Quality time has become
a buzzword in America, and quality car time fits right in with that
philosophy of spending more of your off-hours with family. The fun of
having a kit car and the strategy of spending more time with your family
may seem mutually exclusive, however, when you're faced with the prospect
of owning a two-seater or a roadster.
As a result, more and more
kit car builders are turning their thoughts to four-seat, family-style
kits. Two such hobbyists are Jim and Joan Drucker of Larchmont, New
York, who took a Caroselli Design Rodster and turned it into a four-seat
The buildup and modifications
were done by Bob Venezia of Some Assembly Required in Huguenot, New
York. Bob builds custom cars and had previously built the Druckers a
Suzuki Swift, which he converted into a beach car -- no roof and cut-down
doors. The Druckers told Bob they wanted a '50s-style hot rod for the
family -- a fun car they could enjoy with their two teenage children.
The concept of a four-seat
Rodster was Bob's vision. Bob showed them the Caroselli Rodster; he
explained the conversion, and the Druckers left the rest to Bob.'
The car is the same size
as the Rodster and fits on the same shortened ';92 Blazer S-10 chassis.
Bob added 1/2 inch-square tubing with a 0.065-inch wall thickness under
the outer skin of the header and riveted a 1/8x1-inch aluminum strip
through the plastic header cap to provide a small gap for the new top
to slide into.
Bob modified the tonneau
cover by 4 inches to allow for a Wrangler C-7 jump seat addition. He
removed the B-pillar braces on the Rodster to allow access to the rear
seat and welded the fold-up brackets from the rear seat of the donor
to the sport bar to re-brace it. Then he cut the tonneau cover by 3
1/2 inches to allow for a hardtop conversion as well.
Bob then added rear hinges
to the rear seat to allow it to fold down for cargo and bonded an aluminum
plate to the inside cover above the B-pillar to accept bows for the
convertible top, and violą! The two-seat Rodster became a family rod.
Bob also lowered the Beltech
suspension by 3 inches for a better ride and installed a GM 4.3L V-6
engine. He harvested nearly everything else from the donor car--aspiration,
ignition, transmission, wheels, shocks, brakes and gauges.
For a nice '50s hot rod look,
Bob added a 15-inch Grant wood steering wheel, Dolphin Gray upholstery
from East Coast trim, and gray nylon carpet; ubiquitous, '50s-esque
fuzzy dice hang from the rearview mirror.
He had the car painted PPG
Radiance Candy Apple Red with a gold base, and he installed the black
canvas convertible top.
Bob's creativity and work
allowed the Druckers to gain their dream; a spiffy hot rod they can
drive around Larchmont, with their children enjoying the ride as well.
Until someone comes up with
a four-seat Cobra or GT40, those who don't want to ride around in a
Hummer kit might do well to consider a four-seat Rodster. As ads of
yesteryear declared, "It's fun for the whole family."