Cromling's history with this particular '40 Ford coupe is somewhat unusual in the respect that he has owned this car since 1972. Sure, there are plenty of folks who have kept a car for as long, maybe longer, but in today's throw-away society, it's refreshing to hear of someone who's kept a car from becoming "the one that got away"! Bill purchased this '40 back in the early Seventies, in Dayton, Ohio. It was black with a rolled and pleated interior, '56 324 Olds with a LaSalle trans and '48 rear. Nostalgic even by 1972 standards.

In 1973, Bill and his high school sweetheart, Maureen, now married with child, drove the new/old coupe to the '73 Street Rod Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the Grafton Street Rod Association's club trailer in tow. The Cromlings enjoyed their little coupe but as is so often the case, priorities and interests change and along with those changes, the '40 was pushed further and further back. Muscle cars, drag racing and motorcycles took over the prime attention slots for the Cromling family.

Fast forward to the dawn of the new millennium; Bill had a yearning to get back to his roots. Enter Squeeg Jerger (Squeeg's Kustoms) who was a long time buddy and former Ohio resident. Squeeg flew the coop years before and moved out west to make his home and shop in Mesa, Arizona. Bill contacted his transplanted friend and well-known custom car painter and builder to put together a rowdy maroon deuce roadster. For the next number of years, the roadster made its rounds and much fun was had by the Cromling clan. Come 2005, Bill was getting the itch for another great Squeeg's built hot rod, only this time he wanted his long-retired '40 to be done, but to a level that far exceeded its former guise. Something that would shout Ohio style along with today's attention to detail-detail that Squeeg's Kustoms can definitely deliver. At this point Squeeg had gone into semi-retirement and was called upon to help out with some patch panel work and to lend a hand in general with his buddy Bill's dream car. Son of Squeeg, Doug as he's actually known, had taken the reigns over from his dad and managed the build from beginning to end along with one of his trademark, masterful flame jobs.

Before the build was even underway, however, Doug called on me to help illustrate his ideas so as to keep everyone on the same path. With most hot rod projects, I help not only by illustrating the proposed car but also conceptualizing and designing certain aspects of the vehicle. Not so in the case of Bill's '40. Doug and Bill had this car planned from the get-go. Doug has inherited his Dad's eye, and with that a blend of Ohio and Arizona style. Personally, when it comes to hot rods, I have a strong West Coast bias, but who can deny the influence of the Ohio look (which was probably "borrowed" from California in the first place. Ha)?

I was at Squeeg's Kustoms the day the Cromlings took possession of their shiny new HAWT ROD and it was a definite treat to see how completely stoked they were. It was also truly cool to see and hear that bitchin' coupe motoring out of Squeeg's into the Arizona sun, Bill grinning like a Cheshire Cat.