Like Charlie Brown's tree, Rodney's Road Runner wasn't such a bad car. All it needed was a little love. He had plenty of that, but time and money were another matter. It would take years of slow progress to get the Road Runner to match in reality the vision in his mind.

"I married Sherry in 1978, at 20 years of age," Rodney says. "We painted the car and replaced the interior, and showed it in numerous outdoor shows. In 1982, a good friend, James Baker, and I stripped the car down to metal and corrected all of the previous bad bodywork that I had done, and included numerous modifications per the ISCA rule book so this street car could compete against the trailer queens. We repainted it at home in my garage with 28 coats of hand-rubbed lacquer with Flip-Flop Gold Pearl. Phil Pegg, James, and I stayed up 72 straight hours putting the Bird back together, then drove 186 miles to the Waco Street Machine Mini Nationals, where we took Best of Show.

"We moved to Lewisville, Texas, in 1985, and I started getting an itchy feeling of wanting to rebuild the Bird. So, in 1989, we took it completely apart and decided to rebuild it with a mild custom, street rod, and touring-car flare. With raising children, establishing my career, and of course finances, it took a little longer than originally planned."

While James and Rodney had done the car's first body job on their own, Rodney gave the Road Runner to National Auto Repair in Addison, Texas, for the re-resto. Its current color is Sikkens' Red Garnet Pearl Metallic, a '93 Lexus coupe shade. But the car still wasn't complete in Rodney's mind.

"Five years into the rebuild, I decided the Bird had to have a Hemi," he says. "This was before the crate motors came out, so a Hemi was neither cheap nor easy to find. But we prevailed and found a stock 426 Hemi that was out of a destroyed '70 Road Runner.

"My friend Greg Liffick and I cranked the Hemi up in May 2000, which really got me motivated to finish this never-ending rebuild."