With record low subzero temps, it's been near impossible to stay warm in the bone-chilling Midwest. Our surefire cure to heat things up is to gather around some vintage and custom iron.
We found plenty of hot vehicles parked at the 2014 Custom Rides Car Show and Expo earlier this month at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Below are some sizzling rides we found in Tinley Park that had no problem thawing out our four-wheeled passions.
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1932 Ford coupe, Duane Pierson, Lockport
After racing and maintaining late-model stock cars for more than two decades, Duane Pierson was ready for "the next venture in life." That chapter turned out to be a 1932 Ford three-window coupe, purchased in 2005.
"The colors jumped out at me. I had to have it," the Lockport resident said. The custom Ford was built in 1998 after a 1½-year overhaul. The car was complete but Pierson's inner gearhead got the best of him.
"I rebuilt the engine, changed the headers, added nicer-riding shocks and installed a five-speed transmission for better highway use."
Underneath the chopped roof, sparkling paint and polished chrome lies one of the car's coolest attributes: it's history. The all-steel body was found in a barn in South Dakota.
1950 Chevrolet Fleetline, Jack Leonard, Tinley Park
Jack Leonard spent 40 years turning wrenches as a Chevrolet mechanic. Little surprise his ride is a custom 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline.
The vehicle was built in Philadelphia and then brought to Illinois by the previous owner, who introduced it to Leonard. "I did a bunch of mechanical work to it," the Tinley Park resident said.
Not long after, the owner relocated to sunny Arizona and took this lustrous Mandarin Copper cruiser with him. But Leonard was able to buy the car in 2011.
"After getting a good chance to see it up close, I knew it was a solid car."
The Fleetline's roof has been chopped 3½ inches and it's been customized with a 1949 Chevy grille and 1959 Cadillac taillights. As if its ground-hugging stance isn't enough, Leonard has plans to tweak the suspension to get this cruiser even lower.
1951 Ford Coupe, Rocco Chiero, Crestwood
This eye-popping 1951 Ford Custom was a consolation prize for its owner, Rocco Chiero. The Crestwood resident's heart was set on finding an ultra-desirable 1949 Mercury. Crazy high price tags forced him to look at other options.
"This Ford had been created with the same visual lines. It's just as good -- like a mini-Merc to me."
The glistening showstopper was built in 2005 downstate near St. Louis, in Litchfield, before heading to Maryland. Chiero purchased the chopped and lowered Ford in 2012.
The vehicle features 1955 Pontiac side trim, late-model Cadillac taillights, Desoto bumpers and a 302-cubic-inch V-8. "I can't drive anywhere without attracting a bunch of attention."
1957 Chevrolet 210 gasser, Tom Biederman, Joliet
Tom Biederman was 15 years old when he received his first 1957 Chevrolet. It was a gift from his grandfather.
"Grandpa gave it to me and my mom said 'No.' He then 'sold it' to me for a dollar but she still said 'No.' "
Those brief moments of happy ownership lingered and now the Joliet resident owns several '57 Chevys. This 210 gasser was found as a shell in Dover, Del., in 2003. "It started off as quick project but escalated from there."
A monster 468-cubic-inch V-8 was installed complete with a tunnel ram intake and transbrake, along with a full roll cage in the interior. Biederman completed the yearlong project himself.
"Driving it can be pretty hairy," he said. "All you see looking out of the front is motor."