Larry Lindsay is an auto
mechanic whose shop specializes in Mercedes, Volvo, and BMW, but his
daily driver for the past two years is his Rodster Sedan Delivery. He
chose the Rodster because of its resemblance to the classic 1940 Ford.
So kit cars are a hobby
How many have you built?
Who counts? I've been building
cars in various stages since I was a kid in the 1950s.
How old were you when
Fourteen. My neighbors gave
me a '28 Chevy and that's how I got started. I operate and own an auto
repair shop now.
You're a Mercedes mechanic?
Yeah, Mercedes, Volvo, and
What do your customers
think when you're not driving a Mercedes or a Volvo or one of the cars
that you specialize in?
I get a lot of comments on
it from various people. Most of them think it's very interesting. And
over the years, I've had various Mercedes and BMWs. So they're used
to seeing me in all sorts of vehicles. I also have a '27 Ford 2-door
sedan that I drive sometimes. It's a modified, it has a Chevy in it,
with an automatic.
How does working on
the Rodster Street Rod compare with the other cars you work on at the
Well, the Rodster's a kit
car. So it's entirely different. Based on the Blazer, so it's a whole
different vehicle than I'm used to working on. The reason I chose it
was because of its resemblance to the 1940 Ford. It was a very popular
car. When I saw it, I said, "There's the car for me." It takes
me back to when I was a teenager.
You grew up in Southern
Yes. In Westchester. Inglewood.
You got into the Southern
California car culture as a kid?
Oh, sure. I was in high school
in the Fifties. That was a really exciting time. You could get a car
real cheap. Five or ten dollars, you could get an old Ford. I used to
mow lawns for fifty cents and buy a car.
Did you street race?
Oh yeah, sure.
How did you find out
about the Rodster Street Rod?
On the web. I was looking
at kitcars.com and it shows all the kit cars throughout the
entire world and I narrowed the search down to the USA, and I saw the
310 area code and thought, that's in my own backyard. So I clicked on
it and there it was. I gave Henry a call, eased on over to the shop
[to see the Rodster Street Rods] and he gave me the brochure. He brought
his car over to my shop and I placed a deposit.
How was it dealing
with Caroselli Design?
Great. You can get him on
the phone, he's very friendly. He'd drive over to the shop and give
me handy hints. Very nice to deal with.
What did you think
of the quality of the fiberglass pieces?
Superb. Compared to what
I've seen, very outstanding. The nosecone is laminated with Kevlar/carbon
fiber, that's the stuff they use on bulletproof vests. It's very strong,
you can stand on it. Most of the fiberglass kit cars are flimsy.
How many hours do you
have in it?
Oh, gosh, I don't know. I
just worked on it in the afternoons. When I had nothing to do, I'd work
on it. I didn't keep track of the time. But it was very easy to put
together, very straightforward. There's a construction book that comes
with it that has a lot of pictures -- cut here and cut there, glue and
bend, and there you go.
What did you think
of the manual?
It was very good. Easy to
follow. It also helps to have some automotive background. Even though
a beginner could do it, it would just take longer. I had the shop, of
course, I had all the facilities. And I didn't have to do it on the
You think that the
average guy who's handy around the house could do it?
Sure. Yeah. If you could
use a hacksaw, if you could read and write, use a measuring stick, have
a little common sense, and you can read, sure, it'll go right together.
You did it all by yourself?
Oh no, I had it painted.
I don't have a booth or the ability to paint.
Did you have fun building
Oh yeah, sure. It's a very
interesting car. People follow me into restaurants asking me, "What
is it?" Of course, you just can't put your finger on it. Is it
a Packard? Kaiser? They say, "It's a what?" They don't know
what it is.
When you tell them,
what is their reaction?
They don't believe it. A
lot of people think it's an actual old car. Or sometimes I'll say, "It's
a World War II Russian vehicle and it's an ambulance." People don't
know any different -- "Really, yeah?" And every time it's
a different answer. "I got it in Bulgaria. It was shipped over
and it was used by the Pope on a tour." You get a lot of strange
Sounds like you have
a lot of fun messing with people's heads.
Sure. At the Knott's Berry
Farm Kit Car Show this year, I got the trophy for "Most Unique."
And the people who do the voting are other car owners, not the general
did you find your donor car?
Again, I went through the
internet. I think it was autotrader.com. You just put in the
make and model that you're looking for, you do a search. I called him
up and drove over and bought it. That was it.
What year is it?
How many miles?
I think about 120,000.
What kind of engine?
The V6 -- 4.3 with an automatic.
So how long have you
had it together?
It's been two years since
it's been done.
In that time, how many
miles have you put on it?
Oh gosh, probably 5,000.
I don't drive that much. And I live very close to work. It's a daily
driver. I drive it to work every day.
You said you've built
many kit cars -- have you ever put that many miles on any of them?
No, I don't think so. Mostly
after they're done I sell it and build something else. This one is more
of a utility type vehicle.
Did you find that most
of the other kit cars were just Sunday drivers?
Yeah, they were just novelty
cars. You build them on a whim, and then when it's done, you grow tired
of it and sell it to buy something else.
Is this the longest
you've held on to one kit car?
Why do you think you
hung on to the Rodster Street Rod?
Because it's mainly a work
vehicle and it's very unique. And it serves two purposes -- it's a kit
car, something you can work on. It's unique, and yet, it's my daily
driver. I've got the Sedan Delivery -- I can fold the seat down and
I've got a station wagon.
What other kits have
Too many to count. Numerous,
What made you dissatisfied
Once it's finished, then
you look for something else to build.
So you go from rod
to rod for the challenge.
Yeah. You get tired of it,
it's been two or three years and you see something else you want to
build and you sell it to generate the income to build the new kit and
you move on. Otherwise, I'd have 30 or 40 or 50 cars in the backyard.
Are you getting ready
to sell your Rodster Sedan Delivery?
No, I don't think so. I'd
just have to replace it with something else and you can't get much for
You could get another
Yeah. But I don't want to
build any more cars.
This is your last?
Probably. I'm working on
a '27 Ford right now. It's not a kit. It's a real '27 Ford and I bought
it; it has some mechanical problems. And some modifying.
What do you think is
the best thing about the Rodster Street Rod?
It's unique. It's something
that not everybody can have. You just can't go buy one. And there's
not that many of them around, so no matter where you take the car, people
are always looking or walking over. "What is that?" So that
makes it very unique. It's the center of attraction no matter where
I park it.
Do you like the civilized
aspects of the car as opposed to most rods that are not meant to be
Oh yeah, it's a basic utility
vehicle. I still have the ability to put the tailgate down and put things
in the back, just like a station wagon.
How much money do you
have invested in it?
I don't know. I can't remember.
It's been two years. I bought everything on the kit which was $5,500
and the car was $4,000... and there's tires and paint... probably $12,000.
That's a lot of bang for your buck. Of course, there's time and putting
in a lot of hours. But that's part of the fun. Building the car for
yourself, that's part of the experience.
Would you recommend
the Rodster Street Rod to others?
Oh yes, of course. If that's
what you want. If you want a kit car and you like the looks of
the 1940 Ford. It's very practical. You can get it serviced anywhere.
It's a handy, unique vehicle.