Boyce ripped the hell out of that car! That guy's a wild man!"
John Boyce doesn't seem like a wild man when you meet him. He seems like a mellow guy, easygoing and not too excitable. His jet-black '38 Chevy coupe-elegantly designed and extensively modified-is as profoundly tasteful and perfectly put together as the mega-dollar show rods you're used to seeing up on stanchions and surrounded by velvet ropes.
But that's not where you're likely to see this coupe. In fact, if you were at Rod & Custom's Americruise event, you probably watched the pristine Chevy screaming through the cones of the handling course competition-with owner John at the wheel. And you might have been the excited spectator who later made that comment.
John's Chevy (his first bona fide hot rod) got our attention back in 2006, when it earned the Street Rod of the Year award from Goodguys. That's when we learned the car's nickname, Elegant Aggression. The elegance was easy to see, but it would be a full year before we understood the second half of the nickname.
Dale Boesch from Boesch Hot Rod Concepts in Humphrey, Nebraska, designed and built the coupe (he also built last year's Custom of the Year winner), which you could say is the fifth-generation Corvette that Chevy would've built had Chevy been building fifth-generation Corvettes 70 years ago. The blown LS1 has a C5 six-speed behind it and 4.10 gears spinning the rear axle. Look underneath and you'll find a Mike Adams C5 chassis with a Firestone IntelliRide air suspension system using Air Ride Technologies airbags.
There's a lot more to the drivetrain and suspension than we've just mentioned, and anyone familiar with fat-fendered Chevys knows that every piece of the handformed all-steel body has also been extensively reworked.
The hood was built using the upper portion of a '41 Plymouth, with side panels extended back and dressed up with '37 Chevy hood inserts, which cause people to identify the coupe as a '37. The front fenders were just as elaborately formed-and even the headlights were handbuilt using '41 Packard housings and '38 Chevy rings with Harley-Davidson V-Rod lamps.
The inside of the car is worthy of the rest of the coupe, created by Tracy Weaver at the Recovery Room in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. It's a contemporary tribute to the interior design of a '60s show rod.
For all the brilliant mods on the car, it's the simple stuff-the horn, air conditioning, radio, and wipers-that John likes to point out. Why? Because those are the things that make this award-winner a real car.
Of course, none of this explains why John Boyce is a wild man or why his elegant coupe would ever be considered aggressive. To understand that, you would have had to have been at Americruise, where John cruised his high-dollar, award-winning coupe over to the Rod of the Year competition and really got on it, tossing it around on the acceleration, braking, and handling courses like he was driving a hot rod!