TECUMSEH, MICHIGAN: When an extraordinary build comes along, it’s celebrated for being greater than the sum of its parts. And when those parts start as quality components such as a steering column from ididit, the end result is destined to be remembered.
Such is the case for the 1955 Chevy Sedan built by Matt Martinez in his three-bay garage in Thornton, Colorado. Inspired both by a 1956 Nomad featured in the Overhaulin’ booth at the 2007 SEMA Show and Martinez’ status as a family man, it was named Tri-Five of the Year at the 2017 Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Like most great projects, Martinez’ black beauty benefitted from a combination of fortuitous timing, assistance from friends and family, top-quality products, and lots of skill, inspiration and hard work behind the scenes.
From discovering the body locally, to landing a smokin’ deal on an LS3 and 6-speed combo that only had 300 miles on it, to knowing just who to call for specialty work, Martinez’ Tri-Five project always seemed like it was just meant to be. Anyone who’s seen it in person will be quick to agree.
ididit is proud that Martinez chose the company’s 1955-56 Chevy Paintable Tilt Floor shift column to pilot this award winner. The company has been making the finest steering columns and related accessories for hot rod and muscle car enthusiasts for the past 30 years, working side-by-side with the local, grassroots builders who power this amazing industry.
“We were really impressed by Matt’s dedication to this build, and his hard work is obvious when you see how beautiful this Chevy turned out,” Marty Waterstraut of ididit said. “A big part of ididit’s success has always been supporting grassroots builders who use and test our products on the projects they are passionate about, and Matt’s Chevy is the perfect example of hard work and commitment resulting in a truly incredible build. Congratulations to Matt and his team on winning Tri-Five of the Year.”
Martinez’ award-winning Chevy started with a chassis from Street Rod Garage while Martinez searched for a ’55 shell.
“I ended up finding what I never thought possible,” he says. “A guy had a solid body on a body cart, with no chassis or running gear, and it was local. I was pretty excited.”
A friend who converts right-hand drive G8 Utes from Australia to left hand drive for the U.S. market found the engine and transmission. After purchase, it was taken to Turnkey Engine Supply for a refresh including MAHLE 10.7:1 pistons, a COMP Cams cam, and Holley Terminator EFI assembly with a single-plane intake, jumping the horsepower from 430 to a dyno-tuned 540 hp.
Wanting the car to be timeless, Martinez kept the plating to a minimum and dressed the engine in a huge, vintage-style air cleaner and ’57 Chevy script valve covers on adapters from Delmo’s Speed. Hedman Hedders and a Concept One front runner system were also added.
Since everything Martinez owns is black, the color was a no-brainer. He’s also a fan of the clean and low-slung style of Bobby Alloway, so the body was dropped and smoothed by Steve Sheats Sr. and Jr. at True Colors Customs before the PPG paint was sprayed.
Body mods were limited to shaving the door locks and restyling the bumper over-riders. Martinez scored a round of Salt Flats-inspired wheels from Budnik featuring three-bar knockoffs and hidden lug nuts. He also turned to Lee Bumgardner of Zoomers Automotive for help, including the trick exhaust system.
Finally, the car was taken to Mark Lopez at Elegance Auto Interiors in Upland, California for a timeless leather treatment. Lopez added seats from a 1962 Impala and created a custom console. The dash was crowned with a matching ’62 Impala steering wheel and fitted with gauges from Redline Gauge Works.
Lopez’ shop-neighbor Carlos Rodriguez at The Art of Sound masterfully added a premium 14-speaker sound system, neatly tucked out of sight and controlled by a stock-appearing radio.
Back at home, Martinez says the car fought him nearly every step of the way, earning a few choice words and the unofficial nickname of Black Cat. But, the headaches were worth it and true testament to the determination of this hometown builder.
Even his son Alek got in on the act, helping with much of the chassis assembly, installing the windows, and polishing countless stainless steel hardware pieces. The two worked side-by-side in their home garage in their spare time, only farming out things they couldn’t do themselves.
Martinez’ ’55 Chevy started as a passion project and turned in to a nationally-recognized build. The true backbone of the performance and aftermarket industry lives in stories like Martinez’, where every product is part of a greater vision to build not only a great vehicle, but mirror a piece of the builder’s identity. And with the help of companies like ididit, grassroots builders find partners and resources to help craft their masterpiece build with the best products on the market.
Grassroots builders interested in using ididit products to help with projects and builds can visit www.performancebusinessmedia.com and fill out the Sponsorship Submission form.
December, 2017 – Career-long industry members and current GForce Performance Engineering management, Bob Engel and Jesse Powell, have purchased GForce from private equity that has held the company’s stake for several years. GForce Performance Engineering is a Wichita, Kansas-based company focused on driveline upgrades for performance vehicles, positioned as an industry leader in independent rear suspension components.
“Obviously, we are extremely excited about the acquisition,” says Powell, GForce president. “We feel by unifying management and ownership with a common vision, the company will really hit its stride and continue the growth and success we’ve been working toward.”
Powell began his career at Aeromotive, Inc. as marketing and communications director. After Aeromotive, he did a brief stint with The Enthusiast Network before leaving to step in as president of GForce.
Engel began his career in the automotive industry at AutoMeter. After many years working his way up the ladder, he left to become a manufacturer’s rep for Kunzman and Associates, only to eventually pursue his passion in performance tuning.
For the last two years, GForce has been under the direction of Powell and Engel and seen significant growth.
“GForce has a unique opportunity in today’s market,” adds Engel, vice president and partner. “The product is extremely relevant and the manufacturing process is one that GForce has worked hard to develop. This, coupled with some of the processes and procedures we have added over the last couple of years, has produced some of best driveline parts on the market.”
GForce Engineering was founded in the mid ’90s by aerospace engineer and longtime drag racer Chris Nichols. The company saw several iterations, from a local speed shop to a fabrication and machine shop. In 2009, Nichols reimagined GForce Engineering as a true manufacturer and quickly found his place in the industry producing performance CV axles, driveshafts and driveline components, specializing in IRS and AWD performance vehicles. Nichols continues his interest in the company as lead engineer with a focus on new product development and R&D.
“Bob, Chris and I believe that in today’s performance marketplace, real innovation will come from manufacturers that are led by enthusiasts with a passion for this industry. That’s why we are investing so much into new products and new procedures, with a goal to produce better products at a better price for our customers,” says Powell.
For more information about GForce Engineering and the advantages its products can provide, visit www.GForce1320.com or call (316) 260-8433 M-F 9am to 5pm CST.
- B8 5100 (Dual Steering Damper) | 2013-2017 RAM 2500/3500 4WD | Part #53-264817
- B8 6112 | 2015+ Ford F-150 2WD | Part #47-258075
- B6 4600 | 2017+ Ford F250/F350 4WD | Part #24-274937
- B8 6112 | 2005-2017 Nissan Frontier/Xterra | Part #47-266711
- B8 6112 | 2000-2006 Toyota Tundra 4WD | Part #47-260337
- B8 5162 | 2014+ RAM 2500 4WD | Part #46-263889
- B6 Performance | 2014+ Nissan Rogue | Part #22-251534
- B8 Performance Plus | 2016+ Fiat 124 Spider/Mazda Miata MX-5 | Part #24-249607
- BILSTEIN Clubsport® | 2016+ BMW M2 | Part #48-268721
- B16 (PSS10) | 2017+ Audi A4/A4 Quattro | Part #48-262316
After fielding numerous requests to design an ididit-quality column for the popular 1969-76 Chevrolet Corvette, the company began research and development on a collapsible tilt floor shift. In-demand features include: eight-position tilt, self-canceling turn signals, four-way flashers, knobs and levers, 3-7/8- and 4-1/4-inch wiring plug, 3/4-inch DD extendable lower shaft, pre-welded under-dash mount, model-specific floor mount, and ignition with relay pack.
“The Corvette is an American icon,” Marty Waterstraut of ididit said. “By bringing new technology to classic design, this column is crafted with the attention to detail and high level of quality ididit is known for.”
ididit offers the column in paintable steel (Part No. 1520710010), chrome (Part No. 1520710020), or a black powder-coat (1520710051).
Three separate installation kits are also available: Manual Stock Box (Part No. 3000054949) that includes 3/4-inch -36 X 3/4-inch DD rag joint; Power Box (Part No. 3000054940) that includes 3/4-inch DD X 13/16-inch -36 rag joint; and Rack & Pinion (Part No. 3000014949) that includes U-joint.
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: Custom vehicle builders and race teams can now create their own headers with the new DIY Weld Up Header Kits from Kooks Headers & Exhaust.
The new kits come with everything needed to build custom headers, including twelve J-Bends, two slip-on collectors (available in 3-inch or 3.5-inch), and two engine specific flanges.
Available steel options for the DIY Weld Up Header Kits include corrosion-and rust-free 304 Grade Stainless Steel ($799 per kit), and cost-effective Mild Steel ($599 per kit). High-quality 304 Grade Stainless Steel provides longevity, withstands high heat and can be repaired, whereas Mild Steel is geared for race teams constantly changing their setups. Both varieties include 1-3/4-inch, 1-7/8-inch or 2-inch primary tube sizing options. Kooks ensures the quality of its steel by sourcing it locally from a manufacturing plant in its hometown of Statesville.
The 3/8-inch thick flanges are laser cut in-house by Kooks with their new State-of-the-Art Mitsubishi Laser Machine. The tubing is Mandrel bent, which allows air to flow through more smoothly and unrestricted, allowing more power to push through, a clear benefit in headers.
“These new Do-It-Yourself kits provide builders with the quality, American-made materials we use at Kooks and the freedom to design and install their own set of headers specific to the needs and goals of their project,” Chris Clark of Kooks Headers said. “We are excited to see the custom set ups created by the talented fabricators and builders out there.”
For more information, call a Kooks Headers and Exhaust representative at 866-586-5665 or visit kooksheaders.com.
ABOUT KOOKS HEADERS AND EXHAUST: For the past 55 years, Kooks Headers & Exhaust has built a sterling reputation in the performance aftermarket and racing industry for their relentless dedication to quality, performance and innovation. Products produced by the company have been made in the USA since 1962. For more information, call Kooks Headers & Exhaust at 1-866-586-5665 or go to http://www.kooksheaders.com.