The Family Plan
Premium Rod of the month
It is safe to say Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco, California, has not only found the formula for building fantastic street rods, but they've perfected it. Decades of experience will do that, as does having a dedicated team of builders and go-to guys who not only work well together (some of Brizio's team have been on the job for more than 20 years), but really are the best in their respective fields.
Greg Weld was certainly well aware of the sterling reputation Brizio's has in the hot rodding community, and he wished his wife, Gwen, knew hot rodders the way he did. But, like many hot rod widows, Gwen just couldn't get into the lifestyle her husband was into, and she was happy driving around their home in Sun Valley, Idaho, in her black-on-blue 650ci convertible.
In an effort to expose her to the fun side of driving, Greg even went as far as trading her car in on a high-end R8 convertible, but she always looked back fondly on her 650. So Greg decided it was time she have her own hot rod—something she could enjoy with him and, in the process, get to know the great people Greg had come to know.
So Greg got the idea to surprise Gwen with a special birthday present: a Brizio-built '33 ASC convertible. He worked out the details with Brizio and soon the project was underway. Work started with a set of '33 rails from ASC that was outfitted by Brizio's with '32 Ford front horns, a 2-inch stretch in the wheelbase, a minor pinch up front, and a C'd rear section. Brizio's also added some material to the bottom of the frame at the quarter-panel section so what you see of the frame flows more even from front to back. To the frame a Winter's V-8 quick-change (set up with 31-spline axles and a 3.57:1 ratio) was located with ladder bars and RideTech coilover shocks, along with Panhard and antiroll bars and equipped with a set of Wilwood disc brakes.
Putting power to the pavement is a '10 LS3 (376-inch) engine backed to a 4L70E transmission. The Bow Tie was built by Don Hardy Chevrolet and features a nodular iron crank, powdered metal rods, a compression ratio of 10.7:1, and a stock GM camshaft.
Many folks have spent an incalculable amount of hours prepping cars for paint, but Greg wisely went with a convertible body from American Speed Company that all but eliminates the need to spend excessive time (and money) getting the body straight before the color is laid out. Jack Hagemann Jr. fabricated the aluminum hood for the car, and a Nottingham Reproductions grille (chopped 1.5 inches by Brizio's Jack Stratton) was also employed.
Once the body was ready, it was shipped to Darryl Hollenbeck's Vintage Color Studio in Concord, California, for the application of its PPG Envirobase dark blue paint (a not-so-subtle ode to the Phil Remington clone car Greg had seen with Brizio at the Grand National Roadster Show). Once back at Brizio's, '46 Ford taillights were wired up (by Brizio's Jim Vickery) as were a pair of Arrow headlights, and all the car's chrome was handled by Sherm's Custom Plating.
Another part of the well-tested Brizio formula is the addition of Sid Chavers to create an interior. Chavers has demonstrated throughout the years the perfect eye to balance what is needed for any given interior project without going overboard.
For the Weld convertible, he used oxblood-colored leather to stitch a bench seat that features individual bucket seating for both driver and passenger. The basic pleat design is complemented by the gathered pocket in the door panels as well as the unique door pull—a single hanging knotted strap.
The dash is simple, too, with a pair of Classic Instrument gauges (a speedo/tach combo and their Quad four-in-one gauge) mounted above controls for the Vintage Air A/C system. The only other bit of polished aluminum is found in the Juliano's banjo steering wheel, the tall Lokar shifter, and the cup holders in the center console.
Revealing the secret of the car build to Gwen occurred a few days before the 2014 L.A. Roadsters Father's Day Show, when Greg convinced her to stop by Brizio Street Rods to check out the group of rodders getting ready to travel south to the show.
Walking into the shop's showroom, Gwen was stopped in her tracks by a black-on-blue convertible with a big red bow on top. Everyone in the shop yelled "happy birthday" and she was overcome with surprise. Greg and Gwen then jumped in the car and drove to the show in Southern California in her new ride alongside all the other hot rodders, stopping for lunch along the way, with Gwen getting to know everyone.
Over the weekend she took an active roll in checking out all the other cars in the show, and quickly formed her own opinions on what she like and didn't (because, as everyone knows, forming an opinion is the basis of every hot rodder!).
After the show, the couple drove back up the California coastline by themselves along the Pacific Coast Highway and Highway One with stops at Big Sur and Carmel (some of the most scenic California has to offer). Greg had recently wanted to start a '40 Ford pickup project, and now Gwen offers her opinion and thoughts on what the truck should sit and look like.
After keeping the secret of the build for two years, Greg is happy he and his wife can now cruise together, and we can believe Gwen may have forgotten all about the BMW!