Now that I had all of the driveline components and the frame, I had to get my suspension built and my body channeled. For the front, I used a pair of chrome Speedway hairpins mated to chromed batwings. The axle is a chromed Super Bell dropped four inches. The spring is a chrome Super Bell held on by chrome perches and shackles. The front brakes are '42-'48 Ford chromed backing plates with stock master cylinder, hardware, and shoes. The spindles are stock '39-'41 Ford. The hubs are '32 Chevy, drilled to fit a 5 4/12 Ford bolt circle. The stock '32 Chevy bearings surprisingly fit the early Ford spindle, so the stock '32 Chevy bearings were used. The brake drums are '58-'66 Buick finned aluminum. My friend Mitch who is a tool and die maker opened up the center to fit the hub and drilled the 5 x 4 1/2 inch bolt circle. The tie-rod and drag link are stainless steel, tapped and polished by myself. The steering box is a '42-'48 Ford cross-steer box.
The rear suspension is a Speedway rear kit. It has the coil springs, hairpins, panhard bar, and mounting brackets. The rear of the frame was kicked up four inches.
The floor of the body was already removed, so to channel the car the body was set on the rolling chassis and stabilized at the height I wanted. Cross braces were welded in to support the floor sheetmetal and the body mounts between the frame and bracing. I hand-fabricated the floor from 16-gauge sheetmetal. An access panel was fabricated around the master cylinder and Chassis Engineering's brake pedal assembly. The Lokar shifter was installed and sheemetal was formed around it for the interior. The doors, decklid, and rocker panels were also fit with the body in place. Bearclaw latches were installed on the doors and decklid All of the holes were filled including the door handles and decklid handle hole.
Now with the car as a roller, I worked on the smaller details. The taillights are off of a '52 Buick, mounted horizontally. The chrome headlights came with the car, and I am not sure what are off of. They are mounted to the So-Cal upper shock mounts. The headers were built from a Speedway kit and header flanges were custom made. Wheel Vintiques chrome reverse Ford wheels were covered by Coker big 'n' littles. A '32 Ford Brookville reproduction grille shell was cut down to fit.
With the car mostly together, and the body in bare metal with all the welding done, it was time to take it all apart for paint and bodywork. I took the body to my friend Brian, an experienced body man, who had it smoothed out in a couple weeks and in primer ready for paint. Then the body was off to Jeff Mallak at Spectrum Auto Works, who was kind enough to spray the Atlantic Blue and Wimbledon White in his paint booth.
Paul, Denise, and Mike at Jax Seat Cover in Milwaukee did the interior. I gave them some idea of what I wanted and let their creative minds complete the rest. The door chrome is rear door panel chrome off of a '55 Cadillac. The early-'50s GM chrome steering column is attached to a fully-functional '46 Mercury column drop and starter switch. I am a big fan of Hawaii and the Bahama Blue and Pearl Oyster White interior reminds me of the tiki islander type of hot rod. The dash is filled with Stewart-Warner wings gauges. The seat is a '90s Toyota van center bench modified for the coupe.
I'd like to thank my brother John for welding and grinding in the garage with me, my dad for all his help and knowledge, and my mom for putting up with all the noise in her garage. Thanks also to the Rumblers, Roger and Willie G. RFFR. The Cheaters, Chris, Jack, Dan, and Carl for all their help lifting, painting, and giving ideas. -Mike Busateri
Now that it's all together, Mike's Chevy gets lots of exercise, especially during the warm months when he drives it to Milwaukee area cruises, and to the annual hot rod show hosted by his car club, the Rumblers. In the winter, Mike has been making the 375-mile run to Cobo Hall to show off the car in Autorama Extreme at the Detroit Autorama. That's where we met Mike and where we shot these "finished product" pics of his cool-looking coupe. -TB