George Poteet, a well-known habitué of hot-rodding, teamed up with Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop, and together, they walked away with one of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s biggest awards at Columbus. Winning the Street Rod of the year at Goodguys’ PPG Nationals is akin to winning the home run derby at major league baseball’s All-Star break.
It is no secret that Poteet likes hot rods, especially ones that can go fast, have historic importance, and carry the Ford name. He also likes to spread the wealth around, by working with various car builders on his projects. The most recent award-winning car was built by the Cardinal of custom cars, Alan Johnson. The pairing of Poteet and Johnson created a playground steeped in traditional essence with high standards. The results? Simply exquisite.
The foundation is a 1932 Ford Tudor, a touring sedan that was revised for the 1932 model year in order to help generate sales. Relocating the spare tire to the rear of the car (as with all Fords in 1932) made the body more attractive to hot rodders. These Tudors have become desirable to custom car builders because of the ability to achieve an aggressive look and stance with only a few body modifications.
The build began with a design from E Black Design of Portland, Oregon. Eric Black has a background in traditional hot rod and custom design that fits very well with the Poteet/Johnson team. Combined, the trio of enthusiasts equally cherish historical hot rod precedence and tradition that favored a classic Tudor sedan build.
What they ended up with was a car that would have fit easily in the 1950s hot rod scene. Eric Black’s designs have won many awards, like the 2017 AMBR winner, and fits in the same conversation as Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop. The car’s concept was initially rendered by known artist and designer Eric Brockmeyer.
Ford In A Ford
Staying true to the era and historical importance of this build, the team elected to keep a Ford engine in the Ford chassis. If you were hot rodding a Ford highboy sedan in the late ‘50s, chances are that you were trying to get your hands on Ford’s 312ci Y-block engine. The build team opted to use the iconic Ford V8 with fuel injection as prepared by Keith Dorton’s crew at Automotive Specialists Racing Engines in Concord, North Carolina.
The gearbox mounted to the Y-block is a five-speed manual transmission built by Bowler Performance Transmissions out of Lawrenceville, Illinois. Because Poteet actually drives all of his cars, he needed a transmission that was robust, but still tame enough for street driving and cruising. SPEC clutches was selected to control the connection between the engine and transmission. True to the traditional nature of the build, a Winters quickchange rearend rounds out the drivetrain.
A custom fabricated chassis from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop serves as the foundation for the build. A trick, billet firewall that separates the engine bay from passenger compartment is coated by Jon Wright’s Custom Chrome. The engine compartment is stuffed full of modern and vintage pieces that give the highboy a distinctive, but classic flavor.
The frame rails have been slightly sectioned for that little extra depth. Johnson added custom made wishbone-style radius rods on the front and rear, and added a custom 5-inch drop chromoly front axle to put the front end closer to the ground.
The body is the crown jewel in this build. Each panel was carefully massaged, chopped, and proportioned to produce the aggressive appearance. Several coats of PPG black leave the body with a fierce presence that magnifies the aggressive stance.
The top was chopped on a bias, with a taper that measured 3 inches in the A-pillar to 2 inches in the rear. The team narrowed the B-pillars and raised the rear wheel openings another 3 inches. They re-arched the wheel opening and rotated the opening forward, reshaping the wheel tubs to fit the Firestone dirt track tires. VW taillights were used in the rear, and a custom made hood with extra long louvers on the sides and top add to the ferocious look.
Inside the passenger compartment, aluminum inserts are flush fit into the hand-formed steel surround to accommodate insert panels. These aluminum inserts were created using an intricate set of custom dies. Each fastener in the insert panels were carefully placed to register each panel individually.
Leather seats, custom stitched by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop, and gauges from Classic Instruments that are fashioned to resemble watch faces were added to the minimalistic interior. A host of Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop parts complete the interior. Their Modern Vintage steering wheel, and Hole Shot shifter help add to the look.
The wood flooring in the sedan was constructed of high density, aircraft-quality plywood, with each piece of the plywood individually laser cut for precision. Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop proclaimed that each panel consisted of 47 pieces, and there were a total of six panels. If our math is correct, this means that 282 individual pieces make up the floor assembly. Each panel was sanded smooth and stained.
The Final Pieces
The finishing touches include 16-inch front and 18-inch rear gold anodized Halibrand magnesium wheels with knock off spinner hubs that are safety-wired for security. Authentic four-ply nylon Firestone dirt track tires from Coker Tire add to the nostalgic appearance. The team used a combination of ribbed front tires and grooved rear tires for a great touch of authenticity. A traditional hot rod steering system is utilized with a through-the-cowl steering system. That’s as traditional as it gets!
- Owner: George Poteet
- Builder: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop
- Engine: Ford 312ci 450 horsepower Y-block engine
- Radiator: Walker radiator
- Fuel Injection: Custom Hilborn fuel injection with Borla Induction
- Exhaust: Borla
- Transmission: Five-Speed Tremec manual tweaked by Bowler Performance Transmissions
- Clutch: SPEC clutch
- Rearend: Winters Quickchange
- Chassis: Custom chassis from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop
- Suspension: Ridetech
- Brakes: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop’s Kinmont-style front and rear brakes
- Body: All steel, prepped by Johnson Hot Rod Shop
- Paint: PPG
- Gauges: Classic Instruments