Photos By: Perri Minot
SouthrnFresh readers should be no stranger to our friend Jeb Greenstone and his amazing handcrafted hot rods over at Cutworm Specialties. For those that are familiar, you’ll immediately recognize the craft in the Hot Rod pictured. For those that are new, please take a few and get to know one of the premiere car builders of the Southeastern U.S.
A self proclaimed metal artist, Jeb has had our attention for years now and we quite honestly have not featured enough of his builds (check out the All Aluminum Dually shot by Jon here http://southrnfresh.com/2013/09/cutworm-specialties-aluminum-dually/)
While hanging out at last year’s WannaGoFast @ Heaven’s Landing, I finally met up with Jeb and got to talking to him about featuring several of his projects on the site. Every time I’ve been able to catch up with him, he modestly replies “Oh I’ve only brought the Corolla, you don’t want to feature that!”
This year when I showed up, I noticed this lovely lady siting off all by her lonesome and knew I had to go spend some time getting acquainted with her.
We spent some time joking about the now-classic machine that regional enthusiasts have become familiar with. I had spotted him cruising off the previous year and had been wanting to shoot it ever since.
The RHD sedan features a Ford Racing Boss 302 with every little bit hand shaped, bent, cut, or welded by Jeb himself. The very statement alone of a RHD Hot Rod demonstrates how much Jeb is in a league of his own when it comes to designing these builds. I mean when have you ever seen an American Hot Rod with the wheel on the right?
When considering the amount of time and energy that Jeb puts into measuring and shaping each piece of his projects, it becomes difficult to categorize his builds amongst the mainstream hot rods that we are accustomed to. Simply calling this vehicle a rat rod is almost disrespectful, and may even detract from the attention to detail and the Japanese-American cross styling.
In fact, that very idea introduces the second half of our feature with Jeb’s daily driven Te72 Corolla. Just as the RHD sedan pays homage to Jeb’s JDM inspiration, his Corolla literally screams the import culture that he that he incorporates in his hot rod builds.
Jeb tells us that for years, he had always wanted to buy an AE86 Corolla. It may sound easier said than done, but just any old Toyota wasn’t going to cut it because he already had plans to swap in an F20C from a Honda S2000. For those unfamiliar, this was considered the holy grail of Corolla swaps at the time and to this day, still makes for an excellent substitute for a 4AGE unless you’re a hardcore Toyota purist.
To help this project go along smoothly, Jeb was able to source a wrecked S2000 for a few thousand dollars and from there was able to take any parts necessary to have a reliable road car that also would be lots of fun whenever he feels the urge to break the rear loose. Parts for the F20C are also much easier to come by than say a 4AGE or other motors of the same era.
Styled after a World War II Bomber, the car was painted and assembled by Jeb himself which gives credit to his well known motto of “Built not Bought.” The green drab is reminiscent of the classic military fighter letting you know right off that this man and his car mean business.
Jeb’s Corolla also features a full drift legal roll cage to improve overall stability while driving, increasing safety, and most importantly allowing him to enter the vehicle in a multitude of track events should he feel so inclined. We also looked at some of the modifications done to the steering components which dramatically improve the feel and control of the car while at full lock whether drifting around a track or making it easier to move around parking lots.
Along with extending the lower control arms, Jeb has also added custom spacers to offset the power steering rack. The entire steering/suspension system required some custom work to match the Corolla’s steering rack since the S2000 uses an electric power steering system. This was sourced from a early-mid 90s Toyota MR2 and custom mounted. This opportunity gave the perfect time to fine tune alignment preferences such as camber, caster, and Ackermann.
Reducing Ackermann in the steering system will allow for both wheels to turn together. When turning, it is by OE standards, that the outside wheel will have less of a turning angle than the inside wheel. For general street purposes this is designed for average drivers to have better control on a wide range of driving surfaces. However, when it comes to drifting on a track, many drivers prefer to have the wheels turn together which will make the front end quicker to respond.
Overall, it can be said that Jeb has built his own rendition of what the Corolla experience should have been all about. While it isn’t quite the traditional Hachiroku that many old school JDM purists would expect, an argument can be made that in many ways the unique nature of Jeb’s personal touches make for a better experience. Put it all together and you have a complete vehicle that can actually be driven anywhere including to, on, and from the track. Oh and by the way, stopping to pick up groceries on the way back home.
Check out more of Jeb’s work at his site CUTWORM SPECIALTIES
We will always be following up on our neighbor’s progress as well so look forward to more SF Features with Jeb’s work