joe mahovlic - Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society


joe mahovlic - Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society
Pioneer - Hot Rod and Custom Car - Inducted 2015
By Alyn Edwards
Joe Mahovlic was a teenager in
1950 and Hot Rod magazine had hit
Vancouver newsstands showing the hot
rods that were cruising the streets down
south. He was hooked.
His sister had purchased a 1932
Ford roadster and, within a matter of
few months, Joe had acquired the
roadster to drive to his last year at South
Burnaby Secondary School.
He learned mechanics at Walt
Penny’s service station on Canada Way
at Douglas Road where he completely
disassembled the car and began to
highly modify it. He boxed the frame
for rigidity and Z’d the back of the
frame – effectively kicking up the frame
rails at the rear allowing the rear axle to
be mounted higher to lower the entire
stance of the car. He bought a dropped
solid axle in Bellingham to lower the
front. He built most of his steering and
suspension components, hand filed
them to make them smooth and had
them chromed at Dominion Bridge.
He moved the front cross member
forward to allow for more engine bay
room. He then channeled the body over
the frame so, instead of the body being
mounted on top of the frame, the body
was dropped down over the frame –
again for a lower stance.
To give his emerging hot rod the
right proportions, he sectioned the grille
Nominated by Alyn Edwards
to make it lower. Then he had to build a
new longer hood to compensate for the
lengthened frame hand forming the side
panels out of aluminum and making his
own fiberglass mold to make the top
part. Blackie Green punched the louvers
in the side panels.
At the rear of the car, he shortened
the trunk lid considerably and then
fabricated a lower rear pan so the much
lower car was cosmetically correct. Joe
hand formed the same type of round
steel nerf bars for a rear bumper that he
had seen in magazines. His car was
coming together.
This low slung roadster stopped
traffic on the streets of Vancouver in
1951 with a modified flathead engine
and exhaust exiting through dual
Smithy mufflers. But it just wasn’t
enough for Joe Mahovlic who, by this
time, was working for Eaton’s mail
order house in automotive accessories
and sporting goods.
Studebaker had introduced an
overhead valve V8 engine in its 1951
models and a hapless American visiting
Vancouver had totaled his new car. Joe
bought the wreck for $275 to install the
high horsepower V8 engine in his hot
rod. He bought an adapter from CalVan to connect the engine to a 1948
Lincoln transmission. He also used the
Joe Mahovlic today
Stewart-Warner gauges and wiring from
the wrecked Studebaker.
Joe ended up with the coolest ride
on Canada’s West Coast and was on the
road in his hot rod as other teenagers
were just catching the bug and
beginning the search for their own
deuce roadsters and coupes to modify.
Today, Joe Mahovlic is a spry
octogenarian who still has the car bug.
When he retired after nearly 50 years in
auto body repairs and painting, he
restored a 1967 Camaro that he now
uses to attend car shows.
Joe with his current 1967 Camaro
2015 Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society
1932 Ford Deuce Hot Rod
Joe with hot rod in the day
Engine and suspension detail
2015 Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society