Like a true hot rodder, it wasn't long after Bill Steele saw his '32 sedan head off to its new owner in Belgium that he started getting the itch to build another car. A paint and body guy by trade, Bill's well entrenched in everything automotive so to say that the devil had work for his idle hands is to put it lightly. He began looking online to find a new project, searching high and low and ever scouring the local barns and garages around his hometown of Oakdale, Pennsylvania. Luck was not on his side, however, until a chance run-in with Jeremy Gerber at the Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois. Jeremy happened to have a Model A coupe body for sale and Bill, familiar with the work of the Roadster Shop, quickly signed up to purchase the body and have the crew build a Deuce frame to put under the new project.
Jeremy set his guys into motion fabricating a longer, lower chassis than they usually built for their cars, featuring a large kick up at the rear and a pair of highly-swept front framerails to get the front end nice and low. A Super Bell dropped and drilled axle suspended by a monoleaf spring got things even lower, mated to the chassis by a pair of drilled radius rods. Wilwood disc brakes hidden by finned backing plates are mated to stock Ford spindles and provide plenty of stopping power for the lightweight coupe. Out back, a Ford 9-inch rearend hangs on Air Ride Technologies Shock Waves on a custom four-bar by the Roadster Shop. Spot Light Artillery wheels shod in Firestone bias plies round out the rolling accoutrements.
John Hart at RPMs gets the...
John Hart at RPMs gets the nod for the custom 4x2 intake atop the 331ci Hemi engine while the custom headers were built by Bill himself. A PAW timing cover replaces the gaudy stock Chrysler components and accepts a small-block Chevy water pump.
To power the coupe, Bill opted for a 331ci Chrysler Hemi rebuilt by Carl Bills at Black Mountain Hemi in York, Pennsylvania. It was at this stage in the build that Redline Performance Motorsports (RPM) got involved, with John Hart fabricating the custom 4x2 intake manifold. Other engine details include a Joe Hunt magneto, PAW timing cover and small-block Chevy water pump, and owner-built custom headers. The big-headed Chrysler was then mated to a Corvette six-speed transmission before being dropped between the Deuce 'rails.
With the car as a roller and sitting at the proper stance, the crew, consisting of Josh Hart, Justin Wilson, Curt Ukasik, and Bill Steele, then turned their attention to the body, whacking 4 inches from the top. It was then sent off with Bill back to his Steele Auto Body shop where he began the tedious task of selecting the correct color for the hot rod. After spraying a dozen test cards, he finally settled on the correct mix, one he named Downtown Brown. Once the blocking and sanding aspects were complete, Bill then applied his custom hue to the body, grille, and engine block before calling on Kevin Henderson to add some striping and detail work.
Spot Light Artillery wheels...
Spot Light Artillery wheels shod in Firestone rubber sit at all four corners.
Inside the car, the RPM guys were called into action once again to tackle the sheet metal appointments, along with a couple of custom additions such as the '38 Dodge dash and center console arm rest. A pair of bomber-style bucket seats was picked up from Center State Rodz & Rides and powdercoated in gloss black, the accent color found throughout the car. Dual shifters mate to the 'vette transmission and are a bit of a shock at first glance, but one of those "shifters" is actually the e-brake handle. A LimeWorks steering column mates the '57 Lone Star boat steering wheel to a Vega steering box and fits the traditional theme of the coupe.
Since completing the coupe in early 2009, Bill's already racked up quite an impressive list of accomplishments, including a written warning for disturbing the peace from the local fuzz. Bill and his coupe also took home the coveted Goodguys' "Hot Rod of the Year" award at this year's Hot Rod Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, which required Bill to complete a 100-mile roundtrip, an 1/8-mile drag strip pass, and a full lap on the famed Indy Brickyard, all in a car with only 25 miles on the odometer! Built in only nine months, Bill says there isn't a thing he'd change on the coupe, save for the long nights spent working in the shop, thrashing to get the car done. But in the end, it's always worth it isn't it?