American Ice: Hot Rodding 1980s Style

When it comes to hot rodding, style and inspiration are often about looking back as much they are looking forward.

Thinking about ways to build a bitchin’ ’32 Ford Roadster? Most would recommend using cars built during the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s as a starting point. What you don’t hear as much are people talking about how great the builds of the 1980s and ’90s were.

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But one of my favorite hot rods from the 2016 Sacramento Autorama is car that fully embraces the late-’80s style of hot rod building. In fact, this Deuce Roadster known as American Ice was originally completed in 1989, and recently fully restored.

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While many hot rod builds from the ’80s and early-’90s can look dated and sometimes tacky by today’s standards, that’s not the case with American Ice, which was created by Dennis King and is owned by Gary Matranga.

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The original steel-bodied ’32 manages to look modern while also having plenty of lineage to the more traditional ’40s and ’50s hot rods. I especially like the side scoop on the color-matching between the body and the wheels.

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And speaking of the wheels, they are custom-made by American Rebel Manufacturing and measure 15×6-inch up front and a massive 15×14-inch in the rear.

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You don’t see many ’32s with a fat tire look any more, but in this case it’s a perfect fit. Also, check out the C.A.E quick-change diff with independent rear suspension to match the coilover shocks up front.

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And powering American Ice? A 1957 Chrysler Hemi displacing 401 cubic inches and fitted with a BDS 6:71 blower along with Hilborn electronic fuel injection.

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Not only is American Ice a beautiful throwback to an often overlooked era of hot rod building, it’s a damn impressive machine on its own merits, and one that clearly stands out from the crowd.

A big thumbs up to Mr. Matranga for bringing this one back.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media



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The pop out (down?) head lights are great!


come on no one will talk about that exhaust O_O that thing is bonkers... 
exhaust under the diff?! For christs sake look at it its gorgeous!!




Straight gangsta!  From the headlights to the exhaust and everything in between.  Two big thumbs up :)


What a flood of memories.  It was the late 80's early 90's that a much younger version of me was starting to realize that cars were cool.  With the knowledge that only American cars were good, and anything from Japan was a cheap crappy car (mostly from my Dad who now swears by Honda), hot rods became my primary interest.
Builds like were the very first things that piqued my imagination in the automotive world.  Thanks for posting it.


So Bitchin.

Omer (beercoozie)

i'm eagerly anticipating the day when full late-80s early-90s custom car/mini-truck/hot-rod/pro-street style comes back. magenta, teal, and tangerine scallops... "hammer" wheels... crazy geometric murals... tweed interiors... scissor-lift beds... billet everything...


Simple, elegant designs will always be timeless. I hope it gets driven in anger from time to time.

Second thought: I wonder if billet trim and matte finishes will go the way of pastel colors and geometric side stripes in the not so distant future. I wonder what the next trend will be?


It is so refreshing to see a restored 80's built hot rod, as opposed to the "traditional" hot rod, which isn't really traditional (sorry Traditional hot rod guys, but OG dudes in the 50's and 60's didn't pay top dollar for old parts on ebay. They used whatever they could get their hands! Anyways, enough bitching about Hipster Rodders. I do really dig this thing.


RahRooReeRah  Thank you for pointing this out lol, I feel like such an idiot, I looked at both sides of the car about four times each before I saw your comment and realized they were drop down lights.  I just thought "wow the single headlight is unique and I kinda like it".  Love the exhaust as well, this thing is badass, I usually don't like rods of this style, but this one is just so well done.


OG dudes might not have put on top dollar parts from ebay on their cars, but those top dollar parts ARE what they used to use. Now if you just want people to maintain the spirit of using cheap parts but in a modern day setting, you'd want hot rod guys to run mass produced, low quality, (made in China) bits just for the sake of being cheap. Not sure if that's a good way to go either...


This kind of thing is kind of a guilty pleasure for me: personally love this stance on a model A or B (or even T). Enough with the pizza-cutters already!

(I choose to overlook the indicators set into the cowl and the wing mirrors moulded into windscreen ;)


good car for the race and I'm sure very fast


the car was very good 
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