Vintage fabrication does its own upholstery, too, and stitched up the coupe’s bench seat u
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything,” and, though we don’t know if he ever finished a hot rod in the garage of the White House, we know rodders have to know something about planning.
It’s true sometimes you can have a difficult time getting a car to go together, rounding up parts while you try not to change the concept, while other times things just seem to click and cars go together quickly. Good planning often goes hand in hand with experience, which is what Vintage Fabrication of Independence, Missouri, had to offer Larry Pillard when he came to them for a build.
Larry had a ’55 Chevy in the shop getting a new 502 drivetrain, but he was interested in getting one of the 40th anniversary 427 ZL1 motors for a future project. The all-aluminum V-8, limited in production to run only 427 examples, was a special item and Larry wanted something special to put it in.
Brown carpet was laid over Hushmat insulation, and door pulls and window cranks were finis
Vintage Fabrication’s Bobby Schumacher called Pete & Jakes in nearby Peculiar to see if they knew of anything available, and they did: a Brookville Roadsters’ ’32 coupe body that was at Honest Charley’s shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After having seen the stretch done on the Lokar Performance Products coupe, Schumacher thought he could do something similar for Pillard while incorporating the 427. But getting everything to fit the way they wanted but still have everything look good required some extra planning.
Starting with a Pete & Jakes Deuce chassis, Vintage Fabrication stretched the wheelbase 6 inches so they could fit a radiator in front of the crossmember and still have room for the motor. The suspension, all from Pete & Jakes, is classic hot rod: a dropped aluminum I-beam and hairpins up front with ladder bars and Viper coilovers out back. The rearend features a polished Winters quick-change centersection and polished Buick brake drums and the front disc brakes use finned aluminum backing plates. A set of big wheels, in this case 18x7 and 20x12 Billet Specialties Legacy rollers, were wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber (26x8.00R18LT and 31x18R20LT) and provide a lot of visual impact. The 427 engine, number 400 of 427 made, was backed to a TH400 transmission, and other engine parts include an aluminum radiator from AutoRad and a Holley carburetor.
In the middle of the wood-grained three-window dash is a ’34 Plymouth gauge cluster, refin
But backing up that bad boy motor is a bunch of custom fabrication and bodywork that makes this Deuce a one-off creation. Brookville Roadsters sells their reproduction steel coupes with a full Ford factory windshield height, and Vintage Fabrication felt obliged to take 3 inches out of the posts. The roof insert was also filled, though a Haartz cloth insert now fits flush.
The body was channeled 3 inches up front and 2-1/2 in the rear, and a rear roll pan was fabbed up to make the rear look a little more like a roadster. The aluminum hood was also custom (and longer by 8 inches) and blisters were added to the hood sides for needed engine clearance. The grille shell (narrowed 3 inches) features a custom Pines Winterfront insert. In case no one has told you, original Pines inserts are rare and expensive but Vintage Fabrication was able to locate an extra set of grille bars and made their own to the narrowed specifications needed.
Michael McLin and Tony Johnson of Mo Bitchin’ Customs in Independence were called upon for the bodywork and paint, and the guys used Dupont YS437 over the entire car before the famous Bob Bond, out of Lee’s Summit, came by to add his fine-line pinstriping to the project.
A LimeWorks banjo-type steering wheel looks the part bolted to an ididit column.
The interior was next, and a ’34 Plymouth gauge cluster, refitted with reworked gauges from Classic Instruments, was installed in the wood-grained dash. A kit from Painless Wiring links the gauges to the rest of the car, as well as provides power to the stereo system dominated by Treco amplifiers and speakers.
Vintage Fabrications used a bench seat frame from Bowen Foam & Fabric as a base for the car’s seating, covering it with walnut-colored Ultraleather. The interior was finished off with a LimeWorks banjo steering wheel (mounted to an ididit column) and ducts to direct the heat from the Vintage Air climate control system.
Now in his mid sixties, Larry (the car’s owner) states he’s been involved with cars since he was a boy. He wanted “something special” to put that rare motor in and, through proper planning (along with a heavy reliance on Vintage Fabrication), he was able to achieve just that.
Big 18x7 and 20x12 Billet Specialties Legacy wheels were wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber
Only 427 40th anniversary 427-inch ZL1 motors were ever made, and this one is number 400.
A polished Winters quick-change looks great under the coupe, which uses Viper coilovers an