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Monty Booth's hotrods

Broadcast dates : 21st Nov 2004
25th Nov 2004


Every hot-rodder’s dream starts out something like this. Good solid metal with perhaps a bit of surface rust to take the sheen off the paint that’s left over.

All the essential trim, which gives you the option of retaining the bits you want and discarding the rest.

This is a basic canvass, covered at this point in rust-killing gunk. But when the time is right, this 1949 bullet-nosed Ford will be cruising the streets faster than Henry Ford and his son Edsel ever dreamed possible.

Monty Booth is the man who owns the mouldering old Ford. And once you step inside his Aladdin’s cave of street-rodding treasures out in Midrand, you realize that it’s only a matter of time before the forty-niner will be gleaming in candy-apple splendor and burbling like any well-fettled V8 should. Chevys, Fords, Willys, pick-ups, convertibles, coupes.

A massive 671 Dyers blower, or Supercharger, sits atop this big-block Chevy motor, crammed into a 140 Willys two-door Gasser, as these cars are known. Horsepower outputs from a motor like this? Think big, six-hundred or so, perhaps even more.

Pinball machines, posters and the inevitable Hog motor-sickle, or Harley Davidson as those not-in-the-know would call it. This is one man’s idea of street-rodding heaven.
Monty’s second street rod was a classic 1938 Chev Coupe, a car that is a staple for many rodders in South Africa.

Painted in Corvette red by the famous Harry Corbett, it runs the classic Ford 38-style blue-dot tail lights which are totally illegal everywhere, but say loud and clear that you are a rebel with a cause.

Other touches include a Jaguar XJ6 filler cap neatly "frenched" into the bodywork, loud-and-proud exhaust pipes and the low look.

Even lower is Monty’s 1958 Chev Apache pick-up, finished in mean black. This is not just mean to look at, it runs a seven-and-a-half-litre big-block Chevy motor, a wild cam, and interior detailed with BMW seats, a Momo wood-rim steering wheel, VDO gauges custom built into the standard dash and impressive Steelie Wheels.

These are imported wheels from the United States and feature the retro look caps and chrome trim that Monty was after.

As he says, why do every rod the same? Every one should be unique…
Another dream he had was to recapture the moment of his youth when he spent time in a Chev El Camino pick up.

He loves the flames, done once again by the famous Mr Corbett. The body was a wreck when he bought it, but hours of lead filling and a special V8 grille give it a Muscle car look from the late 1960s.

The flames represent hundreds of hours of masking and re-masking in reverse fashion to get the different colours overlaying each other.
It’s time for a cruise and what better car than a look-alike of one of the stars of the movie Grease?

This car is in fact a 1942 Ford two-door, chopped to convertible configuration by previous owner Steve Katz.

The headlights have been frenched or sunken in, and all the excess trim on the car has been ditched in favour of a menacing black presence.

Thankfully the chrome 1940s Ford grille remains, although it has been tidied up, and gives a wonderful shimmering presence as the car cruises the streets.
For street rodders, the go is more about potential than actually exploiting all that horsepower.

For this reason most cars run automatic transmissions to go with the ubiquitous Chevy V8 power.

Inside, the look is plain and clean, with round classic dials enhancing the no-frills approach.

The wheels are from a 1980 Chevrolet Corvette and the low stance is thanks to a late-model Chevy suspension.

The number plate is a play on the car’s year of manufacturer, and the fact that its owner thinks it is "Far Too Cool."

You could probably say the same about all of Monty Booth’s cars.

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