Top News and Custom Classic Car Builds in 2019

December, 2019

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New Muscle on the Market

If there is any doubt that interest in fast cars and cool customs is fading, 2019 proved the excitement for piston-powered cars is still going strong, and the more horsepower, the better. For many, the year will be remembered by the official announcement that the long-rumored, mid-engine (C-8) Corvette was finally being built. Meanwhile “Blue Oval” fans were all revved up about the most powerful street-legal Ford ever, the new Shelby GT500 with 760 HP and 625 lb.-ft. of torque. Not to be outdone, the Dodge boys continued to crank out monster horsepower Challengers, like the new Hellcat Red Eye, that lit up the tires with 797 HP and 707 lb.-ft. of torque.


Classic Car Auction News

The popularity of classic car auctions is another indicator of our continued love affair with performance automobiles. Although not all vehicles at these sales are muscle cars, many are, and they are usually the star attractions. In 2019, there were several newsworthy bidding wars for these blue-chip collectibles. The first, a super rare 1970 Hemi Cuda convertible sold for $1.98 million and a one-of-a-kind 1967 427 Shelby Super Snake set a new high sales record for all Mustangs by selling for $2.2 million.    Also, the highly anticipated sale of the Steven Juliano Estate Collection became a major event for the year.  Juliano had amassed a vast assortment of MOPAR dealer promotional items, one-of-a-kind Plymouth Rapid Transit cars, and four of the finest Shelby Cobras on the planet.  All  four Cobras received bids over $1 million, with the top selling Snake, a 1967 427 S/C, going for $2.86 million.

The legendary NASCAR Winged Warrior, driven by the “King,” Richard Petty, also made the news this year when it crossed the auction block at Mecum Harrisburg.   Bids for his 1970 Plymouth Superbird (#43), which topped out at $3.5 million, didn’t meet the set reserve, which certainly begs the question, what will it take to buy this piece of racing history?

Also, big dollar sales of European classics were strong in 2019. One of the more interesting sales was for a car that has become quite a celebrity itself.  The iconic 1965 Aston-Martin DB5, from the Bond movies, with all the gadgets needed for secret agent work, sold at auction for $6.39 million.

Finally, there was a sale of a  totally off the charts custom-built vehicle, named “THOR.”   This 1984 Peterbuilt boasts Twin 852 cid V-12 Detroit diesel engines, with 12 superchargers making 3,974 horsepower plus a Hawker jet engine Auxiliary Power Unit.  At a length 44 feet, this beast sold for a staggering $13.2 million.   

Note: All auction prices include sales commission.


Top Custom Builds

Several new high-end custom cars wowed the crowds at car shows in 2019. There were no limits to cost or the imaginations of the builders of these one-of-a-kind creations. Here are our picks for the top 12 classic car builds of 2019.

1936 Ford Roadster “3-Penny”

Owner:    George Poteet – Memphis, Tennessee

Builder:   Pinkee’s Rod Shop – Windsor, Colorado

Awards:   Grand National Roadster Show (AMBR winner), Goodguys (America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod), NSRA (Builder of the Year), SEMA Awards: Ford Design Award – Best of Show,  Battle of the Builders – Top 3 in the Hot Rod Category, Mothers Choice Award – Excellence in Automotive Design

When the “Ultimate Hot Rodder’, George Poteet commissions one of the best custom builders in the business, Pinkee’s Rod Shop, you know something very special will happen.  In this case, the result was a multi-award winning 1936 Ford Roadster, with the perfect balance of understated elegance and modern touches.    This timeless work of art, which took nine years to complete, took styling cues from the 1936 Ford, but it is essentially a complete custom build.  No doubt, George will enjoy cruising around in this roadster, assuming he’s able to slow down long enough from setting speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Click here for details of the build.

1959 Cadillac Wagon”Cadmad”

Owner:    Steve Barton – Las Vegas, Nevada

Builder:  Super Rides by Jordan – Escondido, CA

Awards:  Detroit Autorama Ridler winner


This custom build answers the question – what if Cadillac had built its own luxury version of the popular Chevy Nomad?  Called CadMad, which is a play on words (Cadallic Nomad), it started as a vision of Steve Barton in 2003.  Although Steve did not live to see his dream car finished, 16 years later, it won one of the most sought after awards in the hobby, the Ridler Award.   

At this level of competition, it takes something truly exceptional to stand out, and the CadMad meets that bill.  Although at a distance this wagon may appear to be a car from GM’s factory, it is a testament to how skillfully the builders were able to disguise their custom work.  In reality, “CadMad” is a highly modified four-door Eldorado Brougham, grafted to a Pontiac Safari roof to give it a station wagon body design.  This uniquely-crafted body sits on a one-off chassis made from aircraft–grade tubing.  Power comes from a Tom Nelson Racing 632 ci Big Block Chevy, with Twin 88mm Turbos producing 1,025 horsepower.  Without question, this build is a virtual engineering marvel in design and execution. 

Click here for details of the build.


1965 Chevelle “Reflection”

Owner:  Sonny Freeman – Lafayette, LA

Builder: Mike Goldman Customs – Meridian, Mississippi

Awards:  Goodguys (Muscle Machine of the Year), Hot August Nights (Best of Show – HAN Cup), Detroit Autorama (Great 8 finalist)


“Reflection” is probably the most appropriately named custom car of the year.  The dazzling shine of the deep blue paint is a real attention-getter, particularly under the show lights.  This is just the beginning of a long list of features that make this multi-award winning build from Mike Goldman Customs truly special.  After looking closer at the interior, under the hood and around the car, the best single word to describe it is “clean.”  Starting with the somewhat boxy ’65 design, the car has been surgically massaged to improve its body contours, while retaining its original style.  Meanwhile, the entire power train, chassis, and electronics have been upgraded with the latest technologies.  Key stats include an Art Morrison chassis, a LS7 with a Whipple Supercharger, producing 940 horsepower, and interior by Paul Atkins.

Click here for details of the build.


1933 Ford Roadster “Timeless”

Owner:  Tim & Dawn Kerrigan – Sonoma, CA

Builder:  Dominator Street Rods – Tracy, CA

Awards:  Goodguys (Street Rod d’Elegance),  Grand Nationals Roadster Show (AMBR finalist)

It’s hard not to stare at this gorgeous roadster, named “Timeless.”  The combination of Candy Brandy paint (by House of Kolor), rich contrasting upholstery by Sid’s Custom Upholstery, and splashes of chrome make this custom build a standout.   As Tim Kerrigan tells us in the interview above, no matter what awards his car eventually wins, at the end of day, he gets to take it home.  So, he knows he can’t lose.  We agree.  This is one fine ride that looks fabulous from any angle.  Who wouldn’t think they hit the jack pot when cruising around in this roadster?

Click here for details of the build.



1932 Ford Victoria “Legacy”

Owner:  Phil & Deb Becker – Dwight, Illinois

Builder:  Fast Lane Rod Shop – Donahue, Iowa

Awards:  Goodguys (Street Rod of the Year), Detroit AutoRama (Great 8 Finalist)

“Legacy” is a custom build that is all about sweating the details.  Although it may look old school, it is really a clever disguise of new ideas and new technologies on the iconic hot rodder’s platform (in this case, a ’32 Ford).  For a start, it has a resized ’39 Zephyr steering wheel, a recreated digital center gauge display, based on a ’39 Lincoln, and custom upholstery covering the original seats.  The list of customizations continue with a fuel injection linkage, based on a Ferrari setup, a four piece custom hood, and wheels mounted on aerospace bearings.  While the wheel rotates, the spinner stays in the same position.  There are even more hidden gems on this build, but we will let Phil Becker, the owner, describe these in the above video.

Click here for details of the build.



1966 Fairlane “Cammer”

Owner: Gary Spratling – Tiburon, CA    

Builder: Anton’s Hot Rod Shop – Hiram, OH

Awards:  Detroit Autorama, Pittsburgh World of Wheels, Salt Lake City Autorama (ISCA Outstanding Street Machine – Top Pro-Touring), Boise Roadster Show (Best Street Machine – 1st place Pro- Touring), Goodguys Columbus (Builder’s Choice), NSRA (Builders Showcase Feature)

What could be better for a Blue Oval fan than a sweet-looking ’66 Fairlane, with the legendary 427 Cammer engine?  Here’s a custom build that checks all the boxes and a lot more.  To start with, the SHOC engine has been totally reengineered for even greater performance, and is set back and lowered for better vehicle balance.  This design avoided the need for a hood budge, even with a pair of 4-barrel carbs setting on top of this monster motor.  Keeping with the clean-looking hood design, there are no front scoops, but instead cool air is supplied via a one-off cowl induction setup.  The interior takes inspiration from ‘60s T-birds, and the dash has been laid out to replicate the 2nd generation Ford GT.   

Click here for details of the build.


1932 Ford Phaeton “All In”

Owner:  Gary Corkell – Middle Town, DE              

Builder: One Off Rod and Custom – Middle Town, DE

Awards:  NSRA (Pros’ Pick of the Year), Grand National Roadster Show (AMBR finalist) and winner of Outstanding Display & Outstanding Interior awards, SEMA (BOTB finalist)

This Phaeton began life as a drawing by renowned custom car designer, Chip Foose.  Then, starting with a Brookville body shell, One-Off Rod & Custom (OFRAC) went to work to either modify the body or create new parts to achieve the look that Chip had envisioned.  The engine, which is a work of art itself, is a Desoto 291 Hemi with 6 deuces.   The inside coachwork is by Paul Atkins Interiors.  For an elegant touch,  floor inserts and dash trim made of burl walnut were added.   Chances are that if you were at one of the major classic car events this year, you may have seen this Phaeton, since the guys at OFRAC traveled all across the country to display this way-cool custom.



1971 Ford Maverick

Owner:  Jimmy Shaw – Forest, MS

Builder:  Greening Auto Company – Cullman, AL

Awards: Goodguys (Street Machine of the Year)

FoMoCo’s other pony car, Maverick, rarely gets much attention, but here’s one that deserves it. Greening Auto Company built this Maverick to run fast, setting their sights at a speed of 200 mph. Now, they can say, “been there, done that’,” after this pony car was clocked at 202+ mph at a mile speed run in Arkansas. It met this milestone, thanks to Bennett Racing Engines, who reengineered a (small block) 427 ci Ford motor and added twin Precision turbochargers to produce 1100+ horsepower. The body, which has been discretely modified to reduce wind resistance, sits on a Roadster Shop “Fast Track” chassis.



1969 Camaro ‘Valkyrja’

Owner: Belgium Delivery

Builder: Ringbrothers – Spring Green, WI

Awards: SEMA (Battle of the Builders Winner)

For companies supplying parts and services to the custom car hobby, the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas is the preeminent destination. This is a mega event, where the latest products, as well as custom builds showcasing those products, are on display. Of course, with so many cool customs in one place, there has to be a competition for the best. This year the Battle of the Builders winner was a 1969 Camaro (at least, it looked like a ’69 Camaro), called “Valkyrja.” In reality, the entire body is 100% carbon fiber to replicate the iconic ‘60s muscle car, but with the body widened 4 inches. From here, the customization continues with specialty parts gathered from a long list of companies at the show. Its LS3 motor has been reengineered by Wegner Motorsports to be a 413 ci Whipple supercharged masterpiece, delivering almost 900 hp.

Click here for details of the build.



1968 Barracuda “Hemi S”

Owner: Byron Spade – Columbus, OH     

Builder: Garret’s Rod Shop – Columbus, OH

Awards: Top 5 at Pigeon Forge Grand Rod Run, Top 10 at multiple Goodguys Shows, Contender for Street Machine of the Year Award, Top 40 at SEMA Battle of the Builders

First generation Barracudas are typically not the first choice of custom builders. However, Garret’s Rod Shop has a sentimental attraction to this car, particularly the ‘”S” model. When the opportunity presented itself, they jumped at the chance to create the baddest ’68 fish on the planet. The car, “Hemi S,” started with an Art Morrison chassis and incorporated all the latest drive train goodies, including Gen 3 6.1L Hemi V8 with a Magnuson supercharger. Inside are high-tech electronics and an all-custom interior in bright red to contrast with the two tone silver/charcoal paint on the outside. The rear window glass, which is decorated with schools of swimming barracudas, is one of the more interesting features of this build.

Click here for details of the build.



1958 Ford F100 “Carlos”

Owner: Dan Bouchard,   Groton, CT

Builder: Korek Designs, New Berlin, PA

Awards: Goodguys (Truck of the Year, Early)

Dan Bouchard, owner of the ’58 Ford F100, will tell you that he has always been a Blue Oval fan. But, instead of choosing one of the more common Ford vehicles for his build project, he decided to do something a little different.  He opted for a square-body late 1950 pickup. Dan’s build, aka “Carlos,” rides on an Art Morrison chassis and is powered by a supercharged 5.0-liter Coyote, built by Vintage Motorsports. The Big-Window Ford body has received nips and tucks to be more aesthetically pleasing, while retaining the overall appearance of the factory design. On the inside, the interior has been fitted with high-end materials, as well as all-new modern electronics. Judging on how well the F100 turned out, we believe Dan’s decision to go a different route with the ’58 model is what makes this build so special. Maybe he has started a new trend.

Click here for details of the build.


1964 Acadian “Anvil”

Owner:  Danny & Sandy Jadresko – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Builder:  JF Kustoms – Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada

Awards: Detroit Autorama (Great 8 Finalist)


Unless you are familiar with car models unique to our northern neighbor, you may have not heard of an “Acadian,” which is a Canadian built mid-sized Pontiac.  This particular Acadian had been in the owner’s possession for 35 years, collecting lots of memories, starting with the couple’s honeymoon, and later with drag racing on the street and strip. This was all before it was turned over to JF Kustoms to build a street-going show car. After three years of countless modifications and upgrades, the Acadian has a new name, “Anvil,” and a completely new edgy look. As with all cars from JF Kustoms, the build execution is virtually flawless, and it packs an insane horsepower. How about a 632 ci Nelson Racing Engine with dual turbos, dynoed at 2510 HP with 2200 lb-ft of torque? That’s some serious Pontiac Excitement!

Click here for details of the build.


Did We Miss One?

If you think there’s a vehicle missing from our list of “Top Classic Builds in 2019”, contact us. We’d like to hear from you.


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