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Featured Member of the Week: rodster56


Please tell us a little bit about yourself…

My Name is Rodney Updegrave Jr; I am 39 years old and live in Tremont Pa.  I have been married to my beautiful car loving wife for 15 years. We have one son, Corey, who is 20 years old and is serving in the United States Air Force and stationed in gorgeous Florida at Eglin Air Force Base and is a crew chief on the F-16 Fighter Jets. We have a 10 year old Morkie named Shelby, Yes a Ford name, who is our little super star, she wear’s matching dresses at all the shows, pink sunglasses, and was featured in the opening credit of the TV show My Classic Car for one year. My father has been my inspiration for my love of cars, and is not only my best friend, but my partner in crime in building 8 cars total since 1995:  a 1956 Chevy 210 Sedan, 1937 Chevy Coupe, 1939 Chevy Sedan, 64 Impala SS Convertible, 1972 VW Bug convertible, 1974 VW bug Roadster, 1949 Pontiac Tin Woodie Wagon, and my 1954 Cadillac. It has been an awesome experience to build these cars with my Dad; we’ve learned more each time and will continue to keep learning.


How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?

I saw an advertisement on Facebook and thought I would check it out, it looked pretty cool, so I decided to enter my Caddy in for Cool Ride of the week or month.


What Cool Rides do you currently own?

I currently own my 1954 Cadillac, 2013 Dodge Charger R/T, 2004 Baja 25 Outlaw (my water baby), and my wife has a pretty cool little toy outside waiting, a 1954 Austin Of England Convertible that was her grandfathers, this will possibly eventually become a rat rod.


Now tell us a little about your favorite “Cool Ride”; what makes it special?

IMG_5714The most special part for me about my Cadillac was my father and I built this car 100%, we did all the fabrication, body work, paint, engine, wiring, and interior. This was quite the feat being the first interior my father ever did, and quite frankly, it turned out awesome. I am SO proud of the way the car turned out, I purchased the car in 2008 and started saving up parts, after finishing my Dad’s Pontiac wagon in 2010, we started on the Cadillac. Hearing so many people tell me that the car should remain original, it only inspired me more to customize it. We finished the car the Friday night before the 4th of July this year at 10:30 at night, my horn stuck wide open that night, the following morning we got up early and fixed the horn, packed up the luggage, and drove it fresh 125 miles to our vacation spot. We drive all the cars we build; I’ve hit several shows this year and have gotten 14 awards so far this year, including 4 best of shows.


What’s next for your Cool Ride?  Planning additional work for it or maybe a special trip/cruise?

Over the winter the big thing is I hope to air ride it, the car rides low, so you need to be super careful. I have a few squeaks and rattles to fix, a different steering column, little exhaust work, and I hope to hit some of the large shows next year, Ocean City MD, Bloomsburg PA, Syracuse NY, and possibly Wildwood NJ to see what the reactions are at larger shows.


What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?

The most difficult modification was chopping my ‘39 Chevy Sedan, it was the first car we ever chopped, it was a success, and now currently we are ready to chop a ‘49 Chevy Fleetline in a few weeks which is my Moms car.


What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?

Starting the motor for the first time, this was the first LS1 we’ve ever used, I was so nervous, I turned the key and it didn’t crank three times and fired right up, it came to life. The first ride was quite memorable too, Dad and I went to back it out of the garage, and the frame laid on the garage floor edge and the car wouldn’t move…..guess I had it to low.


What is your dream car to own if money was not an issue?

Oddly enough, I love 55-56 Buicks and Oldsmobile’s…..We were actually driving to NH to purchase a 1956 Buick station wagon when I bought my Cadillac. We drove 450 miles with a trailer in tow, got there, looked at the car for 5 minutes and left knowing I wasn’t buying the car. I stumbled across the Caddy on the way home, had the exact amount they wanted, and had it in the trailer the same day.


Taking care of collector vehicles is not easy.  Do you have any special tips on how to take care of your Cool Rides in and out of storage?

Not really because we store our cars in a working garage, so we always try and keep a sheet of plastic over them and the windows up, always keep a battery tender on them, and try and start them once every month or so.


Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?

Not really, I’m no professional, just an everyday guy that has a normal job that enjoys building cars with my Dad. We are very proud of what we have accomplished, and would be honored to be chosen as Car of the Month or week, thanks for your consideration. Thanks in advance…Rodney

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