Gassers, Sleds, & Rods: The Cars Of Billetproof

Yesterday I spent some time introducing some of the sights from Billetproof California 2012. Now, as we’ve been doing during our event coverage lately I want to focus in on some of the specific cars that caught my eye in this Billetproof-themed Spotlight O-Rama.

Let’s go ahead and begin with the overtly styled Ford Falcon Station Wagon pictured above, shall we?

When the little Falcon hit the market in the early 1960s it was one of the most basic cars you could get from any brand. There are many words to describe this particular example of the Falcon, but “basic” is not one of them. First off there’s the shaved and smoothed body along full fender skirts that completely conceal the rear wheels and dramatically alter the car’s profile.

The look is of course aided by the typically low stance. There’s just something about the long roof body style that lends itself well to the slammed treatment.

The paintwork on the car is over the top to say the least. Flames and floral patterns are just part of the motif. Admittedly, there might be a little too much going here, but it still fits with the Falcon’s overall theme.

It’s a theme that continues on to the interior of the car. Just peeking in you can see flames, cheetah patterns, and something that looks more like a cloud than a bench seat. Finally, don’t forget the cut up steering wheel for that retro space age look.

Now we move from a car with one of the craziest, most intricate paintjobs to a ’32 Ford Coupe with a body that lacks any paint whatsoever. Unlike the Falcon, simplicity is the name of the game here.

The cockpit of this Deuce is as spartan as it gets. I was quite happy to look in and see the manual transmission and floor-mounted Hurst shifter. After all, to see an automatic in there just wouldn’t be right.

Mounted up front is one of Dean Moon’s signature spun aluminum fuel tanks. Like the Hurst Shifter in the previous photograph, the Moon Tank is one of those things that would deserve a spot in the aftermarket part hall of fame.

The same can be said for the big ‘n skinny five-spoke mag combo the car was running. The theme of running a combination of tasteful and proven parts is always hard to argue with, whether you talking about a ’32 Ford or any other car for that matter.

Finally, there is the louvered rear decklid which makes for a competition feel that’s further accentuated by the raw, unpainted finish. It may also bring to mind the fighter planes and bombers of the World War Two era that have long been served as inspiration for Hot Rod builders.

Billetproof is known first and foremost as a gathering of classic American Hot Rods and customs, but that that didn’t stop me from investigating this dumped Volkswagen Transporter that was parked outside in the parking lot.

As is often the case with the VW Bus, this one was wearing its patina proudly.

One of the things I dig about ratty VW Type IIs is that they rarely try to hide their humble, utilitarian origins. This one was equipped with a full length roof rack for example.

Any one who has driven a stock Volkswagen Bus will know that this warning is for real. In contrast to what many will say, I firmly believe that slow can be cool.

Of course it’s no surprise to see a VW like this one outside of Billetproof as its been done very much in the same low buck, grassroots, slightly bohemian style that defines the show.

Back in the main show now, I stumbled across this very aggressively done ’55 Oldsmobile. When a car has been customized to this degree, the front bumper is one of the only things that gives away its origins.

Even for experts, it can sometimes be quite a challenge to correctly identify the custom cars that have been altered so heavily from their factory origins.

One of the defining features of this custom Olds was the dramatic roof chop – the windshield was only around a foot tall at its center section. As you can see from the interior view, this one looks to be a work in progress.

Bold, bullet style wheel covers are the perfect choice to sit beneath the airbagged body.

In most cases the aggressive Lead Sled style is mostly seen on earlier model cars, but this Oldsmobile shows that it can also be very effective on mid ’50s models.

No rundown of the cars at Billetproof would be complete without a representative from the Gasser crowd. In this case we have a very tidy ’55 Chevy two-door post car.

Not only was the car in fantastic cosmetic condition, but the builder had nailed all the details that define what a Gasser should be. From the headers dumping into the fenders and the five-spoke mags…

…to the pair of cross-mounted Holley four barrel carbs mounted atop the small block Chevy under the hood.

The 55’s interior was a lesson in period correct style with bucket seats, and aftermarket  steering wheel, a Sun tach and a four-speed with a Hurst shifter.

Let’s not forget The Temptations tape mounted in the eight-track player. There’s always something to be said for a car that looks like it could have been plucked straight from the past.

There is really no better way to wrap this post than with a 1951 Mercury representing as the quintessential Lead Sled. Unlike some of the more extreme cars at Billetproof, this one looks very much like something you’d see at a California car show circa 1959 or so. Another time capsule.

All of the traditional custom elements were there, including wide whites and full wheel covers.

As well as the cop car style spotlights mounted up front. I’ve never been quite sure what these were used for (fooling around I’m guessing?) but it’s an important part of the look.

As is the subtle pinstriping laid over the Merc’s turquoise paint job.

With that I’ll go ahead and close out the first half of my Billetproof car rundown.

I’ll return tomorrow to close out my look at Billetproof with one more selection of my picks from the show.




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The Falcon does it for me


Wow awesome selection of cars Mike! I LOVE the whole scene Billetproof has. Just a bunch of regular guys, with cool old cars that were built to be driven! You cant go wrong with that


 @Dusty Monkey Exactly. The vibe is what makes it so great. Even if you aren't big into Hot Rods and Customs it's hard not to dig it!


 @RodChong It's got just the right amount of craze!


 @Mike Garrett  @RodChong I must say, I think it's a little too far over the top. My heart is set on that beautiful two door gasser.