Anton’s Hot Rod Shop, a Cleveland-area custom shop, is bringing not one vehicle, but two to SEMA 2016, Nov. 1-4, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. One of the vehicles is a complete custom rebuild of a 1950 Studebaker and the other car will be announced by Valspar Automotive – booth No. 10851 (North Hall) – at the show. Both vehicles by Anton’s Hot Rod Shop are finished in the company’s coatings from the Matrix Automotive Finishes and DeBeer Refinishes paint portfolios with repair products from U.S. Chemical & Plastics.
Located in Hiram, southeast of downtown Cleveland, Anton’s Hot Rod Shop is known for the obvious – hot rods – with over-the-top fabrication and engine builds. The SEMA-bound 1950 Studebaker is the perfect example of the level of craftsmanship that comes out of this shop, owned by Anton Lanesky and his wife Shannon. “I always wanted a 50s Studebaker and when a friend had one and couldn’t finish it and offered it up to me, I jumped at the opportunity,” he said.
Today that friend’s Studebaker is a tribute to the Memphis Belle – known as the Boeing B-17F “Flying Fortress” during World War II. One for the history books, the Memphis Belle was one of the first heavy bombers to complete 25 consecutive combat missions and return to base with crew intact.
“One day, it was on the rotisserie and it just looked like an airplane, and I thought how cool is that?” said Anton.
In fact, Studebaker made engines for many of Boeing’s airplanes during WWII and promoted models made during that era alongside heavy bombers. “The 4-panel rear window is exactly what you would find on an airplane from that time,” said Anton.
Anton’s custom “Stude,” as he refers to it, came together piece by piece but not without a lot of customization from the chassis – 116” wheelbase, fully-fabricated frame and NHRA Certified roll cage – to the one-of-a-kind quarters covering 36-17-16 Goodyear tires and double bead lock weld wheels. Each and every painted detail is ripped from the Memphis Belle, from the yellow and black checkered detail on the light bezel to the military star on the driver’s door.
Other details in Matrix colors include:
- Yellow bombs representing the bomber’s 25 successful heavy-bomb missions
- Flags representative of the number of enemy planes shot down during WWII
- Tail art shows both the squadron number and the “L”, an identifier for the 381st Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force
Ironically the L suited Anton’s last name; the squadron number he did modify. “It’s my wedding date,” he said. The pinup girl is also not the original from the plane.
“This car truly pays tribute to our veterans from all eras,” said Laura Yerkey, director of marketing, Valspar Automotive. “We couldn’t be more proud to have it in our booth showcasing Matrix’s colors. It truly captures the Americana spirit of the Matrix brand.”
Anton’s color choice for the body of his Studebaker is a military-inspired green, Tarragon Green, (WA860K); the entire car is cleared in Matrix’s MS-42 Clear.
Alongside Anton’s Studebaker Dragster in the Valspar Automotive booth No. 10851 is a custom trike from Las Vegas’ notorious Count’s Kustoms and History’s “Counting Cars,” also painted in Matrix paints. On the other side will be a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am in Prospray Finishes by John Wargo of The Custom Shop in Flanagan, Ill.
As for Anton’s “other” vehicle at the show for the company, Valspar Automotive is keeping that under wraps (literally) until day one of SEMA on Nov. 1st. “The only thing we can tell you is that the vehicle is finished in something sweet,” said Yerkey.
For more information about Valspar Automotive, visit valsparauto.com.