Built for SHOW: The Iron Orchid
We all have dreams. For some it’s an island paradise or the “American dream” – but for us car people it’s the vision of our perfect automobile. That dream vehicle varies as much as enthusiasts do, it could be a drift car or the perfect rock crawler – but for Dave Shuten of Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) it was all about hotrods and the details within them. So not surprising that he ended up building one of the most highly-detailed hotrods you’ve seen in a long time. Galpin has been known for decades as the world’s leader in making dreams come to life for their customers. Customizing cars for everyone from rock stars to diligent 7-11 employees who’ve saved their pennies - from one-off muscle cars to racecars you’ll only find on the tracks. Dave is no different than the rest of us enthusiasts…yearning for years to build the car of his dreams. What’s unique about him is that he works at Galpin Auto Sports and spends his days building the cars of other people’s dreams. He has built and rebuilt some of the most iconic cars of our day, including many Ed “Big Daddy” Roth cars and historical racecars. Dave moved to California from Detroit where he earned his keep as a tool and die maker for GM. Having a desire to showcase his talent in custom car building, he knew Southern California was the place to be. Helping to fund the move, Dave sacrificed the 1934 Ford 5-window he’d stashed, awaiting it’s turn in the Motor City. Luckily, he’d be working closely with the 5-window’s new owner, Beau Boeckmann from Galpin. It waited in the wings as Dave started his new job and made a life for himself. He didn’t dream of sugarplums or fairies when he went to sleep…no, it was about all the wonderful things he would do to a ‘34 Ford. The time came for the ‘34 to get its place in history when Beau and Dave decided to go after the Riddler Award in Detroit - one of the most prestigious awards a car can be given in the world of chrome and candy. It was only fitting that the car would be returning to be shown just a few short miles from where it was originally built. The race was on. The Iron Orchid was built in the style of a 60s show car - utilizing today’s standards of building. While they may have had the tooling back in the day, the show car craze of the 60s meant that many of the iconic cars, upon closer inspection, were completely hacked together. The Riddler Award puts the bar at the highest caliber, every panel must be massaged to perfection - and that’s just what Dave did, right down to the nuts and bolts. Dave, along with GAS co-workers Manual Lopez and JD Hendrickson, worked each panel to perfection, metal finished, and then body worked. Parts had to be painstakingly found, as the build called for period-specific go fast parts - driving home the appearance of the 60s car show theme when shown beneath the clear-blue acrylic panels inserted into the hood. When doing such a high-level build, it can be difficult finding people to pick up the baton on the same level of skill and care. Dave knew it could only be the best when he needed help. So it was time to call in a few experts - for paint, interior, chrome, and striping. Darrel Hollenbeck from Vintage Color Studios was the first on the list. One of the best painters of today he’s highly sought after for custom paint - and he loves a little 60s flair. So the 5-window’s body and paintable panels were sent to Nor Cal where they’d receive the perfect pearl, faded, candy paint scheme. Next up were all the shiny bits…the chrome. Every time I say “chrome”, I flinch because it costs so much – but for the Iron Orchid the sky was the limit. This job called for Advance Plating – one of the best in the business. With a custom grill and thousands (yes, thousands) of chrome parts…Advance Plating had their work cut out for them. Next up was final assembly done by Dave and the GAS gang, and then came the finishing touches of pinstripping and interior. Roy Pentecost did the lines and Mark Lopez of Elegance Auto Interiors crafted the white, quilted insides. No stone was left unturned with this car… well maybe one. Everyone knows you can’t have a 60s show car without a phenomenal name. One fine morning before heading back to Detroit for the Riddler competition and car’s unveiling, Dave caught some breakfast with an old-time friend, Robert Williams. Mr. Bitchin’ himself, Robert is a legend in the nostalgic car world – imagining things that encompass everything hot rod. Over some eggs and bacon they talked about the car and Dave showed Robert some pictures of it. The ol’ girl with shiny shoes needed a name, and not just any name – she needed one that would capture the essence of the rod. Loving the car, Robert began rattling off names. While some of those names can’t be spoken of here in respectable circles, the one that sealed the deal was “The Iron Orchid”. I think you’ll agree that it’s the perfect fit. With so much love and hard work, the car was finished and ready for the world. No amount of pictures can do this car justice, every time you see it you’ll find new things you’ve never seen before. If you’re lucky enough to hear it run, ask for a ride – its full-race 1964 Ford 427 side oiler engine will blow your mind!!!! -Tim Sutton Engine: 1964 Ford 427 side oiler V8 Trans: 1965 Ford top-loader 4-speed Rear: 1960 Ford 9” Just under 700 hp and too many details to list!