If you checked out the pictures before you started reading, you may be thinking we're featuring two or even three cars here, but rest assured, it's all one and the same car, just with a few different guises. Isn't it amazing what a different set of wheels can do, and what a difference removing or adding fenders makes?
Bill Peratt (if the name sounds familiar it's because Bill's son, Eric, owns Pinkee's rod Shop, which will give you a clue as to where the car was built) grew up around cars in the late '50s, and wanted this project to be representative of the era. The coupe was sourced in 1999 through a contact of Eric's who knew someone who knew someone else back East who owned the coupe. Unlike many such convoluted contacts, this one paid off-the coupe turning out to be in remarkably good condition, though essentially a basket case. a stalled project that had sat for the better part of two decades, it was complete with a 20-louver hood, rumble seat, filled and peaked original grille shell, running boards with new rubber, as well as all original fenders, every garnish molding, and a complete dash.
It seems the project stalled at the roof chop stage, as it was obviously in progress, though poorly executed. It had been stretched 1 inch with misalignment at the rear window, and the top insert crudely attached. Pinkee's rod Shop corrected all this, re-chopping the top with a slight wedge, and removing the 1-inch stretch to bring the dimensions back to original, as well as correcting the misalignment and leaning the a-pillars back an additional 7 degrees from the stock 10 degrees. The chop is now 3 inches at the rear and approximately an extra half-inch at the windshield. a reversed late-'60s Mustang roof section with the correct crown was hammerwelded in place where the insert used to be.
Pinkee's re-skinned the decklid with a panel, punched with 108 3-inch louvers, which match the new four-piece rootlieb hood with louvered side panels. This and a Brookville grille shell replaced the originals, which Bill traded off. Thenew doorskins are a major body modification that probably goes totally unnoticed. These were re-crowned to '33-34 specs for a smoother flow from cowl to quarter-panels.
With the body set on a new chassis from cornhusker Street rods, further modified by Pinkee's for extra axle clearance, and the addition of a '65 vintage chevy 283 with three twos, T5, and polished Dutchman V-8 quickchange, the then-highboy coupe was wheeled into our studio for the first of two photo shoots. Which raises the dilemma-highboy or fendered, and how long does the transformation take? Speaking to Eric, it all becomes clear. The coupe was intended to be fendered all along, but the opportunity was too good to pass up, despite the obvious extra work involved in readying it for its highboy shoot, such as headlight stands and wiring and plugging all the holes in the frame that would later accept fender bolts and fender and bumper bracketry. as Eric told us, "I prefer building fenderless cars, as it's obviously a lot less work, but this looks better with fenders."
So it was back to the shop to complete the build-with fenders, hood, and bumpers-and the headlights mounted on a dropped bar between the fenders. Incidentally, those lights are, as far as Bill can tell from extensive research, auteroche items originally intended for French tractors, and now feature integral turn signals. Once complete and back in the studio, we got the opportunity to shoot the coupe with the two sets of wheels and tires that Bill and Eric brought along, again raising the question of which look was preferred. and here there was a difference of opinion. "Dad prefers the whitewalls while I like the look of the blackwalls and black wheels," Eric said. "We took it to Pleasanton with the whitewalls." Yet it was wearing the black steels and blackwalls when we awarded it a Top Tin pick at Goodguys columbus this past summer. I guess that means you can tell whether father or son has brought it to an event by which wheels it's wearing!