America’s Most Beautiful Roadster 2022 Is a Breathtaking ’34 Chevy

The 9-foot perpetual trophy that honors America’s Most Beautiful Roadster has a new name etched into the base. Jeff Breault of Wichita, Kansas, joins the elite group of Grand National Roadster Show AMBR winners that goes back to 1950.

His roadster, christened Lucille, is a breathtaking blue 1934 Chevrolet built by Tim Devlin and the team (Austin Sacket, Gage Sacket, David Wehrheim, and Brandon Wegerle) at Devlin Rod And Customs in Wichita. Jeff and Tim have teamed up on other projects in the past, but nothing as ambitious as this.

Jeff bought the car in running condition from a widow in Connecticut about 10 years ago. He discovered that it is number 29 of only 31 Chevy roadsters built by Holden, an Australian subsidiary of GM, for the 1934 model-year. After driving the car for a couple years, Jeff delivered it to Devlin Rod & Customs. Designer Eric Black contributed design concepts and Travis Highlander created illustrations for the extraordinary fenderless roadster that would show up at the GNRS in 2022. Jeff told us that, from the earliest stages of the seven-year build, he and Tim agreed on a goal. “We said that if we’re going to build this roadster, let’s win AMBR.”

Rare Body Redone

The car was built in the “lowboy” street rod style, with fenders and running boards removed, and the body channeled over the framerails. The exterior lines were highlighted by the removal of door handles and ornamentation. Hood sides retain the factory’s three horizontal vents. The front and rear bumpers were eliminated to expose the stylish custom grille and the screened exhaust opening in the rear roll pan. The fabricated Duvall-inspired windshield and E&J-style headlights contribute some additional elegance to the outward flavor. The elegance is balanced by the racing-influenced tire and wheel choice. The wheels were custom machined in the style of early Halibrands and finished with nickel-plated knock-offs. The classic skinny tires are Excelsior Stahl Sport Radials from Coker Tire.

Color And Contrast

Jeff and Tim were originally hoping to have the Chevy finished for last year’s Grand National Roadster Show. The 2021 cancellation gave the Devlin Rod And Custom’s crew more time to build, and gave Jeff the chance for some seat time in the roadster while it was still in bare metal. “I wanted everything shiny and flashy,” he told us, but the shop persuaded him to contrast the glossy dark blue paint with a satin finish on the underside of the car. “That turned out to be exactly the right choice,” he says. The perfect amount of complementary brightwork was provided by Jon Wright at Custom Chrome Plating.

Stealth IFS

The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, has built chassis for many top-shelf rods, and this Chevy is on that list. The independent front suspension was imaginatively designed and engineered with the coilovers mounted inboard on the framerails, out of sight. The rear four-link set-up suspends a Winters quick-change rear.

Interior Crunch

The Wichita-based interior shop that Jeff and Tim had used in the past on other cars was unable to work on the Chevy due to the loss of a prominent crew member. Fortunately, Chuck Rowland Interiors in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was able to take on the roadster in December 2021. They put aside other projects to turn their attention to the urgent job of getting the roadster upholstered in time for its trip to GNRS. The custom buckets are wrapped in dark blue/gray Relicate leather. EVOD provided machining for numerous interior components. Classic Instruments gauges fill the dash.

Retro LS

“The LS3 engine is the pièce de résistance for me,” Breault told us. “I have a lot of LS motors in my garage, but I wanted this one not to look like an LS.” Keith and Jeff Dorton of Automotive Specialists Inc. in North Carolina built the engine and Alan Johnson at Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop in Alabama gave it a traditional look. “I didn’t want to deal with a carburetor,” Jeff said. “I told Alan that I wanted electronic injection, but with the electronics hidden to look like Hilborn mechanical injection. It took a lot of time and a lot of engineering, but he did it.” The engine is backed up by a Tremec transmission built by Bowler Performance Transmissions.

AMBR Accomplished

When Jeff Breault and Tim Devlin began to build Lucille into America’s Most Beautiful Roadster in 2014, the title belonged to Wes Rydell’s 1935 Chevy phaeton, designed by Chip Foose and built by Troy Trepanier. It was the first Chevy to ever win America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. This is the second. Jeff met Chip at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show. “It was cool to have him look through the build book and compliment me on my car,” he said. “I’ve been coming to the Grand National Roadster Show for years. It was a dream to be in the competition for AMBR among all these others and the thrill of a lifetime to win.”

Watch: Best classic hot rods at the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show

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