On a sun soaked Southern California day, Rancho Santa Fe’s Jeffrey Sanchez found himself basking in sweet victory inside the world famous Del Mar paddock as his hand built, all-steel 1933 Ford roadster was crowned the Goodguys 2011 March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance. The prestigious award is presented annually at the Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals. The five finalists for this year’s award were the finest we’ve seen in a long, long time. Rising above them all was Sanchez’s low slung steel beauty, hand crafted by Steve’s Auto Restorations in Portland, Oregon.
Designed by Chris Ito, Sanchez’ red and black roadster was slotted to be one of 24 concept steel roadsters to be produced by S.A.R. Plans changed, however, and only one steel body was ever produced. Every inch of the one-off roadster was completely hand formed and fabricated. The sleek body was formed by hand over wooden bucks that were translated from a full scale drawing. The hand built chassis with tubular cross-members consists of a simple dropped solid axle front suspension, but is actually much more complicated. The dropped axle is not a solid tube, but rather a split unit that allows the front wheels to articulate independently of each other. Each half of the axle is mated to a cantilevered push/pull rod that runs inside the frame rails to horizontally mounted coil-over shocks mounted beneath the passenger compartment. A Mustang Cobra IRS transfers the power, but does so through handmade upper and lower control arms with a cantilevered coil-over shock arrangement. Although a potent choice for motivation, the supercharged Mustang Cobra 4.6 liter engine created a packaging nightmare. The under-hood dilemmas were resolved by clever problem solving that resulted in stylish and symmetrical solutions that utilized every inch of usable space. The cutting edge rod was upholstered by Sid Chavers.
When his name was announced as the winner, Sanchez was simply stunned. “We honestly did not expect this,” he said. “I wasn’t prepared to be interviewed as the winner. Steve and his team have done an outstanding job with this car.” For the win, Sanchez received an anodized billet award for the mantle, a customized toolbox from Snap-on as well as travel accommodations to the 14th Southwest Nationals, November 18-20 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
We’ll have a full feature on the Sanchez roadster in a coming issue of the Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette. The runner up finalist’s for the Goodguys 2011 March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance included Ron Lee, South Pasadena, CA (1932 Ford roadster), Ken Reister, Littleton, CO (1933 Ford Coupe), Gary & Janice Williams, Granite Bay, CA (1936 Auburn) and Phillip Ray, Montara, CA (1933 Ford roadster).