*A couple of months ago, I received an email from a guy down in Brazil named Joe Poletto. Joe's a passionate hot rodder and I've actually shipped some "F*CK POLITICS" shirts to him, so high-fashion must be a thing down there! Anyway, Joe sent me this really cool little story about his inspiration/how he became interested in old cars. I can't wait to share it with you all. So here you go, enjoy!*

You can listen to this story on The Iron and Steele Podcast, here:

Hey Jake, how is it going? My name is Joe Poletto, and I’m from Brazil. After reading and listening to some amazing Hot Rod/Car related stories on your site and podcast, I decided to share mine. It’s about the scene that changed my life.

It was the summer of 1999 and like most 10-year old kids, I was riding my BMX bike on the streets near my house looking for dumb things to do. By that time, I was accustomed to seeing things like 1970's Dodges and Mavericks made in Brazil, as well as stock Model A's from old guys that used to gather around in some specific events. But nothing that really caught my attention, until that summer day. 

As I turn right on a busy avenue, I heard a loud noise that made me hit the brakes and immediately turn my head 180 degrees. It was a 1968 Mustang Fastback painted the same green as the car from the Steve McQueen movie, "Bullitt". The guy behind the wheel had crossed a speed bump in second gear and hit the gas pedal at wide open throttle with rage, making those straight pipes yell like a caged animal. It literally shook the whole ground. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but as a 10-year old stupid kid, that's how it felt! 

That was it! That scene got so deep into my brain that it still gives me shivers while I'm writing this. Sadly, I never saw that Mustang again. Now you're probably thinking "What a dumbass, it's just some stupid Pony Car.." Well, please keep in mind that due to some political things, the Brazilian market was closed to vehicle imports until the 1990's, and I'm talking about a very small town in the South, so ANY American cars driving around was a rare thing to see. 

Fast forward to the year 2015. By this time, I had a my 1930 Model A Tudor Sedan and was collecting parts to build a traditional hot rod. At the same time, I had a Brazilian 1973 Ford Galaxie which had a 292 Y-Block with a C4 from the factory! Could you imagine? It was a fun little car to have while I scavenged for hot rod parts!

One particular Saturday night, some friends and I were at a local bar talking cars when suddenly a short guy with a giant beard and "Motorhead" T shirt comes up to say hi to one of my friends. His name was Rafael. They are talking for a while and my buddy points to me and says to him, "This guy here is building a hot rod!" And so, Rafael and I start to talk about old cars. (I know, what a shock.) 

After a little bit, he says to me, "Oh man, I miss my old car so much!" and with that, he starts reaching into his pocket for his phone. I'm thinking to myself, "Ok, here we go.. It will probably some Chevy Opala or some other boring ass car..." But as I zero in to take a closer look at the picture on his phone, which was a poorly taken picture of an actual print photo, my heart skipped a beat: 


I remember snatching the phone out of Rafael's hands like a frog's tongue snatches a fly out of the air, holding it close to my face with both hands, eyes as big as saucers and staring as intently as a teenager seeing boobs for the first time in his life. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And I could not believe I was meeting the guy that, without knowing, had changed my life forever. I needed to know more. 

Rafael told me that the car had been pretty badly neglected when he got it and that he didn't really have the proper funds at the time to fix it up the way it deserved to be, so he just made some mall improvements to it and drive it for just a short time. Ultimately, we ended up becoming friends, great friends actually! 

In 2017, Rafael and I teamed up to work on his 1941 Ford Business Coupe. What started with just bleeding the brakes and changing all the fluids became a more extensive task. From tearing out the front suspension to removing basically the entire drivetrain from the car. (Ah yes, the dreaded snowball effect...)

Inspired by the timeless Jesse Lopez 1941 Ford Coupe, built by George Barris, we decided to take the "oldschool" route to give this car the proper stance and just the right look it deserved. 

We cut and altered the rear crossmember to make it flat and keep the original stock leaf spring setup. Rafael decided to take a chance making a custom dash just like Barris Customs had done on the Jesse Lopez Coupe. The results were so incredible that he actually ended up making a kit of sorts and began selling that kit to places like Jack Hammer Speed Shop, shipping them all the way to the UK! This guy is very talented and can build or create basically anything, especially if you say the magic words, which are: "I bet you can't do it!" HAHA!

Soon enought, the "TO-DO" list became a "DONE" list and we were finally able to take the old Ford on it's first spin after all of the work we had done. And MAN, what a fucking COOL cruiser! The next step is to make the rear wheel cover and install the 1948 Cadillac grill, which is already restored, refinished rechromed and ready to go!

So, there you have it, the story of the car that changed my life. I hope you've enjoyed it and will read it on your podcast! 

PS: As for my Tudor, the car is still patiently waiting for me to make time for it. I do the "Two Hours a Night" ( Read: TWO HOURS A NIGHT – ironandsteele ) technique as often as possible, but having kids and owning your own company can really slow things down a little bit sometimes. I've included some pictures of the car as well. 

Best regards, 

Joe Poletto 


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