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Speed Rod shows off Spies Hecker paintwork

Well-respected Austrian airbrush artist Knud Tiroch was awarded a Jury’s Choice Award for a one-off vintage car from the American Prohibition era at the Elmia Custom Car Show in Jönköping, Sweden, which took place from 25 to 28 March 2016.

Tiroch teamed up with global refinish brand Spies Hecker in Germany to resurrect the vintage car and turn it into a high-performance, unique, stunning red Speed Rod. Tiroch discovered fragments of the Ford A Roadster from the early 1930s on an old farm in Iowa, USA. After a lot of research, he discovered that during Prohibition the car had smuggled illegal liquor at night as a so-called Moonshine Runner. After the end of Prohibition, the car went on to take part in privately organised races, which were the precursors of today’s NASCAR series.


“I’m a really big fan of the Elmia Custom Motor Show. It’s one of the biggest and most important shows of its kind in Europe,” says Tiroch. “I have been exhibiting cars and bikes there for 20 years, and this isn’t the first award I’ve won over the years. I was very excited to take the Speed Rod with me this year. Since we completed its restoration, it has been on show at the Spies Hecker training centre in Cologne, Germany. This was its first outing where it could be seen not only by the public but also by fellow artists and, of course, the judges. There were somewhere in the region of 60 cars competing at the show and the competition was fierce, so to win a Jury’s Choice Award has been truly incredible. It shows that all the hard work and attention to detail that went into the renovation was definitely worthwhile.”

Tiroch chose to exhibit the bright red Speed Rod on a white gravel floor so that the striking Spies Hecker Hi-TEC 480 RAL 3000 Fire Red truly stood out. He also sat a mannequin of an old school race car driver from the 1930s on the front tyre to complete the Speed Rod tableau.

“We’ve been completely true to the Speed Rod’s history in its restoration; there are no additions, not even one more screw than it would have had in its heyday. But we also wanted to show that a bit of creativity, a lot of technical skill and the right materials can produce incredible results. Speed Rod is so rich with history and memories; when people looked at it, I wanted them to be taken back to the time when it would have been taking part in the privately organised races that were so popular after Prohibition,” says Tiroch.

Anthony Cashel, Marketing Manager for Axalta Coating Systems in the UK and Ireland, says, “we were delighted to see the Speed Rod make an appearance at this important motor show, and absolutely thrilled that it received such prestigious recognition. And Spies Hecker’s involvement in the restoration of the Speed Rod makes this vehicle extra special for us.”

The Custom Motor Show, which is in its 40th consecutive year, attracted 90,000 motor enthusiasts over the Easter weekend. It took place in four themed halls which covered Street Cars, Racing Cars, Nostalgia and Classic Racing Cars.