The Japanese art of Dorodango is an age-old children’s pastime in which two natural elements—a semi-solid and a liquid—are combined to create small spherical objects … mud dumplings as their Kodomo would describe it. Interestingly, taking that process one step further (Hikaru Dorodango) not only produces shiny dumplings, it proves that the not-so-old American proverb “you can’t polish a turd” is false (hey, the MythBusters even deemed the adage a myth!).
In other (more appropriate) words, not all that is inherently bad has the inability to be fixed or improved upon. From this individual’s perspective, a certain build style, at least in its general public/mass retail appeal guise, had always possessed numerous inabilities—however, builders like Jason Graham and more recently Denny Terzich Sr. have busted that particular opinion by quite literally polishing rat rods! And that was exactly what the ProRides patriarch set out to do with a 1930 Ford Tudor: “… build a car with a rat rod stance, ’50s chrome, and modern interior, hence the name ‘The Mutt’,” Denny claims.
With his goal being “To put a ProRides version of a rat rod out there,” Denny turned to fabrication affiliate Nathan Durst at NCD Specialties (Greensburg, Pennsylvania), who tackled the major aspects of this project—from the custom-built, Speedway-equipped chassis to the 5-inch chop—before assembling it the old-school way within the tight confines of his home garage. Void of any street sign floor panels (or complete absence thereof), beer can accessories, or the like, despite being a mutt as far as some of the styling goes as he admitted, that supposed contradicting concoction of sorts worked, the result being a perfect example of automotive dorodango!
Two years in the making, the Tudor (now owned by Gary Fiori since being photographed) features a brilliant Glasurit Red Velvet paintjob by Jeff Volker (over the bodywork by Dave Matthews) in lieu of flat black or even rusty bare metal, with Coker/Excelsior-equipped 18- and 20-inch Wheelsmith wires supporting the sedan’s squatted stance. A trio of polished 94s atop an underdriven 4-71 GMC blower induce the Chevy small-block that provides the more-than-sufficient means of power, while only offering a minimal amount of potential, behind-the-wheel, visual obstruction! And while Denny did in fact opt for bomber-style bucket seats, the Speedway ones he installed (along with the remainder of the paneling) now wear fine black leather, appropriately stitched up by JC Auto Trim. Other pseudo non-traditional items include Dakota Digital HDX instrumentation, roll bar-mounted seatbelts, and even carpeted floors.
If cars such as this represent a redeeming factor as far as rat rods go, then I’m all for it. Bring on the Hikaru Dorodango reformation!