Though some folks try and search out their fate in the attempt to make it go their way, others are more content to just ride along, letting fate take them wherever it wants to go. Jim and Cindy Getter, a street rodding couple who live in Sunbury, Ohio, had no real intentions of taking on a second project after having spent more than 10 years with their '39 Pontiac. But when a car club buddy asked Jim if he wanted to check out '31 Chevy that was for sale, Jim thought: "What does a '31 Chevy even look like?" They hooked the trailer up to the truck (just in case) and drove to Wisconsin.
This is not something Jim would have done back in the '80s, as he didn't even know what a street rod was then. A friend who was on his way to a car show in 1986 in Knoxville, Tennessee, had to explain to Jim what the hobby was all about and finished by saying, "Oh, come on, just go and you'll have fun." Jim has been involved ever since and even wonders now if he was born with grease under his fingernails because he likes the hobby so much.
One of the 100 or so custom...
One of the 100 or so custom mods on Getter's Chevy (and a nice touch) is the Chevrolet script added to the side of the splash aprons.
When he got to see the car, he was hooked. The project had been started in the '70s, but was far from being finished. It had been stored for 20 years in a garage, and all the parts were stored in separate boxes (or so Jim thought) in a basement, but since so much time had passed, duplicate parts and pieces were mixed together making their identification that much more fun.
The wood skeleton Chevrolet used as a base to assemble their car bodies from that era usually rots away-one of the reasons you don't see a lot of them around anymore. Luckily, the previous owner had replaced the wood with steel tubing and, since the body itself was without any rust to speak of, the car looked to be in fairly good and complete condition.
Jim couldn't say no, so he purchased the car, but he had to bring it home in two trips because of the extra boxes of miscellaneous parts. Over the next 12 years, the Getters worked at completing their ride, with some time being taken up by relocating from northeastern Ohio to the central part of state (and Jim adds it was a challenge finding his boxed-up car parts after the movers had handled their possessions).
A '77 Chevy 350 (punched to...
A '77 Chevy 350 (punched to 355 cubes) was backed to a 700-R4 transmission before it was dressed up with an air cleaner and valve covers Jim found at a swap meet (which he polished and color-matched to the rod's exterior). A single Edelbrock 600-cfm carb feeds the beast and a Mallory ignition system with ACCEL wires supplies the spark.
Starting with the original frame with its factory 109-inch wheelbase Jim boxed the entire chassis (so he could run the fuel and brake lines inside) and made up a double K-member using 1-1/2-inch square tubing. A Ford 8-inch rear (3.55:1) went in out back and is used with a pair of Durant monoleaf springs. A Heidt's Superide IFS was installed up front but, at the time you couldn't find one in a catalog for a '31 Chevy, so Jim bought a system for a '34-35 Chevy and modified it to work with his frame and added a Dodge Omni rack, Aldan coilovers, and 11-inch Wilwood disc brakes.
A set of 15-inch Billet Specialties wheels (6s and 7s), wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber (P185/65R15 and P235/75R15), are on each corner and to round out the chassis a 22-gallon Rock Valley polished stainless steel gas tank was also fitted to the frame.
After Jim had Rader Industries bore the '77 Chevy truck block 0.030 over, he assembled the 355 with Teflon-coated pistons (9.5:1) and heads equipped with 2.02/1.94 valves. The V-8 breathes through an Edelbrock 1406 600-cfm carb bolted to an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap manifold that was coated by Jet-Hot. Both the air cleaner and valve covers are swap meet finds, but they're detailed with a bit of paint 'n' polish to match the body color.
Jack Liberto chopped the top...
Jack Liberto chopped the top a full 3 inches, but didn't modify the size of the rear window, leaving it in its factory size. Ryan Mullins painted the car with PPG Nightmist Blue.
Spark comes from a Mallory ignition system and exhaust is pulled through a set of GM ram horn manifolds and out 2-1/4-inch stainless steel tubing. The gears of the 700-R4 transmission are selected on the steering column, which came out of a '69 Chevelle SS.
When it came to the body, some of the hardest work (the roof fill plus the 3-inch chop that retains the stock rear window sizing) had been done by the previous owner, but Jim and his friends still managed to subtly change the lines of his sedan with almost 100 body modifications. Some of those mods include adding a raised Chevrolet script in the side of the splash aprons, creating a three-piece hood from scratch, smoothing up the running boards, shortening the taillight brackets, dropping the headlight bar, and utilizing a modified steel truck grille.
The bodywork and paint prep for the Chevy was done by Jim's good friend Brian Pakkala before Ryan Mullins came along with a few gallons of PPG Nightmist Blue paint to cover the entire car. But Mullins' work on the car was saving grace as he was third in a string of painters who had signed on to do the work. The first one had taken nearly three years but never got color on the car, and the second one said yes but never showed up to do the work! Mullins not only finished the work he promised, but Jim was thankful that Mullins didn't yell at him when he was reassembling the car Jim chipped some of the paint in the process. Inside the Bow Tie saddle-colored leather was laid out over the modified Glide Engineering split bench seat and the Dynamat insulation as well as the two layers of OEM-style jute insulation. Shawn Appleman did the upholstery work, which included the large headliner section as well as the seatbelts and matching luggage.
Jim installed the American Autowire wiring system, which includes the Vintage Air A/C system, the hidden Pioneer six-disc CD and Sony stereo setup, and the VDO dash gauges (plus a speedo/rearview mirror combo mounted above the windshield). After matching the steering wheel to the road wheels (Billet Specialties Legacy) and adding three-point seatbelts from GEM Street Rod Products, the car was finally ready to get on the road after a 12-year build.
But fate had not yet caught up with Jim, so on his maiden voyage (after already completing a 500-mile shakedown run) to attend his first car show with it in Knoxville, the sedan didn't get farther than 10 miles from home before the transmission locked up. Once the problem was found and fixed, the Getters signed up for one of STREET RODDER's Road Tour segments to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and then onto Burlington, Vermont-all without a hitch, plus they picked up an award for their car at both events.
With all the driving they're doing, Jim feels he would have liked to add cruise control for the extra-long miles they rack up, but is satisfied with the job he and his friends did on the car. Plus, he never seems to get bothered when folks walk up and ask him, "What year Model A is that?" and he just smiles and says "It's a Chevy!"