Employing a subtle mix of ’37, ’38, and ’39 parts, Norm Brown has built a stand-out coupe
It’s really this simple. Norm Brown is a motorhead, always has been, always will be. Norm’s fascination began in his early teens, and since his dad ran an automotive repair shop, Norm learned the basic workings of the automobile early in life. Norm followed in his father’s footsteps and became a mechanic too, but it was the ’60s and hot rodding was in full bloom, so while his days were spent repairing cars, his evenings were spent working things like a ’40 Willys that ran A/GS and B/GS around the Northeast.
Norm is a coupe guy at heart and while they were enjoying the sedan it was time to find another coupe. A friend called and mentioned he may have found the perfect car for Norm, a chopped ’37 coupe in Pennsylvania. Norm and Susan were driving the sedan from the Keys to their hometown in New Jersey when they took the call. As fate would have it the Browns were approaching the exact exit to see the coupe. A quick lane change and 10 minutes later they were pulling in the owner’s driveway.
Norm describes it this way, It was an original, all-steel ’37 coupe with a Flathead, and I fell in love with the chop the minute I saw the car. The fact that the cowl vent was still functional and the stock window regulators with the Ford Clear Vision feature were still intact sweetened the deal. And just like that the Browns were coupe owners once again.
The body already had a very nice 3-1/2-inch chop so attention was turned to molding the rain gutters, adding an extended accent line to the top of the front fenders, and V-butting the windshield. Smoothie running boards connect the ’37 front fenders to a set of ’38 Ford coupe fenders in the rear. This subtle modification is a key part of the overall design of the car. Side trim from a ’39 Ford was modified and installed and flush taillights out back keep things clean. Another subtle yet effective modification is the back mounting of the rear glass. Eliminating the heavy rubber gasket gives the window a whole new look. Up front an Alumicraft grille fits perfectly between the steel front fenders.
A deep red leather interior provides the perfect contrast with the exterior. Bucket seats
When all the bodywork was complete Bob Gesullo laid down the two-tone silver paint, and while it is difficult to detect in some light a slightly darker sliver graces the flanks of the car and the fenders while the roof, decklid, and hood top are covered in a bit brighter hue.
Rather than spend the time and effort modifying the original frame, a Total Cost Involved chassis was purchased. Norm decided there were just too many small-block Chevy motors in street rods, so he planted a 502-inch big-block Chevy between the ’rails. The Chevrolet crate motor is cooled by a polished Edelbrock water pump in concert with a Griffin aluminum radiator. MSD provides the spark while full-length, ceramic-coated Sanderson headers flow the leftovers. Street & Performance brackets mount the alternator and A/C, and Cal Custom valve covers lend a traditional look on either side of the Edelbrock intake.
Behind the big-block is a 700-R4, perfect for highway mileage or local cruising. A Lokar shifter selects the gears while Inland Empire supplied the aluminum driveshaft that spins the 9-inch Ford rear.
The chassis rolls on independent front suspension with adjustable coilover shocks, while out back the four-link arrangement locates the axle while a second set of coilovers provide suspension. Norm handled all the chassis work.
On the inside you’ll find Ron Francis wiring and the original dash now holds nickel-finish Classic Instruments gauges. Vintage Air provides the hot and cold air that flows through Phipps vents. Ultimate Interiors handled the stitchwork throughout the car along with the Wilton wool carpet and the insulation by Norm using Juliano’s Insul-Tek materials.
The best part of the entire project is the fact this car is driven. Seeing over 8,000 miles in the first year, the coupe is contributing to Norm and Susan Brown hitting the 100,000-mile mark in their street rods. What better way to kick off our Street Shaker of the Month from COMP Companies.
A small leather valance under the dash helps to hide the A/C unit and by covering it in le
The two-tone silver paint and flush-fit taillights lend a contemporary feel, while the tim
The 502ci big-block Chevy is topped with finned aluminum valve covers and air cleaner and
How do you properly break in a camshaft?
Properly breaking in a camshaft is extremely important for both the camshaft and the engine you put it in. When installing a new camshaft, always use a high zinc oil (such as the COMP Cams Break-In Oil) or a break-in additive package. Once the cam is installed, turn the engine on and vary the rpm of the motor between 2,000-2,500 for about 25 minutes. Never continually try to start the motor if you can’t get it to fire with the new cam in it.
Why am I losing 12V switch power when cranking?
Losing 12V switch power when cranking the engine is a common problem with a simple solution. In most cases, the problem is that power wire has been attached to an area that does not supply power when cranking. Simply use a voltmeter to ensure you are hooking the power wire up to an area that does maintain voltage during cranking.
Correcting the idle.
If your Weber carburetor-equipped vehicle is tuned correctly but not idling properly, you may need to adjust the master idling screw. The location of the master screw varies according to system type, but on all V-8 and V-6 systems there are only two carburetor mounted speed adjusting screwsone on each side. Simply turn the screws in or out to adjust the idle.