Sometimes Plan B turns out to be the way to go.
In the last couple of years, Doug and Florinda Hoppe's '37 Ford has been gobbling up show trophies like they were Cheetos. The prize-winning cabriolet won Outstanding Custom Rod at the World of Wheels, Boyd's Pick at the Goodguys Southwest Nats, a Goodguys Pick in Indy, and several First Place and Best In Show prizes at local shows. However, the car Doug was originally looking for, believe it or not, wasn't a '37 but a '55 Chevy convertible. He'd owned three '55s in his earlier hot rodding days-along with some pretty choice musclecars-and wanted to build a ragtopped version as a way of getting back into the hobby.
After his search for the right raw material for his Chevy project took him down a bunch of dead ends, Doug had to make a decision: continue to look for a decent Shoebox or go to Plan B and build something else he liked. He had always admired '37 Fords for their round lines and smooth curves (which is probably why he likes '55s), so he turned his attention that way. Instead of beginning another long search, he got on the phone to Downs Manufacturing and ordered one of its chassis and a chopped '37 cabrio fiberglass body.
Doug turned the car over to Roger Burman at Lakeside Rods & Rides in Rockwell City, Iowa, for a pro buildup. The vision was to create a distinctive, contemporary-looking street rod. The final touch, and the one which seems to draw the most attention, was a thorough dowsing in Twilight Fire ChromaLusion paint. It was a bold choice for that much sheetmetal, but it turned out great, and the color-shifting finish inspired the '37's nickname: Dusk To Dawn.
Roger Burman had the car done in nine months' time, and the Hoppes started hitting all the big shows-and little ones-in the Heartland, where the '37 was a hit from the get-go.
About two months before the '37 was completed, Doug got a call from Roger who reported, "I'm standing in front of a '55 convertible. Do you want it?" Long story short, Doug has another project underway. In fact, the "pretty well tricked out" Chevy is scheduled to debut at the Goodguys Des Moines show, which means that by time you read this you may have already seen it. Due to an initial bout of bad luck, Doug now has two of his favorite cars in the garage-and will probably soon have a bunch more trophies on the shelf.