Chula Vista, California
1950 Ford Sedan
Why? Why do we do what we do? That universal query applies to literally anything you can throw it at: from careers to religious/spiritual practices to, of course, our particular hobbies. Why? When Paul Cosopodiotis was posed that question in regards to the coming-to-be of his '50 Ford, it was quite simple: "The car was built for me to achieve a kustom goal; I wanted a driveable, finished kustom." Fair enough … but when it came to his describing the background, well, he wasn't so brief.
As Paul tells us: "The '50 was found on the Internet in 2006. The car was located in San Francisco in a showroom in its stock configuration. An elderly couple had to sell it, owing to them taking a trip around the country in their new road trailer. The '50 Ford was something I had always loved; the grille is classy and needs no modification. I wanted something with a Flathead; it had a rebuilt Flatty with 1,500 miles on it. It was perfect. There were no rust issues; everything looked great. So, I bought it, with every intention of pulling it apart and making a mild kustom; one that may have cruised the streets in the '50s."
From its one-time home in the Bay Area, Paul had the Shoebox loaded up and transported to its next home to be: San Diego. Ironically, it wasn't the sedan's forthcoming custom transformation that truly intrigued its new owner, rather, the Flathead that powered it. "I really wanted to contact the elder gentleman … I wanted to know about the Flathead rebuild; what crank did he use? Lifters? Pistons? But the dealer was not too friendly on that aspect. And to this day, I really don't know the details. Once the car arrived in San Diego, I'd read two Flathead books, done countless hours of research … I was ready. But upon arrival, the starter had broken … maybe an omen of things to come?!"
Even to the hardest of hard-core Flathead freaks, every flat motor needs the appropriate complementary home in which to reside—and perform. "After I'd fixed the starter (via a Flat-O-Matic C4 trans adapter kit), I had to decide what to attack first. Suspension? Body? Interior? For me, with all rides, stance is first, so suspension it was. I had my friend Keith take me to Dave Chappelle at Chappelle's Kustoms in El Cajon. Chappelle is a master fabricator and air-ride specialist. He correctly 'bagged my ride; it was C-notched and the front shocks were ‘frenched' into the A-arms. It lays out beautifully," Paul reflects.
But, the Flathead tales were far from over—this is where Paul literally dove into his Shoebox's mill: "I tore off the heads and manifold and replaced them with Offenhauser equipment, along with dual Holley 94s. The old points ignition was replaced with a Mallory electronic setup, and the entire system converted to 12V." With the '50 riding low with a reinvigorated powerplant—including its updated automatic transmission—was Paul finally ready to focus on the exterior?
"The paint was something that needed to be tackled by an expert. I wanted the roof flaked. I wanted a microflake, nothing large, as this is a kustom, not a lowrider. I chose fire red 'flake, which I had Manny Cisneros from Cisneros Pinstriping lay on the roof. The hood had been shaved and peaked by San Diego Rod & Custom; the gas filler door was also shaved; and the antenna frenched. Nick Battaglia of Loose Cannon Customs laid down the House of Kolor candy red."
With its lower-than-many stance hovering over a quartet of chrome reverse wheels running Denman G-78 bias whitewalls and bulleted baby moon caps, fully resplendent in freshly dipped chrome, courtesy of Escondido Plating, all Paul needed to complete his six-year plan—and subsequently, his "kustom goal"—was some matching inner threads. "The interior was completed in white heavy vinyl. The seats and panels were stitched by Champions in Mexico; carpet and headliner was done by Armando's in El Cajon; and the trunk and white carpet piping by Benny and San Diego Rod & Custom. Additionally, Battaglia 'flaked the steering wheel and dash knobs."
Reflecting back on his project, Paul surmises, "It's been a long journey of hard knocks, late hours, and empty bank accounts. I can't go any further with the ride … I consider it finished. Now I want others to enjoy it, and I am more than happy to show it."