It's kind of like the old commercial about getting peanut butter in the chocolate and chocolate in the peanut butter. When two great tastes come together, the combination can be even greater. One example, of course, would be peanut butter cups. Another would be this '32 Chevy five-window coupe from eastern Pennsylvania.
Martin Kocevar bought the coupe as a stocker loaded with a lot of the original interior and exterior trim. Instead of eliminating all of those components, he got the idea to build the car in the style of the resto rods he remembers from the early '60s. The result is a just-right combo of stock original flavor and traditional hot rod flavor.
This is Martin's second '32 Chevy. His first was sold during a divorce settlement. He eventually remarried, but it took him 25 years to find another car. When he did, it was only 15 miles from his home. "After getting my wife's OK, I left a big pile of cash there and drove the car home," he says.
The car came with the original inline-six engine, and virtually all of the stock stuff, although there were clues (holes in the firewall and chromed garnish moldings) that his coupe had been modified at one time and then returned to stock. Martin decided to turn the stocker into a rod once and for all.
The transformation started with a 3 1/2-month thrash. Martin replaced the chassis with an IFS assembly for '32 Chevys from nearby Martz Chassis, and pulled out the factory Stovebolt 6 in favor of a built-up small-block. The car rolled out of the garage a day before its debut at the NSRA Nats East in York, an hour away.
At this point the car was rolling, but was only about halfway done. It was still wearing the brown body/black fenders paint scheme it had been given 40 years before, and still looked pretty stock. About a year later, Martin tore it all apart again and stripped it to bare metal. He decided against any extensive bodywork (so any dents are original) before repainting the exterior black with flat clear to get the right shade of suede. It was another year before Dick Gerwer upholstered the original seats and added the pinstriping inside and out. If the orange, black, and white combo looks somehow familiar, you're probably a rider. Martin spent many years building and riding Harleys and the coupe carries the familiar Harley-Davidson logo colors over to the hot rod world.
Martin drives the car as often as he can. You might see it in the parking lot at his job, or at East Coast events parked near his wife Debbie's custom '57 Chevy. When you see it, take a closer look. Instead of making radical mods, Martin made the right mods, and ended up with a cool '32 Chevy that hits the perfect balance between resto and rod.
Martin KocevarManheim, Pennsylvania1932 Chevrolet Coupe
DrivetrainMartin leaned on the four-bolt 350 a little, boring the block to 355 ci and adding Speed-Pro 9.25:1 pistons with Perfect Circle rings, plus World Products Sportsman II heads. The 600-cfm carb, manifold, valve covers, and air cleaner are all Edelbrock. The exhaust pipes are Hedman Hedders. He figures the small-block makes in the neighborhood of 350 hp (he knows it's enough to run low 13s at the dragstrip). Backing it up is a TH350 automatic with a 2,000-stall B&M converter, and a Ford 9-inch rear with Posi-traction and 3.00:1 gears.
ChassisMartz Chassis (Bedford, Pennsylvania) has a '32 Chevy IFS chassis assembly that Martin slid under the stock body. Tubular control arms, coilovers, and dropped spindles are part of the package. Camaro disc brakes were installed at all wheels. The Ford 9-inch is suspended by coilovers, along with a four-bar and Panhard bar.
Wheels & TiresOld photos from the coupe's brown and black days show it rolling on stock spoke wheels, and later with big 'n' little blackwall radials and Torq-Thrusts, which makes the current combo look even better. Martin dressed up the orange-painted 15x5 and 15x7 steelies with '50 Chevy rings and caps, and mounted 165- and 235-series Coker wide white radials.
Body & PaintThe original door handles, hood vent doors, radiator shell, cowl lights, rumble seat, headlight bar, hood ornament, and the original roll-down rear window all contribute to the resto rod side of the car. After stripping the body to bare metal, Martin primed it with epoxy and shot a basecoat of PPG black followed by PPG flat clear to achieve a great suede finish that adds to the hot rod side. The original bumpers were rechromed and remounted, and a second stock taillight was mounted on the passenger side. The headlights are aftermarket King Bees.
InteriorDick Gerwer (Lititz, Pennsylvania) stitched rolls 'n' pleats in the black Naugahyde covering the door panels and the original bench seat. The orange piping matches Gerwer's 'striping on the dash. Martin modified the dash and filled it with Auto Meter gauges. The shifter, hand brake, and pedals are from Lokar. The steering wheel is a '55 Chevy wheel, reduced 2 inches in diameter. The cowl vent opens for old-time air conditioning.