What started life out in Detroit as an iconic Ford Model A, got a distinctly Japanese touch when it ended up in Nagoya, Japan, in a custom hot rod shop called Paradise Road. Builder Junichi “Jun” Shimodaira started Paradise Road 25 years ago and started importing American cars and parts for his full-service rod and custom shop. Inspired by American designers George Barris and Ed Roth, Shimodaira went to work on this one-off, all-steel show stopper. The result was a ’60s style hot rod like no other.
Completed in November of 2003, the Tequila gold metallic show rod known as “Rod” riguez was born. The first things you notice about this car are the custom grille and hand-made fenders, which give it a unique, one-of-a-kind look. In addition, the top was chopped 4″ in the front, the frame was boxed and z’d front and rear, and it sports a V8/303 Rocket engine from a 1949 Oldsmobile. The front end is formed from the running lights of a 1959 Cadillac, and the rear from those of a 1958 Chevy. The Tijuana style interior and the aircraft inspired steering wheel round out this custom build.
After making the rounds in Japan, it and all of its awards, were headed back to the USA. The car, now owned by Mr. Chuck Schauwecker, resides in California, where it continues to turn heads and rake in the accolades. Whether parked at a car show or rumbling down the road, “Rod” riguez reminds us that hot rodding, which was once a strictly American pastime, now has international appeal.