There is really no solid definition of a hot rod which is why there are dozens of different types of hot rods, and comes with it are different types of hot rod fans. There are Hemi fans, Deuce fans, Chevy fans, Flathead fans, and the old school fans that you can find in any hot rod show. One hot rod fan is Ken Reister. He says that he is a simple roadster guy. You may have heard of him as he is one of the few people who won both the Detroit Autorama’s Don Ridler Memorial award (2005), which is considered as the highest honors in the hot rod community, and America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award (2006) with his 1936 Ford “Impression” which was designed by Chip Foose. Ken has been around hot rods since he was still young, he already made a 1955 Chevy in his high school days and continues the passion for hot rods. His love for hot rods made him start his own shop called Reister’s Rod Shop in Colorado.

Together with his crew, Ken makes cars for his customers that want something new. They also make time for some of Ken’s projects that includes making cars for his four sons. After they finally complete the car for ken’s youngest son, Ken said to his wife that he thinks he is finally done making hot rods. It was a big surprise for his family, especially his youngest daughter, Melissa, who said “What am I?” Chopped liver?”


Ken did not realize that his daughter also inherited his passion for hot rods, even though Melissa requested to use Ken’s 1938 cabriolet to go to prom (Denying her date for the chance to drive the hot rod himself). Ken realized that he was not yet done making hot rods for his children, he asked Melissa what she wants. Like a true hot rodder, she asked for something old, looks cool, sounds awesome, powerful, and is a great drive.

The build began with a 1932 frame delivered by Scandinavian Street Rods, together with Ford 90inch rear (3.55:1), ladder bars, and adjustable Bilstein coilover shocks. Vintage Chassis Works provided the four inch drop I-beam axle, where Pete & Jakes stainless steel hairpins and monoleaf spring were attached. Ford disc brakes from the early 1970s were used for the front wheels and 11 inch Ford drum brakes for the rear wheels, with the chassis piping made in polished stainless made in Ken’s shop. For better handling, a Vega-type box, supplied by Flaming River, that is connected to one off a kind wheels that was crafter by Curtis Speed Equipment using Chip Foose’s designs. The 16 x 8 and 18 x 8 wheels are fitted with 205/55-16 and 255/55-18 Pirelli rubber respectively.



There are a lot of ways to make a hot rod go fast, but Ken wanted something different. A GenV Vortec V6 was mounted for Melissa’s special hot rod. With the model name LV3 by GM, the 262 cubic inches GenV Vortec V6 has an aluminum block and heads having a compression ratio of 11:1 and able to provide almost 300 hp and a torque of above 300 lb-ft. it won’t just make the hot rod go fast, it’s going to go really fast.


Parts for Vortex V6 are rare so Ken had to be creative and improvise, the made finned valve covers, unique headers, one off a kind exhaust system that used Flowmaster muffler, and many other parts.

Edelbrock intake and carburetor sets on top of the engine, and other rare performance equipment including SPAL fan, Walker radiator, Tuff Stuff alternator made of chrome, and MSD ignition kit. Everything is then connected to a TH350 transmission complete with Lokar shifter that directs the power to a custom rear driveshaft made by Front Range Driveline.

The Deuce roadster’s body made from steel was fabricated by Brookvile Roadsters using a large press. The windshield posts and foldable canvas top was removed by Reisters to make the roadster’s profile lower. 20-louver hood sides were placed and then the body was finished with two-stage Jet Black Axalta (DuPont) done by Wayne Saunders from AAD based in Colorado Springs.


In the interior, woodwork dashboard was made by Wayne Saunders that includes five Stewar-Warner gauges. The terracotta color of the woodwork goes well with the whole interior design. A 1940 Ford steering wheel provided by Vintique is attached to the Flaming River tilt column. The leather work also shares the same terracotta color that was made by Rob Penna of Broomfield, Colorado. The floor is then covered by brown Mercedes square-weave carpet.


The modern techs as well as the 1952 Lincoln E-Brake handle are well hidden to maintain the classic look of the interior, Rebel Wiring kit was used to hide all the wirings. A set of 1932 Ford commercial headlights, chrome stock bumpers, 2 1935 tail lights, and side mirrors supplied by Bob Drake complete the external look.

The finished hot rod was name Missy, which is the same nickname for Melissa. Finally, a hand painted portrait of a 3 year old Melissa was placed on the dash. These pictures were taken before the portrait was added.

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