Johnson's Hot Rod Shop
Alan Johnson established his stellar reputation building picture-perfect street rods, and much like other shops in that genre, he has noticed an increased interest in postwar projects. Nevertheless, to anyone who thinks the street rod market is circling the drain, Alan will be happy to introduce them to the classy '32 Ford B-400 that took the 2009 Ridler Award.
PHR readers likely know Alan's name because he painted our project g/28 Camaro, or perhaps because of the unforgettable G-Force 'Cuda that blended street rod aesthetics and execution with supercar performance aspirations. He definitely knows his way around a muscle car and how to make it his own. The 'Cuda may have been in a class all its own, but its basic mantra seems to be filtering down; everything is getting more aggressive. Even Alan's street rod and cruiser customers are looking into what the performance return is on the parts used in their cars. Rather than just looking and sounding cool and riding pleasantly, customers want a level of performance that approaches modern standards, but without giving up that slick street rod style. The '58 Buick Caballero wagon in his shop will be sporting a truck-arm rear suspension rather than the expected four-link in the rear, not only because it works well for getting the car low, but because it also works well for keeping the rearend under control in the big Buick. The same is true for the '71 Duster with the 6.1L Hemi Alan is just beginning on; it's planned to be a touring car that will take cues from the G-Force for enthusiastic driving. "The folks who aren't driving and enjoying their cars are really missing out," Alan says. For those inclined toward more doors, Alan's been floating the idea of a plush four-door sedan powered by a BMW M5 engine. Give him a call if that intrigues you.
But all that doesn't mean the direction is changing at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop; street rods are not only still alive and well, Alan has a good idea where the typically technologically stagnate industry is heading. Well, at least he knows where he's going to attempt to take it. Floating around in his mind and on a few sketches, Alan is formulating plans for a project to reinvent the way street rods are viewed. Inspired by the new Factory Five '33 Ford track car kit and Hollywood Hot Rods La Carrera Panamericana prepped '32 Ford RPU, Alan is ready to create a street rod that really handles. The key is that it has to retain a certain level of traditional street rod style, flash, and design, but performing far beyond any other in its genre. Think of it as a prewar version of G-Force mixed with the B-400.
Johnson's Hot Rod Shop