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  • Odd Rods

    I have mentioned my dear late friend and mentor Greg Parker in my posts both here and on the registry. I have said what a huge influence he had on not just me but many people who were fortunate enough to have met him. His creative ideas sparked in us all a desire to think, build and try different things. The following pictures are of his creations during the last 10 years of his life.

    In the late 90's Greg and his good friend Rodney Rucker (another Greg directly influenced) decided they would build an old west style wagon and stagecoach constructed on late model fullsize 4WD truck frames. Greg would build the wagon and Rodney decided he would do the Stagecoach. The stagecoach was of course far more involved as it would be all steel construction. I remember Greg telling me about the numerous trips Rodney took down to Disneyland to get detailed measurments off of thier stagecoach. They both eventually finished them and were the hit of the parades for all the years to follow.

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    There he is! Good old Greg with signature cigar in hand standing next to his first old western style creation. Those lanterns really worked by the way; Greg had wired in Halogen bulbs where the wicks used to be and they functioned just like headlamps.

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    Steel angle iron skeleton with wood planks. The occasional rain and harsh desert climate quickly aged the wood perfectly. Steel hoops for the top and a canvas cover just like the real deal. The cow head on the tailgate was some of Greg's plasma cut steel artwork.

    Greg had alot of storage space there at the shop and Rodney kept his stagecoach with Greg. I should have taken a picture of it. At the time he had let the steel body rust over to age it and had this huge Diesel rig alloy wing on the back of it. Really cool looking creation! You could tell right away that Greg was a Stagecoach man and the wagon really did not do it for him. Anytime he took out friends and vistors for a ride he always fired up the stagecoach.

    About a couple of years later Rodney was moving to AZ and was taking his stagecoach with him. I remember a visit shortly after it left; Greg was so bummed! The following trip I found him laying out the basic steel framework for his own stagecoach.

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    Unfortunately this was the only shot I took of it during the build phase. As with anything lesson were learned from the first build and Greg applied them to this new body making a cleaner end product. I was right in the middle of doing the bodywork on it and getting it ready for paint in this photo. This was a well constructed body; 1X1 square tube frame with 20guage sheetmetal panels. Greg had hundreds of man hours building it.

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    Here is the near finished but functional end result. It really turned out beautiful. The only thing it really lacked was upholstry to the coach. Its on a late 70's Bronco frame with 12 inches of lift and giant 44 super swampers which balanced out the hight of the body pretty well. Among other things a fully enclosed functioning trunk with lid(improvement over Rodneys) One of his trim screw holes was misaligned so Greg cleverly added that arrow to fill the hole.

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    All the black trim was hand formed from heavy guage steel strap. Greg had almost as many hours building this trim as he had spent building the actual body itself. The door handles are each half of a real horseshoe that I later had chrome plated for him. You can see a stereo mounted to the underside of the roof. It was fully mufflered and ran super quiet. I remember riding "shotgun" about 20 feet up in the air on clear, still, cool evening right at dusk with a perfect view of the surrounding desert with western style frontier music playing low in the background.(movie soundtrack style) A great memory!

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    This is how you got up there; you had to go through coach, then up through the roof and onto the front seats. You can see the basic bench seats are in but no cushions.

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    as you can see it was a fully functioning off-road vehicle. This was one of many short rides out to see this 40 ford coupe that had been in this wash since the late 60's.

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    Greg next to this long lost treasure.

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    The smile on his face says it all. Fortunately he got several years of enjoyment out this rig before he passed. Looking back on it now I feel very thankful that I was able to contribute something to this special vehicle that gave him so much pride and joy. Thanks for reading this! Justin
    Justin Rio

  • #2
    Talented guys, very cool , thanks for posting.

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    • #3
      Thank you Bruce!

      Here are some shots of what would be Greg's final project that unfortunately he did not complete. Greg was featured on Monster Garage in the late 90's with all of his wild creations. A viewer in L.A. got in touch with Greg and wanted him to build a Street Rod version of his stage coach. Here are a few shots of it.

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      My dear old friend hard at work on it. Rest in Peace Greg...
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      Featured Greg's drivetrain of choice. An Olds Toronato front WD assembly mounted in back. With everything there he had plans to make it 4 wheel steer. There is a killer 911 Hotrod with this identicle powertrain:http://porsche356abcgt.com/forum/8-1965-73-SWB--Long-Hood-911-912-Forum/3689-Hot-Rod-911-and-912s.html

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      All 1X1 tube frame skeleton.
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      Raked stance built in.
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      Was really starting to take shape here.

      Our friend Rodney (owner of the first stagecoach) eventually bought this project from Gregs widow but I don't know if was ever finished.
      Thanks again! Justin
      Justin Rio

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      • #4
        Justin,
        I know you have a lot on your plate these days, but wouldn't this be a cool project for you to finish........someday?
        Craig Richter

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        • #5
          Hi Craig,

          It was actually purchased from Greg's widow shortly after his passing by our Friend Rodney. I have heard stories its up and running but have seen no photos of it. One thing is for sure, it is in very capable hands. Rodney has a real passion for odd one-off type vehicles. Below is one of his most wildest cars completed back in about '04.
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          This is "Rodzilla". In the late 90's I gave Greg my copy of Automobile magazine with a detailed spread on the Blastolene Bothers beautiful Tank engined powered alloy track roadster. He showed it to Rodney and it was on! He was absolutely going to have one for himself. He contacted the creators became good friends with them and they helped him with his dream.

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          The Blastolene Special now part of Jay Leno's collection.

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          These photos were of course taken at Greg's shop. Ground Zero for all of us local gearheads. There's my dear late friend again in this shot for some scale. The heart of this beast is this massive V12 aircooled tank engine from the 1950's. This one is set up with twin-turbos and is good for well over 1,500HP. Twin giant electric fans sat atop of the block to keep the air moving over those cylinders.
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          The body, a 1930's Studabaker was a donation from Greg and had sat under those athel trees off to the left in this photo for a better part of 25 years. Aside from this shell its all Big-Rig Tractor based; frame, axles, steering, suspension Etc, Everything had to be extra heavy-duty to deal with this mammoth power plant. This motor is high compressioned and required racing fuel only. Those "lawnmower engine" sized carburators (one on each side) required almost a gallon of gas just to fill the float-bowls. Needless to say its very thirsty and pricey to opperate. But like the Blastolene Brothers motto states: its not about the "miles per gallon" its the "smiles per gallon".

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          Again all Diesel rig based down to the gas tank. These cement truck "super single" wheels and tires made for the perfect oversize Hotrod rolling stock.
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          I was lucky enough to get a ride up the street in this beast. What I remember were those two giant front wheels spinning way out off in the distance. It was crazy fast, loud and violent! You could just sense the mass of this thing as it lunged forward. The weight however, was absolutely no problem for this motor. I was quite nervous it felt like it could get out of hand really quickly. Its a deathtrap and really needs a full cage. If this ever got off its wheels it would wad up that old body like an empty cardboard box. This is one creation that truely lives up to its name. So Gregs old stagecoach is with a very worthy new owner. Thanks again Craig!
          Justin
          Justin Rio

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          • #6
            Today a friend here had his 15th annual car gathering and there were some very interesting cars. One was this, I believe, 54 Nash Rambler Custom wagon.

            The owner had the Nash and bought an 08 Mini that a tree had fallen on. He cut the body off the Mini and added the Nash body. Original Mini wheel base and track and the only modification to the Nash body was very slightly pulling out the front fenders for turning radius. The Mini has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Nash so the front wheels are slightly back.

            Then he added painted on graphics, decals and patina. Very nice work.
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            Ashley Page

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            • #7
              Here is another on from today. A new modified built to look like an old one but street legal. This was a nicely done car.
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              Ashley Page

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              • #8
                Ashley, Thank you for sharing these! Just based on these two cars;What a cool get together this was! The Nash is an impressive melding of eras. What a beautifully executed conversion! The second car is really what I lust after, A full-on racecar that is street legal! That thing looks awesome and must be an absolute blast to ride in!! I love race parts!!! Thanks again Loved them! Justin

                BTW that wood paneled rod with the surfboard looks interesting...
                Justin Rio

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                • #9
                  That Nash is awesome!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JTR70" post=12796
                    BTW that wood paneled rod with the surfboard looks interesting...
                    There were some nice woodies there. This one was more of a street rod.

                    The host had a woody when he was 14 and sold it in his twenties. His wife tracked it down several years ago and bought it back as a surprise.

                    The modified is pretty much my idea of the perfect street rod to - along with the Nash! Hard to choose!


                    I'll post some more later today.

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                    Ashley Page

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                    • #11
                      This one was built by Kenny Thompson, a legend around here in racing. He was at Holman Moody in the Ford GT 40 days.

                      The sign board tells the story. The car body is all aluminum. The chassis, although new, is basically a Roadster chassis. Kenny made everything including the torsion bars doing the splines too.

                      The engine was original to be a Novi but the one in this car is a Maserati which was chosen for its resemblance to the Novi.
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                      Ashley Page

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                      • #12
                        Tom's Annual affair there in Davidson used to be called the day Tom Got His Woodie back. I had a friend in Cornelius, just down the street from Davidson, that attended at least once on my recommendation. Last year I lobbied heavily to have the National Woodie Club board meeting in Charlotte or Davidson or some place nearby so that in the morning before meeting we could spend a couple hours at this show. I lost and we went to Hershey last weekend instead. So, Tom's show remains on the bucket list.


                        Bill
                        Bill Sampson

                        BIRD LIVES!!!!!

                        HAYDUKE LIVES!!!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ashely, Thank you for these additional shots! That woody is too cool; its a Desoto right? Though I do not work with wood I can certainly appreciate what went into making all those pieces! The black body and woodwork really compliment one another. I ask you, is there any car that the old Torque-thrust style wheel do not look good on!
                          The race car is a true work of art! The motor sounds extremely exotic and quite costly I'm sure. I am in awe of that yellow drive-shaft running exposed right next to the driver! If a U-joint was ever lost at either end the occupant would become the proverbial "frog in a blender". Would love to see any additional shots you've still got. Thanks again! Justin
                          Justin Rio

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                          • #14
                            Justin, I am not sure what brand car it was but it did have a very nice and not overdone fit and finish including the wood. I am not a photographer, but one thing I noticed after looking at the pictures is it must have been nearly a perfect day to take pictures of cars. It was cloudy and while not actually raining it was more like a heavy mist. For cell phone pictures they came out well ( not giving any credit to myself as it was all lighting and conditions)

                            I love those wheels and think they look good on anything they are put on.

                            That is all the shots of the race car I took. The builder lives near here so I am hoping to one day visit his shop and learn more about it. If I do I will definitely post more pictures.

                            This is what I like about your site - focus on 356 but include most anything interesting. Great concept and execution!
                            Ashley Page

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                            • #15
                              Ashley:

                              As I mentioned earlier, Tom's party IS on my bucket list if I ever again get to NC. The next time the NWC board meets on the East Coast will be 2016 and if I live that long I will again lobby to go to Charlotte or even Davidson for our once a year board meeting. I won't have a vote when that is considered and when I did still lost 7 to 2 but I'll keep trying. I'll need an escort (as a born and bred Yankee) according to my buddy who once resided on Lake Norman.

                              Bill
                              Bill Sampson

                              BIRD LIVES!!!!!

                              HAYDUKE LIVES!!!!!

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