Project Speed Rod resurrected

Well-respected Austrian airbrush artist Knud Tiroch and Spies Hecker have resurrected a Moonshine Runner, a vintage car from the American Prohibition era, and, with a good deal of creativity turned it into a high-performance, unique, fiery red Speed Rod.

‘Projects like this only work with people who can think outside the box and can offer the best technical solutions in application,’ Knud Tiroch, who is based near Baden, south of Vienna, Austria, says about his long-standing partnership with Spies Hecker. The Austrian tuning expert discovered parts of a Ford A Roadster from the early 1930s on an old farm in Iowa, USA. After a lot of research, Tiroch discovered that during Prohibition the car had smuggled illegal liquor at night as a so-called Moonshine Runner. After the end of Prohibition, the car went on to take part in privately organised races, which were the precursors of today’s NASCAR series.

‘I was captivated by the Ford’s history and decided to resurrect it as a Hot Rod in memory of its wild and chequered past and to christen it Speed Rod,’ Tiroch explained. His bodywork expert, Günter Neubauer, worked from historic documents to reconstruct the missing frame and trim. Then, all putty and paint work was carried out at the Spies Hecker Training Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Complete overhaul

Jörg Sander, Spies Hecker Training Leader, Germany, said, ‘It took our Spies Hecker team almost two weeks to prepare and to paint the car. We don’t see vehicles like the Speed Rod every day, so it was a challenge and we all enjoyed it. The key requirements for the paint finish were a deep gloss and great durability.’

Fire red influences the design

The design of the Speed Rod focuses above all on visually depicting the concept of speed and on reducing the car body to the absolute minimum.

‘This is a restored 1930s car weighing only 650kg that almost flies down the road thanks to 450hp’, said Tirock. ‘Right from the start, I knew that I wanted fiery red as a key colour. The whole car was painted with Hi-TEC 480 RAL 3000 Fire Red and only the driver’s compartment and the underside of the motor were painted with a black and white chequered flag pattern. These limited stylistic touches give the car a very clean appearance so that it still looks like a Moonshine Runner from the 1930s.’

A project with an all-encompassing message

With this project, Tiroch and Spies Hecker pay homage to a significant piece of American automotive history.

Tiroch added, ‘And while we have been true to the Speed Rod’s shape and form – there are no extra parts or additions to the car that were unnecessary – we wanted to show that a bit of modern creativity, technical skill and materials can produce incredible results.’

For further details on the Speed Rod and to see a video, please visit