"Well I don't look all that ragged, for all the time it's been. But I'm weakened underneath me where my frame has rusted thin. And this year's state inspection I just barely passed. Won't you take me round the country, boy, this year could be my last." (David Wilcox)

There's a wonderful, though sadly obscure, song by singer/songwriter David Wilcox called "Rusty Old American Dream." He sings about an old car sitting in a pasture alongside a country road going nowhere begging for a chance to hit the road one more time. Magically, that car seemed to edge its way a little closer to the road making the For Sale sign just a little easier to see. Gary Adkinson of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, was driving down one of those country roads one summer day on his way to a meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. Along the way, he spotted a black '38 Chevy sedan sitting in the tall grass, seemingly yearning to touch the pavement again. Gary kept driving but thought if the car was still there on the return trip, he would stop to find out if the car was for sale. As he passed by on his way home, he found the sedan still sitting there so he pulled in the driveway to find out if the car was for sale. Luckily for both Gary and the Chevy, it was, and after a bit of negotiating, a deal was struck and a deposit placed in the owner's hand. Hopefully, it wouldn't be long before the Chevy would see pavement again.

"I rolled off the line in Detroit back in 1938. Spent three days in the showroom, that's all I had to wait. I've been good to all who own me so have no fear. Come on, boy, put your money down and get me out of here." (David Wilcox)

Gary felt the sale was meant to be, for on the back of the car was a 1938 Mercer County, Kentucky tag-exactly where Gary resides. Once the Chevy was brought home, Gary made plans to help the car make its transition into its next life and hit the road with a style never dreamed of in pre-war America. Gary slowly started developing a concept for the car and collecting parts. A bumper here, an engine there, but storage was starting to become a problem when his wife found an exhaust header basting in the oven. It all finally came to a head when his woke up one morning, rolled over and was poked by a tilt steering column. She told him to do something with that car or get rid of it. So Gary packed up the parts, stuffed them in the Chevy and brought the car to Carl and Shane Casey of Casey's Classics in his hometown of Harrodsburg. Soon the car was completely dismantled to see what would be saved and what would be replaced. Yes the frame had rusted thin, but so had the floors, the rockers and the tail pan, which were ordered from EMS Mfg. Brent at Fatman Fabrications sold Gary a freshly boxed frame ready and willing to accept a modern suspension system and drivetrain right after a blue powder coating by Armstrong Custom Powder Coating. A Mustang II front IFS with stainless steel tubular A arms with Wilwood 2-inch dropped spindles were installed along with a triangulated stainless steel four-link rear setup with a Ford 9-inch with 3.70 gears in back. The stance would be controlled with a fully adjustable system from Air Ride Technologies.

The brakes system would be the next task at hand. A complete Wilwood disc brake setup was ordered with 13-inch rotors in front and 12-inch rotors at the rear with all four slotted and cross-drilled. Measurements had been taken for the wheel and tire combination and a set of Billet Specialties highboy wheels was ordered in 18 x 7 inch for the front and 20 x 8.5 inch for the rear. Mounted to the rims were a set of Faulken tires set at 225/40Z x 18 front and 245/40Z x 20 for the rear. Steering would be handled by a Mustang rack-and-pinion which is a perfect fit for the IPS. With most of the rolling chassis complete, Gary purchased an engine and transmission package from a '98 Pontiac Trans Am. The LSI and 4L60E transmission cleaned, prepped and placed between the frame rails with a Street & Performance billet belt and pulley system driving the water pump, polished alternator and A/C compressor. A ceramic coated exhaust system was fit along with a Walker transmission cooler to keep the GM OD as cool as the car itself.

While the chassis was coming together, the body was being fitted with repair panels from EMS Mfg. for the rockers, floor, and tail pan. The headlight housings were modified for a set of V Rod Harley headlights. Other subtle mods include a recessed antenna, hidden gas cap, power cowl vent and smoothed bumpers that were lowered. Once the body was prepped, it was fit to the frame and all seams were lined up checked before removal for painting. Shane Carey applied DuPont Hot Hues Silva and Sapphire Trance in a two-tone scheme, which is separated with pinstriping by Lil' Jack.

Gary could tell the '38 was getting anxious to hit the road again, but there was still much to be done when it came to the interior. Haywire supplied the wiring to Limited Edition Classic Instruments along with the rest of the car. A Vintage Air A/C was installed as were It's A Snap power windows. A GM tilt steering column would mate to a Billet Specialties Hole Shot steering wheel with grey leather to match the leather and suede Mazda power bucket seats, custom rear seat, custom console and door panels all stitched by Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto in Knoxville, Tennessee. After five long years, the '38 Chevy had found life once again and was ready to cross onto the pavement and head back down that old country road to smile and wave at the patch of dead grass where it once sat. Just one more thing left to install. A Sony stereo system with full MP3 and satellite radio capabilities so Gary could load that David Wilcox CD and play that song to its conclusion.

"So just jump me some juice to my battery. Give that old starter a spin. Hear me whirr, sputter, backfire through the carburetor and roar into life once again... And we 'II fly off into the sunset together, a rusty old American dream (still runnin') a rusty old American dream." (David Wilcox)

Facts & Figures
Gary Adkinson
Harrodsburg, Kentucky
1938 Chevrolet two-door sedan

CHASSIS
Frame / Manufacturer '38 Chevy / Fatman Fabrications (Charlotte, NC)
Wheelbase 112"
Modifications Powder coated by Armstrong Custom Powder Coating
Chassis plumbing stainless steel
Rear end / Ratio 9" Ford / 3.70 gears
Rear suspension four-link w/Air Ride (Jasper, IN)
Rear brakes Wilwood (Camarillo, CA) 12"cross-drilled, slotted rotors w/polished Dynalite calipers
Front suspension Mustang II, stainless control arms, Air Ride
Front brakes Wilwood 13" cross-drilled, slotted rotors w/polished Dynalite calipers
Steering box Mustang r&p
Front wheel make, size Billet Specialties (La Grange, IL), 18x7
Rear wheel make, size Billet Specialties, 20x8 ?
Front tire make, size Faulken ST 1500, 225/40Z18
Rear tire make, size Faulken ST 1500, 245/40Z20
ENGINE
Make Pontiac LS1
Displacement 5.7L
Alternator polished
TRANSMISSION
Make GM 4L60E
Trans cooler Cooling Components (Memphis, TN)
BODY
Body style / Material two-door sedan / steel
Body manufacturer Chevrolet
Body mods recessed antenna, hidden gas cap, power cowl vent, one-piece windshield
Bodywork Shane Carey, Carey's Classics (Harrodsburg, KY)
Paint type / Color DuPont Hot Hues / two-tone
Painter Shane Carey
Headlights / Taillights V-Rod Harley / stock w/LED internals
Bumpers relocated & lowered Rock Valley (Stillman Valley, IL) smooth bumpers
INTERIOR
Dashboard Chevrolet
Gauges Classic Instruments (Boyne City, MI) All American Ltd. series
Stereo / Speakers Sony CD / Sony speakers, MP3, CD & XM
Air conditioning Vintage Air (San Antonio, TX)
Wiring Haywire (Joplin, MO)
Steering wheel Billet Specialties Hole Shot
Steering column GM tilt
Seats Mazda 929 6-way power,console & custom rear seat
Upholsterer Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto (Knoxville, TN)
Material / Color leather / gray w/suede
Other interior items Interior trimmed w/ mirrors, and pedal made by Phipps