June 28, 2013
Anyone looking at Al Megenity's '32 Ford Roadster might think it was built for winning trophies at car shows.
The paint looks great, there's lots of chrome and it has that low, clean look that many winners have. But Al has cruised that road before, and this car is for driving.
Back in the '90s, he and a friend built a show car.
They had seen ones at the Grand National Roadster Show in San Francisco and decided to build one themselves to enter.
Since Al owned an auto repair business in Campbell, he had some experience turning a wrench.
After years of work, the '33 Ford Roadster they entered in that prestigious show in 1999 won a trophy.
They continued to enter top-line shows and garnered about 10 more trophies with their roadster.
There is a difference between the major shows, where cars are often trailered to the show and normally are never driven on the road, and the local ones like our Roamin Angel "Cruisin' the Pines" Car Show on the second weekend in September at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
These smaller car shows are for fun, with almost all the cars driven there by the owners.
Although winning a trophy is a kick, there is not the seriousness in the competition that the major-name shows have.
Often the people are not in it for the same reason that the local show participants are.
It is a about winning trophies, not the fun of the hobby.
Al and his friend went against the norm by driving their '33 Ford to shows as far away as Canada and the Midwest, like the Good Guys Hot Rod Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind.
They clocked more than 30,000 miles on it over the years.
By 2010, Al says that he found those shows were "just too political, so I decided not to do that anymore."
He sold his interest in the car to his friend, who planned to keep showing it, and set to work on building a roadster for cruising.
Starting with a customized, beefed-up '32 Ford frame from Atterbury Street Rods in Grass Valley, Al set to work on his roadster.
Although the car sits low because of its suspension and its wheels, it is a "highboy" style, with the body sitting on top of the frame rather than dropped down around it.
Using billet steel, he made a four-wheel independent suspension for ride and handling, with four-wheel disc brakes.
The rear brakes are set inboard, like a Jag's, with a nine-inch Ford 3.70:1 differential.
He bought a Dearborn all-steel body with a convertible top that folds neatly in the body and mounted it on the frame.
The engine is a souped-up Ford 351 CID Windsor with a Fast Fuel Injection unit that has eight individual throttle bodies.
For the transmission, Al went with a Tremac five-speed overdrive manual one. He says it was "a painstaking process, sorting it all out."
And all this work was done by Al with a little help from his friends Skip, Paul and Roamin Angel Rich Morris.
Now that their '32 roadster is finally finished, Al and wife Christine are looking forward to going on cruises together with the Roamin Angels.
They recently went on a one-day run to Lake Tahoe, and Christine says it was fun meeting new people.
She is looking forward to going on many more.
While their car may be show quality, Al and Christine like it for its "go" quality. When it comes to making the car show circuit, Al says, "Forget it. I'm driving this one."
For more about Ron Cherry and his writing, see http://www.rlcherry.com. For more information about the Roamin Angels Car Club, go to http://www.roaminangels.com, call 530-432-8449, write to Roamin Angels, P.O. Box 1616, Grass Valley, CA 95945, or stop by IHOP on Taylorville Rd. some Friday at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast.
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