If you venerate automotive history, and you’re unfamiliar with the work of the American Hot Rod Foundation, you really ought to change things. The AHRF dates to 2001, when founders and Connecticut natives Steve and Carol Memishian took it upon themselves to begin documenting the history of hot rodding, in significant part by recording extended, in-depth interviews with the pioneers who actually experienced the birth of this hugely important era. Their work has led to priceless photo, video and audio archives running from A (Nick Arias, Joaquin Arnett) to X (Alex Xydias) among the greats who saw rodding through its challenging birth and gestation. It’s absolutely essential oral history.
Under the guidance of current AHRF director David Steele, who lives in Los Angeles, the organization also has its engineer boots planted firmly in rodding’s present, as well. Annually, the AHRF recognizes the American Hot Rod of the Year, drawn from monthly winners disseminated through its website and regular email blasts. The 2021 honor goes to the traditional but spotless 1934 Ford coupe of Scott Wren. The body’s all Henry, with a 4.75-inch chop and leaned-back A-pillars, riding on P&J Chassis rails with a Ford Model A crossmember. Power comes from a 401-cu.in. Nailhead V-8 from a 1961 Buick, bored .060 over, fed by a Barry Grant carburetor atop an Offenhauser intake manifold, everything mated to a BorgWarner T-5 five-speed manual transmission. You can see the underpinnings are equally traditional, with painted black steelies and a drilled, dropped I-beam front axle.