The Classified Coupe

The Classified Coupe

As you read this, I’ll most likely be out somewhere on California’s Highway 5 wondering if Congress really caused the Dust Bowl. The sun will be up, traffic will be out and I will have already shuffled through all the pre-set satellite radio stations and switched to FM. At the time of writing, my gas station snack choice hasn’t been finalized, but my destination certainly has—I’ll be heading something like 412 miles south to the L.A. Roadster Show.

It’s been a pretty hectic spring and, to be frank, I hadn’t given the show much thought until I was packing my bag. My mind skipped back to last year at the Pomona Fariplex, where I saw: roadsters and vendors and roadsters and heat and roadsters and products and…this coupe. What?

Yes, it’s the Roadster Show and yes, this was the car that stuck with me. Automotive events are cluttered by nature, but this particular five-window seemed to have been parked far away from it all, as if it were at the local grocery store rather than the fairgrounds. I snapped a single picture and continued to admire the car—saying nothing. As luck would have it, Curt West was standing nearby.

You see, Curt’s the guy who found the coupe on Craigslist and spent three years building it into the car it is today. It was originally hot rodded in the ’50s—channeled but not chopped. A previous owner had attempted to modify the rear wheelwells decades ago, but the workmanship was crude to say the least. Since Curt had already cut his teeth on a number of Model A projects in the past, he had no problem diving straight into the ’32.

There’s no doubt that the four-inch chop and six-inch channel give the car a sinister look, the combination of the reshaped lower cowl raised rear wheelwells really seal the deal. A dropped axle helps bring the nose down to earth, while the rear is a ’57 Ford 9-inch supported by a ’40 Ford spring. For the drivetrain, Curt kept things traditional with a 265cid Chevy equipped with an Edelbrock 3×2 intake and a set of Ram’s Horn exhaust manifolds. Sticking with the Bowtie theme, the smallblock is backed by a ’56 three-speed that has been converted to floor shift.

Since the car had been painted a Jade Green Metallic during some other lifetime, Curt decided to re-spray it in the same shade. The interior was trimmed in white with cream piping, perfectly tying in with the wide whitewalls on all four corners. It’s been a couple months since the ol’ Moon disc argument, but I’d have to wager they’re right at home here.

We’ve all seen thousands of Deuces built in hundreds of ways, but it’s clear that Curt successfully thought outside of the proverbial box while staying true to tradition. His coupe reminds me of a high school hot rod from the ’50s that was built on a budget and was still radical enough to take home the hardware at the local armory car show. The big pieces like stance and color do the heavy lifting, and Curt knew where to keep things simple. Just about 364 days have passed since I first laid eyes on this coupe—and truth be told, it’s better than ever. Who’s to say what this year’s show will bring?

—Joey Ukrop

Epilogue: After logging a bunch of miles up and down the West Coast, Curt sold the coupe to a guy in the Phoenix Area. Not one to be without a project for long, he’s hard a work on a ’29 Model A roadster in his McMinville, Oregon, garage. It’ll be flathead powered, but he’s still trying to figure out what type of frame to run. With any luck, you’ll be seeing more from Curt in the not-so-distant future…


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