Roadkill Approved Rust And Shine At Viva Las Vegas 2017

The Viva Las Vegas show on April 13-16, 2017, marked the twentieth anniversary of this celebration of cool cars and hot music. Held at the Orleans Hotel in Vegas, the rockabilly-themed event pulls in cars from across the country, and fans from around the world. Rides have to be pre-’63 and “in a style from that era,” which means lots of chrome, scallops and stance, as well as plenty of Roadkill-worthy rust and wear. Here are some of the Roadkill standouts in the chopped and channeled landscape.

Well now, that’s just rude. (and funny)


Mike Collins’ 1955 Buick from San Diego started life as a four-door. The chop came about when a 2002 crash prompted a makeover, but Mike says it’s “not done yet.”


A ’41 Buick that does everything right. That tube on the side is a window-mounted air conditioner, if you’re new to the older car scene.

Sean Smith disguised a Chevy 283 with Oldsmobile Rocket valve covers. He and his 1929 Model A hail from Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Built by Gil Ayala in 1956, and later sold and lost, this 1955 Thunderbird was found in the 1990s and then sold to Bjørn Inge Jansson. He had it restored in Miami, drove it to the Lone Star Roundup, to California and then to Viva. Later this year he’ll take it home with him to Norway.

Viva founder Jay Ingram’s 1958 Cadillac is the rolling billboard for the event.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (17)

Customizer Shannon Waltz of Pot o’ Gold Kustoms in Peyton, Colorado built his ’35 Ford in two months to make the show. He shortened the frame 12 inches and added the 283 from a ’57 Chevy, while April Bakke fabricated the firewall, trans tunnel and floor.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (21)

There were several Edsel wagons at the show, and this one brought its own alternative transportation.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (22)

John Denich’s copper 1951 Chevy coupe was striped by the late Larry Watson, and was part of a display of different custom styles.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (25)

The Polynesian 2 is a recreation of the original show car, built over five years by John Ballard and Gary Rafe from a 1950 Olds Holiday 88, with an Olds 455 under the hood.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (26)

Stephanie Lozano’s 1963 Corvair Monza was built in a month and painted just 24 hours before the show. Her fiancé Chris Mageno built it, keeping the original engine and putting it on airbags. This isn’t normally our favorite stance. What do you guys think of demon camber on a Corvair?

With some work, a Strato Chief becomes the El Camino that Pontiac should have built.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (30)

Metal-flake wheels mated to a genuine patinaed body set off this 1963 Studebaker pickup. The box looks mismatched, but that’s factory: Studebaker bought its beds from the same tooling Dodge did.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (35)

Terry Fulton came from Alberta, Canada with his blown 454-powered ’30 Model A. Who says paint and rust can’t coexist?

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (40)

This one kept a lot of people guessing, but it’s not a miniature 1948 Ford—it’s a Volvo PV544.

No bumper? No problem! This GMC has enough attitude to pull it off.

No bumper? No problem! This GMC has enough going on that it doesn’t need one.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (49)


When Tim Shadduck retired from racing top fuel and funny cars, he started “building cars instead of blowing them up.” He had two truck front ends, so he welded them into one and then built his 324-Olds-powered 1940 Dodge pickup from there. The truck’s from Camano Island, Washington.

Viva Las Vegas 2017 (52)

The Double Trouble Hot Rod lives up to its name: a 1927 Ford with twin Ford racing engines, and a blower for every cylinder head. Builder Gordon Tronson of Las Vegas says it all works.


We could keep going, but why don’t you scroll on through the rest of this gallery, and maybe make plans for a Viva visit of your own in 2018?


Something to Say?

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover