Tom Gloy made a career out of sittin’ low and drivin’ fast. In a racing career that spanned more than 25 years, Gloy collected a Trans Am World Championship as well as a Formula Atlantic title. He drove in 6 IndyCar races including a start in the 1984 Indy 500 finishing 14th. Last weekend, he returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and unlike the 1984 trip, found himself all alone in the winner’s circle this time around. His Brizio Street Rods-built ‘32 Ford roadster won the Goodguys 2012 Tank’s Hot Rod of the Year award at the Goodguys 2nd WIX Filters Speedway Nationals.
Gloy’s low flying roadster was born during a conversation with Roy Brizio a few years back as the two drove to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Gloy wanted a channeled ’32 Ford roadster but Brizio cautioned “Channeled ’32 Fords aren’t very comfortable and when channeled they can look too wide.” He also told Gloy how the driver often “sat up too high” in the channeled cars he’d seen over the years. So that was the challenge – to build a channeled, traditionally styled roadster in which Tom could sit low and drive fast.
To redesign the car’s front end, Brizio and his build team narrowed the cowl, grill and windshield. They also sectioned the radiator shell 3 ½”. To get Tom down low in the seat, the floorboards were radically lowered – more so than any other hot rod to roll out of Brizio’s South San Francisco stable. Out back, the rear quarters were filled and smoothed and the rear wheels tucked tightly against the channeled body.
The custom Brizio chassis features torsion bar suspension from Moal Coachbuilders and a classic hot rod rake courtesy of the chromed Magnum 5-inch dropped axle. Custom made 18 and 16-inch ET knockoff wheels are enhanced with custom machined caliper brackets designed to fill the backside of the wheels (inspired by Bonneville style Moon discs). The 302-inch, Hilborn EFI Ford crate motor and Tremec 5-speed get the roadster up to speed in hurry then stops on a dime courtesy of Wilwood brakes.
Bay area body & paint specialist Darryl Hollenbeck of Vintage Color Studio spent many hours perfecting the car’s classic finish – mid 50’s Porsche blue which perfectly contrasts the red leather interior stitched by Sid Chavers.
Gloy, who now lives near Lake Tahoe, got the channeled Bonneville-inspired roadster he dreamed of and a talented team of Bay Area craftsmen, led by Brizio pulled off the challenge of getting it to sit and look just right. But that’s not all. Gloy got a driver, or as the late Gray Baskerville of Hot Rod Magazine was fond of saying a “reacher.” To prove it he strapped in and drove the car over 2,000 miles from his home in Nevada to Indy, this time with a victorious result.
The top 5 finalists for the Goodguys 2012 Tank’s Hot Rod of the Year award included, Keith Hill, Bixby, OK (’34 Ford), Tom Gloy, Incline Village, NV (’32 Ford), Tim Kirby, Fountain Hills, AZ (’33 Ford), Henry Richards, Mansfield, OH (’32 Ford) and Larry Christensen, Arvada, CO (’32 Ford).