The hot rods Roger Burman builds out of his shop, Lakeside Rods & Rides in Rockwell City, Iowa, are well known to rodders in the Midwest, to readers of R&C and all the other roddin' magazines, and to anybody who pays attention to award-winning, street-worthy rods. Although Roger has applied his skills to a wide variety of cars, from Deuces to Tri-Five Chevys, he is probably best known for his work on fat-fendered cars from the mid '30s through the late '40s.
Like the majority of professional builders, Roger takes on high-end projects for enthusiasts willing to pay to have a pro turn their ideas into rolling reality. However, about once a year, he builds one uncommissioned fiberglass rod, usually a three-window coupe, specifically for resale. Without the constraints of some customer's tastes, desires, or monetary concerns, Roger can cut loose and create a car that is entirely a product of his own imagination and mechanical talent. His most recent example of such a car is this gorgeous '35 Chevy three-window coupe.
The starting point for this particular project was one of Outlaw's '34 Chevy body-and-chassis combinations. These bodies come pretty complete with fenders and grille shell and a 3 5/8-inch chop. A three-piece Rootlieb steel hood was installed. According to Roger, not very much bodywork was necessary to get the car ready for paint--just an ordinary amount of blocking and priming. Since smooth-looking cars are kind of a signature for him, he kept the coupe free of any hardware and trim that would break up the bodylines. That philosophy extends to his choice of paint. He wanted to keep the car monochromatic and wanted "any color that's not black, red, or yellow." Cadillac Autumn Wood Poly, shot by Roger, looks like a perfect choice.
The Outlaw chassis is built on a boxed frame with Mustang II components, including the manual steering, front disc brakes, and spindles. Aldan springs and shocks suspend the coupe. Big wheels are another Roger Burman signature, so when it came time to choose the rolling stock, he went with 20s and 17s. Those are original Boyd Coddington five-spokes wearing low-profile Yokohama tires. The car's clean, contemporary look is carried over on the inside. Custom seats from Interior Supply have been finished in almond UltraLeather from Recovery Room in Omaha. Whiteface VDO gauges were selected for the custom dash. Practically the only shiny pieces are the Billet Specialties Talladega III steering wheel and GM tilt column.
Intending the coupe as a driver, Roger went the reliable route, building a Chevy 350 with a single Edelbrock carb and manifold and HPC blockhugger headers. Arnold Motor Supply in Fort Dodge, Iowa, did the machine work on the heads. The block, heads, GM Bow Tie valve covers, intake, and Billet Specialty air cleaner were shot with body color paint. The result looks great.
Roger debuted the month-old coupe at the '03 NSRA Mid-America Nats in Springfield, Missouri. At the Goodguys Nats in Indy, it was purchased by a car guy from Wisconsin, who drove it to Back To The Fifties a week after that. Now that it's winter, it'll probably be a few months before we see this sweet '34 again. In the meantime, Roger Burman is busy working on another signature fat-fendered coupe.