Chris Unger’s Deuce Coupe

Rare and Traditional Hot Rod


Story/Photos: T-Bone

The Ford Three-Window Coupe is one of the most sought after hot rods. Once the deuce was introduced it has been recognized as the quintessential hot rod. In this example, Chris Unger has been collecting parts for nearly 20 years to build this car from the ground up with rare vintage speed equipment and original steel.

The engine was kept under the workbench of California Custom Roadsters pioneer Bill Keifer. The 1940 Ford Flathead came out of a light duty truck. Funny thing is, that engine with it’s cast iron heads and a single 97 would beat everything around. It was rumored to be a dressed-down race engine. Chris flipped it over and took off the oil pan and saw the case was lightened and the crank was balanced. This allowed him to run another 500 rpm. Just as all the Merc flatheads peaked at 5000 rpm’s this motor was able to pull away at the end of the line with another 10% more power as displayed on a set of early Stewart Warner gauges.

This powerful base was built on with rare Kogel cast iron heads, early Edelbrock “Sling-Shot” manifold topped by a pair of original Stromberg 97’s and L&S velocity stacks. Spark is advanced by a vintage Harman-Collins magneto. Power is distributed through a ’39 Lincoln Zephyr transmission to a Halibrand quick-change rear end and stopped with Lincoln brakes. A Bell steering wheel controls an interesting front end featuring an Okie-Adams axel. What’s neat about the Okie-Adams axles is that they are not dropped by heating the axles and bending the ends up. They are cut and a cast “S” is welded in. This keeps the front wheel distance the same as stock, not narrowed by the heat and shrink method of most dropped stock axles.

There is no doubt that this is a fine example of an early hot rod put together with some incredible pieces. Stop by Blacktop Depot in Old Towne Orange to see the car along with many other rare and unusual vintage items.

1947 Kurtis Kraft Midget

A great piece of Southern California Racing History

This beautiful Offenhauser 110 powered 1947 Kurtis Kraft midget race car recently came in to Blacktop Depot in Old Towne Orange, California. It comes along with a book that documents it’s history since 1947 and starting and tuning instructions.

Visit for more details or stop by the store at 418 W. Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866 to see it live.

2015 SEMA Show Recap

Recap Trailer of the 2015 SEMA Show

T-Bone, Billy, Travis and John run the show to find new trends, and meet new friends.

Whew! What a crazy week that was. Billy and I left a bit late from the homestead so we didn’t get a chance to stop at KC’s Fool Service Garage museum on the way out to the SEMA Show. Next time. We arrived in the valley in time to check-in and get our media passes for the show start the next morning.

We set out with a couple of missions: Find cool new products. Discover trends in the industry and help some of our design and marketing clients to get exposure.

I rolled up early to set up our banner and hit the New Products awards breakfast. Congrats to Shawn Gibson for their Best New Powersports Product, their 2016 Yamaha Dual Exhaust. We will be presenting highlights on many new products from the SEMA Show in the coming weeks. C10. What’s with all the Chevrolet C10’s? Dang. They were all over the place, in every hall. The big ticket item for aftermarket parts these days I guess. We will be sharing some of our favorite rides from the show like Mark Johnson’s gasser: The Tire Fryer.

We didn’t notice any other big trends going on besides the influx of C10’s. A lot of the same products from two years ago, however with expanded line offerings. Almost every motorcycle in the show had one of them big stupid wheels up front. Sorry to offend, but these bikes are like cartoons. I haven’t seen one with a big 300+ rear wheel yet, but I am sure that is coming soon. My prediction on the future trend in motorcycles will be a reversion to the baggers of the 60’s with all the lights and accessories on them. They will be welcome with open arms here at Blacktop away from these crazy-ass “choppers”.

Yet I digress, for this show, the most outrageous the more appropriate. It is Las Vegas after all. It was a nice respite however, when we ran into a mild custom or subtle restoration among the clutter of craziness.

We met some great people, collaborated with awesome friends and mourned at the loss of an icon. There was a cloud over event as we all thought about how George Barris touched our lives. It was two years ago when I watched him get inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame. This year I am grateful for my friends Sheila Perkins and Dennis Gage for inviting me to sit at their table as Dennis was inducted this year in the SEMA Hall of Fame.

We hit each mission and will be sharing the results in the near future. We will be installing a Kleinn Air Horn on my Harley, and a sweet Custom Autosound system in the ’56 and more. Stay tuned.

Shiney’s Triumph

Such a classic. I have had the opportunity to meet Mike “Shiney” Grawunder on a couple of occasions. He is an expert metal polisher.


Photos: Mitzi Valenzuela, Models: Dinah DeRosa, Rio Lund. Story: Tony Colombini

His craft certainly shows through on this incredible time machine. The bike is a survivor. Mike and his buddies bought a garage full of Triumphs and parts 13 years ago from a gent who was closing his shop.

This bike was built up in the late 1970’s as a chopper yet had to be completely torn apart. The idea was to keep as much of the original theme of the bike, but add some personal touches. Some of the threads were so jacked up the previous owner bondo’d them up. Week welds were rewelded.

When it came to the finishing touches Shiney opted to forego the stock front end for a ENC Springer which he shortened a bit to keep the nose down. The paint was a bit of a challenge to get the right purple. Three previous attempts came out too blue. Then the M&M Green pinstriping fell hard on critics saying they should be traditional blue lines. Personally I agree with Mike that the green works much better than the blue would have on the ‘99 Mustang purple base.

This scooter is a rider. Finished in a mere 4 months, Shiney rolls his rig througout Southern California including an annual 56 mile trip down to Biltwell in Temecula. He does admit though that his aging body sure feels the bumps in the road on this rigid.

All the right features for a classic chopper are here. Springer front end, check, flamed paint, check, bobbed rear fender, check, hot chicks, double check.