Picture this. A Wisconsin farm wedding–Dr. Seuss d’Elegance themed…
…complete with a magical garden planted by mom, fabulous 60s makeup and hair, handmade topiary centerpieces, a gorgeous ball gown, bridesmaids in yellow, pink, and green vintage dresses, and… a Roadster.
Not just any Roadster, but the bride’s Roadster, the Roadster her father would drive up the aisle to Peggy Lee’s Fever where her groom-to-be, artist Jeff Allison, waited—a fitting mode of transport considering they met at the Grand National Roadster Show.
Stacie Allison’s Roadster, though, came into the picture a couple of years before the groom.
Stacie Depner grew up building forts and riding bicycles in the Wisconsin countryside, and in high school, discovered her passion for cars.
I was driving around the next town over, saw a car show going on, and was instinctively compelled to stop even on my own, which I did.
Even after moving to Minneapolis for college, she continued to seek out shows. One in particular captured her heart: The Minnesota Street Rod Association’s Back to the Fifties event in St. Paul.
But it wasn’t a car that initiated Stacie into the world of classic ownership at that show, it was a motorcycle, a 1972 Honda CB450 for sale in the back of a truck.
It ran and drove at the time, so I was able to take it around the yard, but it wasn’t in top shape. So, I began working on it while I still needed to get my license.
Thanks to a wacky clerical error, her new Minnesota license came with a motorcycle endorsement, even though she hadn’t yet taken the riding test, and–with the 450 taken apart and in need of repair–had no opportunity to even practice (other than the four-wheelers she’d grown up riding).
A couple of years down the road—after a move and her first job out of college—Stacie had an opportunity to ride her friend Kira’s CB 150, and jumped at the opportunity, even though she had little to no real riding experience.
We were silly girls riding that thing into Minneapolis with no helmet, wearing capris, high heels, and purses on our arms. But we had leather jackets on. That’s good, right? Well, we survived that night despite the very wide sweeping turn into oncoming traffic at least once and driving through some gang action in North Minneapolis while people were chucking bottles across the street in front of us.
Like the smart girl she is, Stacie didn’t continue that kind of dangerous behavior. She and Kira signed up for the motorcycle safety course, got her CB450 running, and began to ride.
We were unofficially the Bombshell Motorcycle Club, but it was only the two of us, because we didn’t know any other girls that met the strict criteria of having to work on your own bike. We kind of joked about it, but Kira had the only club jacket, one that I had painted a logo on the back of with her name, Cherry Bombshell.
The CB, though, wasn’t a great commuter bike, and she eventually ended up with not one, but two newer Triumph Bonnevilles, an ’06, and a black ’04. Woo hoo! Same as mine! I knew I liked this girl.
The car bug hadn’t vanished from her system, though.
During this venture into motorcycling, she and her family also went in together on a car.
A ’62 Austin Healey kit car, the one with the fender flares. It had a 302 Ford in it which put a big smile on my face while tearing around town.
The Austin-Healy got passed around the family for a couple of years, until Stacie got a new itch.
I thought, I’m an engineer, I should be able to build a car with the help from someone who’s already building one and I want to learn to weld and I loved driving that Austin Healey around…I should build a car. But…what would I build?
Wait I second. Have I mentioned this girl is a mechanical engineer? Yeah. Told you she was smart. She’s also an artist, as evidenced by this fantastic mixer.
The perfect combination of right brain/left brain to build a drivable masterpiece.
Stacie had a couple of requirements for her car build: Must be topless. Fairly simple to build and work on. And take up relatively little space. The Model A fit the bill perfectly, and the search began. In 2006, she found two roadster bodies, a ‘28/’29 and a ‘30/’31, and bought them both, eventually settling on the ‘30/’31 for her build.
For the following 4 years, I didn’t have the space or equipment to build it so I went to a lot of swap meets and searched other resources to gather parts in anticipation of being ready. Meanwhile, the 327 engine block and crank I had picked up were starting to be worked on while I did some research and decided to go with the Duntov 30/30 hydraulic cam because it has that wonderful vintage lopey sound.
KICKIN’ INTO HIGH
The ‘28/’29 chassis didn’t go to waste.
When she got serious about getting her car together, Stacie traded the roadster body to her friend Jennie’s husband Jeff for shop time, and help on her project.
For the next 6 months or so, I would drive an hour and a half in rush hour traffic after work on the week days to put in a couple hours and I’d stay out there at least one night on the weekends as well. It was the most exhausting and fun time I’ve ever had in my life. I may even like building just as much or better than driving.
Spoken like a true engineer.
ACCELERATING TO THE FINISH
The Roadster is a mishmash of parts, as most hot rods are: ’32 frame rails, a six-deuce intake and Stromberg carbs, a Muncie 4-speed, Buick drums, ’32 grill shell, ’54 Plymouth Belvedere dash, and Lakes Headers.
She got her hands into this project a lot, especially the metal work.
Under direction, she built the inner floor and body structure, floor pans, rear ladder bars, put in the patch panels and made mounts, tabs, and other random pieces to hold everything together.
THE CHECKERED FLAG
They set a goal of revealing the Roadster in June of 2010 at the show that began it all for Stacie, the Back to the Fifties show.
The week leading up to the event was chaos, as any final build week is, a group effort including her dad and Jeff, leading the charge to fire up the engine for the first time, get her tuned, and work out all of those bugs that inevitably pop up when getting a car roadworthy. Finally Stacie would get to drive her creation. The maiden voyage for her newly built Roadster, and the first highway time, came with her drive to the Back to the Fifties show.
With open Lakes headers blaring down highway 94, in the middle of our entourage, it was an amazing feeling of relief, exhaustion, sheer insane elation, and a little bit of nervousness while listening intently for any problems. As we pulled into the show my nervousness was gone. We had made it! After we made the rounds and parked, I ran into friends that brought Brian Setzer to the show. They said he spotted me before anyone and yelled…check out that chick in the roadster!
A rare sight indeed.
Five summers later, the Roadster still roars down the highway, although with any project, there’s always more to do. The car will likely be finished out ‘60s kustom rod style, perhaps painted a light candy pink or a pale baby blue.
P.S. No Bridesmaids were harmed in the making of this photograph.
SPARE BITS and PARTS
- Check out Stacie’s other project, a 1960 Buick! Can’t wait to see what she does with this!
- As I mentioned, Stacie is also an artist. Check out her hand-painted purses on her Etsy store!
- Stacie’s modeling and photography can be found on her INVICTA IMAGES page. Speaking of modeling, she is the unofficial spokesmodel for Onsite Muse Hair and Makeup Artistry!
- Add event planner as well, putting on the Krome n’ Kandy Car Show two-years running in Wisconsin!
- She is a member of the Gasoline Dames CC, a club with members across the country!
If you know of another fabulous Motor Doll out there to feature, please email me!
Until next time…