About 20 months ago I stumbled upon a rusting 1931 Ford Model A a few miles outside of Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois. After a long career as an ice fishing jalopy (complete with a makeshift fish-catch pickup bed and tractor exhaust pipe) it had been retired to a backyard garbage enclosure where it gathered a 40-year layer of oxide patina. Being slightly retarded I had visions of it becoming a traditional hot rod, and not just any traditional hot rod. I envisioned a Sixties style custom rod -- full fendered, gleaming pearlescent paint, dripping with chrome, a style popularized by Detroit's Alexander Brothers, Dave Stuckey, Darryl Starbird and others during the 1960-1970 golden age of the indoor car show. To understand the aesthetic, pop the Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe" on the hi-fi while browsing a stack of 1958-64 Car Craft magazines.
The "Coupe of Justice" was a fool's errand, but I was smart enough to bring it the one guy I knew who could really pull it off: my friend Drew Didio, an insanely talented young builder and fabricator who operates Suicide Axle Hot Rods in Sycamore, IL. A third-generation paint and body man, Drew has quietly built a reputation as one of the best metalbenders in the Midwest, and has churned out a string of bitchin' hoopties ranging from nasty hot rods to lush lowriders. After twenty months that initial vision is finally realized, and the single person most responsible for making it happen was Drew (peace and blessings upon him).
More than a dozen other friends contributed their talents to the project, more than I can fairly cite in this short post, but I'd like to single out a couple: Gordy Cushman of Ultra Stamping and Assembly of Rockford IL, who set up the engine (including the bizarro rare vintage Saaty Meteor injection system) and executed the intricate wiring, and Dave "Madd Stitcher" Martinez of Martinez Custom Upholstery in Indianapolis, whose pleat & roll pearl wraparound interior was the icing on the cake.
I will eventually have a site with details on the build and contributors; until then I hope you enjoy these video Cliff Notes. One final (cryptic) note - a few people reading this post may have have realized a secret of mine. If so, congratulations. I only ask that we keep it between us, and I'll buy the first beers at the Continental.