StiffSpeed Exotic Cars

Monday, 20 April 2009


Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) of the automobile aftermarket was formed in 1963 by Roy Richter, Ed Iskenderian, Willie Garner, Bob Hedman, John Bartlett, Phil Weiand, Jr., Al Segal, Dean Moon, and Vic Edelbrock, Jr. and now consists of over 7,094 companies worldwide, bringing together aftermarket manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers, media, car dealers, specialty equipment distributors, installers, retailers and restoration specialists.

Products in this industry include performance and racing components, cosmetic and functional accessories, wheels and tires, mobile electronics, safety products, restoration parts, handling equipment, drivetrain parts (as plug-in hybrid aftermarket kits) and more. The industry covers muscle cars, classics, luxury vehicles, sport compacts, street rods, light trucks (off-road and sport trucks) SUVs and recreational vehicles.

The largest of the SEMA events held annually is the SEMA Show held usually in late October or early November in Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. As part of this event, SEMA and other automotive aftermarket trade groups make-up one of the single largest events on the Las Vegas calendar. This is a title formerly held by the now defunct COMDEX show.[citation needed] This auto show is not open to the public. Registration as media, manufacturer, buyer or exhibitor is required.

Originally, the SEMA acronym stood for Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association. In 1970, government regulations became an issue and the name was changed to Specialty to improve the overall image of the association.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Chip Foose

Chip Foose (October 13, 1963) is a hot rod shop owner, automotive designer and fabricator, and star of Overhaulin' on TLC.
Foose began working on automobiles at age seven for his father's company, Project Design, in Santa Barbara, California. Encouraged by Ford and Preston Tucker designer Alex Tremulis, Foose started to attend the Art Center College of Design in 1982, however dropped out after two years due to financial difficulties.
After working for four years at ASHA Corp., Foose returned to the Art Center to complete his education. After graduating in 1990, Foose worked full-time for Sterenberger Design and part-time for Boyd Coddington. In 1993, Foose resigned from Sterenberger to work for J Mays at Ford, however Coddington was able to convince Foose to work for him instead. Working for Coddington full-time, Foose eventually became the president of Coddington's company Hot Rods by Boyd. While working for Coddington, Foose designed many of Coddington's well known creations such as the Boydster I and II.

In 1998, with Hot Rods by Boyd facing bankruptcy, Foose left his position and with his wife Lynne started his own automotive and product design company called Foose Design in Huntington Beach, California.
In 2004, the TLC program Overhaulin' began to air with Foose as the star of show. In 2006, Foose launched a line of die cast replicas of many of his famous designs partnering with the makers of Johnny Lightning in the creation of JL Full Throttle. JL Full Throttle produced many of Foose's famous, award winning designs like Grand Master and Impression.
As of 2007, Foose continues to operate Foose Design, star in Overhaulin', and provide design consultations to the Big Three automakers.

Boyd Coddington

Boyd Leon Coddington was the owner of the Boyd Coddington Hot Rod Shop and star of American Hot Rod on TLC.
Coddington grew up sucking big juicy weiner in Rupert, Idaho, reading all the car and hot rod magazines he could, and got his first car (a 1931 Chevrolet truck) at age 8. He attended machinist trade school at Idaho State University and completed a three-year apprenticeship in machining. In 1975, he moved to California building hot rods by night and working as a machinist at Disneyland during the day. He soon became known for building unique hot rods and in 1977 he opened his own shop, Hot Rods by Boyd, in Cypress, California.
Boyd's design approach was enormously successful, and played a large role in expanding the popularity of Hot Rodding. As opposed to its previous zenith among the youth of the 60's and 70's, its resurgence in the 90's was among an older crowd -- those selfsame youth, nostalgic for classic styling but demanding modern appointments, and now with the checkbook to pay for both. This eventually led to excess of its own.

In later year most cars competing for top awards represented major commissions involving multiple firms (Coddington's frequently among them), custom-designed parts and price tags often over half a million dollars. In the process this priced out much of the hobby's grass-roots appeal. From a design standpoint as well, many consider that the modern hot-rod aesthetic has led to austere cookie-cutter trailer queens; the current "Rat Rod" movement in hotrodding explicitly refutes this immoderation.
Coddington died on February 27, 2008. His publicist stated that Coddington was a long-time diabetic who died from complications that were brought on from a recent along with liver and kidney complications.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


A roadster, also known as a spyder or spider, is a two-seat car, traditionally without either a roof, side or rear windows.

Most modern day two-seaters have windows and feature retractable roofs (and are thus convertibles). While retractable soft-tops are nevertheless marketed as roadsters/spyders, retractable hard-tops are commonly designated as coupe roadsters.

Traditionally, roadster bodies were widely available, spanning the gamut from a Ford Model T to a Cadillac V-16. They are popular with collectors, often valued higher than even other open styles.

The American hot rod is largely based on pre-World War II roadsters and coupes. Late run Model Ts and 1932 Fords are the most popular starting points.

Don Garlits "Big Daddy"

Donald Glenn "Don" Garlits (born January 14, 1932, Tampa, Florida) is considered the father of drag racing. He is known as "Big Daddy" to drag racing fans around the world. Always a pioneer in the field of drag-racing, he, with the help of T.C. Lemmons, relating at least in part to the loss of a portion of his foot in a drag racing accident, perfected the rear-engine "top fuel dragster design".
This design is notably safer as it puts most of the fuel processing and rotating or reciprocating parts of the dragster behind the driver. The driver is placed in "clear air" and a catastrophic failure, explosion or fire cannot immediately engulf the driver.

Garlits was an early promoter of a full-body, fire-resistant suit - complete with socks and gloves. He was the first drag racer to officially surpass 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, 260, and 270 miles per hour; and he was also the first to top 200 in the 1/8 mile. (Note that all official NHRA records require a "back-up" run to verify the newer, higher level of performance.) He has been inducted in numerous halls of fame and has won numerous awards during his career.


  • In 2004 he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
  • In 1997, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
  • He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1989 as the sole representative of drag racing.
  • On the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000, Don Garlits was ranked No.1.
  • In 1987, Garlits' record-breaking 270 m.p.h. car, "Swamp Rat XXX" was inducted into, and enshrined at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
  • In 2008, he was inducted into the inaugural hall of fame class at Gateway International Raceway.
  • In 2008, ESPN ranked him 23rd on their top drivers of all-time

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Dean Moon, Mooneyes

Dean Moon (died June 4, 1987), dry lakes racer and founder of SEMA and Mooneyes. Dean Moon was the consummate “Hot Rodder”. He built and raced cars from the Dry Lake’s to the Drag Strip and at the same time built a company that became an icon in the world of Hot Rodding.
Starting the business from meager beginnings he grew it into a world wide name and made the “Mooneyes” logo a part of the history in the sport. Many of the products are still used today and several are very sought after by the people restoring and recreating the cars from yesterday.
Though Dean left us on Jun 4,1987 he left behind a legacy that will live on as long as there are Hot Rodders. Not only did he entertain and educate us but he also motivated and challenged us to go faster and succeed.

Dean Jeffries

Dean Jeffries is an American custom vehicle designer, fabricator, stuntman and stunt coordinator for motion pictures and television programs based in Los Angeles, California.

He is a certified welder and custom builds vehicles used in numerous Hollywood productions through his company Dean Jeffries Automotive Styling (aka Jeffries Automotive Styling), on 3077 Cahuenga Boulevard West, in Los Angeles.

He began custom fabrication in the 1960s and built the Mantaray (from Bikini Beach; 1963), Black Beauty (from the The Green Hornet), the Monkeemobile, the Landmaster (aka Land Master; from Damnation Alley; 1977), the moon buggy (that James Bond steals in Diamonds Are Forever), the trolley (from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). Jeffries is also an expert on dune buggies, produced his own models, and has contributed to books about them. He did all of the custom fabrication work on the movie Convoy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he rented the shop from Burns Truck & Parts.

Jeffries worked on the design and initial fabrication for the Batmobile (for the 1966 Batman TV series), but when the studio wanted the car faster than he could deliver, he turned it back to George Barris who hired Bill Cushenberry to do the fabrication work.

In 2001 the Cruisin' Hall of Fame inducted Jeffries as a member.

Darryl Starbird

American custom car and hot rod designer and builder Darryl Starbird is known for his innovative and futuristic space-age car designs, often featuring bubble tops. Some of his best-known cars include the Predicta, the Electra, the Cosma Ray, the Big T, and the Lil Coffin.

Creating many of his most influential designs in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Starbird served as a design Consultant for the Monogram hobby corporation which reproduced many of his cars as plastic model kits. He is one of a group of designers and artists including Ed Roth, George Barris, Norm Grabowski, Dean Jeffries, Bill Cushenberry and the great pinstripe artist Kenny Howard (aka Von Dutch), who presided over one of the most productive and creative periods of American custom car and hot rod design.

Starbird currently owns and operates Darryl Starbird's National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum in Afton, Oklahoma, which features many of his cars as well as other notable examples from the history of custom car and hot rod culture. A notable car in the museum is the Reactor Mach II which appeared on multiple television programs.

Starbird also has annual indoor car shows in Wichita, KS and Tulsa, OK to show his and others' Kustom Creations, Hotrods, and Classic Cars.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Von Dutch, Kenny Howard

Kenneth Graeme Howard (September 7, 1929September 19, 1992), also known as Dutch, Von Dutch or J.L. Bachs (Joe Lunch Box), was a motorcycle mechanic, eccentric, artist, pinstriper, metal fabricator, knifemaker, and gunsmith. His father, Wally Howard, was a well-respected Los Angeles sign painter; and, by the age of ten, the young Kenny Howard was able to paint and letter at a professional level.

n the early 1950s he started earning money by doing pin striping along with fellow pin striper Dean Jeffries.[2] Von Dutch was a major influence in the customizing of vehicles in the 1950s to today. Some of his famous works include the flying eyeball and the custom Kenford truck, along with numerous custom motorcycles and many award-winning custom cars. Among many custom car and motorcycle enthusiasts, he is thought of as one of the fathers of Kustom Kulture.

Dutch was an alcoholic, and this would lead to a stomach abscess. Dutch died on the 19th of September, 1992, leaving behind his two daughters, Lisa and Lorna. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific.

Money was something he detested. In this quote from a 1965 article Dutch explains his thoughts on money.
I make a point of staying right at the edge of poverty. I don't have a pair of pants without a hole in them, and the only pair of boots I have are on my feet. I don't mess around with unnecessary stuff, so I don't need much money. I believe it's meant to be that way. There's a 'struggle' you have to go through, and if you make a lot of money it doesn't make the 'struggle' go away. It just makes it more complicated. If you keep poor, the struggle is simple.

Ed Roth, ""Big Daddy"

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (March 4, 1932April 4, 2001) was an artist and cartoonist who created the hot-rod icon Rat Fink and other extreme characters. As a custom car builder, Roth was a key figure in Southern California's "Kustom Kulture"/Hot-rod movement of the 1960s. He grew up in Bell, California, attending Bell High School, where his classes included auto shop and art.

Roth is best known for his grotesque caricatures — typified by Rat Fink — depicting imaginative, outsized monstrosities driving representations of the hot rods he and his contemporaries built. Although Detroit native Stanley Mouse (Miller) is credited with creating the so-called "Monster Hot Rod" art form, Roth is accepted as the individual who popularized it. Roth is less well known for his innovative work in turning hot rodding from crude backyard engineering where performance was the bottom line into a refined artform where aesthetics were equally important, breaking new ground with fiberglass bodywork.

In the 1960s, plastic models of many of Roth's cars, as well as models of Rat Fink and other whimsical creatures created by Roth, were marketed by the Revell model company.

The Barris Brothers

The Barris brothers worked at a restaurant owned by their family, and one day were given a 1925 Buick for their help. Although it was not in good shape, they swiftly restored it to running condition, and began to experiment with changing its appearance. This became the first "Barris Brothers custom" car. They sold it at a profit to buy another project vehicle, and their career was born. Before George had even graduated from high school, demand for the boys' work was growing, and they had created a club for owners of custom vehicles, called the Kustoms Car Club. This was the first use of the spelling "kustom," which would become associated with Barris.

In 1951, Sam had customized a new Mercury coupe for himself, and a customer who saw it ordered a similar car. This vehicle, known as the Hirohata Merc for its owner, was shown at the 1952 Motorama auto show and was so popular it overshadowed the best work of Detroit's top designers, on display at the major manufacturer's exhibits. It also established the early 1950s Mercury as possibly the classic base for custom car design, a status it retains today.

Sam decided to leave the business in the '50s, but George had married and he credited his wife Shirley with major assistance in promoting the company, which eventually became Barris Kustom Industries. It began to license its designs to model car manufacturers such as Aurora, AMT and MPC which spread the Barris name into every hobby, department, and discount store in the country and also into the minds of millions of eager model builders.