Many times something as innocent as watching your teenage neighbors driving up and down the street in their Model As can light a fuse in a young mind that will forever alter one's future. In the case of Steve Wesmenty of North Haven, Connecticut, it was in the early 1950s when a pair of wild local teens used to tear up and down his street running their Ford Model As without the bodies on. This action raised Steve's attention level through the stratosphere since he could see the inner workings of each car usually hidden by the body, and to a youngster that was just way too cool.
Massaged to 331 ci by John Franceschet, packed with goods from Arias, COMP Cams, and cappe
Following his instincts he began to get firsthand experience by initially building scale kit models of hot rods at the kitchen table followed by regular visits to the one-fifth–mile dirt oval at West Haven Speedway next to the Savin Rock Amusement Park. There were also many long days and nights spent at Connecticut Dragway in Colchester where the scent of race fuel and sound of blown fuel rails sealed the deal with a magic too well known. Regular bike rides on his way home from school past Streeto's Auto Body eventually led him through the doors where brothers Ed and Ralph put the teenager to work. Starting him on the ground level allowed him to see firsthand just what it took to resurrect cars that were damaged or long forgotten as they waited to be hopped-up. As the years passed Steve would take on numerous hot rod builds of his own, including Ford Model Ts and As, a 1936 Ford three-window, and a 1938 Chevy Gasser.
Any real hot rodder always looks for another project to feed a build need for when a current build is completed. Steve was no different and close to 20 years ago he was cruising through the local special-interest ads when he came across a 1939 Ford coupe for sale. Upon closer inspection the car proved to be a rough but complete roller, less engine and trans. A deal was made for $1,800 and he hauled the car home to evaluate its rebirth. Having always been a fan of badass blown V-8–powered hot rods, he set plans to build a car that would easily terrorize the streets of North Haven.
Staying with a classic theme, A-1 Upholstery covered the interior in black leather complem
To create a suitable base, the original frame was stripped to bare bones, boxed, narrowed out back, and treated to a new center crossmember from Hotrods to Hell. With the spine now rock solid, a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 4.11:1 gears was anchored in place by a TCI Engineering leaf spring kit and Panhard bar matched to a set of Gabriel Hi-Jackers adjustable air shocks to set the stance. To give the coupe a lowdown attitude up front, Steve added a Heidts Superide II IFS complete with matching 2-1/2-inch dropped spindles, coilover shocks, antiroll bar, and Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering. When the need to slow the speed comes, a dual master pushes fluid through stainless lines to 11-inch discs and four-piston Wilwood calipers anchored at each corner. Adding a perfect injection of nostalgic flair, an original set of 15-inch Halibrand wheels shod with BFGoodrich rubber out back and Mastercrafts up front add perfect balance.
With Steve's fascination of supercharged V-8s it was obvious that the coupe would have a huffer under the hood. He contacted John Franceschet at Dead End Automotive Engineering in Wallingford to add plenty of fire to a 1964 Chevy 327ci base. The block was bored and stroked to 331ci and filled with a steel crank linked to GM rods topped with 7:1 Arias pistons, while a COMP Cams stick sets the rhythm. A pair of cast Bow Tie heads were then massaged to perfection and capped by a Dyers intake with matching 6-71 blower. Fuel flows through a pair of Edelbrock 500-cfm carbs while spent gases push through Speedway Motors fenderwell headers to 2-1/2-inch exhaust and Stainless Specialties mufflers. Linked to a tweaked TH400 by Jerry's Transmission Service of Guilford, the coupe's getaways are razor sharp.
The coupe is all hot rod, starting with its classic Halibrand wheels wrapped in blackwall
When it came to address the body, Steve wasted no time in repairing the floors, installing exterior patch panels, and ironing out the sheetmetal. To give the car a distinctive look, he chopped the lid 2-1/2 inches, smoothed out the rear decklid, and tucked the rear bumper. He then loaded his paint gun with plenty of PPG black urethane and laid down a mile-deep coating of gloss capped with traditional flames in House of Kolor candy red.
Turning inside Steve wanted his business office to complement the car's newfound attitude so he contacted Walt Carroll at A-1 Upholstery in Bridgeport to work his voodoo, covering the interior in plenty of black leather complemented by black loop carpet. Steve then wired the car and added Moon gauges to monitor the vitals while shifts go through Lokar, and a banjo steering wheel handles navigation. Breezes from Vintage Air and tunes through JVC round it all out. All we know is that the formula for the coupe nails it on all levels while shakin' it on the streets of North Haven.
Rockers Need Lube, Too.
Never install rockers dry. They must be lubricated during initial startup with the proper lubricant to avoid permanent damage. A generous amount of COMP Cams Valve Train Assembly Spray (PN 106) on each rocker arm, pivot ball, bushing pushrod tip, and valve tip can prevent damage to new parts.
In-Tank versus Inline Fuel Pumps
There are several advantages to running an in-tank fuel pump versus an inline fuel pump. FAST recommends an in-tank pump when possible. In-tank fuel pumps are always primed, run cooler, run quieter, and are the method used by all OEMs. They are also required for returnless fuel systems.
Two Ways To Keep Your Stacks Clean
New Inglese stacks (PNs NG5103-8 and NG5104-8) are designed for enhanced airflow, and snap-in-design air filters (PNs NG5110-8 and NG5111-8) have been created to specifically fit these individual stacks only. However, PN NG4040-8 screens will work in the stacks for those who do not want to run filters.