Story and photos by Steve Temple

When you work on massive earth movers for your day job, what do you do for fun? Well, just ask Greg Grant of Jesterz Enterprises.

“The way we make our money is on mining equipment,” he notes. “And the way we lose it is on street rods.”

It wasn’t always that way, however. Greg started out fixing up motorcycles at the age of 13, and built his first custom bike at 18. He went on to learn bodywork and paint in his early 20s. By the age of 30 he was employed by a heavy equipment OEM.

In his spare time, Greg restored and modified a string of muscle cars, mostly Mopars, but also a Camaro that his wife Lisa still drives. But he grew tired of fixing up older cars, and wanted all-new parts on his next project. At a SEMA trade show, he spotted a ’33 Ford from Factory Five Racing.

“That little deuce coupe is the coolest body shape ever,” he says. “Nothing against Cobras, but they don’t do it for me.” Greg’s mechanical side also appreciated the car’s well-braced spaceframe design and sophisticated suspension setup. “I’ve seen a big engine in a square-tube frame,” he points out. “It’s really unruly; you can’t keep it between two lanes.”

In contrast, “When I saw the Factory Five, I noticed the chassis and suspension right off,” he says. “That’s what really sold me. It’s a good design and there’s good tech support too.”

He went on to build one with a naturally  aspirated 383 stroker, but there was something missing, an item that he’s always wanted: a bodacious blower. In particular, he wanted a Weiand 6-71. Eager to avoid cutting up the hood of the car, and ready to tackle another project, he sold his first rod and bought another package from Factory Five.

While neither project was an extreme challenge, thanks to his mechanical expertise, this one went a bit slower, even though he went with the same 383 stroker as before, using a long block with aluminum heads from Blueprint Engines, along with a pair of 600 cfm Holleys. What impeded his progress?

“It was partly self-induced,” he admits. “I had to scoot the engine back 2 1/2 inches so the crank pulley for the blower would clear the rack-and-pinion steering gear. This required modification of the motor mounts, trans mounts, drive shaft, and firewall.” He also hand-built the drive accessories and the zoomie exhaust pipes.

It was all pretty easy-peasy for Greg, since he had a willing helper in his wife Lisa. “She’s a real hard worker,” he says. “She was right there with me through the whole build. We assembled the car 100 percent in-house.”

That included the engine, spec’d out for a low, 8:1 compression ratio to compensate for the 6 pounds of boost from the blower. It dyno’d at 500 horses naturally aspirated, and Greg estimates another 40 percent or more horses with the forced induction.

This hot mill is mated to a TCI Turbo 350 with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter, and a TCI 3000 rpm stall converter. Given the stoutness of the Factory Five frame, Greg felt the stock 8.8-inch Ford four-link rear end and M&H drag radials could handle the extra power loads. Guiding the Billet Specialties rims, wrapped with BFG T/As up front, is a Unisteer Rack and Pinion with electric assist.

Prepping fiberglass for paint is usually one of the most time-consuming aspects of a project car, and this one was no different, taking more than a year, on and off. Speaking from experience, “It’s all about bleeding and sweatin’,” says Greg. Since this was his second rod, “We knew where to look and what to watch for.” His products of choice? BASF’s R-M undercoat, and House of Kolor’s Pearl Tangelo, plus Orion Silver and Galaxy Gray.

What about those jester logos? Back in 2006, Greg and Lisa established Jesterz Enterprises to service the mining equipment industry. As a play on the company name, he added joker-style graphics on the console and flapper valves for the blower. Dakota Digital gauges grace the dash.

The mining execs Greg works for flip out over his rod – a stark contrast from their front loaders and dump trucks with 15-foot tires! And he admits that people act like he’s a rock star or celebrity when he cruises around town. But when all is said and done, Greg feels that he’s really more of a jester, juggling his rods and bikes.