“People were asleep and I stole it!” That’s how Richard Rawlings describes how he bid and won the car that’s known at The “King T” at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2016. The “King T” was designed and built by Don Tognotti and Gene Winfield over a two-year period from 1962 to 1964. If you’re unfamiliar with Tognotti and Winfield, they’re absolute legends in the custom hot rod world and to have this car at Gas Monkey Garage is an absolute honor.
The “King T” was a 1964 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) trophy winner and became the inspiration for a Hot Wheels Redline edition car called the “Hot Heap Roadster”. The car was restored in 2007 and repainted to match its original Wild Lavender Pearl color by Gene Winfield himself and features a 327 Chevy mated with a Hydramatic transmission. Unfortunately, the car’s original Hilborn fuel injection system was replaced by a simple carburetor system during the 2007 restoration.
REVOLUTIONARY REAR SUSPENSION
One of the coolest features on this car is the independent rear suspension. John from TBucketPlans.com wrote a fantastic piece on the chrome-plated rear suspension and how revolutionary it was at the time for hot rod builders from California. According to the article, it was in 1961 that Jaguar introduced the first car to employ an independent rear suspension, and 99% of these suspensions were under Jaguars at the time the “King T” was built in 1964.
As many of you have seen on social media, Richard brought the car to the Celebrity Car Show at Gas Monkey Live this past Saturday, and not many people, if any, knew what a special car the “King T” is. We’re looking forward to seeing what Richard’s plans are for the car, but I’m hoping it stays around for a while.
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