No matter how well you prepare and plan, it always seems more problems show up as the end of a project nears. If I had followed a tip from one of my neighbors, Karl Jonasson, about the most important part of a buildup being pre-assembly, we may have done all the details better. Karl preaches that you should have all the details in place on the car before it is taken apart for the finish work and paint. All the holes should be drilled, all the plumbing done, and so on, and if possible even testdrive the car before it is taken apart. Karl knows, because he was one of the Swedes who worked at Boyd's and, together with the rest of the crew, built 75 of the best show-winners. During the last six or seven years, he has been part of the crew at Foose Design, building unbelievable Ridler winners.
If we look back at the beginning of the project, when the body and frame came to California in a container from Sweden, it didn't look like very much. Some of my hot rod pals were just shaking their heads when they saw the old jalopy body. The history of the body, as far as I know, is that it was bought in Texas in the mid-1980s together with seven other coupe bodies. Only five complete bodies would fit in the shipping container, so the buyer, Tommy Andersson, from Sweden, had to cut the worst three of them in pieces to get them into the container. Once he had them shipped back to his garage in Sweden, he welded the three bodies back together. A friend of mine, Tage Wickberg, bought the jalopy body and promised to sell it to me if he ever decided to part with it. The body had been sitting in his barn for almost 20 years when Tage kept his word and sold it to me.
If you followed this project in earlier issues, you know Erik Hansson at Scandinavian Street Rod has been a key figure in the buildup. Without him, it would have taken much more time and the end result might not have been as nice. The body's missing floor made it a good candidate for a channel job, and it was fairly easy with the help of Brookville '32 roadster replica subrails and floor. Plenty more sheetmetal had to be replaced on the body, and Brookville panels were used for that, too. After Erik was done with all the bodywork, it was chopped by Roy Fjastad Jr. at West Coast Street Rods, with a little help from me.
On the mechanical side, I got the '50 Ford Flathead from another friend, Conny stlund, as a short-block. After that, the engine was taken apart and checked out; it was found to be in a very good shape and had been rebuilt not too long ago. It was put back together and a set of polished Cyclone aluminum heads was bolted on, together with new truck water pumps and a dual-carb intake. The transmission is a '39 Ford rebuilt by Alan Mest, and updated with Lincoln gears. The rearend is a '36 Ford with 3.54:1 gears, which helps to keep up with today's traffic.
After the metalwork was done and most of the mechanical parts were taken care of, it was a bit of a stress to get the car painted. It was Dennis "Lil Daddy" Roth who talked me into taking the car to Spade Bros. in Huntington Beach. I was doing the sanding part of the prep work for four hours a day over the course of nine weeks. There was still plenty of sanding to do after the color and Roth 'flake were laid down. It took six months to get the final color-sanding and polishing done. The wait was worth it, though, and the paint looked very good. With the coupe back in the home garage, it was another six months of getting the engine back in the car, insulating the interior, adding all the details, waiting for pieces from the chrome shop, and so on.
The goal was to make it to the '08 Grand National Roadster Show, which we did. The only thing missing was the headliner. Now it is all done and I had Skratch come by and do some pinstriping on it. A project like this will never be finished, because I keep doing updates and little modifications to make it better, but I plan to drive it as often as I can in the meantime.