by Scotty Gosson
(Excerpt from Scotty Gosson's Rat Rods: Rodding's Imperfect Stepchildren Published in 2012)
Grass Valley, California
1928 Ford Coupe
His timing marks lined up perfectly. Tyler’s generation has claimed rats to be their hot rods. He and dad Craig built several cars together, but Tyler’s rat run began at the Turlock swap meet. “It was a rainy Sunday. I saw this coupe and was curious if I could even fit into it. I am over 6 feet tall and weigh 270 punds, but had to stretch to reach the pedals!” Bob Chandler (who is 6 feet, 4 inches tall) built the coupe to drag race in the Nostalgia Inliner class. Bob sold his old warrior to Tyler that day, knowing it was the beginning of a new chapter for all involved, none of whom could’ve guessed the story would still be unfolding, all these years later.
Tyler drove the coupe for a couple of years with Bob’s old 1,588-cc Toyota four-banger harassing a nervous Toyota truck rear end with welded spider gears. He managed to have all that fun without any serious consequences and the coupe served its purpose well, introducing Tyler to a world viewed from the driver’s side of a chopped windshield.
During those years behind the wheel, Tyler took copious mental notes, which he and Craig transferred to 3-D after tearing the coupe down for a rebuild. The rails were boxed, all chassis components were refurbished, and some “iffy” body panels were replaced. The Souters installed a new floor, fresh plumbing, and wiring. But question marks still hovered where motor and transmission mounts should be. “I wanted something different than the standard 350/350 recalls Tyler. He and Craig found the solution in a wrecked 1995 Mustang with a V-6/5-speed combo for $500, which only prompted another question: What to do about the conspicuous EFI throttle body? The answer was the same as it’s been since rodding’s first day—make something better yourself. So father and son concocted a homebrewed tri-power intake atop the bent six. Three 97s still work as good today as they did for Grandpa. Mounts were fabbed, the drivetrain was stabbed, and Tyler was grabbed, big time.
He’s been flat-footing it ever since, ratting all over creation with his club, The Roadents. And Craig is also a regular on the scene. “He’s my best friend,” Tyler says of his dad. “We work and play together very well. There’s nothing in life we can’t do or overcome.” So, the old drag coupe still carries a winning attitude.
Here’s a guy who might otherwise be lying on the couch, playing a video game. But thanks to a proper upbringing, Tyler is out on the streets with his gang of hoodlums (the Roadents Car Club) cheating death and/or jail. Rest easy, America. (Photo Courtesy Rory Bright)