SP Rides: A Work of Art
By MICHAEL KITCHENS
Name: Clifford “Hi-ho” Silva
Hobbies: Building hot rods
Year/Make/Model: Custom Street Altered
Color: Pearlescent Green with Custom Flames
Engine: 383 with competition cam, Dart aluminum heads, tunnel ram, 2 450 Holley carburetors, polished valve covers, Zoomie headers, custom radiator and fuel tank
Drivetrain and Suspension: 1932 Ford frame – shortened and pinched, 6-inch drop, tube axels, hairpin wishbones, direct mate transmission to Jaguar rear end, 4-wheel disc brakes
Exterior: 1930 Touring body, Custom Flames, 1929 roadster window, custom accents including glowing skull brake light
Interior: 1955 Chevy Dash custom fit with aftermarket gauges, emerald steering wheel, black leather seats
Wheels and Tires: Front – ET Wheels 15-inch gassers with Goodyear assurance P186/60R15s (Rear – Custom 15-inch wide wheels with Mickey Thompson Sportsman 31×16.00R15LTs).
Clifford “Hi-ho” Silva has been in the mod game ever since he was a youngster toying around with modeling kits. He learned about the mod trade from his father and at age 15 obtained his first ride — a modified 1946 Ford Coupe with an Oldsmobile engine swap. Since then, the 68-year-old car enthusiast has continued to build and modify hot rods, even though he readily admits that there have been so many builds that he can’t recall all of them.
Clifford’s trade has consisted of buying and selling hot rods along with the custom parts that make them so unique. He spent years importing them from the Mainland in an effort to further the hot rod scene in Hawaii. In the process, he perfected the fabrication skills that enabled him to create custom rods from the ground up, such as the glorious Custom Street Altered you see on these pages.
The car started off as just a 1930 touring body that was sitting at Clifford’s house. In time, it began to take shape as a seriously cool project that he was more than happy to take to the next level.
This ride is truly a mad invention of bits and pieces put together to form a rampaging hot rod of beastly goodness. It consists of a 1932 Ford frame that has been shortened and pinched in the front. The body is custom painted Pearlescent Green with flames and custom accents like a skull brake light. The dash is from a ’55 Chevy, chopped and welded to match the 1929 roadster window. An original speedometer sits within the color-matched dash and features aftermarket gauges to monitor temps, oil pressure and more. An emerald steering wheel is fitted to add extra pizzazz.
The engine consists of a 383 fitted with a large Competition Cam, Dart aluminum heads and a tunnel ram. Two 450 Holley carburetors are visible with some gorgeous polished valve covers to add further shine. Some honking huge Zoomie headers grace the engine and skirt the ground from mere inches away. Although the engine is in the front, the vehicle doesn’t have a driveshaft, which makes it quite unique. The transmission yoke mates directly to the Jaguar rear-end, which is permanently mounted.
Of special note is the Silva emblem located on the front radiator grill. Clifford’s father machined this custom piece more than 60 years ago at Pearl Harbor. In a fitting tribute, Clifford dedicated the car to his parents and included an inscription saying as much on the rear of the automobile.
The way Clifford drives this Custom Street Altered, he’ll need to be able to stop so the ride features four-wheel disc brakes all around. The front features a 6-inch drop with a tube axle with hairpin wishbones. The monstrous 15-inch wide rear wheels were custom built by a machine shop more than 20 years ago and then buffed to a shine.
Overall, this car is truly a work of art. It’s been custom created by a doctor of automobile assembly. “Cars are my life,” he says. “When I cannot build cars, I’m ready for the graveyard.”
Those are serious words from a serious hot rodder.