Jamie’s 1933 Roadster “The Roadster”
Driven by passion for automobiles, it was the persona of Jamie Musselman who started the trend of patrons that were ready to provide fabricators with virtually limitless amounts of money for the manufacturing of “ultra rods”, from the 1980’s to present-day times. Among Coddington’s earliest customers, Musselman, a San Antonio oil entrepreneur and virtuous car collector, with a genuine appreciation for motorcars. Similar to Boyd, his approach to hot rods was like a religious calling. In 1981, he approached – and funded – Boyd, and commissioned him to build a 1933 roadster.
Originally drawn by automotive artist legend Thom Taylor, and simply known as “The Roadster”, the hot rod represented a point of reference for Coddington, as not only did it establish him as a major contender in the industry, but also raised the standards by which all future hot rods would be judged.
Far ahead of its time, the rod featured a custom drive train, consisting of a hand-fabricated unequal-length-control arm front suspension and an independent rear suspension that originated from a Corvette, but enhanced with chrome-moly half-shafts and control arms as well as hand machined hubs.
A visual masterpiece, its aesthetics were augmented by hand-fabricated rocker covers, and the very first Boyds Wheels centers machined from 2024 billet aluminum produced by Boyd from his favorite Bridgeport mill, whereas the interior was fitted with hand built seat frames covered with fine Italian leather.
Coddington modified 1933 Roadster grille and cowl angles until it matched the rake of the windshield, while at the same time lowering the cowl in order to produce a powerful straight line that ran all the way from the top of the grille to the rear of the vehicle. Representing much more than what first met the eye, The Roadster’s appeal lied beneath the surface layer.
Making its premier apparition at the 1982 annual Roadster Show in Oakland, California, The Roadster was not noticed by motoring professionals and builders, as a show car, based on its unprecedented clean looks. However, the 5.8 liter, Chevrolet V8 powered machine was a perfectly functional, road worthy performance automobile that “ran better than my 928 Porsche”, as Musselman himself stated. Standing out as the most influential custom car event on the territory of the United States, the Oakland Roadster Show yields more influence over professionals and enthusiasts alike, than any other American rod show. With roots set deep in the past, its first edition took place in 1950 and each year it grew in membership and importance, until it reached the pinnacle as “the show” at which any builder striving for recognition had to attend. In the world of coach-builders and fabricators, taking the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award represents an honor unrivaled by anything else, being the equivalent of being awarded an Oscar or securing the leading podium position at the end of the Indy 500.
Shock and awe was instilled into the other builders and fabricators, as the hot rod commissioned by Musselman took the coveted AMBR award. The Roadster represented one of the numerous subsequent examples of cars manufactured by Coddington to reach standards for the fabrication of custom cars and rewriting them all over again. Prior to the hallmark year of 1982, any hot rod builder that had a garage or back yard at his disposal could have a genuine chance of securing the AMBR trophy. Once the Coddington hot rods were in the spotlight, the rules of the games were forever changed and the echelon of competitiveness set new grounds for both the cars and the builders. It was virtually impossible for anyone working part time on a hot rod to dedicate in excess of 600 man-hours at $65 an hour for bodywork and paint jobs alike or thousands of hours for machining forged aluminum into complex elements such as engine mounts, one-piece pedal kits or door hinges. Despite being the ones to give birth to the rodding scene, the small time fabricators saw their prized possession taken away from them as wealthy patrons with money to burn represented the end of an era for the former category.
As both Coddington and Musselman considered themselves hot rodders to the core that merely combined money and talent in order to push the hot rod envelope to further stages of development, they felt that the criticism they received for “diluting” the purity of the hot rod concept was unwarranted. After all, the AMBR award did not come with any remuneration and the ultra costly hot rod marketplace didn’t exist. Jamie’s interests didn’t reside in gaining any monetary satisfaction his goals surround himself with a unique collection of hot rods.
Since 1982 this patron-and-artist relationship produced sixteen cars, with price tags ranging from $85k to $130k. Contrasting from some of the exotic machines Jamie has owned, Ferrari’s and Porsche’s, the Boyd Built hot rods remain his personal favorite, as they represent the perfect balance between aesthetic purity and function.