It’s all about looks and performance with a traditional car and, in this car, power comes from a 1953 Mercury Flathead bored to 276 cubes and set up with a 9:1 compression. Everett Plata in Lockport, Illinois, did the required machining and assembled the Flattie with an Isky Maxi cam, Egge three-ring pistons, and a reground 4-inch crank. The block was equipped with stainless steel valves before the polished Offenhauser heads were bolted on and the Offy manifold was topped with a pair of chrome Stromberg carbs.

A Mallory dual-point ignition was also installed along with a set of Raja wires, and a 100-amp alternator from Powermaster sits up top. Exhaust exits through chromed Sanderson Limefire headers with no baffles (though Car Chemistry muffler inserts were made for the car, Larry likes the engine’s exhaust note without them). Competition Transmission in Lynwood, Illinois, supplied the Ford AOD trans, and the gears are selected via a Lokar Nostalgia shifter fitted with a SO-CAL spiked ball knob.

To get the look Larry wanted for his car, O’Connell was going to have to do some major fabrication to the body. Besides recessing the firewall 3 inches, the top was chopped and the body channeled 3 inches, and new floor sections were made. A unique addition was the operation of the windshield, which now swings open from the bottom. O’Connell also made a one-piece hood for the car, but why would you ever want to cover up that motor?

Ron Kral, who runs Top Gun Red in Rockdale, Illinois, has painted many cars that have appeared in magazines, and also did the paintwork on the aforementioned Ridler winner built by O’Connell. Kral covered Larry’s ride with an RM Diamont Black, and Tom Kelly followed with some great red and white pinstriping accents around the old cowl gas cap, decklid, and dash.

Since Larry is 6-foot-4, special consideration was needed when designing the interior of the chopped coupe. Dave Schober of Schober’s Trim and Upholstery came to the rescue by fitting Larry to a custom bench seat before covering the inside of the coupe with pleated red and black Naugahyde. Charcoal-colored square-weave carpet was also used, and Juliano’s seatbelts keep passenger and driver safe. Set into the Model A dash is a panel with custom twin gauges created by O’Connell to replicate the look of a ’34 Plymouth gauge. O’Connell also utilized a Painless Wiring 12-circuit wiring kit when wiring the car, incorporating a heat-only system from Vintage Air in the process. The interior is finished off with a Juliano’s steering wheel bolted to a Flaming River roadster column.

One of the great things to come from working on this car was Larry was able to trace down what Ron Musch, the owner of that coupe from decades ago, was doing nowadays. Larry was hoping Musch had some pictures of his old car to study and he did, sending them along with the following letter. To anyone who reads it, we feel it couldn’t express any better what building and driving a hot rod is all about:

Pretty cool hearing how you and your dad would jump into the truck to watch. If I inspired you to build your coupe, I must have done a good job judging from the pictures of it; we thought we were bad influences! I’m sure you are inspiring other kids right now with your coupe. I guess that’s how street rodding keeps rolling on. Happy roddin’, Ron

Pretty cool hearing how you and your dad would jump into the truck to watch. If I inspired you to build your coupe, I must have done a good job judging from the pictures of it; we thought we were bad influences!

I'm sure you are inspiring other kids right now with your coupe. I guess that's how street rodding keeps rolling on.
Happy roddin',
Ron

Larry,

Here are the best pics I could find of the coupe. It was a ’31 Model A with a 327—365hp Vette engine backed by a three-speed truck trans. Not the best shifting trans but it held up.

The frame was stepped in the front and rear. It’s still behind the shop in the weeds. Not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen but it went straight down the road. I think the late ’60s and early ’70s had to be some of the best street racing there was.

There was so much horsepower out there and not a lot of late-night traffic. The coupe was kind of a dinosaur compared to the GMs and Mopars that were running around. It wasn’t hard to find races and, after a while, they would find you.

I still remember a 440 RT coming to town. We went by your house at 110 with the headers open. I gave him a three-car start and beat him by ten. He didn’t even come back into town to say goodbye.