Tale of Two Blazers
Michael Gannaway’s Rodster
-- By Eric Geisert
Remember when retiring meant
the company gave you a gold watch? That’s
how they used to do it back when companies showed the same respect
you gave them for 30 or 40 years. Nowadays, you’d be lucky
if they opened the door for you when you walked out of the building
the last time!
After 35 years of service
writing software for big business, Michael Gannaway from Pflugerville,
Texas, decided he
deserved a nice gift,
so he bought himself a Deluxe Rodster—a little convertible
roadster with a body (with a ’40 Ford nose) that sits on
an S-10 chassis. Rodster Street Rods out of El Segundo, California,
come in three
versions (convertible, pickup, and sedan delivery), all using
chassis as a base.
Michael wasn’t interested in building
the car himself (he was traveling out of the country at the time),
so he contracted Jim Crabtree (Cumberland,
Maryland) to do the build to Michael’s specifications. Gannaway
drove a donor S-10 to Maryland and, three months later, picked it up
painted and drove it home, and continues to drive it all the time. (He
even installed marine material inside the cockpit so rain doesn’t
hurt the interior!)
But by 2004 Michael was ready for another project, so he decided to
build another from Rodster’s line—this time the sedan delivery.
He located a pristine ’89 S-15 Jimmy, both it for $1,000, called
Henry Caroselli at Rodster Street Rods, and ordered a kit. The original
concept on Gannaway’s
ride was to make surf wagon: painting it green and adding a big surfboard
to the roof (remember, this car was going to be driven throughout Texas).
by chance Michael was looking through a copy of Truckin’ magazine
for ideas and found a late-model Suburban that had been painted in
and raspberry. He knew that is how he wanted his new delivery to look.
receiving the parts, Michael didn’t rush the build process,
working on the car one day a week or when he had any extra time.
The job took
18 months to complete. Michael was aided by his neighbor, 9-year-old
Kyle Mercier, who
helped handle some of the larger jobs, such a hood alignment. The
kits are pretty basic, and much of the original chassis, drivetrain,
are left intact. The new nose went on, as did the rear fenders, plus
a few new custom additions (visor, rear rolled pan, side mirrors,
electric door openers,
Euro taillights) Michael wanted after checking out advertisements
in both KIT CAR and Truckin’ magazines.
The bodywork done, it
was off to Texas local Pio at B&A Auto Body and Paint
in Dell Valley who, at first, didn’t think the two-tone was
going to work. HE painted the delivery anyway, and was pleasantly
the color combination looked when he was done! Since the delivery
was in such good running shape (the electric door locks worked,
as did the cruise
and air conditioning), the only things Michael still needs to address
are the interior (the truck did have 217,000 miles on it when he
new stereo system.
But as for how it turned
out, he couldn’t
be happier, and he drives it all the time (when he isn’t
driving his convertible). In fact, he calls his roadster his “good
weather car” and the delivery the “bad
weather car,” as all he has to do is look out the window
in the morning to figure out which car he is going to take! But
days aren’t over—he’s eyeing a Rodster pickup
as a possible future project, but he’s run out of garage
space to build one. But like they say, where there’s a will,
there’s a way, and we’re
confident if Michael wants another project, then we’ll be
seeing him driving it in the not-too-distant future!
can choose between two Rodsters when he wakes up any given morning—all
he has to do is listen to the weather report to find out if he’ll
be taking his convertible or his sedan delivery!
The interior of Michael’s S-15 donor was in great shape,
even with 217,000 miles on the odometer! Future plans call for
a new stereo
system as well as updated fabric for the seats and door panels.
When it cam to customizing
his ride, the nose section was left alone, including the twin driving
lights located on either side of the chromed
grille. The taillights are Euro versions available through Dogfather’s
Truck Parts, and the rear rolled pan came from Superior Custom.
Aim Industries supplied the lighted mirrors, which bolt on to
mounting points without any trouble.
The stock engine was used,
mostly because everything (including the air conditioning) still
worked. The flip nose section attaches
cowl via folding belt—one located on each side of the cowl.
Here’s Michael’s delivery halfway through the construction
stage. The wheels are on, but haven’t been painted yet, and the
rear fenders haven’t yet been attached.
Gannaway won three trophies at the ‘32nd
Annual Custom Car and Hot Rod Show’ (Austin, TX, Jan.’06).
He is fond of calling his two Rodster Street Rods “the most popular
cars in Texas.” Guess he has a point, as his Open Roadster won
1st place - Custom Hand Built and his Sedan Delivery
place - Custom Full Mini Utility Wagon. But the pleasant surprise
was that his beautiful Roadster won the coveted award for Street
Achievement Design –– an award judged against
every one of the 300+ street-legal cars at the show. Congratulations