The “Racing Capital of the World” turned into Hot Rod Central last weekend as historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the Goodguys 1st WIX Filters Speedway Nationals. The first year event attracted over 2,500 rods and customs from 31 different states. Hot rodder Michael Tarquinio from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had a particularly memorable weekend after his “Second Wind” ’32 Ford roadster won the Goodguys 2011 Gearstar Hot Rod of the Year title.
Tarquinio’s low flying original steel roadster has a decades old pedigree. First built in the 1970s then mothballed when the original owner fell ill, it sat for nearly 40 years before he stumbled upon it in the rafters of an old Pennsylvania barn. A Ford guy through and through, Tarquinio always wondered what Edsel Ford would have done with a Zephyr roadster. It was that curiosity that drove the roadster build from the beginning.
Along with his friends at G.I. S. Automotive Tarquinio painted and assembled the car at his Pittsburg shop last year for a January 2011 debut. The PPG “Washington Blue” roadster body sits on a pair of So-Cal speed shop rails. The car’s heartbeat is an incredibly polished and detailed ’57 Oldsmobile J2 with Stromberg six pack and ultra rare aluminum heads. Torque and horsepower are converted through a Tremec 5 speed transmission and polished banjo style Winters rear end. The retro yet striking interior is Oxblood full grain leather with German square weave carpet. The dash and steering wheel are from a ’40 Lincoln sectioned to fit snugly inside the cockpit. Fog lights and taillights are ’36 Zephyr while the Pines ’32 Ford grill adds a touch of nostalgia. Meticulously handmade Zephyr emblems are courtesy of Motor Head Design. The butternut colored wheels are one-off artillery style by Wheel Smith with 1940 Zephyr hubcaps and trim rings. The roadster rolls on vintage Firestone wide white bias ply tires.
Different than any other Goodguys yearly award, the Goodguys/Gearstar Hot Rod of the Year competition requires contestants drive a rigorous 150 mile reliability run as well as a burnout and blast down a drag strip. Tarquinio’s roadster performed flawlessly passing all tests with style proving this winner has as much “go” as “show.” In addition to being named the Goodguys 2011 Gearstar Hot Rod of the Year, it was also named ISCA Roadster Class Champion this year.
For his Indy triumph, Tarquinio will receive a trip to the Goodguys 14th Southwest Nationals November 18-20 in Scottsdale to display his car in the “Champion’s arena” presented by Street Rod Headquarters. Snap-on will reward him with a custom tool box and for the mantle he received a billet aluminum award from Goodguys.
Fellow award finalists included Rodney Harris, Leighton, AL (’32 Ford 3 window coupe) Bill Paul, Highland, IL (’32 Ford Tudor), Gordon Peters, Sunfish Lake, MN (’32 Ford Tudor), Ken Reister, Littleton, CO (’33 Ford coupe).