After installing the engine and transmission into the chassis, the body was lowered back into place and brought to Hanson Custom Auto in Hanson, Massachusetts, to begin the transformation. As with any original body over 70 years old, the factory steel needed to be finessed to perfection. The talented team at Hanson Custom Auto not only brought it back to life, they also completed a number of difficult tasks at hand. Creating the one-piece hood with custom hinges, one-off hood sides to accommodate the width of the Hemi, designing a custom transmission tunnel, and setting all the gaps was not a job for the faint at heart. From there the car was brought to Xtreme Restorations in Slatersville, Rhode Island, to address the chassis. The team at Xtreme removed the body and designed a base capable of taking any abuse the newfound V-8 would dish out on the street. The original ’rails were boxed, followed by the installation of custom-fabbed 1-3/4-inch tubular steel crossmembers, a transmission crossmember, and engine mounts. To give the car a killer stance as well as smooth handling, a Kugel Komponents Phase II IFS front end was used. This included cast stainless steel A-arms and spindles, QA1 polished billet coilover shocks, and power rack-and-pinion. Out back a Currie 9-inch rearend was suspended into place with an Xtreme-designed custom four-link, modified ’70 Ford Torino antiroll bar, and QA1 polished billet coilover shocks. To lasso the go once “the whoa” was called for, 10-inch Wilwood discs at each corner capped by polished SSBC calipers tame the Hemi. Set to roll on classic Wheel Vintiques Gennie steelies shod with Coker Classic wide whites in a big ’n’ little combination gives the car a perfect rubber rake.
Before the team at Xtreme tore the roadster down for the final time for paint, they created some slick, smooth running boards, hand-fabricated moldings, and numerous details to set the car apart from the rest. Custom-blended PPG orange was then loaded into Ken LaFlemme’s spray gun to lay the vibe down on what wasn’t already polished or plated. With the reassembly of the car nearing completion, the team focused on the convertible top wanting to steal a bit of height from its roofline, so 2-1/2 inches were removed from the center bow. At the same time one-off side windows with 60/40 sliding glass were fabbed by the Xtreme-team to give the car a sleek uncluttered look and to keep the cabin cozy on those cold New England days. Once everything was completed, Fred Carello of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Rick Trebino of Bellingham, Massachusetts, got the nod to cover the top. Focusing attention to John’s business office, just the right amount of elegance was extended inside with the original dash being treated to a birds-eye maple appliqué done by Juliano’s to complement the stock gauges, which were rebuilt by United Speedometer. Yards of butter-soft Tawny Taupe leather was laid into place by the talented hands of Petter Davidsen of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, who sculpted the classic interior to perfection, including just enough cinnamon-toned German square weave carpeting. With the car completed, John was finally able to take that dream drive with his wife, Cathy, as they cruised down the memorable roads of his boyhood. To us that’s just plain cool.