PHOTOS AND ARTICLE BY CHRIS WALL – BUILT BY RAGE MOTORSPORT
When you kick down to an event like the Streetrod Nationals you’re bound to see some pretty sick rides from all walks of life. Restored classics, ground-up rebuilds, original classics and custom rides – there’s something for everyone. The event took place on a runway, which is cool for space, but with it being so flat you can’t see what’s parked in the distance. Luckily in the airport you could get up to a second level and have a look across the parked cars to pick out interesting things.
The most visually appealing cars would be the ones that you couldn’t see from the high vantage point because they’d have a crowd of people around them. I plotted out a route to visit these small crowds and see what the fuss was all about. Firstly, I have to say that some people have seriously poor taste; some cars with lots of onlookers were simply terrible. I was losing hope fast until I came across the Rage Motorsport Phoenix. Done right is all I can say. Others agreed too, because the team took home a second place trophy in the hot rod category.
Fast forward a few months and the chance came up to shoot it for a feature, which meant I could have my own private look at it, up-close and personal. Usually this brings out flaws in a car, but on this custom build I honestly cannot point out anything that’s not finished off properly. Of course the mods and how they’re done is subjective and there would probably be some people with criticisms about certain things, but I’m not one of them.
Before more on the Phoenix, who is Rage Motorsport? It’s an East Rand family outfit consisting of the brother and sister team of Gary and Debbie Anderson, with extra help from retired dad Robin. They started back in 2006 as a part-time concern, a sideline to their mining-focused business. That was sold off last year and their attention turned to Rage Motorsport in a full-time capacity – a good thing for the industry. They didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start making car parts; over the years they’ve made (and still do) custom-machined parts for the Historic Racing guys and the quality of their work is such that they also do most of the machining for the GT40s manufactured in Cape Town by Cape Advanced Vehicles for international export. Parts like gearbox adaptors, patented brake calipers, billet aluminium fuel filters and breathers, custom-engraved tappet covers and other bits and bobs are on the Rage menu. So yeah, already more experience than many places out there.
Two 1934 Ford steel bodies and an angle grinder set up the base for the Phoenix cabin, which is a full fibreglass piece that’s made so well you’d swear it was off a billion dollar production line. I actually knocked on it a few times to be certain it wasn’t metal. The two dead bodies weren’t used in vain; they gave rise (heh heh heh) to the name Phoenix – born again through the ashes (grinder shavings). The chassis used was sourced from a… well, nothing. There wasn’t one available with the specs needed, so the team simply created their own from scratch – as you do. Parts making up the chassis were all laser cut and made from top quality materials. With the main bits manufactured it was a matter of building a load bin, fitting a motor (a sweet Ford V8 from engine builder Brian Cook at Raceparts Distribution) and sorting out an interior. Simple when said, but a fair lick of work in reality, a year’s worth, truth be told.
On the exterior, we see some basic red steelies in wide and narrows complete with whitewalls and chrome hubcaps – a great contrast to the light matt green finish given to the cab and load bin. The Rage Phoenix logo stands out on the doors, as does the same logo fashioned into the tailgate. The roof features a nautical star logo, also a nice touch. That Ford V8 has been left exposed and there are plenty of custom parts and trick bits fitted with Phoenix logos engraved; it’s a really good-looking engine. I love the custom pipes ending in a star-exit. Being left exposed gave the guys a chance to show off their customizing skills in the front suspension and chassis mounts; there’s a freaking V8 logo laser-cut into it. Details that kick ass! Custom tappet covers, a Holley double pumper, an Edelbrock intake manifold, billet ignition wire holders and an upgraded ignition system are all part of the setup.
In the cabin it’s plain and simple, a cream dash is fitted with the classic series, chrome-bezel Auto Meter gauges and a few small lights. A wooden 3-spoke EMPI steering wheel is in play along with a B&M shifter. Seats and door cards have been finished in white and red leather. It all looks just right. It’s spotless in every way; it’s got that factory finish feel to it.
This Rage Motorsport Phoenix is properly hot, and by the time you read this it will have a new owner. That was the point of it though, to see if it could be done. It could, and well enough to be sold too. Now that Rage have the process down, they’ll be able to custom-build one for a customer in three to four months or they can even supply a comprehensive DIY-style kit for those who prefer to do things their own way. These guys are going to be in business for a long, long time. Keep an eye out for their next one; there will be a bunch of small changes and also big upgrades not visible unless pointed out. The planned paintwork will make you look thrice. When it’s operational, you can expect to see it in amongst the SA Hot Rod pages too. Well done Andersons, well done!