There's a good reason why Ryan Jackson's '35 Chevy coupe wears a brilliant green hue on its curvy flanks: He mowed 30 lawns per week each summer to help pay for it.
You may remember Ryan and his Missouri-based rod from '03's Americruise East coverage, or perhaps you saw the car at one of the many events Ryan attended last year. By all accounts it's a sharp little coupe. The fact that it's a Chevy and was built by a teenager just makes it that much more interesting and impressive.
It was pretty well predetermined that Ryan's first car would be a street rod. After all, he went to his first rod run when he was eight days old, and his father Roger has been playing around with cars as long as he can remember. On top of that, Ryan's older brothers, Rusty and Randy, are both fully immersed in rodding; Rusty even has his own shop, Odd Rod Creations. In other words, there's no way Ryan would be caught cruising a Hyundai to school.
Ryan bought the Chevy a year before he could legally drive. Good thing, because a prior stint as a stock car had left the body lumpier than day-old oatmeal. Worse yet, the doors were tack-welded shut, and most of the original wood support structure had rotted away or been discarded. Ryan had his work cut out for him.
With help from his family Ryan replaced the wood substructure with steel, filled the top with '69 Dodge roof skin, and started hammering everything else into shape. He also built and boxed a frame using '35 and '33 Chevy pieces, narrowed a Mustang II IFS to fit, hung an 8-inch Ford rearend on Posie's springs, and bolted five-spoke Americans on all four corners. A rebuilt 305/TH350 combo eventually made its way between the rails.
The coupe was on the road, albeit unfinished, shortly after Ryan's 16th birthday and saw daily driving duty all summer and well into that winter, despite lacking side windows or a heater. Each winter thereafter he wrenched on and refined the Chevy a little more. By early 2003 it was finally ready for color--a custom DuPont green mixed by Denver Car Color's Frank Faliano and sprayed by Ryan's father. The cabin was wrapped up later that spring with leather-covered '97 T-bird seats, Westach gauges, and the comfort of Vintage Air and heat. The completed coupe rolled out of the garage shortly after Ryan's 19th birthday last year.
It takes tenacity to get any rod or custom on the road. It also takes patience, something many young people seem to lack. We have to admire Ryan's determination to see his Chevy through to completion and his willingness to enjoy the car even when it was "unfinished." No doubt the dream of his green machine kept Ryan motivated as he pushed a mower through the hot summer sun. We're just wondering if there are 30 Missouri lawns growing to record heights now that he's spending his summers cruising instead.
Carl Junction, Missouri
'35 Chevy Standard Three-Window Coupe
Monty Ward at M&W Machine prepped the '80 305 block before Ryan assembled it using stock-spec internals and an Edelbrock carb and intake. An Accel distributor supplies spark, while HPC-coated manifolds direct fumes through turbo-style mufflers and pipes bent by Comer's Muffler. Jerry Keyes got the TH350 automatic ready for duty behind the mild small-block.
Ryan grafted the front of a '35 Chevy sedan frame to the rear of a '33 coupe chassis, boxed the rails, built his own center crossmember, and installed a narrowed Mustang II IFS. Out back, a 2.78:1-geared Ford 8-inch was mounted using Posie's SuperSlide springs. A Hydroboost brake booster from Odd Rod Creations (Carl Junction, MO) helps activate the front discs and rear drums, while a homemade 18-gallon tank holds fuel.
WHEELS & TIRES:
American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs look great on the coupe, with 14x6s tucking under the front fenders and 17x7s filling out the rears. They're wrapped in 195/60R14 and 255/60R17 Goodyear rubber.
BODY & PAINT:
Besides working out a bunch of wrinkles, Ryan left the Chevy body mostly stock. The roof is filled with skin from a '69 Dodge Coronet top, and all the wood structure has been replaced with steel. Old Chicago fiberglass fenders and gas apron replace the missing originals. The replated grille surround and center bar are complemented with a stainless HER Grilles insert and chrome Dietz headlights. Meanwhile, the smooth decklid sports a recessed license and is surrounded by '34 Ford taillights. The glowing green hue comes courtesy of DuPont basecoat/clearcoat products custom-mixed by Frank Faliano of Denver Car Color (Denver, CO) and sprayed by Roger Jackson.
Ryan's grandparents donated a pair of '97 T-bird seats to the cause, and White's Auto Restyling (Springfield, MO) covered them in bone-colored leather. The custom door panels (with Smart Parts armrests) got the same treatment. The cabin was also outfitted with Juliano's seatbelts and Custom AutoSound's SecretAudio SS with Infinity speakers. The modified stock dash houses Vintage Air controls, Westach instruments from Haneline, and a GM tilt column topped with a Halibrand wheel.