Northern Virginia Regional Group
January Garage Tour to Ken Gross'
Cold Weather and Cool Cars
by Hank Dubois
photos by Jim McDaniel
Planning anything in January around here is tricky. With a record number of members signing up for Ken Gross’ garage tour, I was hoping for at least “normal” (mid-40’s) temperatures for the event. However, as the 25th drew nearer, it became clear that Mother Nature wasn’t about to cooperate. On the appointed day, the thermometer stood at a windy 17 degrees as hearty V-8-ers gathered at the usual Fair Oaks departure point. Certainly it was too cold to expect members to bring out their beloved V-8’s. But wait! Was that a V-8 we could see as we drove up at 9:00 AM? Indeed it was! Charlie Morrison had decided to throw caution to the wind (literally) and drive his pretty ’35 Coupe replete with twin parade flags and Christmas poinsettias on the grille. It was going to be a true V-8 tour after all! I led the way in our modern car but it was Charlie and his ‘35 following directly behind us that set the pace and the mood for the group as we drove the scenic route to Hamilton, Virginia.
Upon arriving at Ken and Trish’s lovely new home in Hamilton, we found that the members who had driven directly there were already in the garage. Ken welcomed the rest of us into what we quickly realized was his special place. The heated, oversized 3-car garage, which is attached to the house by a walkway, has an extra high ceiling to accommodate a Backyard Buddy lift and houses Ken’s truly unique collection of old Fords and flathead collectibles.
Club members enjoy some of the goodies provided by our hosts Ken and Trish Gross. Nothing better on a cold winter Saturday morning than some caffeine, sugar, carbs and fat to get the day off to a great start.
Ken’s gleaming black ‘32 hot rod roadster, parked at the far end of the garage in front of the refreshments table, quickly attracted a crowd of admirers. This award-winning car was built in the tradition of the great classic hot rods of the post-war period, the period considered by many to be hot-rodding’s “golden era”. Ken designed and directed the construction of every aspect of this car to reflect his vision of the ultimate traditional Ford hot rod. And, it shows! Craftsmanship is impeccable and, except for a very few hidden items that improve performance and reliability, the supercharged, flathead-powered roadster incorporates only pre-’56 Ford parts and looks as nice underneath as it does on top!
Ken says that all that chrome work under the car sure makes cleanup a lot easier! The car also goes as good as it looks and, according to Ken, easily holds its own against high-tech, bowtie-powered street rods on rod runs.