Idaho Invades Cali for America’s Most Bitch’n Roadster
1923 Hot Rod T
At the best hot rod and custom car shows like the Grand National Roadster Show there’s always car instantly identify with and of course, cars that totally miss. For example, car-covering murals of dragons done in florescent green on a black base ain’t my thing. Lucky for me, it didn’t take long to find my car. (Click any picture for full size)
On the first day of the show, right through the side doors of the main hall where I set out for my first look at the 12 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster contenders… there sat Russ Freund’s “Takeout T”. At first I was shocked. Is that purple? Can it be? Yes. Knowing the 12 AMBR cars are the best of the best roadsters at Grand National, I knew I’d found this year’s “America’s Most Bitch’n Roadster”. When’s the last time you heard someone say a light purple car is Bitch’n?
Is there another AMBR award? No, not officially! I made it up for the sick-of-sick roadster called, “Double Trouble” back in 2009. Here’s the blown, Ardun head 32 Roadster built by Hot Rod Garage. I saw that car sell for just about what the owner paid for the chrome work at Barrett Jackson the next year, but that’s another story!
I talked with Russ at the show to find out why this car and what’s a dude from Idaho doing at California’s top hot rod show? That’s when I learned the great story of this build… it was friends helping friends and members from “The Inland Emperors” who build a car that literally cost a fraction of other AMBR contenders.
Several years ago, while working in his very first hot rod, a 1931 Phaeton, Russ got the idea to take a bunch of T parts he had and make it into a rat rod. Nothing special, just something to mess with… why not? Most of what he needed, he already had. After piecing together a rolling T, he ran into what might be a hot rodder’s most common problem: Not enough garage space. To clear room for the ’31’s new chassis, he needed a new home for the ’23.
A buddy offered to store the car, so half jokingly, Russ said, “Just give me some money and I won’t pick it up.” A deal was made and the car was outa the garage.
Three years later… the T had just sat. No work had been done, so Russ offered to buy it back as part of a three-way deal with another club member. The T came home and plans were made for a nice, driver-quality hot rod… nothing special, just a good car to sell for cash to finance another project. But after staring at the steel bodied ’23 for a little while, then placing the chrome front axle setup in front of it…happened! An AMBR was born (the b’s for bitch’n). Here’s a few pics from the build.
Selling some parts then trading others Russ wheel’d and deal’d his way to all the parts you see hear. Along the way club members, friends and locals helped where they could in exchange for cold malty beverages, favors and parts they needed to finish their own projects.
Russ Freund, a dude from Postfalls, Idaho in a 18×20′ garage built this stunning, show stopping roadster, “With a little help from my friends.” Russ is a soft-spoken guy and you could hear the sincerity when he thanked his friends and family… In Russ’ words:
My Dad Claude Freund helped the hole way through from start to finish and was all ways there pushing and supporting me even when I thought I wasn’t going to make it or when thing looked really bad he was able to find a way to get me through to see the car make it to GNRS. And, my mom Susan Freund for supporting both of us.
John Gunsaulis helped me the whole way through the project from that extra set of hand and eyes to masking the car for paint to final assembly. Darrell Peterson helped with machining different parts to fabbing the exhaust and final assembly.
John Logsdon helped with final assembly and fabbing and welding the exhaust
Jeff Allison designed the exhaust and interior, almost on the fly, and the pinstriping thing above the rear diff. Jeff also added his opinion weather I wanted it or not! He also did this cool t-shirt over at http://www.almost-cool.com/ (click to buy the shirt)
George Frank out of Clarkston, WA stitched up the upholstery from Jeff’s idea.
Dave Swenson built the 48 Ford flathead with Cyclone heads and Thickstun intake. (note how the engine and trans are ground smooth and painted white!)
Mike Robinson did the 39 Ford transmission with open conversion hooked to a quick change rear diff. Billy Payne helped polish stainless and aluminum.
Biggest thanks go to my wife Lora for putting up with me and through the build and supporting me the whole way!
After the GNRS, the Takeout T hit the show circuit… and cleaned up! But don’t call Russ’ T a Trailer queen! Russ is looking forward to driving it when the show tour’s done.
Awards as of March 2011:
- 2011 Grand National Roadster Show (debut):
- Triple Gun Award
- H.A.M.B Roadster Award
- Bob McCoy “Real McCoy” Award
- America’s Most Beautiful Roadster: Best Engine
- 2011 Sacramento Autorama Awards:
- Lee’s Vintage Award,
- Best in Class
- Outstanding Paint, Detail and Display
- Darryl Starbird’s 47th Annual Car Show, Tulsa, OK:
- Fine 9 Award
- Rod and Custom Hall of Fame Award
- Silver in the rod class
- 2011 Detriot Autorama:
- Best in class
- Outstanding detail and engine
Russ, you looking for another 3 way trade?
Well? Is it the next America’s Most Bitch’n Roadster?