When driving across the country, most people would choose a large, comfortable car with satellite radio, a functioning heater, and cruise control, safely sealed off from the outside elements. But what’s the fun in that? Hot Rod’s Thom Taylor decided to drive Bill Akin’s 1932 Ford Roadster featured in the December 1979 issue of Hot Rod from Nashville to Southern California in the middle of winter. The roadster was sans top and side windows, and also was lacking windshield wipers. All for part of Hot Rod magazine’s 65th Anniversary celebration.

Except for a recent engine rebuild, and some basic maintenance, the roadster is essentially the same as it was 34 years ago, when it graced the cover of the magazine. Just outside of Nashville, Taylor experienced freezing rain, and the lack of wipers on the roadster made forward visibility a challenge. After an overnight’s stay in Memphis, and a brief stop at the Sun Records recording studio, of Elvis Presley fame, it was back on the interstate toward Oklahoma City.

With an oil mist coming out of the crankcase breather on the valve cover, Taylor improvises a paper towel “diaper” which cuts down on the windshield splatter. Unfortunately, the weather outside of Oklahoma City is even chillier than Tennessee. Akin was so confident in its reliability, he told Taylor to do anything he wanted with it, which he took to heart by doing a few burnouts on a long, lonely stretch of country road.

A planned detour to the Hoover Dam was dashed by an oil leak, but the car ultimately made it to its destination in one piece. Despite the punishing, exposed weather conditions, Taylor said he’d do it again, but next time, not during winter.

Stay tuned to the Motor Trend channel for fresh enthusiast content, updated all the time.

By Edward A. Sanchez

Related Posts


NHTSA launches investigations into Ford Crown Victoria police cars, Dodge Viper and Porsche 911

Posted on 23 October 2013

Reuters reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating certain Ford Crown Victoria, Porsche 911 and Dodge Viper models for potential defects. NHTSA is currently looking into 2005-2008 Crown Victoria police car models ...


Watch the Hennessey Ford GT makes its record run at Texas Mile

Posted on 22 October 2013

We said they'd probably be out with an official video, we did not lie. The Hennessey-powered camouflage Ford GT sat at one end of the runway at the Texas Mile sitting still. At the other ...


AAA Says Voice-to-Text Functions are Distracting

Posted on 22 October 2013

Hands-free technology might make it easier to text, talk on the phone, or look up directions while driving, but the AAA Foundation ...