Long Live the Channel Job
If you’ve ever been out East, you know the word: the channel is in. Get it sitting nice and low. Maintain that suspension travel. Battle those potholes and win. Let’s forget about legroom for a minute and think about that lower profile without slicing or dicing any of Henry’s cherry steel. It’s a winning combination, you see.
I get laughed at pretty regularly for saying I want to build a channeled-but-not-chopped hot rod. Although my driver’s license declares I’m a Californian through and through, there’s nothing’s holding me back from daydreaming about an East Coast-style machine. Some days, I’m thinking “DCB Coupe” for the street with a 4-71-blown smallblock Chevy and piecrust slicks (yes, I know it’s from Texas), while other times I gravitate towards the Hiltons’ purple “Shocker” Model A. Both good choices if I do say so myself.
Then, while reading Trend Book 160 Hot Rod: 1958 Annual, I stumbled upon this particular Deuce owned by Mike Sforza and Dick Yarin of Henny’s Welding in Jamaica, New York. Built for show and go, the Emerald Green five-window hits all the right notes. For starters, it’s channeled the width of the frame and lowered front and rear thanks to a dropped I-beam and a serious kick out back. The powerplant is a Chrysler Hemi with owner-fabricated headers and a custom-made 4×2 intake. (Note how the ignition wires go through the top of the chrome shields on the valve covers). With racing in mind, the duo set up the chassis to accommodate a wide range of V8s, including flatheads, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. The hood has been blistered to clear the quartet of Strombergs along with the generator and oil breather tube—a project that reportedly took two months.
Inside, the coupe was decked out to be a show winner. Tuck’n roll panels, eight-gauge dash, Crestliner steering wheel and crazy gear shifter were highlights, as were chromed garnish moldings, seatbelts and a matching crash helmet. It’s pure ’50s—and it’s perfect.
And you can’t forget the little things, like the nicely formed nerf bars and the Studebaker wheelcovers. When Rodding & Restyling ran their feature in 1957 and dubbed the coupe the “Pride of the East,” they weren’t lying. I’d say it’s aptly named. Long live the channel job.
Photos by Bob D’Olivo and Dick Day