Beneath the Dakota instrument panel is a Flaming River tilt steering column equipped with Twist Machine paddle shifters and a three-spoke woodgrain accented wheel. Causing a double take is the use of the Lokar Traditional Floor Shifter for the Gearstar automatic; why two shifters and are both in working order? Yes, they both work but the paddle shifters are intended for later use when we hustle our all-performing ’40 to autocross events and try our (and its) hand at performance driving. We mention Lokar and it should also be pointed out that the door handles, e-brake, throttle, and brake pedals are all from their long line of products. Other newsworthy dash accessories include the Vintage Air A/C ducts and control panel for the Gen II Compac heat/cool/defrost system and the stereo hidden inside the glovebox. There’s a Custom Autosound unit from Yogi’s remote control to handle stereo needs without dropping the glovebox door and all of the “good vibrations” were aptly handled by The Art of Sound (next door to Elegance Auto Interiors.) There’s also an ample supply of electrical chores with our coupe, as with any hot rod, so we looked to Painless for one of their 18-circuit fuse centers. Also wired in are the Specialty Power Windows door glass and winshield wipers. (Look closely at the A-pillar door post photo and you will see a blue tag—it’s the VIN plate for our fully legal California Vehicle Code 4750 registered special construction vehicle, making this car 100 percent compliant in all states.)
This was an extensive Road Tour build even as these cars go. To literally begin with fresh metal for a car that heretofore hadn’t been produced in 72 years and then chop the top a shade over an inch along with a great deal more metalwork required sheetmetal expertise and for that we are incredibly thankful to have Troy Ladd and his group of craftsman at HHR to tackle the project. At the time of this writing the car has 10,000-plus miles and is going as strong as it did when it left Burbank and the HHR shop.