Chick Koszis had a dilemma. He had planned to drive his ’32 roadster, “Bare Bones” from San Diego to attend the LA Roadster Show in Pomona, California by way of San Antonio, Texas. The Street Rodder Magazine Vintage Air Road Tour was the reason behind the circuitous route. After all, this routing results in a 3,000 mile trip as opposed to the more direct, 90 mile drive to Pomona. The Road Tours are always a blast, and Chick had done this a couple of times in the past, so 2011 was to be a repeat performance. Fate intervened however, and threw a wrench into his plans. His roadster was stolen while attending the Grand National Roadster Show the previous January. Obviously driving the Road Tour in June was going to be a problem. Chick and Randy Clark were discussing this sad state of affairs a few months ago and Randy came up with a brilliant solution. He said, “Heck, let’s take one of my vehicles out of the stable, dust it off, and we’ll go together!” What a great idea, huh?
Randy has a “barn find” 1946 Sedan Delivery that he acquired a few years ago and had been scooting around town chasing parts and hauling feed for the dogs and horses at his hacienda. This is a solid old local driver that has gobs of bitchin’ “patina” but, “It has air conditioning already,” was the driving factor behind the choice of vehicles to take. Great – now a “PLAN” was in place! “We’ll check the car out, but it’s roadworthy already,” stated Randy.
Well, let’s see, the old Chevy 305 engine’s a tad tired, so a new 350, 330 horse crate motor was ordered to replace it. “As long as we’re doing that, let’s put an overdrive automatic in it and we’ll go a long way between gas stops now,” was the no-nonsense next step in the PLAN. “A long way between gas stops…” Now, let’s see – I think we better put something larger than the original gas tank in it to achieve that part of the PLAN. OK, we’ve got a good ’39 Mercury tank here that’ll fit in the stock sedan location. Let’s add that so we have two tanks. What’s a Road Warrior without two fuel tanks, right? Oh yeah, we need a way to get gas into this thing. Simple. We get a 46-48 coupe/sedan gas filler door and splice it into the sedan delivery left rear fender, and we can look stock, too. Now we have two independent fuel storage and delivery (individual electric fuel pumps) systems. Wish fulfilled.
If two fuel systems are good, let’s duplicate the battery while we’re at it. There’s plenty of room under the floor behind the passenger seat. This is too easy. Nothing can stop us now!
With the introduction of the 700R4 transmission came a challenge – the trans won’t fit very well between the crossmembers and the front wishbones will have to be split to allow this to happen. Wishbone splitting parts are installed and we’ve overcome this challenge. Oh wait; let’s put modern tube shocks on in place of the original lever action versions. After all, our keesters ain’t as resilient as they used to be and this is going to be a pretty long trip. Done! This is a doggone good PLAN!
That new motor will probably blow the tanks off of the old 1946 radiator, so in goes a new one. Whew, we’re really moving on the PLAN now. Oh, oh, the motor went in and routing spent exhaust gases presented a challenge. The existing Chevelle steering gear takes up some vital real estate. Hey! Fenderwell headers ala fat-fendered gasser will route the tubing away from that pesky steering gear. Besides, Randy favors ‘60’s style gassers a lot. “Make it happen!” says Randy to Poor Richard the Parts guy. Now Chick is wondering if we’re going to run open headers to Texas and back, or are mufflers in the PLAN? He fondly remembers back to 1968 and a solo road trip from Chicago to Boston in a hopped up (301 small block, Duntov solid lifter, Muncie 4-speed) ’57 Chevy with straight pipes. We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. Stay tuned, this PLAN is evolving!
The front suspension is apart so let’s freshen up the existing disc brakes. New pads and a repack of the bearings is all we need here. Oops, those 1946 vintage steel brake lines also have 1946 vintage crud and rust in them. Let’s redo those while we’re this far. GREAT PLAN thinks Chick!!
Keep coming back for more updates as we get closer to departure.