West Aussie hot rodder Ben Forster takes his 60s-style show rod to Japan and wows them all.
WHEN it comes to building hot rods, Ben Forster is the kind of guy that prefers to get stuff on the road rather than impress the judges at car shows. One of his cars, a Model T coupe, got built over the course of a weekend. That was the genesis of the Winter Madness weekends that his club, Cranksters Rod & Custom Club did for a few years, and it wasn’t a mail-order assembly hot rod either, we’re talking a genuine steel coupe that got painted, trimmed and the chassis built all in one weekend.
There have been a couple more put on the road since then and countless other cars of mates that he’s helped along the way with his fabrication and welding skills, but alongside all of that he was putting together this 60s-style T roadster, dubbed ‘Coupster’, because it’s actually a coupe body that’s been chopped down into a roadster. The reason? “I don’t like the look of the roadster bodies with their separate turtle deck, I much prefer how the coupes look but I wanted to build a roadster,” says Ben.
The whole philosophy behind the build was to put together something that a couple of blokes could have done back in the 60s, so it may not break any new ground in regards to fabrication or detailing, but that was never the goal: “I’ve built it to the best of my ability and it’s the nicest thing by far I’ve ever done.”
In reality, it’s probably way nicer than anyone would have built in the 60s, with its fully painted and detailed underside, smoothed engine block, tuck and roll interior and pearl white and candy purple paint. One thing that you probably wouldn’t have seen back then either is the engine. Look a bit closer, it’s a flathead, but not your average, run-of-the-mill Ford jobbie. This one’s the big daddy of the family, the Lincoln V12, the engine that Charley Ryan sang about in his song ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’.
Ben kept the car under wraps in the lead up to the show, which is never an easy thing, but all the hard work was worth it once it was unveiled at the Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod and Custom Show. Ben was pretty knackered after the massive effort to get it there, plus a few early mornings thank to the discovery of a quaint little laneway bar, which probably explains his slightly stunned look when he went up on stage to receive his awards: “I was the last to accept my award on stage and standing there in front of so many of my peers, friends and the world media was a tad daunting. I am not exactly the shy and retiring type, however, that was one moment I will never forget.”
Thank you to the following for making this possible:
My father for his patience and help in the build and attempting to keep me focussed.
Stewart Parris for his unbelievable talent. The accolades should be going to you for making me look good.
The Cranksters Rod and Custom Club. My brothers.
My Swedish brothers. You made our trip.
My entourage from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne. Good things happen when you are surrounded by great people.
Dale Haberfield and John Harney. Brilliant photographers for documenting the journey and the end result.
My Beautiful wife and two daughters for putting up with this! I love you all.
Drew Menzies for your vision in motor trimming and being a great friend.
Rory for your attention to detail in the electrical.
The team at EDI International Shipping for looking after my girl.
Alan. For just everything!
Steve and his team at Mooneyes for everything they did for us.
Finally, Shige for allowing me the privilege to bring my car halfway around the world and take part in a show that has become something more than a show—it’s spiritual. Ask anyone who has been. If you have managed to get through reading this you now need to book flights to the next Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod Show.