Jeff Hess With His OLDSSLED A 1956 Olds Takes Home the ARP $12,500 Prize Money
By Brian Brennan – Photography By John Drummond & John Jackson
The 72nd Annual O’Reilly Sacramento Autorama is coming to a close for another year and another very successful outing. Taking home, the first ever ARP West Coast Challenge Series trophy and prize money is Jeff Hess for his OLSSLED, the 1956 Olds, that has won numerous awards in its show history.
The show had what we had come to expect but this year there was a new twist. It served as the Grand Finale for the ARP West Coast Challenge Series that encompasses the best in West Coast indoor car shows, beginning with the Grand National Roadster Show, Portland Roadster Show, Spokane Speed and Custom Show, and the Sacramento Autorama.
To be in the competition for the West Coast Challenge you must enter at least three of the four shows and it’s limited to 12 competitors. There is a group of judges that eventually judge the Best of the West.
To make it even more appealing and to really ramp up the competition there is a significant amount of prize money up for the taking. The West Coast Challenge offers $12,500 for first place, second place captures $6,500, and third place brings home $3,500. There are also the very slick looking competition flags given to all the contenders as well as jackets and a special award at the end of the tour. There will be opportunities along the way to pick up each show’s separate prize monies. A Slonaker or America’s Most Beautiful Roadster contender may win the $12,500 in Pomona and compete. They could win $5,000 at each of the other events and then go on to win the $12,500 at the West Coast Challenge for a potential cash total of $40,000! Now that’s sure to get your attention. A special thank you goes out to ARP Bolts for supplying the sponsorship money that makes the prize money available.
The top three finishers in this first ever showing are Jeff Hess with his 1956 Olds ($12,500), 1st Runner Up is Jerry Logan with his 1934 Ford closed-cab pickup ($6,500), and 2nd Runner Up is Brent Schiefer for his 1970 Chevelle ($3,500).
Hess’s 1956 Olds, known as the OLDSSLED features a staggering array of modifications and here are some of the highlights. The rear quarter panels are extended with integral fender skirts and accenting scoops. Look closely and you will also see the “hidden” lakes pipes. There is also the quintessential custom accessory in the Continental kit, this time frenched into the metal work thereby shortening the trunk lid.
There is a wide array of other metalwork that encompasses the classic “shave and haircut” theme. The ‘vert does feature a distinctive Carson-style padded top now sitting in place of where there once was a hardtop. The top is now chopped 2-1/2 inches. The front sheet metal features a one-piece front clip that shows off frenched headlights, a hood that is pancaked, filled cowl, a functioning hood scoop, and the always popular tucked front bumper a Corvette-style grille treatment.
The paint is a House of Kolor custom mix called “Way Past Midnight Blue”. Doug Starbuck of Star Side Designs applied the paint and if you look closely, you can even see the subtle scallops on the hood as it runs over onto the fender tops, trunk, and Continental kit. The Olds roll on one-off billet custom wheels measuring 18×8-inch that are reminiscent of 1956 Olds’s hubcaps. From here the orbs are wrapped in Diamondback tires.
Power comes by way of an old school 354-inch Chrysler Hemi with an Autotrend EFI. Lots of one-off machined parts by way of Sparc Industries. He exhaust is, as you would expect, a custom system, that features Cerakote and a pair of Magnaflow mufflers.
There is so much more to this custom. It made its grand entrance back in 2020 at the Detroit Autorama where it garnered Great 8 recognition and numerous, and we do mean numerous, awards from that moment on. What a great way to complete its recognition by taking home the first ever ARP West Coast Challenge Series award presented by the four major West Coast indoor car shows. MR