Mitch Lanzini's 33 Speedstar Coupe spent a long time in the planning stage

By Brian Brennan
Photography by Randy Lorentzen


All of our projects start out in one direction, and all too often the straightest path becomes one filled with curves.

Such was the case for Mitch Lanzini of Huntington Beach, California. Being Chip Foose's shop neighbor during the filming days of television's Overhaulin' had its ups, but it also put one project on hold. He had seen Bobby Alloway's coupe on the cover of STREET RODDER and thought something like that was just what he needed for a project. Mitch purchased the Rat's Glass SpeedStar coupe body and chassis from Alloway's Hot Rod Shop with the intention of getting right on the build.

Remember we said he was Foose's shop neighbor? Well, it turns out during the five-year run of the series, Mitch's shop (Lanzini Body Works) was the go-to-shop the TV series would use to get work done-quickly! For five years the SpeedStar sat in a corner waiting for life to get back to a normal hectic-not TV hectic.

Mitch was quick to learn that during the hiatus from the build his ideas and potential resources had changed considerably. Armed with new ideas and enthusiasm and new ways to get more accomplished, the project took on a different light. Upon its completion he showed the car at the 2009 Detroit Autorama (home of the Ridler award) and was pleased with everyone's reaction. Time and ideas well spent, but let's take a look at what actually happened.

Mitch received one hell of a birthday gift as Foose designed the interior, wheels, sterring wheel, and other accessories on the SpeedStar, for which Mitch tells us he is eternally grateful. Another handy (no pun intended) friend on the project was Mike Curtis of Curtis Speed who machined the wheels, steering wheel, quick change gear cover, and rear suspension tie-bar with logo. Others involved from Foose's shop included Bryan Fuller who bent the three-piece hood. Steve Greninger and Foose fabricated the one-of-a-kind air cleaner, Petey Worrel wired the hot rod, and Gabe Lopez was in charge of bringing Foose's interior rendering to fruition. All the body and paintwork was handled in Mitch's shop.

The chassis originally came from Alloway's and was outfitted with a Winters quick-change and Zipper Motors halfshafts. Further appointments to the quick-change include Aldan Shocks and Wilwood disc brakes. The front suspension is based on a Heidts Superide 11 IFS with a Sweet rack-and-pinion, Aldan coilover shocks, and a Wilwood disc brake package coupled with a Ford SVT master cylinder. The chassis rests on a set of Foose wheels and Pirelli PZero rubber. The one-off Foose wheels measure 17x8 in front with 205/40's, and 20x10 in back with 315/35 skins.

The GMPP crate motor is a 383 Fast Burn small-block, assembled by Steve Luvisi of Automotive Expertise using an assortment of proven aftermarket products. The Edelbrock intake supports a Holley 750-cmf four-barrel topped with the aforementioned one-off air cleaner. The water pump is another Edelbrock item along with a Steve Long stainless radiator, SPAL 16-inch electric fan, a Powermaster Performance alternator, and one-off composite valve covers. The ignition is an HEI with Taylor wires and Rod Sexton custom headers and 21/2-inch exhaust pipe running back to the MagnaFlow mufflers. Tim Deal assembled the TH350 tranny that is hooked to an Alloway driveshaft running back to the quick-change.

The Rat's Glass three-window SpeedStar coupe body is made from fiberglass but utilizes and aluminum hood and a Dan Fink grille insert, while Mitch and his guys handled the bodywork and then sprayer on the paint. The color chosen is a custom mix called Lanzini Gold in candy mixed by R-M. To the body, custom headlights by Mike Curtis were added while the taillights were LED flush mounted and then clearcoated. The brightwork throughout the car, and there is plenty, was handled by Artistic Silver Plating.

Inside, the fiberglass dashboard from Rat's is fitted with a billet insert from Carriage Works and Classic Insrument gauges. The Gabe Lopez interior is fashioned over connected bucket seats with gray and tan leather accented with gold piping, while the carpeting is tan wool. (Ther leather appears brown in this lighting but it is a gray with its reddish-cast, making it look brown.)

Other interior appointments include the ididit steering column topped with the one-off steering wheel, Lokar pedals, and shifter with a Foose whittled knob. Never fails, our best intentions always seem to be in for a "redo." Knowing this, we could have told Mitch to hang on as his hot rod project would be no different than any other.


Interior: The ididit steering column with the Chip Foose-designed and Mike Curtis one-off steering wheel sets the tone for the interior that features stitchwork by Gabe Lopez in a leather and gold piping along with wool carpeting. The dash shows off a Carriage Works insert with Classic Instrument gauges, Lokar pedals, and shifter. 
Wheels: The wheels are one-offs designed by Foose and built by Curtis. The rubber rake is achieved with the Pirelli PZero tires.
Motor: The GMPP Fast Burn 383 was further massaged by Steve Luvisi utillizing an Edelbrock intake with Holley four-barrel and custom-built air cleaner. More Edelbrock is there in the way of a water pump, a stainless radiator from Steve Long, a SPAL fan, an a Powermaster Performance alternator, and the valve covers are composite valve covers.
Running Gear: At the corners you will see Aldan coilover shocks, Wilwood disc brakes, and in back there is a Winters quick-change with Zipper halfshafts; in front are a Heidts IFS and a Sweet rack-and-pinion.
Trunk: More stitchwork from Lopez includes the trunk with the peek-a-boo gas filter to the Tanks 12-gallon aluminum gas tank.