Award-Winning ‘Radster’ 1935 Ford Roadster

- in Cars

With its completely handcrafted body, customized interior and stunning two-toned paint job, it’s safe to say that Kevin and Karen Alstott’s 1935 Ford roadster was built to win awards.

1935 Ford Roadster named Radster
When the car, named “Radster,” took home the coveted Ridler Award at the 2006 Detroit Autorama, the Alstotts and the car’s builder, Roger Burman of Lakeside Rods & Rides, were thrilled.

Little did they know that the Ridler win was just the beginning. The “Radster” would later go on to win the AMBR and AMBSR awards, as well as the Street Rod d’Elegance title. Only one other car, the Chip Foose-built 1936 Ford “Impression,” has won all four of the industry’s major awards.

1935 Ford Roadster named Radster rear end
Before the Alstotts recruited Burman and his team to build their car, they researched what it took to build an award-winning custom car by interviewing various car show judges and studying features of past winners. As a result of their research, the Alstotts chose to build a 1935 Ford roadster, and then contacted Burman at his Rockwell City, Iowa, shop to see what ideas he could come up with for the build.

At first, Burman wanted to build a fenderless 1935 roadster, something that hadn’t been done up until that point. Although Kevin Alstott loved the idea, he eventually decided that he wanted this build to be a fully fendered car. (Burman did end up building a fenderless yellow 1935 roadster for the Alstotts that also did well on the show circuit.) With the plan in place, Burman and his team at Lakeside Rods & Rides got to work. It took two years and a team of 18 to build the striking award-winning roadster.

Marcel’s Custom Metal of Corona, California, fabricated the entire body of the car out of flat sheet metal. The hand-formed body includes an SAC’s frame that was modified and built at Lakeside Rods & Rides.

Radster - 1935 Ford Roadster rear end
The car’s two-toned paint job was achieved using PPG’s copper on the top and platinum on the bottom. A gold leaf treatment was used to separate the two colors.

The car features a teardrop theme that can be seen throughout its interior. Burman commissioned J&B Microfinish of Pontiac, Illinois, to create one-off billet parts to highlight both the outside and the inside of the car. The company created a teardrop-shaped shift knob, suspension nut covers and one-off wheel centers. The teardrop shape can also be seen in the shape of the brake and clutch pedals, the taillights, trunk badge, and front and rear fenders.

'Radster' - 1935 Ford Roadster interior
Recovery Room Interiors in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, upholstered the roadster’s interior and, keeping with the teardrop theme, made a teardrop-shaped cut-out in the leather bucket seats to allow for a view of the trunk. Even the floor mats carry this theme.

'Radster' - 1935 Ford Roadster engine
Under the hood sits a Dart small-block 408ci, 550-horsepower V-8 engine. The engine block, along with the Sanderson headers, intake manifold and six-speed transmission were polished, while the Demon carburetor, valve covers and air cleaners feature chrome plating done by Sherm’s Custom Plating of Sacramento, California.

To keep the car’s undercarriage and trunk looking clean, Burman positioned the car’s gas tank and most of its electrical system in the cowl area. This also provided a nice view of the IRS and exhaust system.

'Radster' - 1935 Ford Roadster
“The ‘Radster,’ when first viewed, is a breathtaking complete custom build,” said Jeff Bertrand of J & B Microfinish. “[It] introduced trends for others to follow in the years thereafter.”

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