B Rod or Custom's Pinewood Builders Challenge entry this year resembled a Salt Flats race car.
Some of the nation’s best custom-car and hot-rod builders recently took part in the third-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
Pinewood Builders Challenge. Fifteen well-known builders created
one-of-a-kind miniature hot rods in the style of Pinewood derby cars.
The cars were raced at the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races in Pomona,
California, with the car built by Derek White of Street Vizions winning
the race. All of these cars will be on display at the annual SEMA Show and then placed on eBay for auction from October 30–November 8. All proceeds from the auction will go to support SEMA Cares and its two children’s charities—Childhelp and Victory Junction.
Larry Burchett, owner of B Rod or Custom was one hot-rod builder who participated in the Pinewood Builders Challenge. Meet Larry:
Describe the inspirations behind the design of your Pinewood car.
My son PJ and I feel very honored that B Rod or Custom Inc. was asked to be part of this worthy effort to raise money for two great charities—Childhelp and Victory Junction. It is not very often that I have the luxury to afford to donate to charity or be able to build and give away a car that is an extension of our artistic abilities. So when I was approached at last year's HRIA Awards banquet to build a Pinewood car, my son and I jumped at the opportunity to participate.
Larry and PJ Burchett.
Describe some of the materials and resources you used to build your car.
I have been a fan of Salt Flats race cars for as long as I can remember, so when PJ and I started planning the Pinewood car, two criteria had to be met—it was going to be the fastest and the best-looking car. So with speed and style in mind, I naturally thought of the cool cars that are raced on the Salt Flats each year, thus the inspiration for the B Rod Flyer.
Why is it important for you to participate in the Pinewood Challenge?
My approach to all of the projects at B Rod is pre-planning and research. And the first thing that I always try to do is get Eric Brockmeyer to reindeer my ideas. We have worked together on several projects in the past and, amazingly, he has always captured my vision in his drawings. Once the look was decided on, the sculpting began. Naturally, part of the Pinewood kit was used, i.e., the wood, but since I am not a woodworker, I did my finish work using materials that I work with each day—body filler and plastic. Next, I asked a friend, who happens to be an engineering professor at the University of Tennessee and also races cars, to suggest the best size and design for maximum wheel performance and weight distribution. Bearings were a critical part of my wheel equation and, again, a friend who owns a bearing company stepped up. And finally, for the maximum visual excitement, the car was painted with Dupont Base/Clear, hand pinstriped and custom graphics were designed to acknowledge the contributors who graciously donated their times and materials.