The engine and transmission were both gone through and the chassis cleaned up to accept all the good stuff. After the engine and trans were planted on homebuilt motor mounts and X-member, the Olds driveshaft was shortened and connected to an early Ford 9-inch rear fitted with stock brakes. The rearend is held in place with split, heated, and bent-to-fit `36 Ford wishbones. The transverse rear spring is from a `46 Ford, with two leaves removed and the eyes reversed. The rear shocks mirror the front being chromed friction-type units.
The body and paint were next, handled right there in the Thompson speed shop barn, surrounded by a lifetime collection of vintage parts. Mike squirted the red oxide over the smoothed and straightened body, and painted the top insert white.
The real challenge rested in the fenders. Highboys typically don't run fenders, but there are places where fender laws are strictly enforced. On Mike's ride the fronts were cut out of a `36 Ford spare tire cover, and improved with owner-made stainless steel accents. The rears were a different story. Simply put, they had to be handmade for the correct curve of the larger 7.50-16 bias-ply rear tire. So Mike bought an English wheel plus a shrinker and stretcher. With help from his wife, Elizabeth, and many hours of toil and sweat, the rears were finally finished.
Resting within the coupe is a `56 Olds steering wheel and gauge panel, which looks right at home in the smoothed '32 dash (Mike rewired the car to mimic a stock Oldsmobile harness). All that was left was the interior and Mike dropped off the original seat at Rodgers Upholstery, in Vancouver, Washington, for a traditional tuck `n' roll done in white vinyl.
Mike isn't old enough to have been around when hot rodding was born but, with the love of these historic cars passed on to him by his dad, he is keeping the flame and passion from another generation alive.
The `56 Olds also supplied...
The `56 Olds also supplied the steering wheel, column, and the gauge set. They seem to be as at home in the coupe cockpit as the motor does `tween the rails.
The coupe sports chrome-plated...
The coupe sports chrome-plated early shocks. Another nice detail is the Harley Davidson motorcycle running lights, used as turn signals.