1992 Americas Most Beautiful Roadster
A Hot Rod Of Ingenuity Design And Detail
Dennis Varni from Los Gatos, California, first built this 1929 roadster in 1971. In 1990, when Dennis wanted to refresh the 29 Hot Rod, he looked to Boyd Coddington Garage to rebuild it with the look of the Lil’ John Buttera smoothed ’29 roadsters that had set the trend at the time. This required major modifications to the original ’29 body and an entirely new custom fabricated frame and chassis. The challenges of the body were tackled by Ron Covell, who shortened the quarter-panels 3 inches, moved the wheel wells forward, shortened the deck panel 3 inches to enlarge the interior, built 2-inch-longer doors from scratch, and formed a rolled rear pan and a louvered belly pan. Greg Turetto constructed and fabricated new frame rails to fit the body’s new form. The Halibrand Champ quick-change rides on torsion bars and the license plate flips up to hide away into the roll pan when the key is turned off.
An Art Chrisman assembled, Buttera-designed aluminum, 406-inch Indy Hawk small-block propels the newly shaped body and chassis. This hot rod motor is a beautiful combination of Boyd Coddington machined and polished custom air cleaner, valve covers, and oil pan to match the Dart heads, a 3/4-inch stroked crank, Crower rods, Ross pistons, an lsky cam, Jesel rockers, B&M blower, (now Holley) with a Carter AFB carb. Backing up the power plant and handling the torque is a Doug Nash five-speed transmission.
Greg Morel and Keith Russell applied Boyd Red lacquer paint, and the rest of the Boyd Coddington crew fitted the pieces together, laced the wires, and finished the details before Ron Mangus stitched the new interior with Connolly Leather and wool carpet. The Boyd Coddington billet steering wheel is wrapped in Connolly Leather and topped off with the Varni logo etched into the horn button. The silk-screened matching face VDO and Smiths gauges also proudly display the Varni logo. The trunk is trimmed in Connolly Leather and wool carpet with a Sony CD changer.
In 1992 Dennis’s Roadster won the prestigious Americas Most Beautiful Roadster Award. Winner or not, Dennis is a true hot rod enthusiast and for him, nothing is too good to butcher. You’ll find Dennis out driving his 29 in the sun, rain or blistering heat.