Larry Olson’s Flaming Hot Rod
By Brian Brennan – Photography by John Jackson
All of us have our favorite hot rods, whether it’s marque, build style, color, or power we are all partial. Larry Olson of South Dakota is no different. He seems to be partial to black-painted hot rods with flames and lots of big-block Chevy power. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that his latest ride is a ’33 Ford Victoria (Vicky) painted black and flamed and stuffed with 454 inches of big-block Chevy. (Make sure to take a look at his ’56 Chevy Nomad The Forgotten Tri-Five Chevy)He came about this ride through another well-known hot rodder, Dale Boesch from Nebraska, who has been known to build a pretty mean-looking hot rod himself. Boesch had this ‘33 Ford Vicky lying around for nearly 20 years when he and Larry, while both were at the same Des Moines car show, made a deal. Larry’s idea all along was to have a matching hot rod to his 2015 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster–winning ’33 Ford and it too was black and flamed.
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While the Vicky came by way of Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop, the ’33 Vicky found its way into Larry’s garage via Kevin Bowman’s Bowman Real Hot Rods in Brandon, South Dakota, with a quick stopover at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. If you like going to national and larger regional events you are bound to see Larry, or one of his hot rods, at any one of the summer get-togethers put on by the National Street Rod Association, Goodguys, Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup, Tri Five Nationals, or any number of summertime festivities.
The ’33 Vicky was brought home after a stopover at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop where it had the top chopped 2-1/2 inches and the chassis basics set up. From here the body and chassis was sent to Bowman Real Hot Rods where Bowman completed the car.
Let’s take a look at the powertrain. The heartbeat comes by way of a 454 big-block Chevy that pumps out approximately 550 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque, features custom machine work, and a fully balanced rotating assembly by Tim Mathern. Internals sport forged pistons, a custom roller style Crower cam, and the liberal use of ARP bolts both inside and out. The polished aluminum heads along with the polished water pump, aluminum intake, and fuel pump are all Edelbrock. Other engine accessories include a mechanical seven-blade fan, a Tuff Stuff alternator, a Powermaster starter, an Odyssey battery, and Mooneyes air cleaner resting on top of a Quick Fuel 750-cfm 4-barrel carburetor. The ignition system is based on an MSD Ready-to-Run distributor with an MSD ignition coil and Taylor spark plug wires. Ushering along the heated exhaust is a pair of Sanderson headers with 1-3/4-inch primary tubes that drop down to a Bowman custom exhaust system that features Cherry Bomb mufflers while all components are ceramic coated. The power then works its way back through a Mike Paulsen Driveline driveshaft to the Winters quick-change rear end. In between the V8 and the driveshaft is a Brian Cannot modified Turbo 350 transmission equipped with a Coan Engineering 2,400-rpm stall speed converter and a B&M shift kit. Transmission cooling chores falls to a dual pass frame mount transmission cooler while a US Radiator handles the engine temp control.
Eventually all of this power makes its way to the polished Winters quick-change that spins a 3.23 gear ratio in its highway configuration. The quickie is held in position by a Pete & Jakes rear four-bar and Panhard bar, a Heidts 3/4-inch sway bar, and Viking coilovers with 350-pound-rated springs. It should be noted that the outboard disc brakes are a combination of Wilwood 11-inch rotors and polished Dynalite dual piston brake caliper.
On the subject of Wilwood brakes, they too are used in front with matching 11-inch rotors and the same model of polished Dynalite dual piston brake calipers. The front axle is a Super Bell chrome 5-inch drop tube with P&J drop spindles, four-bar, and tube shocks. The steering comes by way of a P&J Vega steering box and linked to it is an ididit steering column. At the corners you will see polished Bobby Alloway ET-style Slots that are manufactured by Billet Specialties measuring 4.5×15 and 20×10 with 185/60R Firestone rubber in front and 285/50R20 Michelin rubber in back.
The ’33 Ford Vicky body is all steel and does have a 2-1/2-inch top chop, slight tubs in the rear to handle the huge wheel and rubber, and a Rootlieb louvered hood. The gas filler is located just below the rear window and it leads to a 10-gauge aluminum, built by Bowman, tank that holds 16 gallons. From here all of the body- and sheet metal work was handled by Bowman Real Hot Rods. Once the bodywork was finished the flames were then laid out by Bowman and Bruce Knudtson, a nearby painter who came over to assist in the laying out of the flames and the painting.
Neal Erickson of Bowman Real Hot Rods handled the wiring using a Centech wiring harness and fuse box to bring to life the Classic Instruments gauges resting within a GW Taylor insert and the remainder of the hot rod’s electrical needs. The red leather and Daytona weave carpeting was handled by Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors.
The aftermarket front buckets and the rear bench seating frames display more handiwork from Holcomb as he has stitched them all in red leather as are the door, quarter-, and kick panels, while the headliner is done in a red cloth.
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Well, there you have it. Larry now has a ’33 Ford Vicky to match his AMBR-winning ’33 Ford roadster. Now wouldn’t all of us figure that would be the perfect garage to have an open and a closed car that are a matching set? MR