Every minute of every day, somebody somewhere changes their mind about something they believed they were really into. Take the case of Peter “Pedro” Hendrickson, who used to be a self confessed “sports car guy.” Back in 2003 he was bringing a ‘47 MG TC back home to Bozeman, Montana, from Santa Cruz, California, when he stopped at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It turned out to be one of those transformational moments.
Pete says, “I stopped and saw all these bitchin’ hot rods and I looked at my TC on the trailer and I was like, ‘what am I messing with this slow stuff for? This is no fun.’” And so a new path was embarked upon that ultimately would lead to Pete and his friends building a roadster in just under a year.
Before the roadster Pete went out and bought himself a ’48 Plymouth coupe and a ’55 Belvedere wagon from a newspaper ad in his hometown. This triggered a sequence of events he could not possibly have foreseen. He sold the wagon to his friend, Dan Bilyeuw, and through Dan he met Chris King out of Winnett, Montana. Chris lives out on a ranch in Winnett with something like 300 cars and 600 cows. It’s the kind of place with only two paved roads in the whole county and where Chris’s dad drives his Model T Speedster down 20 miles of dirt to the post office every day.
Out in Chris’s shop Pete noticed an Earl “Edgy” Edgerton head hanging on the wall and said to Chris, “I’d like to have that for my ’48 Plymouth” and Chris said, “Here, take it.” He’s that kind of a guy, that Chris King. Soon enough the two were pals and heading down to Bonneville to wrench on Edgarton’s Chrysler coupe.
Pete says, “For the next two years I tried to help turn wrenches on Edgy’s car. Last year (2007) after too many beers on the last night I was giving Earl a hard time. He said, basically, “hell with you, I’d like to see you do better” and I said, “I’ll have a car here next year.” And he said, “I’ll bet you a hundred bucks you can’t build a car in a year.” We shook on it. I got home and literally the next day started looking for a Dodge roadster body. We knew we wanted to run a four. We looked at Shug and Irene (Hanchard’s) car and said ‘that looks like a inexpensive way to go.’ In hind-sight it’s not.”
As soon as he got home Pete put out the word he was looking for a Mopar roadster body. He chased down a ’31 Plymouth only to find it nearly completely gone. Then on eBay he hit pay dirt with a 1928 Dodge roadster. He contacted the seller and told him to stop the auction and name his price. The price was named, paid, and another crazy sequence of events comes to light.
Pete was on his way to pick up the car 1600 miles from his home and began calling the seller as he closed in, only to get no answer. He called and called until he was sitting in front of the guy’s house for hours. Nothin’. A bit on the ticked-off side, Pete decided enough was enough and made the 20-hour drive back home. As he was unhitching the trailer from his pickup the phone rang with the seller on the other end pulling a full-on stoner style “Dude, where are you” act. Pete made the mook promise not to flake and headed back out to grab the roadster. Again, it seemed like the deal might not go off until finally the guy showed up and the roadster went in the pickup along with the original rails as a bonus.