The What, When, and Where...............
We created this site as a means to update our many friends, relatives, and acquaintances who have been, are, and will be, following the creation of The ZZ RIDER since we started work on it in Dec., 2005. It will also serve as our means of extending public recognition and appreciation to all those who contributed to its success along this very long, difficult, road leading to our first goal. That goal is to win "The RIDLER AWARD" at the 2008 Detroit Autorama. The RIDLER AWARD is the first, most prestigious, most difficult-to-achieve award of the year in the street rod hobby.
Thanks for stopping in and let's make "Every Day, A New Adventure"
Jim and Shirley Sobel
If you are just coming aboard, or are not totally familiar with the project, let me give you some history. The ZZ RIDER is a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr 3 Window Coupe. Somewhere around 2003, I decided I had to curtail my lifelong passion for collector cars, and the buying and selling that goes along with it. I started reducing my collection, and created a hypothetical ultimatum to myself......... "if I could have only one more car before I die, what would it be"? After much soul searching, I decided on the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr and set about finding one that would be a good candidate for building my own custom street rod( a lifelong dream). The 1939 Zephyr, IMHO, is one of the finest examples of 1930's art deco auto design. It is also one of the scarcest and most sought after, so it took a while to locate the right candidate which had to be an 'all steel/real deal' car. Unfortunately; buying a car based upon pictures and the seller's representations proved a costly mistake. The car arrived at the repair shop of our friend Jim Awis and after a 'reality check' , I knew the car would need major body work. I placed it with PRO COMP CUSTOM here in Cape Coral, FL, owned by Bruce Harvey. They do awesome work and Bruce is one of the best painters in the country. Bruce turned it over to his "Master of Metal" – Mario, to start 18 months of metal fabrication and redesign. In the beginning, I just wanted a solid, exceptional rod. I didn't have The Ridler, or winning other major awards in mind. As we progressed with correcting structural problems, I started adding design ideas like chopping the top and putting in a unique hood scoop. The realization that this was my 'dream car', and that I had a chance to live my dream of building my own prizewinning custom street rod, started to take hold. It may sound corny, but I also felt an obligation to maximize the potential of this car (a beautiful design to begin with) to the extent of my ability/resources. Like when a miner finds a rough, dirty diamond that has potential to be a 'winner'. It then becomes the diamond cutter's job and duty to maximize its potential to the fullest. Another of my passions is SCULPTURE (web: sculpturebysobel.com ). I started to treat the Zephyr as my ultimate metal sculpture. We had a good team/teamwork. I would come up with an idea, run it by Bruce, then Mario, and they would 'execute' the details with their interpretation and experience. At stages, Mario would call upon Cruz mainly, and sometimes Nelson, for the many hours of sanding and finishing the metal .....every inch of it.
"Gearheads", "motorminds", "carnuts", etc., etc. We are all part of a HUGH Fraternity and have motor oil instead of blood in our veins. It usually starts when you are young, transcends generations, and is an incurable obsession that nonmembers can't comprehend. I started around 12-13 years old, and can still remember the picture of my favorite car, a 1940 Ford Coupe, cut out of Custom Car Magazine taped on my bedroom wall. I have transmitted this obsession to our son Randy, and he to his son Adin (who already has bought himself his first car at 14). And so too, our daughter Jill's son Josh, is ready to pick up the torch at 12). And that's how these dreams are born, live on, and someday become realities. We have been into many phases of the car hobby over the years resulting in many memorable experiences, friends, and memories. I can say that until you actually live this dream on a daily basis, you cannot truly understand, or appreciate, what it takes to create a car capable of contending for The Ridler, or Good Guys "America's Most Beautiful Street Rod" (another goal) AND actually be a "driver", when the show tour is done. Challenges, frustrations, learning, endless decisions, changing decisions after they were 'set in steel' because they didn't 'set right' with me, and flying high with excitement and satisfaction at seeing an innovative idea perfectly executed. And then, seeing Z Z RIDER finally 'come together' as 18 months and it's stay in Cape Coral ended . With some sadness, but with hopeful anticipation, ZZ RIDER was transported to Pittsburg, as PRO COMP CUSTOM relocated there as of June 1, 2007. And so ends "Part I".
I encourage you to learn more about "The Ridler", and why it is the most prestigious and sought after achievement in our custom car hobby. (visit http://www.autorama.com/casi/ridler_rules.htm for more information). It has the strictest rules; one of which is that after the car has been painted/and or upholstered, it CANNOT be shown in public, nor photographed until it takes it's place on display at the 2008 Detroit Autorama (March 7,8,9 ). Strict rules........ you betcha !!! And there are plenty more! Part I has ended and Part II begins.
Of course you realize, that the ‘picture-show’ above, nor any of my writings, reveal any of the extreme, innovative, modifications we have created in ZZ RIDER. Those will be shown and explained after the Ridler Competition.
……”the best laid plans of…(car owners/car builders )…often go astray”. And so they did ! After being ‘out-of-action’ for three months, instead of one, Pro Comp got up and running. They’ve been joined in the project by Specialized Auto Interiors ( Rick and Beth Seitzinger & crew ). I couldn’t help adding a few more neat mods , while ZZ was on-hold, that you will definitely like. At this point, the game plan is for Pro Comp to finish the body related mods and execute the finest Bruce Harvey paint job ever done. Specialized will be doing the outstanding interior, as well as the plumbing, electrical, motor-tranny, cooling systems, etc. They will put it all together, then disassemble for painting, then put it all back together again. As for me, I have started designing the display (which the judges consider very important) and lining up materials/suppliers. We have secured a 24’ Pace Show Trailer to transport ZZ Rider in, and a F-250 is on order to pull it with.
I am flying to Pittsburg next week to meet with both Teams and go over every inch of the car. By the time I leave, every idea will be finalized, including the paint scheme, every question will be asked and answered, and we will all be charging ahead on the same page together. We’ve just started working with Ron Davis Custom Radiators on a neat, fully integrated, cooling system. Also; just got the fantastic stereo system, and the audio-visual-navigation systems from Pete Perez shipped up to Rick. Pete should have the 20” custom wheels finished in about three weeks, and we’ll really be ‘rollin’ ! I’d love to “show & tell “ about all these neat mods; but you know the rules….”mums the word” !
UPDATE – 11/03/07
Well, the Pittsburg trip was hectic, intense, very productive and necessary. Progress will be increasing at a faster pace. We covered EVERYTHING ! One of the changes we made, relative to the last update was that we had to change from Ron Davis Radiators to BE COOL Radiators who will be providing a totally integrated hi-polish aluminum system. We’ll also be changing the exhaust system components/layout, among numerous other changes, additions, and upgrades we decided on. It really got my adrenalin flowing fast !
No sooner did I get back home and unpacked; I had to repack and we jumped on a plane for the SEMA Expo in Las Vegas. Hard to believe it was my first time to SEMA (it won’t be my last!). My son-in-law Paul and I spent two days there and barely ‘scratched the surface’ (thank goodness for my electric ‘scooter’! ). AWESOME doesn’t do it justice. Try INCREDIBLE when you realize that the huge AAPEX Show is being held concurrently in another convention center, and the NACE Show follows right away on Nov. 1.
Seeing the quality level of the Show cars present, I decided we would definitely be receptive to a sponsorship – display arrangement for ZZ RIDER at the 2008 show(provided it was safely cordoned off/protected).
That’s it…………..stay tuned…………….enjoy our hobby !
UPDATE – 12/20/07
We have just returned from a whirlwind trip up to NH (cold and snow were relentless in attacking our now unaccustomed-to-that SW Florida bodies !) We picked up our new truck and the ‘ZZ Trailer’, then headed for Pittsburgh to check on progress. Lots has been happening and the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together. After finishing the metal mods/ideas that resulted from my last visit, Bruce has started the painting. (see pics). Because of the complex graphic design I wanted, the painting could take 3-4 weeks. The result, however, will be nothing short of spectacular! And I think you will find the two-tone color combination different, and fully in keeping with the elegant lines/style of a Lincoln Zephyr.