We are Pomona bound and soon a new America’s Most Beautiful Roadster will be crowned so before the new queen takes her throne, I thought it was the perfect time to take a real up close and personal look at the “Mulholland Speedster” the reigning AMBR. Troy Ladd and the gang at Hollywood Hot Rods threw out the rulebook when they created this build. The “Mulholland Speedster” is a one of kind, 90% coach built rolling wonder. This beauty was built entirely from concept drawings and according to Mr. Ladd himself they were going for the “sexiest, hot rod roadster built without any boundaries.” Starting from an Eric Black design, the “Mulholland Speedster” is part Art Deco, part European, part American and 100% original new car, that all began with a grille. Yes the grille from a 1936 Packard started it all for the gang at Hollywood Hot Rods and what they created from that inspiration is a true wonder. Now aside from that grille and some original Packard sheetmetal the remainder of this deco diva was hand fabricated from 18-guage steel. Darn near every inch of this beauty from the handmade emblem to the you guessed it, handmade taillights was done to perfection by the vehicular virtuosos at Hollywood Hot Rods.
In addition it’s coach built DNA, his ride is packed with incredibly cool high tech details. For starters that bars on that inspirational Packard grille and those seductive hood vents open and close according to engine temperature, remote contols, or in-dash controls. The disappearing hardtop is another remotely controlled and incredibly cool feature. And interestingly, the frame and crossmembers are rounded and curved into a remarkable figure 8 design with virtually no straight lines or angles. The 1/8-inch steel rails are stamped with beads and peanut-shaped lightening holes. “I wanted to break with the norm of what we typically think of as a frame,” Ladd said. “It’s based on a design I’ve had in my head that I’d sketched many years ago that has finally been constructed for the Packard. The figure 8 design is unique and beautiful, and provides a lot of strength and a lot of mounting points.” Lastly what gives this goddess her get up and go ? Well according to Ladd, the proportions of the Speedster dictated a 12 cylinder but a Packard engine, um not so hot rod. A flathead 12 cylinder Lincoln on the other hand, hot rod all the way.
The list of awards her majesty has won is about as long as she is. After driving off with the AMBR, the “Mulholland Speedster” swept the the award at the Sacramento AutoRama winning the Custom D’Elegance, World’s Most Beautiful Custom, and Sam Barris Memorial awards. Shortly after that it won the Legend Cup at the Chicago World of Wheels and took Best of Show at Hot August Nights. And to round out an incredibly successful 2017 season Ladd’s lovely was second runner up at the SEMA Battle of the Builders.
Ladd says his shop dwells in tradition, creating a traditional aesthetic not necessarily building traditional cars. Well this ride oozes form, culture, heritage and legacy but she ain’t no traditional ride! So before the new queen occupies her throne, let your peepers roam over this “modern traditional prototype” for the “sexiest roadster on the road”.
Till the next time – Keep on Kruzin!