I went through a few Flathead blocks that had problems before finding the '46 factory relieved 59L that I ended up using. The 4 1/8-inch crank came out of an old local dirt track racer's Flathead motor from the '50s and the N.O.S. 81A rods came from my friend "Putt" Smith's honey hole. I had been looking for a decent set of block-letter Edelbrock heads and they were not being re-popped at the time. I found them by luck when a guy called me and said he had a few Flathead blocks and some aluminum heads for sale. I went and looked and there they were; they were super nice, so I bought them and the blocks. I got the Edelbrock high-rise intake with a bunch of parts that Joe Smith and I bought together. The Harman & Collins magneto came from an old rodder in Tennessee who had two of them stored in a box under his bed since the late '50s. I bought them both and I had Don Zig in California rebuild the one for the coupe. I used a '40 Ford frontend under the coupe and was looking for an early dropped front axle. I talked to Dave Mann who had a really nice original Mor-Drop axle that I traded out some '32-34 frontend parts for. Mann had purchased the axle from a guy who had it dropped by the late John Moore in 1954 to go under his Carson-topped '41 convertible.
The body needed the usual rust repair before I could do anything that was going to make it look like I wanted. I installed new original-style floors and patch panels and then I had to address the poorly filled top. I completely cut out the insert and channel. I wanted to keep the factory roof insert like a lot of the early customs had before filling was common. I found a guy who was filling his '36 five-window top and I bought his complete cutout channel. It worked out great since I needed a longer one to replace where the top was lengthened during the chop. I also struck a deal with a guy in Santa Ana, California, who was looking to convert his trunk on his '35 five-window to a rumble seat. We swapped even and he sent me the parts, rain gutter, and hinges from his trunk and I sent him everything from my rumble seat.
After a bunch of looking and asking around, I found a Columbia two-speed axle in my price range a few miles from my house. It was a '46 that I converted to a '35. I got my rebuild parts and '40 Columbia controls from my friend Dan Krehbiel in Temecula, California, who owned Columbia Two Speed Parts at the time.
One of the highlights of the build for me was involving my 4- and 6-year-old boys in the build. They got to see it from the ground up and were always interested in helping. Their look of disbelief when the top was lifted off was priceless. It is now their favorite form of transportation ... especially to school.