The foundation behind any hot rod is your imagination. Playing into this scenario is one's ability to pull off what one's mind can envision. Pete Hagan of New Bremen, Ohio, is no stranger to hot rods, having dragged his first project home from a wrecking yard when he was 15. Additional benefits were gained as he dedicated his business life to hot rodding through Hagan Street Rod Shop. With plenty of imagination and talent and years of experience to draw from, Pete designed, fabricated, and assembled the Coopster. It's a combination of convertible/roadster and a coupe. The tandem build with its roll-up side glass is more in keeping with a convertible but in its drop top mode the open-air appearance clearly sports a roadster look, while it rapidly becomes a coupe with the electric top up.
Like any hot rodder, when the time comes to imagine your next ride it is hatched through a series of ideas that evolve into your "next project." Pete was spending time bench racing with a longtime friend when the idea to build something different (isn't that what hot rodding is all about?) was hatched for the Coopster. The core idea for the Coopster is derived from the Lexus SC coupe with its electric retractable/folding hardtop applied to the time-honored 1933 Ford roadster. Pete watched the retractable top video on the Lexus website and after thousands of hours of building the Coopster it is on the road. (Plans call for the Coopster to be "born again" in fiberglass and offered to hot rodders.)
Given Pete Hagan has ample design and fabrication talents he crafted the one-off interior,
Experience has taught all of us the build process takes more rather than less time. The Coopster is an accumulation of seven years of work, with the initial two years spent working with a CAD program. The project quickly turned into a father-and-son effort with the aid of 13-year-old Jared who is thoroughly fascinated by the design and wiring aspect.
The chassis was hand-fabricated at Hagan Street Rods with the frame based somewhat on the dimensions of a '33 Ford. From there pinched, bobbed, and the bottom of the framerail lines were smoothed. Attached to the frame is an icon in the street rodding world of IFS and IRS systems-the Kugel Komponents (La Habra, CA) system. The Indy IFS features inboard adjustable coilover shocks, rack-and-pinion steering, cut-down billet aluminum spindles, Wilwood (Camarillo, CA) rotors and aluminum hubs, and Corvette calipers. The IRS is based on a Ford 9-inch centersection with inboard Corvette calipers, drilled and slotted rotors, and heavy-duty U-joints, single per side adjustable coilover shocks, and round tube control arms. At the corners of this Hagan-built chassis you will see Billet Specialties (La Grange, IL) billet wheels wrapped with Dunlop rubber; 215/45ZR17 in front and 295/40ZR20 in back.
The power comes via a Street & Performance (Mena, AR) LS1 with full polish, a Zoops (Banning, CA) serpentine belt system, Griffin (Piedmont, SC) aluminum radiator, and Stainless Specialties (Cleveland, TN) exhaust system. The tranny is the always reliable GM 4L60E with a Lokar (Knoxville, TN) shifter, and a custom stainless steel driveshaft.
The interior sports a great deal of custom ideas brought to fruition through the handiwork of Pete, like the steel dash fitted with Classic Instruments gauges (Boyne City, MI), Pioneer 600-watt, four-channel stereo system all installed by Pete, and an ididit (Tecumseh, MI) steering column with a Billet Specialties wheel and inside mirror. The custom "waterfall" that incorporates the center console houses numerous active controls. Remember the top is electric, requiring up and down switches that are neatly hidden in the glovebox segment of the center console, while the power door glass switches are mounted into the console and visible. Also residing within the center console is the Lokar shifter. The twin-bucket seat frames were custom built by Tea's Design (Rochester, MN) and covered in cream Ultraleather and then fitted with Juliano's Hot Rod Parts (Vernon, CT) seatbelts.