It's not always easy to find the time to build a calling card for yourself when you own a hot rod shop and get paid to build customer cars. Nonetheless, Bill Osiakowski was determined to make some time for a new car. He'd built multiple T-buckets and a track T but was anxious to build a coupe. Luckily, he spotted a guy selling multiple Model T bodies while walking though a Pleasanton Goodguys swap meet. The one that caught his eye was the extremely rusted coupe body, which got his imagination churning. Time would be tight, so his original plan was to build a quick down-and-dirty rod. Once he started, though, the perfectionist within wouldn't really allow it, so it evolved into what we see here-a tribute to the show cars of the 1960s.
Bill knew from the start that he wanted the coupe to be as low as possible, and that meant it would get a heavy chop. The problem was Bill didn't like the mail-slot rear window that went with it. His solution was to remove the rear window perimeter, so it could be chopped separately. He also wanted something a little different than just a straight chop. When the dust and sparks cleared, the top was about 9 inches shorter at the B- and C-pillars and almost 12 inches shorter at the windshield. A gentle slope chop at the front was achieved by making many vertical cuts in the upper door frame. These cuts allowed for a smooth curve at the top of the door; all cuts were then welded, ground, and finally handfiled to shape the top of the doors. The rear window was welded back in to retain a proportioned size.
The cowl was filled, and the gauge pods were created from 4-inch mandrel-bent tubing that was reworked and welded in place to extend through the windshield. The pods house the speedometer and a four-in-one gauge cluster. The transmission tunnel was formed from steel using a section of a Chinese wok to create the curved transition at the firewall.
You might not be able to see as much of the chassis as the body, but that doesn't mean Bill didn't devote just as much time to it. The frame was hand-fabricated with a kick at the front and rear, and most of the brackets were detailed to carry the flowing metal theme. The engine mounts were custom-designed to raise the engine and keep it safely clear of any hazards.
The interior was crafted to carry that '60s show car theme from the outside through the inside of the car. Seat bottoms and separate backs, as well as the door panels, were custom-designed and upholstered with off-white pearl and gold metalflake. The transmission tunnel, seat wraparound, and headliner were fitted with off-white pearl. The Gennie Shifter stick has a custom-made shift knob that matches the interior door handles and the handmade steering wheel.
The resulting coupe might not be the down-and-dirty hot rod he originally planned, but we'd say the bold-and-gold one Bill ended up with was the better route to take.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1927 Ford Coupe
San Jose, California
Bill custom-built the frame from 2x3 steel tubing and 1/4-inch steel plate, stretching the wheelbase in the process. The front and rear of the chassis has custom pads to anchor the airbags and allow the air lines to run through the frame. The custom engine mounts are elevated to raise it, and the transmission crossmember is removable. A Magnum dropped and chromed I-beam hangs out front on hairpins, along with chrome Pete & Jake's tube shocks and custom mounts for the Slam Specialties airbags. The '38 Ford spindles mount 11-inch GM disc brakes on custom brackets. A chromed Vega steering box is mounted with custom frame-sculpted brackets. A 9-inch rear with drum brakes fitted with finned drum covers is hung with a four-link with Slam Specialties 'bags and a custom Panhard bar.
Bill knew the engine was going to be a focal point for the coupe, so it had to make a strong impact. He started with a 0.060-over-bored '66 283, and it was filled with balanced and blueprinted GM internals after it was smoothed and painted the body color. A COMP Cams hydraulic cam gives it a little more bark than stock. The biggest visual contributor, the polished Edelbrock X1 6x2 cross-ram intake, has been fitted with six Holley 94s with individual scoops. Original Cal Custom six-fin valve covers add to the vintage speed theme. The gas is lit with an ACCEL electronic distributor and PerTronix Flame-Thrower coil. The minimalist exhaust consists of custom teardrop-shaped flanges with individual 1-3/4-inch pipes with integrated baffles. Shifting is handled by a rebuilt Turbo 350.
Wheels & Tires
Bill went through a couple of sets of rolling stock before settling in on a set of 15x7 Astro Supremes with custom center bullets and bullet lug nuts. The front five-spokes are wrapped with BFG 165R15 Silvertown whitewall radials. The rears carry the '60s show rod theme, thanks to the Radir 8.20 pie-crust slicks.
Body & Paint
The channeled Henry-steel coupe has had extensive modifications but still retains the unmistakable look of a Model T. The roof was chopped 9 inches in the B- and C-pillars and an additional 2 1/2 inches at the A-pillars, to give it a more aggressive look. The rear window frame was removed before the chop and then sectioned and replaced to maintain a proportional rear window. The rear panel and decklid were replaced, the rear wheelwells were filled, and '37 Ford taillight housings, with '59 Cad bullet lenses and custom aluminum guards, were molded to the quarters. Custom-cut laminated glass was used to allow the gauge tunnels to pass from the cowl through the windshield and into the interior. The hood notch on the cowl was filled. The sectioned '32 shell surrounds the custom polished stainless steel grille made by Dan Fink Metalworks. The headlights are rare Guide Cat's Eye foglights that have been converted to halogen bulbs and supported on custom mounts. The massaged body and frame were covered in House of Kolor Pagan Gold, laid down over a silver base by Joe Stockdale's Hot Rod Paint.
The fabricated steel dash has been filled with TPI gauges and SO-CAL switches and conceals a Corvette dual master cylinder with a 7-inch booster mounted with a Kugel Components undercowl bracket with a swing-arm pedal and handcarved aluminum pad. A custom polished aluminum steering column spins a handmade steering wheel with chromed steering spokes and a center bullet. Bill stitched the off-white pearl-and-gold metalflake vinyl to cover the "seats," console, and door panels. The custom interior door knobs and shifter knob (capping a 28-inch Gennie Shifter stick) were cut from a block of acrylic, shaped and painted with 'flake and kandy to match the steering wheel. The trunk area has been filled with a custom stainless steel 10-gallon gas tank, air tank, compressor, control valves, and battery.
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