“Trailers are for boats,” says Hotrod Ed, who thinks nothing of driving his 1931 Model A coupe a few hundred miles one way for a good car show. As an ex-New York City Garbage truck driver with a string of endorsements like alphabet soup on his driver’s license he’s not shy about telling you, “I can drive the sh*t out of anything. But I don’t do boats.”
Born to parents who ‘don’t do planes’ and with family history in Detroit including a grandfather who chauffeured for Henry Ford, cars are in Ed’s blood. But he’s not just a driver- he’s a builder too. An Army veteran tank mechanic, he’s built more than a few hotrods over the years including a harlequin-painted custom T-bucket roadster in his basement that, once assembled, didn’t exactly fit back out through the door. His previous rides include a Model A sedan, a Willys wagon, a Henry J, a 1941 willys glass coupe, and a collection of vintage minibikes, all driven without mercy through mud, snow, dirt and rain. Recently he has aquired a 1951 henry J 440 cross ram gasser.
Ed bought the Little Red Rocket from North Texas Kustoms in January, 2015. The car needed floors, roof, tires and top end of the engine just to get it drivable. He started with new Edelbrock heads that were massaged by Gary at Dutchman Fabrication in Bohemia, NY, and put the motor back together himself from there. After it was up and running, he spent the next few months doing a 12,000-mile shakedown run on it finding all the bugs, cracks and leaks on the way to and from car shows, cruise-ins and events.
Inspiration for the Red Rocket was the purple Watson coupe. There is no kandy on the car- it’s two-tone flake painted in the dead of winter in Ed’s canvas shanty on the side of his house in Long Island. “Two propane heaters and ten miles of tape,” he says.
It was Thanksgiving Day, 2016, that Ed and friend Joe Adams tore the car apart to flake the firewall and weld and paint the chassis. Joe is a professional bodyman and painter, but Ma Nature pulled no punches and the firewall had to be repainted and flaked more than once due to cracking paint from spraying in low temperatures.
Ed was determined to show the painted car in the basement at the Detroit Autorama in February, 2016, but the cold weather had put the project way behind schedule. The body was off the frame, no interior, bondo spots everywhere, no primer. Only the firewall, grille shell and headlight buckets were flaked and ready. “His girlfriend Pati said she wasn't coming from California for the show unless he brought the car (she said she didn't want to hear me bitch the whole weekend because his car wasn't there). So a week before the show he dropped the body back on the chassis by himself, wired it, and sealed the body in epoxy primer. Drove 10 hours with no heater in February to the show.” While other car owners complained and babied their rides out of their trailers, Ed found an empty parking lot and tore it up doing donuts in the snow.
Now, seven years later, Ed’s put a total of over 72,000 miles on the coupe touring all over the US: charming the ladies, joking around, telling stories and talking cars with friends new and old at over 40 big shows and travel attractions from Long Beach New York to Long Beach California, from Detroit to austin texas, and even to Hell and back. (No lie- he was even mayor for the day there in Hell, Michigan.)
Hotrod Ed (or Hotrodeo, depending on how you read the license plate) and his Red Rocket can always be counted on to turn up in places they shouldn’t, like in the pits at TROG (NJ) and the Eyes on Design Concours d’Elegance (MI), and in places he’s been coming back to for years, like the Road Rocket Rumble (Indianapolis) where he picked up his 10-year participant jacket in 2016.
Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, California, cruising Route 66, following The Great Race, sampling the Bourbon Trail, riding the Abusement Park roller coaster at Speedcult, drag racing at Mooneyes Xmas party, winning a ’53 Pontiac at Vintage Torquefest and learning how to lace paint the roof before selling it and giving it back in 4000 dollars cash for the Helping Hannah’s Heart raffle... Ed’s recent travels and adventures must sound like a lifetime bucket list to owners of the local ‘zip code cars’ that never leave town.
Ed has definitely earned his moniker The Long Range Bomber, and of course he is currently plotting his next motoring adventure: moving to phoenix AZ where he never has to see snow or work on a car in the cold again. If you see him on the road, say hello! Just make sure it’s a boat on that trailer of yours.
Owner/Builder: Hotrod Ed Grima
Location: Everywhere, America
Car Club: The long range Bombers
Vehicle: 1931 Ford Model A Coupe
Body & Paint: Two-tone flake by Hotrod Ed & Joe Adams, Long Beach, NY Motivation and Paint Tech Advice: Pati Fairchild
Body Mods: 1935 Chevy grille, hand-fabricated dash, 2x4 chassis, tow hitch for vintage cooler or race minibike
Engine: 327 Chevrolet V8
Heads: Edelbrock heads massaged by Gary at Dutchman Fabrication, Bohemia NY Intake: Edelbrock intake with triple Stromberg 97s
Exhaust: Straight pipes with resonators
Rear End: 8.8 Ford
Steering: Vega Cross-Steer, F-1 steering column
Suspension: Factory buggy spring
Brakes: F-1 drums in front, 1987 Mustang drums in the rear
Wheels & Tires: Steel wheels,Diamond back 165R15s in front, 7.50x16s in the rear Seats: Ford F-1 bench, narrowed
Upholstery: Mexican blanket by Javier, Freeport, NY
Glass: Eric the Glassman, Deer Park, NY