Joe and Ryan were finishing a ’60s-style three-window coupe when Ryan and his wife, Gretchen, started a family. That led to the decision to build something bigger. A suitable Fordor body turned up on eBay in early 2006. When the sedan arrived in Tucson, Arizona, Ryan and Joe sold the ’glass coupe body to a friend, keeping the chassis and most of the running gear for the new project. As with the coupe, the goal was to build a roadworthy hot rod with a ton of late-’60s flavor.
In addition to the vintage...
In addition to the vintage instruments in the dash, two Stewart-Warner gauges (oil pressure and volts) are mounted in a vintage Southwind heater housing located on the inside firewall. The ignition switch is mounted there also.
The chassis, carried over from the coupe project, is from Lobeck’s V8 Shop in Cleveland, chosen because Barry Lobeck’s cars always sit right and get driven hard, Ryan explains. In addition to the Model A tubular crossmembers, the shop welded in a V’d front spreader bar to the front of the rails and another bar in the rear. The front suspension includes a Magnum 4-inch dropped axle and Pete & Jakes hairpins and shocks, and a Durant monoleaf spring. The back half rides on a Pete & Jakes ladder bar suspension with a custom 9-inch housing built by Peter Macey at the Old Ford Store. Bill Ewing helped them with additional TIG welding and machining, and Joe and Ryan built custom motor mounts for the coming Cadillac engine.
Black leather upholstery and...
Black leather upholstery and German square weave carpet keep the interior classy and clean without taking away from the hot rod personality.
There is no real reason why we used a 500ci Cadillac engine, other than to be different, Ryan says, but different is reason enough. The ’70 engine is dressed up with ’56 valve covers adapted to fit, and a chrome 12-inch air cleaner to cover the Edelbrock carburetor and intake. Dennis Scheepstra assembled the engine, and the owners built a custom exhaust system connecting Jet-Hot coated Sanderson headers to Dynomax mufflers. A Turbo 350 was adapted to the Cadillac and assembled by the late-Dave Periman. The B&M-shifted transmission features a Hughes converter and B&M shift kit.
The unchopped Fordor body had been sitting in a midwestern field for years. The Mapes did a lot of rust repair and installed a modified firewall and a complete wood kit. They added N.O.S. headlights and ’37 taillights on custom brackets. Garth Bowie built the louvered steel hood. Joe and Ryan drove the car in bare metal for almost a year, working out bugs and making improvements.
By now, Joe and Ryan had met Mike Kerwin, who performed much of the body repair, priming, and sanding, before shooting the DuPont Fleet Green. We wanted the car to look as if someone had dropped a bone-stock body onto a hot rod chassis back in the ’60s, so we used a color combo that would have existed back then, Ryan says. The main body pieces and framerails are finished in green, and the firewall, engine, dash, interior moldings, headlights, and taillights, were done in black. The single-stage acrylic enamel was color-sanded and buffed to avoid the modern look of basecoat/clearcoat. The stock-style vinyl roof insert was the final step of this part of the build.
The ’60s theme continues with a pair of 16x10 ET III five-spokes and 275/70R16 Michelins in the rear, mixed with 155R15 Firestone tires on 15x4.5 Halibrands in the front. The front brakes are Ford drums with ’56 F-100 drums in back.
Glenn Kramer Hot Rod Interiors in Glendale, Arizona, covered the seatsa Glide bench in front and a custom-built seat in backand door panels in tuck ’n’ roll ebony leather. Vintage Stewart-Warner gauges fill the custom insert in the stock dash. A ’38 Ford pickup column drop holds the Joe Harris-built column with a Budnik wheel.
Ryan says the only hard thing about building a car with his dad was the crosstown drive to Joe’s house. There were a lot of 60-mile round-trips through Tucson during the four-and-a-half-year project, but now that the car’s finished, there’s more driving to be done. Ryan and Gretchen have two kids nowAvery and Emmalinebut this hot rod family’s family hot rod has room for all three generations of rodders.
When Ryan Mapes says hot rodding is the family hobby he isn’t kidding. While other kids went on family vacations in airplanes, my sister, Shannon, and I spent our youth traveling to small-town rod runs in the back of the family hot rod, with our parents, Joe and Lea-Ann, riding in front. Before long, Ryan rose from passenger to cobuilder. He and Joe have built several cars together, sharing the expense, ownership, and labor in Joe’s two-car garage. They’ve built all kinds of rodsresto rods, smoothie street rods, and traditional hot rods. The common thread is that they’ve all been drivers.
Joe and Ryan’s Fordor rolls...
Joe and Ryan’s Fordor rolls into the ’60s on a pair of ET III five-spokes wrapped in big fat Michelin truck tires.