Just the Facts
Owner: Chuck & Judy Dailey
If Chuck Dailey had found the car he'd been looking for, you'd be reading about a 1932 Ford right now. It was 1978 and Chuck was on the hunt for a Deuce roadster. His friend Bill Campbell had a lead on one and told him where he could find it—but Bill's directions were vague and Chuck never found the location or the 1932.
The story has a happy ending though. Chuck, who owned a 1937 Chevy two-door sedan at the time, explained to Campbell that he wanted a convertible. Campbell owned a 1937 Chevy cabriolet and offered to sell it.
When the owner before Campbell found the rare car (one of 1,724 produced) in New Hampshire in 1972, it was a complete, original car, but was showing its age. Rust was starting to eat at the body and headlights. Most of the seat fabric had disappeared and holes were taking over the original cloth top. The dash and garnish moldings had been badly repainted with yellow house paint. On the positive side, it ran, the floor was in fairly good condition, and the hippie-era flower decals were only a few years out of date. That owner pulled some parts off the car and sold it to Campbell after one year. Five years later, Chuck and his wife, Judy, bought the 1937 from Campbell, along with N.O.S. fenders and running boards. They drove it home with two of their kids riding in the rumble seat. Chuck waited to tear apart the Chevy until he retired and could dedicate the necessary time and attention to the rebuild, which he did almost entirely at home.
With the body off the frame, Chuck upgraded the chassis—starting by stiffening the factory framerails with a 1x2-inch transmission-mount K-member and a Mustang II independent front suspension purchased from Kenny's Rod & Kustom in Newton Falls, Ohio. He added Monro-Matic Plus front shocks, a Chassis Engineering front antiroll bar, CE dual leaf springs, and 1937-39 Chevy rear gas shocks to steady the ride. The 8-inch rearend with 3.00:1 gears came out of a Ford Granada. Wagner disc brakes are controlled by a Corvette master cylinder with a power booster and Wilwood proportioning valve. The Chassis Engineering pedal assembly was modified to allow Chuck to use the stock pedal.
Cragars add street rod seasoning to the resto-rod outward appearance. The 15x7 and 15x6 St
The body was repaired and restored to original condition using most of the factory sheetmetal and hardware, including the hood, grille shell, and insert. The 1937 top cloth was in need of a replacement. At J's Upholstery new Haartz Stayfast canvas was stretched over the original bows. The car was painted by Chuck and his friend Russ Minick using PPG Medium Cabernet paint. Ford had chosen the same color for use on Mustangs, pickups, and other vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s, but it perfectly suits the classic style of the Chevy's exterior. Judy came up with the fitting nickname "Cabernet Cabriolet".
Chuck was thinking about driveability when he built the small-block—with enough performance goodies thrown in to provide some fun. Starting with a 350 Chevy block, Professional Engine Systems, in Canfield, Ohio, bored 0.030 inches out of the cylinders, now filled with 10:1 Speed Pro Pistons and rings. Ball-milled aluminum valve covers cap the GM double-hump heads. A Cadillac air cleaner is like the cherry on top, covering the Edelbrock carb and intake. The block-hugger headers from Patriot feed into Chuck's custom bent pipes, with Thrush mufflers to lower the volume.
LED lenses brighten the original taillights.
J&E's Auto Repair in Newton Falls built the Turbo 350 transmission backing the small-block. Chuck is thinking about swapping it for a 700-R4; the car is driven a lot and it would be nice to have the overdrive gear.
Russ Minick, who helped with the paintjob, was back to help with the interior, laying the tan carpet and stitching the door panels. The factory bench was covered with two-tone leather rolls and pleats at Portage Trim in Ravenna. The rumble seat was similarly restored.
It's great to see this rare Chevy revived to such beautiful condition. As to the whereabouts of the Deuce roadster Chuck had originally been looking for in 1978—we'll never know. Was it bought and built by somebody else? Probably. Have we walked past it at a car show? Maybe. There are a lot of 1932s out there, after all. But there are very few 1937 Chevy cabrios out there, especially as nicely street-rodded as Chuck and Judy's. When we saw it at the Nats in Columbus last year, it would have been impossible to just walk past.
A 1969 Camaro rosewood steering wheel was painted with Medium Cabernet and mounted on a ti
The Chevy small-block was balanced and blueprinted, and built with an emphasis on reliabil
Chuck and Judy's children rode in the rumble seat when they drove the car home after buyin