Car construction is fraught with expensive pitfalls, and by now you probably know them all. For example, when someone tells you they bought a car sight-unseen off the internet then flew all the way across the country to drive it back, your mind probably goes straight to a disaster reel of footage that you've heard about over the years. Even if you don't know someone personally who did such a thing, you've certainly read horror stories about it in one of the many stories we published over the years.
"The trip wasn't without its surprises" Greg Meyer admits. "like when one side of the front bumper dropped off. But it was a great trip that I will always remember."
Now if it's something else you recall from the stories we've published, it's the plot twists like that one. Greg really did find his 1933 Chevy on the internet, "which wasn't common back in 1999," he points out. But he went about it smartly. "My cousin, who built drag cars, helped me inspect it before purchasing and driving it 2,000 miles back to Oregon. "
The car may have been even better than expected. In fact, the only real problem was body structure as a result of having its top removed. "This was originally a three-window coupe," he admits. "It was converted into a street rod roadster in the late 1970s by its owner in Oklahoma." And Greg knew that going in.© Hot Rod Network Staff
But what he didn't really anticipate was the consequences of the car's transformation. "Old Chevys have a lot of wood in the body inner structure and the wood, being 70 years old and weakened by the removal of the top, had to be removed due to stress cracks forming in the outer sheetmetal." So, he devised a plan to replace the wood with steel and drop the reborn body on a Hot Rods USA chassis. "That's it. Simple, right?" he implores. Well, not quite...." A victim of colossal mission creep, the car didn't go back together for another 13 years.
At least the chassis was easy: Hot Rods USA narrowed the rear four inches in anticipation of wider rubber. The shop also suspended it on a Kugel IFS and a Jag IRS.
The cowl lost its vent and the body reveals and edges underwent refinement. A custom frame integrates the curved Austin Healey windshield glass with the now-smooth cowl. A lattice of tubing and side-impact intrusion beams replaced the doors' wood structure. The hinges mount on the backsides of the doors, making them open suicide. The interior door tops extend to merge with the dash lines. Naturally more steel replaces the wood floor structure.
Greg preserved the rumble seat and a catch now prevents it from unintentionally closing during hard braking. A rear-impact beam fortifies the back of the body. Shortening the back of the rear fenders makes them follow the lines of the modified rear apron. Stock Chevrolet taillights mount in frenched recesses. Steve's Auto Restoration fabricated the buckets that mount Harley Davidson V-rod headlights. Cutting those fenders to end at the A-pillar meant fabricating longer running boards to fill the gap. The fenders extend forward to meet each other under the grille. © Hot Rod Network Staff
JC Custom Machine also milled the car's logo into the center caps of 17x7 and 20x10 Billet Specialties Rail wheels. Those mount 205/45ZR17 and 275/40ZR20 Toyo Proxes hides which Greg's wife Dotty shaved and detailed. The car got a full set of Bilstein coil-overs; however, to accommodate for rumble-seat occupants, Greg specified a set of RideTech Shock Waves for the second pair of dampers on the Jag rear suspension. Both ends got four-piston Wilwood calipers. The front got 11-inch vented Wilwood rotors but the rear uses the stock Jag rotors.
Ben Conley at Ben's Custom Paint in Oregon City, Oregon sprayed the House of Kolor Shimrin2 Kandy Tangerine finish to the body and Harley Davidson Black Pearl to the chassis. A number of vendors, including TFC (Portland) and Sherm's Plating (Sacto) chromed the various components.
It's no surprise why it took Greg 13 years to put his roadster back in service; every part of it underwent a transformation, most of it to the point of extreme. It's for reasons like these why owners of long-term builds more often than not develop very fond relationships with the finished products.
And when things go really well, the same applies to relationships with all parties involved. "It really takes a village to build a car like this," Greg Meyer says. "I've formed great friendships with so many people."
And never mind the car; according to Greg, it's these friendships that make, as he puts it, "the most memorable and rewarding part." SRM