Customs in general are notorious for looking good on the outside, but don’t worry about what is underneath, or “all show and no go!” Not the case here with Doug’s old coupe. It has a Ford 351 Cleveland V-8 machined by Wayne Harry of Vancouver and screwed together by Harry and Doug. As you can see, Doug is a hands-on kind of guy, going to the best in the field when needed, and doing all he can himself. They installed a Crane cam and roller rockers and added a 2x4 Edelbrock manifold with matching Edelbrock 500-cfm Performer carburetors, and finished it off with vintage Edelbrock valve covers. To keep the carbs from getting choked up, they then added Stellings dual custom-made air cleaners, and to exit the exhaust, in-house stainless headers and pipes with glasspacks. Putting this to the road is a Ford AOD transmission juiced up by Performance Transmission in Vancouver, Washington, with a modified Lokar shifter and in-house chrome-plated driveshaft. Additionally, the chassis rides on EVOD 16x6 wheels that were one-offs designed by Doug, and are wrapped in 205/75/16 Diamond Back tires.

As for the inside the dashboard is truly a work to behold. Made from the original ‘40 Ford and ‘40 and ‘41 Lincoln dashes, the combination of the different elements of the two cars made a balanced, well thought out fascia that is a thing of beauty. The gauges and clock were then restored and updated by Classic Instruments, and look like Edsel Ford put them there himself. Putting the juice to the engine, lights, gauges, and a Pioneer stereo were mastered by hot rodder and builder Bob Belozer of Oregon City, Oregon. Bob is also known for his attention to detail, and used this expertise to help with the final fit and all the little rubs that come up when finishing any car build. Building a custom car like this one is rather like a major manufacturer coming up with a running driving prototype. This stuff was not made to work in harmony, so we have to massage it a bit so it will all get along.

The upholstery is often left to the last without a lot of pre-preparation. Not the case here. But then, with a build like this, what did you expect? Mickey McVay from Reno, Nevada, made his first trip to Oregon nearly a year before the scheduled time for completion of the car. He stayed right in Donn Lowe’s shop, and spent several weeks making all the necessary pieces needed to support the upholstery. In the meantime, Lowe and Johnson scratch-built the seat for driver comfort and quality of trimming. This way, when the car was painted and nearly finished, he had laid the groundwork for the final fit of the complete interior. Dave Baham of Vancouver, Washington, massaged the body, and painted it with a custom Glasurit mix of Bronz Maroon, which really made the final look jump right out at you. Now it was time again for Mickey to head back up to Oregon with his sewing equipment. Like a year earlier, he stayed in the shop to stitch and install the complete interior. Artistry comes in many forms. And a great stitcher is one who pays attention to many small details, so that when he is done, everything fits perfectly.

Then as it happens so many times, it was a thrash to make the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California. Two thousand and eleven happened to highlight customs at the show. Doug, his wife Diane, and a slew of friends were in the right place for a new custom to appear.

Among a room full of trophies the car garnered at numerous shows were The World’s Most Beautiful Custom in Pomona, and Custom D’Elegance at the Sacramento Autorama. Five years and several wheelbarrows full of the green stuff were well worth it when Doug’s design became reality and was sitting on the floor at the GNRS.