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The Jim Busby Coupe

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TheFrenZ, May 20, 2006.

  1. TheFrenZ
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,900

    from Germany

  2. sodas38
    Joined: Sep 17, 2004
    Posts: 2,257


    Please, the noise I made when I pulled up this wife thought I was looking at naughty sites.

    This is a bad ass car! Thanks for the pic's
  3. general gow
    Joined: Feb 5, 2003
    Posts: 6,240

    general gow
    Staff Member

    wow. mmm hmm. it's beautiful. what more can you tell us about it?
  4. derelict
    Joined: Nov 28, 2001
    Posts: 490


    I've seen it and it is the cats ass.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Guider
    Joined: May 30, 2004
    Posts: 65


    That's bitchin!!!
  6. speedaddict
    Joined: Sep 28, 2002
    Posts: 2,420

    from Austin, Tx

    beautiful Frenz...I want more details please
  7. 53chevy
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,570


    Reminds me of Brett Bell's coupe awhile back, 1999. Tough this one has a Caddillac engine. Very nice!

  8. drhotrodmd
    Joined: Nov 10, 2002
    Posts: 1,284


    I think the car is in Madison, Wi. now in the Munz collection.
  9. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

  10. myke
    Joined: Dec 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,134

    from SoCal

  11. glassguyOC
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 348

    from O.C.

    I just about gave up on this place. Broken looking model A coupes with rediculous suicide shifters, Rip on rockstars because I dont have any real talent myself, and how much is my RPU worth posts have me reaching for the delete button.

    this is hotrod. this is class. this is what we should all strive for.
    Danke sehr FRENZ.
  12. Villlage Idiot
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 408

    Villlage Idiot

    I remembered it being featured in a magazine recently and I just found it. Street Rodder in their Milestone series July '04--Pages 34 thru 40. Great car, great article.
  13. TheFrenZ
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,900

    from Germany





    I just copy and paste and preach the traditional Hot Rod.Yes,Chris Shelton gets FULL credit for the super nice pics and here's what Ken Gross has to say about the Busby car...

    Early one Saturday morning a few years ago, as I stood in front of the popular Adams Avenue Do-Nut shop in Huntington Beach, California, munching on a heart-stopper cake donut, a black '32 five-window rumbled in. Heads turned to follow it like spotlights on swivels. I just about stopped in my tracks as the car slowly rolled past. One long look at that hammered and filled roof, louvered hood, chromed six-carb early Cad mill with tri-pipe headers, chromed hairpins, big 'n' little tires with Merc-capped black steelies, and I was hooked. As the cool coupe cruised by, serenading us all with its lumpy idle, I spotted Jim Busby behind the wheel, with a smile on his face.

    "That figures," I remember thinking. "Buzz always has cool cars. But he may have even topped himself this time."

    A closer look proved even more enlightening. The perfectly proportioned '32 had all the right mid '50s cues, beginning with a dropped and drilled beam axle and finned Buick brake drums. Vintage Guide headlamps, neatly positioned on a hand-fashioned bar, a filled and peaked grille shell, shaved deck and door handles, and perfectly positioned '39 Ford teardrops taillights, were all part of a growing list of eye candy.

    As there were no hood sides, the big Cad powerplant was easy to inspect, and I took in the sextet of Scott-topped 97s, the chromed valve covers (each with their four little raised lumps that signify high-lift rocker arms), and the period regulator and generator. Once I made my way through the crowd inspecting the coupe, a peek inside revealed tuck 'n' roll black hydes with red piping, plated garnish moldings, a Bell four-spoke steering wheel, an engine-turned dash insert with a mixed quartet of old 2 5/8 convex-lensed and smaller SWs, and the piece de resistance, a 6-inch Stewart-Warner police clocking speedometer that was positioned smartly in the center.

    Of course, there had to be an interesting story behind this car...and there was. Thanks to Buzz and his friend, former dragster pilot Paul Gommi, here it is... Jim Busby grew up in Pasadena, California. His mother drove him to junior high school every day past the Hart's Automotive Texaco gas station. Buzz remembers that a distinctively chopped black '32 five-window coupe was always parked right in front. The hot-looking Deuce coupe was Cadillac powered and, for a while, was someone's daily driver. As organized drag racing grew in popularity, quarter-mile drag strips sprang up in nearly every community. Over time, the coupe was raced at Santa Ana, San Gabriel, Fontana, Riverside, Irwindale, and Lions. Of course, the five-window was continuously modified to keep it competitive. The powerplant changed and evolved to become a blown Chrysler. By that time, the hard charging chopped '32, now stripped of all nonessentials, turned a then-impressive 138.46 mph running in the A/Altered class. Drag News ran a small three-photo feature on the car in March 1959.

    To put that speed in perspective, consider that Dallas Martinsen ran 176.21 mph in a blown Chrysler dragster to beat Gary Cagle's similar car around the same time. Even though it competed against lighter Fiat Topolino-bodied Altereds, the 1,825-pound Hart's Automotive coupe remained very competitive. Ultimately, and despite a radical body setback to help improve its weight distribution, the advent of more Fiat and Crosley-bodied Altereds relegated the Hart's Automotive '32 to retirement. It dropped out of sight for about 40 years. Buzz believes Hart later established its business in Orange, California.

    Fast-forward some 40 years. Jim Busby was visiting Will Moore at Moore's hot rod shop in Huntington Beach, when Will proudly showed Buzz his latest acquisition, a battered old Altered coupe with its body moved rearward for better traction. Busby looked long and hard at the old coupe as if he were seeing a ghost.

    Paul Gommi described the moment well: "Jim stared at the car and realized it was the same Hart's Automotive coupe that had branded his memory in junior high school. 'That's still the greatest chop I've ever seen,' he said. 'I've got to restore this car to look the way it did in 1956.'" Busby bought the coupe from Moore. The body had suffered a good deal of abuse over the years. Busby and his talented crew began a full in-house restoration.

    At the same time, Jim began searching for a proper Cadillac V-8 engine. He didn't have to go very far. Jack Underwood, a Do-Nut Shop regular and SCTA historian, told Busby he had a Cadillac engine that he thought had come out of the famed Bustle Bomb dragster. Old-timers will remember the Bustle Bomb. It ran a Cad engine in front, an Olds in the rear, and it was the first dragster to top 150 mph in the quarter. Jack said he'd purchased the six-carb engine from "a guy in Pasadena." After he appropriated the Cad's sturdy LaSalle transmission, Jack tucked the old mill under the potting bench in his backyard, and there it sat until he sold it to Busby.

    Jim's talented crew did 99 percent of this car in-house. His son David--who used to assemble engines for Kenny Bernstein--handled the engine rebuild. The 331-cid '55 Cad was rebored .030 over, and a Chet Herbert full race cam was installed, along with Herbert solid lifters and McGurk adjustable rocker arms. The valve covers were modified in-house by Jim and his crew. There are 16 individually made blisters to clear the high-lift rockers. The finishing touch was triple chrome plating. The heads were ported and polished as well. Inside, the crankshaft was micro-polished and reground to standard size. The old Weiand six-carb manifold was retained, of course, and the six rebuilt 97s were fitted with Scott flared racing-style tops. A stunning set of Belond three-into-one headers were chromed and fitted to the engine. The mufflers are Smithy glasspacks and the rear pipes exit where they should, along the framerails. The Cad block was painted a bright shade of red in contrast to the jet-black interior and exterior.

    Nothing against modern Chevy crate motors, mind you, but this is the real deal...Turns out, the ex-Jack Underwood Cad wasn't out of the Bustle Bomb, but the way it's been modified now, it would have been incredible back in the day. The wicked black tuck 'n' roll, double-stitched Naugahyde interior, with its cool red piping, was the fine work of Van Butler. The extensive bodywork, which includes a neatly filled roof, filled door handles and decklid, molded door hinges, etc., was done by Steve Hurst (who also did the wiring) and Hank Westmoreland. That killer black paint is modern Mercedes-Benz acrylic enamel. Remember, they had to bring this one back to "street appearance" after the body had been gutted, altered, moved rearward, lightened, and otherwise much abused. When restoration commenced, there were no wheelwells and the decklid was welded shut. It was a hard task, but when you look at this stick-straight coupe today, it's hard to believe it was ever any different.

    The devil really is in the details of this car. Busby has always had a great eye, and he is a master at collecting the right pieces. This coupe is very true to its era. The transmission is an original, cast-iron B&M "Shur Shift" Hydra-Matic, mated to an owner-built '40 Ford column shifter assembly. There's an open driveline, and the rear is a rugged '57 Ford 9-inch set up with parallel leafs and the original ladder bars.

    Those beautiful hairpin radius rods are Gene Scott originals. And the modified Ford F-1 front shock mounts are authentic, as are the '58 Buick drums (with '46 Ford hydraulics inside), the MorDrop filled and drilled dropped axle, the "deep dish" '47 Mercury hubcaps with red accents, and the Bell four-spoke race car-style steering wheel. Steel wheels were a must for this car. Buzz used '40 Ford 4x16 inchers in front with 6.00-16s, and 5x16-inch Lincolns with 7.50-16s in back.

    Other running gear highlights include a Model A front crossmember, a square tube center crossmember, and the original '32 Ford frame is boxed from front to rear for added strength. Look closely at the front and you'll see a rare, period accessory...a U-shaped bracket that bolts to the front axle. It prevents side-to-side sway and bumpsteer, but still permits vertical movement. A Vega cross steering means there's no unsightly side drag link to clutter the view. Now, about that chop...the coupe's killer proportions are a result of a clever and subtle set of cuts--some 5 inches in front, and 4 1/4 inches in the rear. The result is unforgettable. As a friend of Busby's said, "Jim, that car is great; you look like you're headed for a fight." Or as Paul Gommi says, "This car is conservative and bad-ass at the same time, with a real history." Busby's coupe was the centerpiece of the opening night party at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2000. Then Buzz drove it up to the Goodguys event at Pleasanton where it was awarded the Magnum Axle Real Hot Rods award and the Street Rodder Top Ten award.

    Jim Busby was a noted IMSA road racer in the '80s, and he competed successfully in and won the GT Class twice in Porsches at Le Mans. Today, he campaigns Tyrrell Formula 1 open wheelers in vintage races all across the country. Until recently, he had an extensive hot rod and speed equipment collection. When he decided to sell all his cars, he kept this coupe for last. But finally, it was the old Altered's turn to go. Paul Gommi helped Buzz sell his collection, and he sent information and photographs on this carefully cut-up coupe to several likely buyers. One of them was Richard Munz, a man who is no stranger to these pages.

    Munz's latest '32 roadster, a copper cruiser built by Roy Brizio, was a feature car in The Rodder's Journal #23. He also owns a number of vintage hot rods, including the ex-Tommy Foster, baby blue, channeled '32 roadster and another rodding classic, the full-fendered Woodward/Moeller/East Deuce roadster. Early in March, when Richard called me to ask about this car, I was surprised by his question, because I didn't think Buzz would ever sell the five-window. "Paul Gommi just sent me pictures of this really cool coupe," Richard said. "It's got a drag racing history. Do you know anything about it?"

    I replied, "I know all about it, and you've got to buy it. It's the neatest '32 five-window I've ever seen." After he heard the car's history in more detail, Munz called Paul back and quickly sent him a check, snagging the coupe without ever seeing it. I wasn't worried for a minute that he'd love the car at first sight. Richard lives in Madison, Wisconsin, when he's not visiting the West Coast for LA Roadsters' event, Goodguys' Pleasanton, and many other regular events on his calendar. As we went to press, Munz had not yet seen his "new" coupe. I'd sure like to be there when he does...
  14. dodgerodder
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,943


    Its nice if you're into that type of thing:p

    Simply wow! A beautifully built car
  15. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,913

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    I need oxygen....can't has taken my breath away!
    It is one of the BEST 32 5-win ever built!

  16. loogy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2004
    Posts: 1,234


    I really like that car. I like '32 5 Windows much better than 3 Windows.

    I find it very interesting that they decided to use parallel rear leaves. What I find even more interesting is that, at least from these photos, they don't detract from the car at all. Anyone have any idea what they are out of or how long they might be?
  17. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,529


    I saw this car unexpectedly at Pleasanton several years ago. I agree, it's the best looking Deuce 5W I've ever seen.
  18. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    from so-cal

    That car has always been one of my favorites!!!! I love the Caddy mill.
    Jimmy White
  19. What Jimmy said!! Love that speedo too.
  20. DD
    Joined: Feb 16, 2005
    Posts: 467

    from illinois

    That's the Kat's azz, got to see more...keep pics coming.
  21. TheFrenZ
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,900

    from Germany




    This one is for all rubber fetishists out there. (Firestone script,Mercury hubcap and valve stem need to be lined up though.)
  22. Django
    Joined: Nov 15, 2002
    Posts: 10,197

    from Chicago

    I have loved this car since the first time I laid eyes on it. Cool pics!
  23. DeuceDog
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 633

    from Breese, IL

    So nice, beautiful car, over the top!
  24. cuznbrucie
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 2,567


    I wandered upon this coupe in the LA Roadster Show Swap Meet a few years ago and it is as killer up close as it looks in the pictures......just a really classy Cad engined it sat there idling while the driver stopped to talk to somebody at a swap booth the thought crossed my mind to get in and make tracks at a hunnert mph!!!!! Think they'd have caught me??

    Ha!!!!........what a fantasy!

  25. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,615


    "Look closely at the front and you'll see a rare, period accessory...a U-shaped bracket that bolts to the front axle."

    Any good shots of this accessory?
  26. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,882


    I saved a pic of that car for my work computer desktop the last time someone posted it. It is just perfect!

    Anyone have a pic of the whole dash, steering column/wheel, etc?

  27. I have a Fordor version of this running around in my head.


  28. slapshot
    Joined: Sep 29, 2005
    Posts: 184

    from Belgium

    What a great car .... and all those details , it just kills me !

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