Rod & Custom Feature Car
1951 Ford Coupe
The Shoebox utilizes its stock chassis, but only from the firewall back, as up front there’s now a Fatman Fabrications clip with Mustang II–style IFS. Stainless steel tubular arms attach to stock-height Mustang II spindles, with 11-inch GM disc brakes. A GM pedal assembly and master cylinder and booster are also used. Gambino Customs supplied the C-notch kit for the rear, dropping the ‘rails over an 8-inch rearend from a ’71 Maverick. This is located on a Gambino Customs triangulated four-link. An Accuair air suspension system was added, along with stainless plumbing throughout.
While this Shoebox is strictly traditional on the outside, underhood is a somewhat different matter, as it’s home to a 383 stroker small-block Chevy, machined by Dependable Machine in Bay City, TX, and assembled by Ronald and Phillip Walker. It uses a Scat crank, Speed Pro pistons, a COMP cam, and Air Flow Research aluminum heads, along with an Edelbrock Performer intake and 750-cfm Edelbrock carburetor. With 1 5/8-inch Dynatech headers feeding a 2-inch system with Flowmaster mufflers, the ignition is by ACCEL, and the radiator by Cool Craft. A rebuilt TH350 backs the 383, with a shift kit and B&M 2800 stall converter. Dependable Machine also built the driveshaft.
Wheels & Tires
The stock ’51 15x5 steel wheels were painted and reinstalled, with 205/75R15 Coker Classic wide whitewall radials all around, though the rears are hidden by fender skirts.
Body & Paint
Under that Jimmy Gardner–applied ’10 Ford Focus Silver, the deceptively stock-appearing bodywork actually features a number of modifications in addition to the restoration work, all performed by the owner. We’ve mentioned the roof chop in the text, but handles and emblems have all been shaved, the gas filler door is gone, and ‘49-50 taillights were frenched. A set of ’53 Mercury rings were used to french the headlights, while both the hood and rear fenders have been peaked. Ronald also replaced the entire floor, including the trunk area, a job which his wife would like it known she helped with. Clint Rowe pinstriped the car just hours prior to our photo shoot.
Ronald liked the stock black and turquoise door panels and seat coverings, so he repeated them in the finished car, tackling the upholstery himself, as well as installing a new headliner and EZ Boy black loop carpet. He used a Painless Wiring kit to hook everything up, added Vintage Air A/C, and fitted a Rockford Fosgate 150-watt amplifier with Sony speakers front and rear, which hook to his iPhone.