Junichi Shimodaira's 1930 Ford
1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan owned and built by Junichi Shimodaira of Paradise Road in Nagoya, Japan. The car, named Rod Riguez, is an iconic Japanese show rod that has attracted attention and publicity all over the world. Rod Riguez blends hot rod, custom and lowrider styling cues in a special way that for many has become the definition of a Japanes rod and custom. Rod Riguez has been one of the cars that paved the way for the Japanese rod and custom scene in the 2000s.
Junichi started the build in 2002 by reworking the original frame. For a low stance, the height of the car was brought down by Z'ing the frame 6 inches in the rear and 4 inches up front. The frame was then boxed for additional strength before a 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 303 c.i. V8 engine was installed between the frame rails. The engine was hooked to the original Hydra-matic transmission. A TCI dropped axle kit with GM Caliber disc brakes were installed up front, while a Chevrolet 10-bolt rear end with tube shocks and a TCI spring were installed in the rear. In order to get the car even lower, the body was channeled radically over the frame. With its new and bigger engine, the firewall had to be cut out before Junichi could fit the body on the frame. The leading edge of the cowl was reworked during the operation, and it received a peak on each side. A new nose, incorporating canted quad headlights, was made from 1959 Cadillac front bumper ends, round tubing and sheet metal. The grille opening was filled with expanded metal mesh and hardware store coat hooks. Inverted 1958 Chevrolet parking-light bezels were frenched into sculpted pods to serve as taillights. White glass with red bulbs was used in the taillights. For a show rod look, the engine received a fogged gold paint job, chromed valve covers, a custom dual-inlet carburetor scoop, custom made rippled headers and plenty of chrome. A 1968 Ford Mustang radiator was mounted behind the wild nose. Inside, the dash and gauge panel were left mostly stock, but Junichi made new seats from scratch that were mounted to the floor. Once completed, the first version of the Rod Riguez made a dazzling debut at the 2002 Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show in December of 2002. This version was fenderless and unchopped featuring a panel painted flat gold paint job and chromed steelies with wide whitewall Firestone bias ply tires. At the show, Junichi won the Street Rodder's Pick Award, and the Best Street Rod and the Best Body Work award.
After the show, Junichi continued to work on the car, and he tore it down for a redo. The top was chopped in a unique wedge fashion. The rear of it was left at stock height, while the A and B pillars were cut four and two inches to bring the top down at a rakish new angle. Junichi wanted to run fenders, but he didn't want to add running boards, so he crafted some wildly sculpted fenders out of metal. Front fender mounts were made from reinforced steel in a spider-web design. The mounts were chromed before Junichi installed them on the car. The second version was fit with a new grille insert fabricated from square tubing as well. A gold R was placed in the center of the new grille insert. Inside, new custom made seats were installed along with a cut down early 1960s Ford steering wheel. The car received a gloss Tequila Gold paint job and pinstriping by Makoto. As Junichi has a love for the Chicano low-rider culture, a Mexican wearing a sombrero was pinstriped on the rear of the car. The wide white wall tires and chromed steelies were replaced by Cragar Star Wire Wheels that ran 1960s style white stripe tires. The second version of the Rod Riguez returned for the 2003 Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show. At the show, Junichi won the 2003 Hot Rod Custom Show Best of Show, the George Barris' Pick Award, the Street Rodder's Pick Award and the Line Dr.'s' Pick Award.
In 2005 Junichi shipped Rod Riguez to the US, so he could enter it at the 2005 Grand National Roadster Show and attend the 2005 Cruisin' Nationals in Paso Robles with it. The car stayed in the US, and in October of 2005, Junichi sold Rod Riguez to Chuck Schauwecker of Carson, California.
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