By Brian Brennan – Photography By Author
The Barrett-Jackson Cup 2023 winner, which includes a very nice check for $20,000, is getting ever so close. Leading up to this moment, the Top 5 finalists were chosen by the judging pair of Bobby Alloway of Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy. The grouping of five finalists is an eclectic group for sure, but it does represent multi build styles, lots of creativity, and copious amounts of craftsmanship.
The Top 5 is comprised of cars and trucks of varying generations and represents five of the country’s top builders. Troy Gudgel of BBT Fabrications is on hand with Brad Sather’s ’69 Pontiac Firebird, the Ringbrothers with their personal ’48 Chevy Loadmaster pickup, Classic Car Studio with Wade and Esmeralda Sutton’s ’56 Ford F-600 Custom (four-door) pickup, Tim Devlin of Devlin Rod and Customs with the ’34 Chevy highboy roadster belonging to Jeff Breault, and Dave Kindig with the ’58 Lincoln Continental custom owned by Jenny and Brad “JB” Salter.
’69 Pontiac Firebird
Brad Sather’s ’69 Firebird is on the Feb. ’23 cover of Modern Rodding and is the winner of the Best Street Machine category in the 2022 Triple Crown of Rodding. The 199.027-mph Firebird (you read correctly) is a class record holder at ECTA in the standing mile. It has also captured the 2022 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year. Will this be the final feather in the cap for this Firebird? Time will tell.
The Firebird is powered by a 482ci twin-turbo Butler Performance Pontiac V8 engine. Did we mention that it pumps out 1,500 hp? The six speed transmission matched to the Poncho V8 engine was prepped by Bowler Transmissions. All of the powertrain rests between a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis complete with a Roadster Shop Independent Rear Suspension. The one-off custom wheels come by way of EVOD Industries.
The body, with its widened front fenders, one-off aluminum hood, and full belly pan, is painted in PPG McLaren Racing Green by the squirters at Relic Restomods. The interior was stitched by Cato’s Upholstery.
’48 Chevy Loadmaster 1.5-Ton Pickup
Pretty hard not to see, be stopped, and be thoroughly amazed by the SEMA Battle of the Builders–winning ’48 Chevy Loadmaster 1.5-ton pickup built and owned by Ringbrothers, Jim and Mike Ring.
Built at Ringbrothers, the ’48 Chevy Loadmaster is powered by a 510-inch tall-deck LS engine from Goodwin Competition Racing Engines with a Bowler Performance 4L80E transmission featuring transaxle and torque tube mounting. A Kinsler LS-Sprint eight-stack injection and stainless steel custom exhaust system display additional eye appeal on the V8 engine. The powertrain and body find home on a Roadster Shop custom chassis with Ahlman Engineering components all riding on a set of HRE Performance Wheels 911 centerlocks and a full complement of Goodyear Eagle tires. Stopping this most unusual hot rod is a full set of GTS M6 Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers. Ohlins TTX coilover shocks are also part of the suspension.
The ’48 Chevy Loadmaster is painted in BASF Glasurit paint over a custom one-off interior. It is most definitely a “show stopper.”
’56 Ford F600 Pickup
One of the truly interesting builds among the Barrett-Jackson Cup 2023 competitors is this ’56 Ford F600 pickup built by Classic Car Studio and owned by Wade and Esmeralda Sutton. Where to start?
It is powered by a non-conforming hot rod powerplant in the selection of a supercharged 6.7L D&J Cummins diesel engine. The custom chassis was built at Classic Car Studio and the rig rides on 323 Duallysportz wheels. The unique four-door with “suicide” rear-opening doors and custom bed was handled at Classic Car Studio. They also designed the interior while covering the sheetmetal in Glasurit “dove gray” paint.
’34 Chevy Roadster
This highboy ’34 Chevy roadster was built at Devlin Rod and Customs and is owned by Jeff Breault. This roadster was featured in a series of build stories, feature, and the cover of Modern Rodding. It is also a past America’s Beautiful Roadster winner from the Grand National Roadster Show, Goodguys Street Rod of the Year, and a SEMA Battle of the Builders finalist.
Power comes by way of a 441-inch LS3 engine by Keith Dorton with custom intake by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop all backed up to a Bowler Performance–prepped TREMEC 5 speed transmission. All this rests between the ’rails of a custom Roadster Shop chassis with a custom Independent Front Suspension and a custom four-link rear, and a set of custom wheels from Greening Auto.
Chuck Rowland Interiors handled the stitchwork while the paint comes by way of BASF custom Breault Blue and applied while at Devlin Rod and Customs. Other custom appointments include the retractable top that disappears and a custom hood.
’58 Lincoln Continental
From the workbench of Dave Kindig of Kindig-It Design, owned by Jenny and Jim “Brad” Salter, is a 600-inch aluminum V12 engine with twin custom V6 Magnuson superchargers built by Ray Falconer. Imagine having an engine that’s been “detuned” to 1,000 hp from an engine capable of 3,000 hp. Shifting chores are handled by a 4L80E transmission and the powertrain rests in an Art Morrison custom frame with AccuAir adjustable-height suspension. Rolling stock is made up of EVOD Enterprises custom wheels and Pirelli rubber.
Some of the unique sheet metal work includes the “jewelry box” acrylic hood bubble featuring metalworking contributions from Gene Winfield. More metalwork includes sectioned front fenders and a full width LED tail light. Dakota Digital received the nod for the digital instruments.
It’s a multi-award-winning build having taken home honors from the Grand National Roadster Show, Sacramento Autorama, and was voted Goodguys Custom Rod of the Year finalist.
Could this be another award it takes home? We will know tomorrow.