All of us have a story about the one that got away, not the fish but rather the hot rod. It's the car you knew deep down you should have never let go-but you did! Imagine being one of the lucky few who managed to hold onto their pride and joy through the decades of change.
For George Veracka of Stow, Massachusetts, time has indeed managed to stand still, at least when he climbs into his '32 Ford five-window coupe that he built over a three-year period that started in 1957. George was 15 years old when he came across the abandoned hot rod project in a local barn. Knowing the car had great potential, he made a deal and towed it home to a rented garage in Maynard, Massachusetts. George tells us that hot rodding was gaining a presence in his quiet town at the time, all the while trying to establish credibility among its residents. When local hot rod clubs would stop to assist fellow motorists in need, they would hand them courtesy cards before leaving. (George is an original member of the Drag-ons of Framingham, Massachusetts.)
A signature East Coast style, especially with coupes, were dramatic chop and channel jobs as well as meticulous body and paintwork. The project began by dismantling the car as he set to work on the chassis. To get the car low enough to achieve the look he wanted, George first Z'd the rear framerails, kicking it up 11 inches. He followed by installing a stock Deuce spring and wishbone controlled by a pair of Gabriel shocks.
Up front, he fabricated custom upper shock mounts as well as designing the suspension. He continued with a 4-inch dropped axle in conjunction with '40 Ford spindles and a matching pair of stock wishbones, which were treated to the chrome tank at South Shore Plating in Quincy. To ensure the car would have plenty of stopping power, he installed '40 Ford brakes all around combined with internal components from Bendix to complete the assembly. To get the chassis rolling, George bolted a set of Ford 15x5 steelies up front combined with 15x6 Ford rims out back. Sealing the deal, the front rims were treated to Prestige 5.60-15 whitewalls, while out back it's all business with a pair of M&H Racemaster 8.25-15 whitewall slicks.
The coupe was treated to a...
The coupe was treated to a 4-inch chop and 8-inch channel along with an 11-inch rear kick. A true East Coast survivor, its original cracked '57 Chrysler Carnation Red lacquer was laid down by Sam Sarvela of Central Autobody.
At the time he was building the coupe, many hot rodders were updating their Flathead mills with an assortment of different V-8s for added power. George was no different. Wanting the car to hold its own on the streets and in the show arena, he decided a Cadillac engine would be perfect for the Deuce. George wasted no time in contacting Herb Torppa of Auto Machine Service in Maynard to build an engine. Starting with the block Herb increased displacement to 425 ci and filled it with the best components, including a custom crank and rods, 8.5:1 pistons, and an Iskenderian cam. To complement the beefy internals, Herb massaged a pair of '53 Cadillac heads, added Isky solid lifters, and finned aluminum valve covers. Induction is handled by an Offenhauser six-pot topped with a complement of Holley 94 carbs, while plenty of spark comes from a Spaulding Flamethrower ignition and dual Mallory coils. George fabricated the custom lakes pipes and 2-inch exhaust, letting the engine exhale properly. Completing the drivetrain, a '39 Ford transmission was filled with Lincoln Zephyr gears, while an 11-inch clutch and Schiefer flywheel transfer the goods via a custom driveshaft to a Columbia two-speed rear end.
With all the go power anchored in place, George tended to the body by chopping its lid 4 inches, while also channeling it over the 'rails 8 inches giving the car an unmistakable East Coast look. He also chopped the grille shell 4 inches and fabricated neat touches like the custom radiator supports that allow the engine to be showcased with an uncluttered look.
Once the body was ready, he disassembled the car and brought everything that needed gloss over to Central Autobody in Maynard to have it ironed smooth. Wanting a color that would really separate the car from the rest, George had Sam Sarvela lay down 14 hand-rubbed coats of DuPont '57 Chrysler Carnation Red lacquer. Once the car was in the final assembly stages, George contacted John Piecewicz, of Maynard, to stitch a memorable interior, featuring on-the-floor seating awash in yards of white Naugahyde accented by vibrant red button tufting. Giving the car its final personality, George filled the dash with nine Stewart Warner gauges as well as a Sun tach. A '40 Ford steering wheel navigates through a '40 Ford steering box while gearshifts pass through a custom-designed stick. Once George's coupe hit the scene in the early '60s it became extremely well known both as a hard charger and a looker. George tells us that some of the finest memories he has are from showing the car at the prestigious Hartford Autorama along with his great friend Mouse Mancini. Still rolling on its original tires, the car is a true time machine, showcasing some of the finest design elements that define an East Coast era. This is one car that will remain in the family for decades to come, as George's son Scott and granddaughter Grace all share the same passion, and we think that's just plain cool.
Herb Torppa at Auto Machine...
Herb Torppa at Auto Machine Service gave new life to the '49 Cadillac engine. Now displacing 425 ci, it's filled with a custom crank and rods, warmed over '53 Caddy heads, and an Isky cam. Topped off with an Offenhauser intake breathing through six Holley 94 carbs, the exhaust goes through homemade headers.
John Piecewicz laid down yards...
John Piecewicz laid down yards of white Naugahyde accented by red button tufting. George filled the dash with Stewart Warner gauges and a Sun tach to keep track of all vitals while the custom shifter handles the '39 Ford trans filled with Lincoln Zephyr gears.
The frontend is made up of...
The frontend is made up of a 4-inch dropped axle with '40 Ford spindles, spring, and brakes. Lights are Dietz.-
M&H Racemaster whitewall slicks...
M&H Racemaster whitewall slicks plant the power. The taillights are '54 Buick units, while the hubcaps are '50 Mercury.