- From the collection of Mr. Skip Barber
- Jack Lentz’s “Golden Rod”
- Original, unrestored 1950s East Coast street rod
- Featured at the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
- Wonderful, original, and unrestored condition
255.4 cu. in., 1949 Mercury flathead V-8 engine with Weiand heads and twin Stromberg carburetors on a Fenton manifold, three-speed Ford manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106 in.
Jack Lentz, the creator, has lived to tell the tale, and he tells it best.
“When I got back from Korea in 1953, I built a new auto body shop in Bedford, New Jersey. I liked the Deuce Fords. There was a guy in the next town with one, but he didn’t want to sell, because he had brought his children home from the hospital in the car. I finally made a deal with him for $75. I went to a hot rod show and got all enthused. I thought about colors, and since gold was my trade color, the idea of ‘Golden Rod’ just hit me.”
The car that Lentz built with his own two hands is a classic East Coast rod, with its original 1932 Ford body shaved, decked, channeled, and lowered over a modified original chassis. “I wanted a typical East Coast hot rod, but smooth,” he recalls. “That’s why the door hinges and antenna are all frenched. The windshield is a rear window from a car, cut and upside down. We had a little junkyard here and I got what I wanted out of it. The fenders are the side-mount covers from a Reo Royale hearse! I got two of them and cut the four fenders out of the two of them.”
Lentz kept and displayed “Golden Rod” for 15 years before selling it for $2,500. Today, it still wears its original 20 coats of appropriately tinted metallic lacquer, picked out by subtle pinstriping, and wrapping around a classic gold and white interior. Under the hood is still the original milled 1949 Mercury flathead V-8, fully modified and adorned with authentic, period street equipment from the corner hardware store, including Weiand cylinder heads and dual Stromberg carburetors, riding a Fenton manifold. Incredibly, the entire car remains totally original, as it was built in the 1950s, down to the original set of carpets, and it is still in wonderful condition. If there is ever a preservation class out there for hot rods, here is a contender for the blue ribbon.
Displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1999, and offered here from the esteemed collection of racing legend Skip Barber, “Golden Rod” is one of the finest surviving period examples of East Coast hot-rodding. The buyer will receive three copies of a 2002 reprint of the brochure made up for the car in 1955, courtesy of its builder, Jack Lentz, who graciously signed one of the copies.