Bertolucci’s ’38 Coupe
In 1943, Dick Bertolucci was just 14 years old. He was also the proud owner of a 1933 Chevy roadster. His dad helped him build a stout little motor for it and Dick himself learned the basics of body working while ironing out the sheet metal. It was his first car and he was damn proud of it. So proud, that he found himself showing it off one too many times. His pops caught him street racing.
After a stern talking to, Dick’s dad made him sell the roadster and replace it with a seemingly safer hard top. Dick bought a few cars and tried a few things, but nothing really clicked with him until he bought a ’38 Chevy coupe at the age of 17. The lines of the car struck Dick so solidly, that he was inspired to turn the Chevy into something more. He chopped the top 3.5″ and slanted the back window forward rather than adding material. He leaded the fenders and added ’34 Pontiac side panels to the hood. He and his (forgiving) pops installed a Stude alligator hood, a Packard grille, and ’40 Chevy headlights down on the fenders as a nod towards his pal Harry Westergard. Finally, Dick painted the car one of the best custom paint colors of all time – Bertolucci Maroon.
With the looks out of the way, Dick started in on performance. A 270-inch GMC motor was procured and bored to 292-inches. A trick head, three deuces, and a hot cam followed. It all added up to a car that was capable of running 130 miles per hour given the room and 107 in the quarter. That’s straight up cooking for a car full of lead and only 6-cylinders of motivation.
Unfortunately, photos of Dick’s ’38 are hard to come by. I grabbed a few from Rikster and had one in my archives, but further searching turned up nothing. Maybe we’ll give Mr. Bertolucci a call and see if he can spring anything for us.
Until then, enjoy the photos of the car in various states of its life: