the project along, but when Bill saw it back then, “It was a rough roller compared to what it is today.” Bill talked it over with Jack saying, “If you let me acquire it, I’ll finish it.” That’s when Pete Chapouris and the Pomona, CA based SoCal Speed Shop stepped in.
Alberto Hernandez joined the team working with Bill to finalize the look and finished style of the car. Howerton was consulted sometimes and wasn’t shy on feedback… in the end, everybody was happy. If you look closely, about the only thing that changed from the concept drawing is the white around the #3 on the door replaced by polished aluminum to show off the body. Bill shook his head explaining… “What a nightmare!”
Photo courtesy of SoCal Speed Shop’s Project Page
Bill praised the team at SoCal for their hard work and craftsmanship and told me what he told them… “I built this to be a driver.” And drive they did. When the car was assembled, about 500 miles ticked by on the odometer during the shakedown. Some shock tuning and dialing in of the four-corner torsion bar suspension followed, but overall, “Where ever you pointed it, that’s where it went.” If you hadn’t guess Bill’s personality from the car, I hope the quotes are helping.
With the DRIVE IT theme in mind, the seats adjust, the wheel is a racing style quick disconnect for easy entry and there’s a functioning cowl vent to let fresh air in. (This isn’t Bill’s first roadster in Texas!) “It’s a comfortable car to sit in with the doors at shoulder height… it’s deceiving about how much room’s inside.”
As Bill and I talked, he pointed out the Art Chrisman built engine and how the 352 in. small block Ford made 450+HP but was still well mannered for street use and cruised like a dream thanks to a Tremec T5 five-speed transmission.
While looking at the engine, Bill showed me the cornerstone of the lightweight, race inspired chrome-moly frame holding up the fore mentioned one-off aluminum body. The handmade aluminum motor plate shown above. The motor plate secures the Ford, but also serves to accommodate the parallel front torsion bar suspension as well. It’s a trick, yet subtle and beautiful piece.
From any angle, the Indy Speedster’s detail is fitting of an AMBR winner. The full length and race-minded louver filled belly pan somewhat hides all the countless trick parts underneath, but the styling is true to the theme. As their show card said, “… the car is beautifully balanced and minimalistic…”
Well Bill, the other nine cars didn’t win. You did.
While the Brizo built, Washington Blue ’32 was subtly beautiful… and the red, Nailhead powered ’32 called “Sylvester III” had a storied history and was my pick for “America’s Most Bitch’n Roadster”… and finally, the Moal built, blue-and-blown ’33 was utterly beautiful… but your hot rod is the 2012 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.