Rod & Custom Feature Car
John & Jazz St. Germain
Goodwood, Ontario, Canada
1935 Ford Coupe
Customs are one-off exercises in design sculpture with each one creating something unique and fresh. Once all the welding and fabrication is complete and the dust finally settles that's when everything melds together and art is formed. John St. Germain of Goodwood, Ontario, Canada, is no stranger to the world of customs, already having many accomplishments under his belt, including a noteworthy '50 Ford coupe and a seductive 1936 Ford roadster known as "Time Bomb." If you can gauge the devotion of a person to a particular segment of a hobby they're involved in it's easy to see here that where most bleed red, John bleeds lead. This brings us to his latest build, taking on the lines of a 1935 Ford coupe with plenty of influence from the likes of Westergard and Valley Custom, infused with his own ideas on what it would take to breathe new life into the body style.
Few things in life are as precious as the bond between a father and son, especially when the son is only 4 years of age. Jazz St. Germain is one of the lucky ones, having been born into a custom car legacy. Before he could even walk he was surrounded by Detroit steel, regardless if he was in the home shop or sitting in a baby seat thundering through town in a hammered Ford shoebox. Three years ago the pair were walking through a local event when John came upon a barn-fresh 1935 Ford coupe. Recently unearthed from a 30-year sleep, the coupe had been brought back to life by the then-owner with its original patina and history intact. There was something about the coupe that grabbed John's attention, feeling that it would be the perfect follow-up to his 1936 Ford roadster. Standing there with Jazz the car owner offered to let the little custom fan sit in the rumble seat. From that point it was obvious the chemistry surrounding the coupe would be the catalyst for making a deal happen. When Jazz said, "Dad you have to buy it," John wasted no time in having the car delivered to his shop the very next day.
There's nothing like taking on a fresh build with a complete car that has never been picked apart. After studying the coupe, John began the disassembly process, identifying what was to be kept and what could be offered up for sale. With the spine being in pristine condition it was retained as a base for the car to once again rise. After it was blasted clean it was boxed and C'd out back by John and Dave Mainland of Stouffville, Ontario. To transfer the oats to the pavement an 1985 Ford truck 9-inch rear packed with 3.93:1 gears was suspended in place by a combination of custom 24½-inch ladder bars with Pete & Jake's tube shocks and RideTech airbags. A Paul Horton's Welder Series IFS was incorporated utilizing Mustang II spindles and RideTech airbags accented by rack-and-pinion steering. For superb stopping power a Master Power Brakes dual reservoir master pushes fluid through steel lines to 11-inch Ford drums out back while GM vented discs and calipers up front get the job done. With the chassis complete it was time to set the coupe rolling on classic stock, which includes 15x6 Ford steelies topped with 710/15 Firestone/Coker wide whites and '53 Cadillac caps with one-off spun center caps for just the right nostalgic touch.
It's a fact that if you're building a traditional custom you'd better do your homework before deciding what gets nailed to the 'rails for power. In keeping with the theme, John had Len Hurley of Nobleton, Ontario, built a 286ci mill that would equal the car's personality. Starting with a '50 Mercury block, Hurley bored and massaged it to perfection. He then filled it with a 4-inch stroked Merc crank linked to 21A rods capped with Ross 9.5:1 slugs while an Isky cam keeps the beat. A set of Offenhauser aluminum heads help work the power while a matching Offenhauser two-pot intake, wearing a pair of Ford 94-series carbs by Ken O'Connor, breathes deep. The fire lights through a Mallory distributor and spent gases move through a set of Fenton headers to a pair of Brockman mellow-tone mufflers and custom tubing. Sending the horses rearward, a 1965 Mustang top-loader trans grabs gears through a Jeep shifter while a custom driveshaft rounds it all out.
When it came time to start sculpting the body it was obvious the name Westergard would come heavily into play to accentuate the original design. John first contacted Jeff Carroll of Lindsay, Ontario, to strip the body and address a formidable amount of the metalwork, including all-metal repair panels to the lower extremities. Dave and John then followed by masterfully customizing a pair of Rootlieb hood sides with 1935 Oldsmobile side grilles, installing '47 Lincoln door buttons, 1939 Hudson taillights, and 1936 Buick headlights. They wrapped up by mounting a pair of 1936 Plymouth bumpers and installing a mechanical trunk opener. Moving topside, John had studied countless chops on similar coupes, making notes of what he liked as well as those that didn't have the correct balance. To quote John, "It's all about proportions when cutting a 1935 Ford roofline and if you miss the mark the car will never be right." To take on the task a call was placed to Eric Jackson of Oshawa, Ontario, to get his feelings on the chop. The pair worked together to map out just what it would take to expertly lower the lid and by the time the cutting was complete 25⁄8 inches were removed from the front and 4 inches from the rear. With all of the metalwork complete it was time for Peter Laabs to use his extensive coach building skills to dial in the body, set all the gaps, and detail the seams using lead. From there the job was handed over to Wayne Scales of Oshawa to complete the final bodywork and prepare it for the paint booth. Deciding on a color, John wanted to the car to be both dramatic and decadent so he contacted well-known artist and illustrator Jeff Norwell for inspiration and a decision was made to use RM Royal Maroon gloss. Rob at Deez Rodz and Ridez, in Uxbridge, laid down the flowing vibe bringing the car to life, accented by plenty of brightwork from the tanks at the Plating House of Toronto, Ontario.
Focusing on the business office, fine details abound, starting with a stock dash filled with a 1939 Mercury gauge cluster with navigation handled through a '51 Ford Crestliner accessory wheel. Rod Akey of Simco, Ontario, crafted a custom bench seat and covered everything in cream and maroon leather, accented by Mercedes maroon square-weave carpet. Wiring by Steve Marsden and tunes from Alpine complete the package. The completed car looks like it's melting into the pavement with a stance that redefines the standard. For John and Jazz this is one custom that will continue to carry on a family tradition as they cruise down the boulevards.