“What if the Stone Woods Cook iconic 1941 Willy’s gasser had not been restored and put in a museum? Instead, what if that car had been put in a barn and forgotten since its 1961 Indy win at the Nationals. What would it look like? What would the condition of the body be?”

“Before answering those questions, I must tell you that I always loved that Stone Woods Cook car,” relates Bryan Marshall. “I loved the lettering, the light blue paint and the look.”

So how did he go about recreating it? “I started out by developing a book of all of the pictures I could find of the car, then building a model of the car and looking for the right parts,” he notes. “I traded for the body and frame and went to Billy Price of Outlaw Fabrication in Jeffersonville, Indiana for the build.”

In October of 2012 Marshall showed him his book, model, and budget, and parts and “the what if” became “what next?”

“I kept telling the guys at Outlaw that I was going to paint the car with a four-inch brush when we got the build done,” says. “As the body and frame got closer and my parts research slowed, I started to practice with a hot-glue gun on cardboard to mimic welds. I wanted to make welds and patch panels in the fiberglass body, in order to fool people into thinking they were looking at a rusty, patched, metal car.”

Marshall used lots of thinner and that four-inch paint brush with aluminum-colored paint for the base coat. He learned from the work on cardboard that if you apply it in swirls it looks like machine sanding marks. Then primer, then the blue topcoat and start sanding.

“When the right look appeared I detailed it with rust and paint blemishes with acrylic paint,” he reveals. “For the last step I sprayed the whole car in satin clear, and used WD40 for wax, as it gives it a finished sheen.” The result?

“My car buddies called it hillbilly steel—‘cuz it ain’t real!” But would it pass muster with seasoned street rodders? After Bob Lathery of Jeffersonville, Indiana lettered and striped the body, Marshall debuted the car at NSRA Nationals in Louisville on August 13th.

“It seemed to work, as many ‘car guys’ argued with me as to it being a real metal body,” he laughs. “So our ‘what if’ was realized when many of the hot rodders were taking pictures and saying, ‘What the Hell?’ So what if we fooled our buddies? We say hillbilly steel. It ain’t real but it’s real cool!”

–contributed by Juan Lopez Bonilla.