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						Ozequesada 01
Almost Perfect

OZE Rods 1937 Ford hot rod

Text and Photos by Joe Greeves

The kit car industry has always appealed to the enthusiast who wants to build something from scratch, so that during the process, he can infuse his personality into every aspect of the vehicle. The build becomes somewhat of a learning session, giving the builder an intimate familiarization that would be otherwise unobtainable. An added benefit, there isn’t anyone better equipped to fix it if something should go wrong. That was the approach that intrigued Chris Quesada, living in Riverview, Florida. Like many of us, Chris caught the bug early on, and has been involved with cool custom vehicles since he was a child. “As a kid, I helped my dad, Chris Sr., and watched my uncle Michael paint cars. I knew I wanted to help and learn, and I started painting and airbrushing at the age of 15,” Chris recalls.

Chris began specializing in airbrushing all types of cars, but it was a ZZ Top video that changed everything. He decided that one day he would own a radical street rod like the one featured in the video, but it ended up being a long tedious process of buying, improving and selling up.

Over the years, several mini and full sized trucks, a 1969 Camaro and even a 1934 Chevy sedan spent time in Chris’s garage, but the dream of owning a custom street rod always remained. His goal was to build an original style vintage ride with a two-tone paint job, decked out in custom colors that would stand out from the crowd.

The search took a while, but finally in 2014, Chris located this OZE Rods Shop 1937 Ford street rod. It was a California car originally built in 2010, and thanks to its Golden State origins, it went through all their rigorous DOT inspections and passed with flying colors. For Chris however, it was just a starting point. Even though it was a complete turnkey car, it was not in his garage long before it was disassembled and painstakingly reassembled — a process that took a year and a half. During the tear down, he learned that the car had several unique features, like subtle taillights, an electric license plate that hinged downward with the ignition, and linear actuators that opened the doors, raised the hood and lifted the trunk. Some of those items were experiencing electrical gremlins, but were repaired during the rejuvenation process.

The detailed investigation was also a real eye opener, revealing the level of quality built-in in every aspect. Nothing is stock on this car and it starts with boxed frame rails and a tubular X-member from OZE Rods. They fabricated their own 4-Link with a Panhard bar to hold the limited-slip Ford 9-inch, equipped with Strange 35-spline axles and 3.23 gears. Up front, a Mustang II front suspension uses tubular upper and lower control arms along with 2-inch drop spindles. Air bags and Monroe shocks on each corner define the profile and ensure autocross-level response. Wilwood drilled and slotted rotors complete the package, guaranteeing this rod will stop on a dime. The chassis became a roller with 17x 8 and 20 x 10-inch Intro Emotion wheels, fully polished and wrapped in BFG Eagle GT rubber. The overbuilt chassis was necessary to prevent it from developing a barber pole twist from the high-performance engine slotted between the frame rails.

The beautifully detailed Chevrolet L84 5.3L V8 was built by Zootis Performance Center in Healdsburg, California. They filled it to the brim with a hot rodder’s dream sheet of upgrades, beginning with a Scat 4340 forged crank turning Keith Black hypereutectic pistons and connecting rods. Air Flow Research aluminum cylinder heads create 10:1 compression, while a Lunati Voodoo solid roller camshaft works Trick Flow chromoly push rods and hydraulic lifters. Fuel is supplied by an Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake manifold and a 650 cfm Trick Flow Specialties four-barrel carburetor, equipped with mechanical secondaries and an electric choke. The MSD Pro-Billet distributor lights the fire and Speedway Motors stainless steel block-hugger headers dump spent gases into a pair of Magnaflow stainless steel mufflers. A polished Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine system and distinctive chrome air cleaner with “Almost Perfect” carved in adds visual interest. The aggressive package sends 525 hp to the 700R4 five-speed automatic with a 3,500 stall converter and JEGS shift kit. Hit the gas, the ten-inch wide tires grip, and you’ll pin the excitement meter. The lightweight car launches like an artillery round!

Moving inside, the air of elegance that characterizes this car is maintained with TMI Pro-Series low-back bucket seats upholstered in desert sand with saddle print inserts. Classic Industries Gold Series gauges sweep across the dash along with vents for the Vintage Air system. The custom center console holds the controls for the air suspension, as well as the Alpine head unit. Mounted out of sight, the Bazooka amp powers four 5.25-inch Alpine component sets and a 10-inch sub behind the seats. Chris teamed up with Dale Zink from Tampa Upholstery on the project.

The OZE Rods fiberglass body is based on the 1937 Ford with a subtle chop from the factory. Shaving the door handles, emblems, and extraneous chrome make it easy on the eyes, while retaining its iconic shape and classic styling. Assisted by linear actuators, the doors open suicide style, and the side-hinged hood raises to show off the Chevrolet V8. OZE added a custom chrome billet grille, swooping fenders and running boards, as well as interesting details like the subtle, flush mounted LED sequential tail lights and 1937-style headlights with internal signal lights. Both front and rear bumpers were impediments to the car’s smooth lines and were eliminated. Perfectly suited to the warm Florida climate, the convertible boasts air-conditioning, power windows and a custom fiberglass hardtop for when the mercury rises. While the body is overflowing with classic style, it’s the paint job that catches everyone’s eye.

As a professional painter, Chris’s goal was to design a street rod style, two-tone color combination with shades that would not only stand out, but also never get old. Bringing his talent and years of experience to bear, he blended white diamond tricoat with five different shades of gold pearl, creating a one-of-a-kind formula that he named golden rod pearl. Smiling, he says “My goal was to create a look with the elegance of a Rolex watch!” We think he succeeded. He would like to thank his family and friends for all their support throughout the build, especially his wife Julie. The car’s been complete about 2-1/2 years, and it’s always exciting getting behind the wheel of a ride that’s the culmination of a life long dream.

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