Car Feature: Bill Raper’s 1954 Pontiac Star Chief winner of the Goodguys 2014 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year
Bill Raper’s big, bold and beautiful 1954 Pontiac Star Chief has won the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association 2014 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year award. Goodguys President Marc Meadors made the announcement today at Goodguys World Headquarters where Raper and other rodders had gathered before taking off on the 2,400-mile Goodguys Hall of Fame Tour. Yes it’s a driver!
When the car first appeared on the scene this year at the Spring Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona, it sparkled, demanding attention with its three-stage PPG Pearl Yellow paint, Budnik Wheels, and ground hugging stance.
A true resto rod, the exterior was basically left stock, albeit for shaved bumper bolts, painted its brilliant yellow by Showtime Customs. Under the hood, custom panels were created to flank the massive 496ci big block stroker with Edelbrock E-Force heads and custom valve covers with “Crazy Horses” machined in the tops. It also sports dual four-barrels, Headman headers, and MSD Ignition. Power is channeled to the Currie 9-inch through a GM 4L80E transmission.
Tyler Harshman fabricated the custom frame, trimming it with TCI front suspension, a four-link rear, and Ride Tech components. Big Wilwood brakes bring the big Chief to a halt, slowing the roll of the Continental-shod Budnik Wheels.
Inside the cabin, Ron Mangus hand crafted yards of leather and suede for comfort and luxury. The steel dash was massaged to house Dakota Digital gauges, stereo and A/C vents. All chrome trim was handmade, as was the console between the bucket seats. A Budnik steering wheel on an Ididit column rounds things out. If this car wasn’t amazing enough, Bill indicated he’s already far down the road, building his wife a matching ’54 Pontiac convertible!
For winning Goodguys 2014 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year award, Raper (from Peoria, AZ) will receive a custom toolbox from Snap-on as well as travel accommodations to the Goodguys 17th Southwest Nationals November 14-16 in Scottsdale, Arizona to join the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association Top 12 Cars of the Year.
The other 5 Finalists for the award included; Mitch Bock (1957 Chevy), Jay Gribble (1962 Chevy), Terry Henley (1951 Chevy Tin Woodie), Cam Miller (1957 Ford Thunderbird), and Jim Cushman (1957 Chevy).