Just the Facts
Make: American Speed
Owner: Bill Coulter
It's always a good sign when, after working in an industry for a couple of decades, you get some repeat customers. Perhaps no one knows this better than Bill Coulter, whose family started an automobile dealership in the Phoenix area back in 1926 (only 14 years after the territory became a state!). Heading up the company his great uncle started and his father built, it's imperative to the Coulter franchise to work with only the best people and companies they can.
Kugel Komponents’ independent suspension can be found under the front and rear of Bill’s c
Back in the 1980s, when Doug Jerger was working with his dad (and namesake to the Arizona-based business known to all as Squeeg's Kustoms), they had the good fortune to know Bill Coulter, as he used their talents when it came to doing some paintwork on some special vehicles.
Jerger, who has run Squeeg's Kustoms in Chandler since 2004, was surprised when Bill walked into his shop and was interested in building a hot rod. Bill had some ideas on what he wanted, and he had seen the work Squeeg's had done on Daryl Wolfswinkel's 1933 roadster (the one that won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Grand National Roadster Show in 2011).
Jerger showed him what types of cars were available, and the pair eventually decided on an American Speed33 body with its collapsible convertible top. Being a major dealer in new GM vehicles, Bill wanted a GM-based drivetrain for his ride, and he wanted it to be substantial. With most of the major parameters then in place, Squeeg's set out to fulfill Bill's dream.
Double gas shocks support the decklid, and everything was smoothed out before more leather
To get the car to sit the way they wanted, a custom chassis would have to be built. Jerger turned to Terry Palmer to fabricate the chassis that features a longer wheelbase than stock (the front crossmember was moved forward 2 inches), with all of the requisite crossmembers being designed by Jerger and precision cut with a water jet. The rearend is based on a Winters quick-change centersection with control arms and half shafts from Kugel Komponents. A total of six Aldan coilover shocks were used—four for the rear and another pair up front to go along with the Kugel IFS setup. Kugel also supplied the 90-degree brake assembly (that turns the master cylinder 90 degrees so it can fit better under the dash), which works with the pedals Squeeg's fab'd for the car. Steering is handled by a manual rack-and-pinion connected to a Tri-C Engineering tilt column, which is topped with a steering wheel that Squeeg's designed and had milled. Rounding out the car's base are the wheels from Real Rodders: 16x10 and 15x5.5 wrapped in 30-inch-tall Hoosiers and Maxxis 195/50 rubber.
Being a major GM car dealer, Bill thought it would be a good idea to use a GM-based drivetrain in the car, and he wanted something that would be aggressive. Speed Sports, based in Gilbert, Arizona, specializes in high-performance engine builds and performance tuning, and they started with an aluminum World block (that was based on the LS7 engine) and a set of World heads. Mark Clark did the assembly, which included a Scat crankshaft, Calais rods, JE pistons, and a custom-ground cam. The displacement would be dialed in at 481 cubes, and the engine's compression ratio set up at 10:1.
A Front Runner belt system was also used, as was a custom radiator from Ron Davis. A Kinsler LS7 intake manifold and injection system tops the motor, with the spark delivered from an ACCEL ignition system through MSD wires. Terry Palmer came back into the project to create the one-off headers while Joe Spovati fab'd the stainless steel exhaust system using Stainless Works mufflers. Once finished, everything was polished by Russell's Custom Polishing. The trans, assembled by Arizona Precision Transmission, is a 700-R4 controlled by a Gennie Shifter.
The repro steel body came from American Speed Company, and utilizes their fully integrated convertible top that hides under a body panel when not deployed. Squeeg's removed the door and trunk handles, rounded the corners of the trunk opening, and Matt Tomb of Tomb Enterprises rolled out a one-off hood and set of hood sides for the car. Squeeg's then gaped everything to perfection before rolling the car into their paint booth. Bill Coulter, along with his wife, Julie, had looked at several red paint panels Jerger had made up, all with a different tone and shades, and Julie picked the one they wanted for the car. Squeeg's mixed up the PPG-based paint, nicknamed Cult Red, and sprayed it at their in-house spray booth.
Squeeg’s designed the dash insert for the six Auto Meter gauges as well as the three-spoke
Once the paintjob was finished, exterior pieces, such as the headlights from Greening Auto Company and the grille from DF Metalworks, could be added. A brushed finish was used on many of the convertible's parts, with the brushed nickel being done by Jon Wright of Custom Chrome Plating while the stainless and aluminum was done by Russell's Custom Polishing.
Squeeg's also added special touches to the car, such as when they designed the one-off taillights and custom valve covers, all made by Bill Karas of Karas Kustoms in Mesa, Arizona, or the dash insert for the six Auto Meter gauges, linked by a 21-circuit wiring harness from Haywire.
A bench seat with a split base was stitched in leather by Gabe’s Street Rod Custom Interio
For the vehicle's seating and upholstery, Squeeg's turned to Gabe's Street Rod Custom Interiors in San Bernardino, California, for a unique bench seat with a split base. Gabe's made the console, too, which houses the controls for the Vintage Air A/C system as well as the requisite cup holder. Square-weave carpet covers the floor of the cockpit and the trunk, and tan leather covers the seating and door panels.
While this car was going together (it was a four-year project start to finish) Bill took a 1932 roadster in on trade at one of his dealerships. Interestingly enough, it was a car that Squeeg's happened to build for a customer a few years earlier, so Bill ended up owning a Squeeg-built ride before his Speed33 got done. Julie also has a 1956 Bel Air in the garage—a birthday present from Bill. That car is destined to have some suspension work and some modifications done to it in the near future, so it doesn't look like Bill's association with Squeeg's will end with the just-finished convertible. Though he is already starting to break in the motor by racking up its first 1,000 easy miles, he's dying to get his foot into the 481 to see what it'll really do. It was built to drive, and that's exactly what Bill is going to do with it.
There are 481 cubes of displacement awaiting application of Bill Coulter’s right foot, and
Top up or down, Bill’s car still looks elegant. Squeeg’s Kustom sprayed the custom-mixed P
A major selling point of the American Speed33 bodies is the collapsible folding top, which