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Who are we?

What we do!

We are not a car club! We have no president, no dues, no by-laws, no newsletters, no monthly meetings, and no rules.  We are a group of like minded car guys, who like T-shirts and old cars.
We meet on Tuesdays and Saturdays each week.  Members are encouraged to drive their street rods.  Guests are invited to attend by invitation from a Donut Gang member. We spend about one hour sharing information and having breakfast together.
Want to know more?
Read more
What is happening now?
 
​We have lost a great friend of the Donuts, Joe Williams passed away on August 12, 2017. See the write up on the " Highway to Heaven " page.

The Donut Gang has a new member. His name is Phil Meek. Please see his cars on his page .

Also Ken Luthy became a Donut gang member in August.


Note
This site is  a re-design because  of outdated and non-supported software used to design our original web site. We hope you enjoy our New/Improved web site. Web site is currently a "work-in-progress" at this time, updates are being made on an regular bases. Please continue to check back with us for updates.
 
Follow the Gang on Facebook.
Stories will be added to this page. These stories are from the Donut gang members who wanted to share some insites to their car history.
  • Art Smith  "Memories of my Dad"
  • Paul Brault "Bonnie" by 1932 Ford coupe
  • Richard Haas "Lucky Cloverleaf"
  • Tony Adsley "Why I built this car"
 Memories of Dad by Art Smith
 
Like most of us, my first memories of anything with a motor in it had to do with my Dad. He was a career Air Force Officer and traveled quite a bit….as did the whole family. Now Dad didn’t really care much about cars – his “turn on” was motorcycles. Since I can remember, in his spare time, Dad was either working on – or out riding his bikes.  In the early days, Dad had two Indians – one was a Chief – and I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember what model the second one was. I can remember as a child going out in the garage to see what Dad was doing – and he would have an engine torn down – or a tranny all apart on his work bench….oil all over his hands and a smile on his face. I would sit there and watch him, and sneak and rub some of that oil on my hands – trying to look like him.
 
In my teenage years, Dad and I did not see “eye to eye” on a lot of stuff - - did not do a lot of things together like we used to – we had grown apart – as teenagers and their parents often do. However, it seems like every time I was out in the garage working on whatever car I had at the time, or on one of my motorcycles (yes, I loved bikes also – got that from him I guess), Dad would always find some excuse to be out there also.  He would be on one side of the garage working on his project – and I’d be on the other side doing my stuff…..neither one of us saying anything to the other. Sooner or later he would say that he needed some help doing something (probably just holding something for him) and I’d find myself over with him on his project helping him out.  It would not be to long – and we’d start talking about cars, motorcycles or motors – and at least temporally, our differences would be behind us.
This love of anything with a motor in it was the common denominator that bound us together.
 
In his later years, I remember Dad riding a Harley Davidson, a Vespa scooter (while he was stationed in Turkey) and a couple of BMW motorcycles From before the time I was old enough to drive, I always had old junk cars that I had to fix up in order to get them to run.….I never asked to drive my Dad’s car because I knew the answer would be a great big “No”.  At the end of my senior year of High School, I had a date to the Prom with pretty little Cindy Hall, my High School sweet heart. As I was getting ready to go Dad came up to me and handed me the keys to the family car. He said that he thought I should go to the dance in something better than my beat up old heap. I can not begin to tell you how proud I felt when he handed me those keys !
 
I picked up Cindy and off we went – she slid over next to me and I was Top Dog on the road that night……until that is – the car right in front of us had to slam on his brakes for something. Well, I was paying WAY to much attention to Cindy and not enough attention to driving – and I smashed into the back of that car. No one was seriously hurt, but my Dad’s car was pretty much ruined. When Dad got there, he was very concerned and wanting to make sure that Cindy and I were OK. He looked his car over – but never said a word to me about the wreck. He knew how bad I felt – and I guess he thought that was punishment enough.
 
Dad came from a large family in rural Miss. He was one of thirteen children. His best friend in life was his younger (by one year) brother. They did everything together ….walked to school together, got into trouble together, double dated, even got married within two months of each other.  They both had daughters within three months of each other – these boys were tight with each other!  Neither one of them had ever had a new car before – and when they could, off they went to the Chevy dealer – and they both bought new cars the same day, from the same salesman. They both bought a brand new 1956 Chevy Belair 2 door post car……….at least they each chose a different color :)
 
That is why, when I retired, the first classic car I just had to build was a 56 Chevy.
Dad died of cancer in 1996 and I miss him a lot.
  
  "Bonnie" 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe by Paul Brault
 
Since my youth in the 60’s, I have always liked the body style of the 1932 Ford Coupe, both the three and five window bodies.  However back then I could not afford to purchase one or even build one.  The available bodies were all steel and on original frames.

Now that I have entered the semi-retirement phase of my life, I have the time and money to make my earlier dream come true.  I still like the body style of the Ford deuce coupe and wanted to build it from the ground up.  Today most of the bodies are made of fiberglass and mounted on custom frames.

I did my research looking into several sources from Hot Rod magazine and Street Rodder. I made several trips to other hot rod shops in the Austin local area over the course of eighteen months.  Most of these shops left a lot to be desired.  I selected Harwood Industries in Tyler, Texas as the source of my frame and body.  I made two trips to Harwood and met Gary Harwood, the owner.  They build a quality body and frame.  Also, you can build the car in stages and pay for is as you go.  My coupe body is number 87 that Harwood built.  They no longer build street rod cars.

I stayed with a dark color with simpler line striping or flames for the look of the early 1960's.  The body would be chopped, with more of a racing stance and have polished five spoke wheels.  The transmission would be a four speed manual with a Hurst shifter.  The engine would have headers, finned aluminum valve covers, dual quads mounted on a small block 350 Chevy engine.
 
This project is now in the fourth year, and is about  95% completed.  I have kept records of the costs, part numbers, and build timetable.  I also have a journal that I recorded all the experiences of building the coupe.  I have done all the work, except the welding and final interior work.

The coupe is named "Bonnie" after my wife Diane's Aunt, who passed away the day I purchased the frame from Harwood.  Bonnie is not finished; they say you never get finished.....but only the hood, A/C and paint remain to be completed.  All it takes is time and money!
  
Lucky Cloverleaf By Richard Haas 
 
My brother Larry (2 years younger) and I went to a “Blue Notes” dance at the Stockton Ballroom, hoping to maybe meet a couple of sweet young things who wouldn’t mind taking a ride out to the vineyard with us.
 
We were in my ’48 Chevy Fleetline (with a GMC big block 6-cylinder, 3 one-barrel carbs and a split exhaust).
 
The “Blue Notes” played stuff that was a lot like Jimmy Reed and I had just found a little darlin’ to rub up against me to that sweet, slow blues music. Things were lookin’ good.
 
When I opened my eyes to look around and see if my brother was having any luck, lo and behold, there he was, flying headfirst through the air, headed right for me and “whatsername”. I pulled her down to the floor and watched as my brother crashed into this guy that had been sneaking up behind me, getting ready to blindside me.was extremely jealous?  How was I to know that his girlfriend loved to dance and he didn’t, and that he was extremely jealous?
  
When I saw that he was a local guy and had many friends in the crowded dance hall, I grabbed my brother and we headed for the door, and both of us knew, without looking around, that we had a few guys hot on our trail!!
Into the Fleetline we went, throwing gravel as I headed for Hiway 99, about a mile away, that would get us back to our own territory (20 miles away) if I could just stay ahead of the parade that was chasing us.
I cut a couple of traffic lights very close and the “parade” just came on through, and didn’t seem to care about running red lights in their wild frenzy to catch my brother and I.
 
There it was, the cloverleaf on-ramp for Hiway 99, about a block ahead. And just then, in my rear-view mirror, I saw the Police Car turn on his red lights behind the “parade”. As they began to pull over, one by one, I took the on-ramp, and my brother and I breathed easy as we looked up and watched the cop car pull over behind the “parade”.
 
We cruised on home, laughing our butts off all the way. That next weekend was the first time I ever let my brother borrow my car, even though he had asked me a hundred times before. I figure he earned it.
  
                                                     Why did I build this car? by Tony Adsley

This car originated as a result of four guys from my hometown: Ted Jensen, Ralph Penny, Roy Vidone, and Ted Martin.  Each bought a ’57 hardtop between 1957 and 1960, when we were all in our late teens.  I wanted one badly, but could not afford to have a newer car and pay my way to college at the same time.  I settled for a much older one-owner, ’39 Buick Century Coupe at the affordable price of $150.00.  Used ’57 2 Dr. hardtops were going for $1,700 and up in 1960.  My monthly income at the time was around $200-$300.

All four guys altered their Chevy’s to make them faster and more distinctive.  They were typically lowered, some chrome removed, chrome rims, stick shifts installed and usually solid lifters and dual fours made the package complete.  Oh, how I lusted after those 57’s!  I especially remember Ralph Penny’s ’57 210 two door hardtop convertible (as they were referred to back then).  Ralph bought it new from the local dealer and slammed it the first week he owned it.  It was way too Kool man!  I can remember him cruising our little town of 8,700 every minute he was not working at his Dad’s Mobile station.  It was always clean and always sporting some new “modification” such as “T” pipes, new mufflers or removal of some stainless.

Fast forward 40 years and it was now time to deliver the dream.  I have owned a ton of cars, but all of the fun cars have been conventional convertibles, Corvettes, Porches’, Triumphs and even a 300ZX twin turbo.  It was now time to have a classic street rod (or several) built to look much like those I lusted after, but with more modern, reliable running gear.

In 1997, I started looking for a ’57 to call my own.  I started with the idea that I had to have a convertible.  I abandoned that goal when a ’57 hardtop appeared in the local classifieds at a somewhat reasonable price of $5,000.  It was January 31st, 1998, a rainy Saturday morning and I knew no one would go out looking at “project ‘57s” in bad weather, so I made the call and showed up.  I took a friend and we liked what we saw.  She was pretty much all there.  After going over it with a magnet, she had no unusual bondo spots and the rust we found was minimal.  We agreed upon a reasonable price, put a charge on the battery and I drove her home.  Once I got home, I knew I would not drive her again in that condition!  She had a 327 and a 4-speed with no flooring around the transmission.  The steering had about 8” of play and she burned oil.  The nicest part about her was the price and the new American torque thrust II wheels and tires.   The interior looked like it had been home to a few rat families over the past few years!  I sold the wheels and tires and that netted my going-in price for the project ’57 at around $3,500.  Little did I know what it would really cost in the long run…

I am not a mechanical kind of guy that has neither the necessary skills nor the time to do the quality work I wanted done on this car. 
Therefore, I took a month to find a shop that would work well with me to restore the car to my “High School Memory” status.  I was willing to take it anywhere I needed in the country, just to get the right skills to do an excellent job.  I subsequently attended a local car show and found a ’57 that had been restored to original and looked really great.  The Stainless Shoppe right here in Austin had restored it!  I contacted the shop owner, Michael Domoracki, and found out that he only does Tri-Five Chevys!  After I contacted several of his former and present customers for references, we agreed to go forward on the project.  It was delivered to Michael March 1st. of ’98 and the usual and sometimes unusual steps to accomplish a complete, nut and bolt, frame-off restoration and custom began.

We all know the drill…disassemble, clean, bag the parts, toss the bad parts, make notes, begin ordering what is needed, bead blast the body, remove it from the frame, mount it on a rotisserie and begin the long, long, long process of straighten the body panels, doors, roof, quarters, rockers, firewall, fenders, grill shell, hood, trunk, floor pan, etc., etc., etc.  The body stayed there for every conceivable manipulation for the next three years!  It came off the rotisserie jig only one time to be fitted to the chassis prior to final paint.  Once Michael had the body repaired,  and straightened, he shot it initially with an etching preservative to prevent any future moisture penetration.  Next came the long process of primer, sand, straighten, primer, sand, straighten, primer, sand, etc, etc, etc. 
Michael used Glasurit paint products throughout the process.  He averaged seven or more separate colored coats of primer with much sanding between coats on each and every panel including the undercarriage and wheel wells!!  The bodywork necessary to get a mirror-straight final product was extensive to say the very least.  This was a solid body to start with, but had been in service for 42 years before we started.  It was certainly not manufactured to our tolerance expectations of today.  Once the final coat of primer had been sanded with 2000 grit sandpaper, the body and all panels were assembled on the frame to insure an excellent fit could be achieved prior to painting.  Several areas were then modified to achieve the high level of fit and finish we were striving for. 

Body Modifications: 
Beyond straightening and sometimes “remanufacturing” the body panel details, several modifications were made.  Starting from the ends, the front three-piece bumper was replaced with a California one-piece that had been “show chromed” by Lemon Grove in CA.  Both front and rear bumpers were smoothed and filled on the backs, finished in body color Viper Red, then clear-coated.  The valence and brace beneath the radiator were re-formed to accept the enlarged, polished Griffin radiator. The firewall was smoothed and filled where openings and mounts were no longer necessary.  A new heater/A/C panel was fabricated as a miniature to the original one to accept the much smaller Vintage Air A/C and heater plumbing.  The battery platform was removed and repositioned in the trunk.  The transmission floor tunnel was enlarged to clear the 700R4 once the car was slammed.  The trunk floor panel was enlarged to clear the Currie 9” rear end given the five-inch rear drop.  One side of the car was .25” shorter than the other and had to be lengthened to match the other side. The roof was found to have some non-repairable rotted seams and was replaced with a suitable donor.  The trunk lid frame was separated from the exterior skin to eliminate any potential interior corrosion and to install a flush-fit LED third brake light in a “Bow Tie” shape.  The license plate opening was recessed or “frenched” as we used to call it.  Many hours were spent on a 2.50” mini-tub of each rear wheel well that left the wheel wells hardly distinguishable from the stock version.  The Spare tire well was removed and filled to match the trunk floor and to make room for a low-profile Rock Valley custom-built stainless steel 22-gallon gas tank with submersed electrical fuel pump and in-trunk rear access panel.  The wheel wells were painted flat black to make the 17” polished American Torque Thrust wheels and polished Willwood disk brakes stand out.  The grill mesh was also painted black to give the grill a “floating” look like we did in the 50s. The front and rear Chevy script and “V” were removed and filled with lead.  The door handles, locks and rocker stainless trim was also removed and filled.  The doors and trunk lid were fitted with solenoids to provide remote electronic opening.  An exterior hidden key was installed to lock the electrical system.  An additional hidden access was provided to allow manual entrance to the car should the electrical system fail.  Hidden remote battery posts were installed to allow convenient, exterior battery charging when necessary.  A computer programming receptacle and status indicator was installed in a convenient place under the dash for on-board programming.  A mere 3000+ hours and 3.5 years later, Michael had the car ready to go to the assembly shop. 
Chassis:

Once Michael Domoracki removed the body, the frame was sent off to Cam Bierman, owner of Radical Rides and Race Cars, Austin, TX.  Cam has done work on lots of professional racecars and knows the custom chassis business inside and out.  Cam proceeded to strip the frame of all components and suspension items.   He then installed a Jim Meyer Racing Products Stage II IFS system complete with GM rack and pinion, tubular A-arms; matching spindles, coil over QA-1 shocks, anti-sway bar and disc brakes.  A transmission support bracket, a rear shock tower and a Williams Classic Chevy rear suspension kit was installed to move the rear suspension inboard (mini tub).  Three sets of springs later, it was determined that a Williams front reversed eye leaf spring with stock rear eye would give the car the clearance it needed at the rear frame mount area while adding 1.5” to the rear springs drop in addition to the 3.5” lowering blocks that were made from aluminum.  A Williams’s traction bar kit was installed along with a shortened and polished Currie 9” Ford rear end.  11” four-piston Willwood disk brakes with polished calipers were installed on all four corners with matching E-brake calipers on the rears.  Cam welded up the transmission cross brace, shock mount and altered the rack and pinion mounts to give the car more ground clearance (now about 4”).  Polished 17” X 7” American Torque Thrust IIs were installed in the front with 205X50X17 BFG TA Radials. 17”X9.5” matching Americans were placed on the rear with 285X60X17 TA s.  A 1996 Corvette Grand Sport LT-4 crate engine was hooked up to the 1993 rebuilt and polished street and strip 700R4 with a 3000-stall converter and Lokar kick-down linkage and shifter.  All brake and fuel lines were run out of temporary steel to insure a good fit before fabricating the stainless lines. 

Once Cam was finished, the chassis was sent back to Michael Domoracki at the Stainless Shoppe.  Michael removed all components, had the frame sand blasted, smoothed the frame, eliminating all unnecessary gizmos put there for other models.  Michael also removed the steel bottom plate from the front cross member, straightened and smoothed it, primered and painted the inside of the cross member, re-welded the now straight cross member plate and finished the chassis off in high gloss Glasurit Black with clear coat.

The chassis then went to Billy the “Roach” Cockrell for further fine workmanship.  Roach started by welding up pieces of mandrel bent 2.25” 304 stainless steel tubing to fit even with the frame rails and around the Rock Valley Stainless gas tank.  A cross pipe was also installed just behind the transmission.  The newly custom-welded stainless exhaust was sent to Mike’s Metal Polishing in Austin, along with the Denny’s custom aluminum drive shaft for final polishing.   Once the exhaust system was welded, Mike showed up to polish the welds.  Roach also ran and secured the stainless steel brake, A/C and fuel lines in the most sanitary manner possible.  The finishing touches were “Megs” stainless oval tips and some very slick custom exhaust hangers made of polished stainless with adjustment slots and rubber mounts for each one.  The polished expansion tank, power steering reservoir, oil pan skid plate and A/C dryer were also installed and plumed in stainless.  “Mercury” Charlie polished the 700R4 (from scratch!) as well as, the Rock Valley Gas Tank and the Griffin radiator to a high gloss.  All parts that were not painted or polished were then sent to HPC in Phoenix where Rick Simmons at High Performance Coatings did an excellent job with all the miscellaneous parts and pieces.  They even did the edges of the dual sided Willwood rotors.

INTERIOR:
The interior was intended to be a significant feature of the car.  It was to reflect the appearance of a “resto” but upgraded 50’s and 60’s car.  To get it really right, Gary Constable of Mutant Art, Louisville, KY, was engaged to do renderings of descriptions furnished from favorite 50’s and 60’s interiors.  Gary understands all about custom cars and stock interiors.  He brought a tremendous amount of insight to this project.  We were also fortunate to find an interiors shop (Dan at Kirkpatrick interiors, Chouteau, OK), an aircraft components manufacturing shop (Excel Mfg., Wichita, KS), a leather supplier (Townsend leather, Johnstown, NY), a carpet manufacturing company and a finishing shop (Metal Processing, Wichita, KS) that were all excited about going that extra distance to make this interior something special.  The Stainless Shoppe in Austin, TX also did the interior paint and stainless window trim restoration. 


Dan Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Interiors did 100% of the interior fabrication and sewing himself.  He is a very particular craftsman and proceeded to give this project his best.  He added his own headliner and trunk designs to match Mutant Art’s drawings of the interior.  Dan vowed to keep the interior “specific to the drawings”.  I don’t think it could have been done any better!  Dan fabricated the back seats entirely. He personally took his patterns of the trim pieces to Wichita to discuss each one with Allen at Excel.  The front seat frames and electronics started life in a Toyota Cressida.  They filled the bill for the necessary low profile, smaller seat and needed 6-way controls.  Dan fabricated the seats using his favorite foams and the design drawings. The console handles two speakers, a Lokar shifter, the original electric window controls for both front and back seat locations, the stereo receiver and control unit, has room for storage, engine computer harness, stereo receiver, electric harnesses and the inside arm rest for driver and passenger.  Every surface in the car has sound and vibration/dampening materials plus insulation installed.

A supplier provided the instruments to Classic Chevy International who supplied them to us.  They were designed to fit in the original dash openings, but combined a tachometer, oil pressure and voltmeter with the original gauges.  After they sent the faces to us, they were painted the car color and returned for lettering.  The same sort of thing was done with the steering wheel.  The new interior justified a special wheel, so the original wheel frame was sent off to Steering Wheel Restorations and reduced by 2.5 inches to a comfortable 15.5” size.  A new horn ring was then poured to match the smaller circumference of the wheel.  Paint for the car was mixed with the plastic when the wheel and shift knob were poured.  Dennis Crooks owner of Steering Wheel Restorations in Poway, California did the wheel, horn ring and knob to perfection. 


A friend, George Kalogridis, of Kalogridis Carpets, dyed imported wool to match the exterior paint sample, and then manufactured the carpet to exacting 82-ounce specifications.  The leather also came from an aircraft supplier and was dyed to match the carpet.  Note the stainless trim pieces on the interior.  Each and every piece of trim is a “one-off” and was originated by Dan Kirkpatrick who produced patterns from Gary Constable’s drawings then turned over to Allen Oakleaf, a friend who owns Excel Mfg. in Wichita.  Allan had the patterns digitized and downloaded into a water jet cutting machine to get exacting original pieces in stainless steel.  Excel then put the attachment posts on the back of each piece. Bob Babst at Metal Finishing put all the pieces through his finishing processes for a beautiful finished product.

ENGINE:
The engine is a stock GM crate 1996 Corvette Grand Sport LT-4 with a 94/95 GM rear-mounted computer.  The engine is a 2 bolt main with aluminum heads, roller cam assembly, 194 intake and 150 exhaust valves.  An LT-4 injection system was used with Grand Sport 27 lb. Injectors.  Street and Performance supplied the custom-fit (tacked up at S&P, sent to us for re-fit, finish welded back at S&P), then ceramic-coated headers.  The 3” collector boxes connect to 2.25” polished stainless mandrel bent tubing and mufflers from Stainless Specialties.  S&P also furnished all the engine trim in full polished form to include:  Valve covers, air cleaner, pulleys, pulley covers, water pump, compressor, alternator, transmission pan together with all matching brackets, bolts.


Further engine bay polished or chromed accessories include: A/C Dryer, coolant overflow chamber, power steering reservoir, Griffin 1.5” tube aluminum radiator, stainless a/c, p/s, p/b lines and connectors, chromed 7” dual master cylinder and booster, re-manufactured and chromed hood hinges and latches.  Filled and painted Corvette fuel rail covers with mounted ’57 Fuel Injection insignias. 
TRANSMISSION/REAREND:

The transmission is a 1993 polished 700R4 unit that has been rebuilt to street and strip specs with a 3000-stall converter.  A Lokar kick-down unit is utilized along with a Denny’s aluminum driveline custom fit to match up with a polished Currie 9” 3.70 rear end.
 
INCIDENTALS:
The car has a “RainGear” electric intermittent wiper system complete with graduated speeds. It is designed to go under the dash while leaving room for the a/c.  Hi/low beam switches at the column, an ididit! Chrome Steering column, stock window electronics and dash controls, chromed windowsills and a shortened glove box for air conditioning space. The interior door releases are manual and hidden inside the door panel armrests to avoid hardware exposure as well as safely let occupants out if there is an electrical malfunction.  The wing windows are manual as well.  There are four hidden interior lights, all mounted low to illuminate the front and rear carpet for ease of entry.  The doors and trunk open with remote electronic solenoid latch releases by Hotronics.  Seat belts and fasteners were provided by Ssnake-Oyl Products, Tyler, TX. Pedals and shifter are from Lokar. Lamberts supplied the blue-dot LED tail light units.  The headlights are three-bar, Jaguar-style sealbeams.  The working stereo components are hidden in the console and trunk.  It sports all the right components: 6 speakers, 12” woofer, 600-watt amplifier and it rocks!  The stock dash radio is for nostalgia looks only and is a correct “Wonderbar”.  The original air conditioning ducts were used, but the unit itself comes from Vintage Air in San Antonio Texas.  It is operated from the original dash controls furnished with the original equipment air conditioning option for ‘57. 
 
COMPLETION:
When all the craftsmen and vendors have done their thing, you still may not have a complete car.  In my case, I had all the bodywork done, modifications made, paint completed, frame modified and finished, interior sewed together, trim polished and engine/transmission modified, plumbing run to almost everything and installed.  What I didn’t have was a completed ’57 that I could drive.  To the rescue came a very competent and understanding shop and the excellent staff at The Car Connection in Waco, TX.  Cotton tanner and his most competent craftsman, Todd, took the car in when it needed all the “little” things done that are really not very little.  They assembled the body parts, aligned the doors, hood, bumpers, windows, and hooked up all the connections and accessories that had been purchased for the car but not put on the car.  They reworked damaged or flawed paint, they wired all the gauges, accessories, windows, doors, trunk, etc, etc.  They did what no one else could do and that was finishing the car!!!  They exhibited great workmanship and took ownership of getting the car “on the road”.  No wasted time, no misunderstandings, no excuses, just a straight path to get the car FINISHED and finished right in a reasonable amount of time!