1941 Chevrolet Coupe - John Vaca


I owned a 1941 Chevy Coupe in the mid-60s. I enjoyed driving that car almost every day until one foggy night it lost a battle with a granite light pole.

My 1959 Corvette became my daily drive until I entered the military. Upon my return from the service, I parked the Corvette and purchased a 1971 El Camino, but I still wanted to have another 41 Chevy Coupe. I finally purchased my next 1941 Chevy Coupe (40+ years later) in late 2003 from a Vintage Chevrolet restorer in Long Beach, Calif.

The owner was reluctant to sell me the car because he knew I was going to build a custom street rod. The car was a partial body shell and frame, a six-cylinder still attached and missing front fenders and hood. The restorer finally agreed to sell me the car. We then towed it to Eddie Martinez’s Custom Upholstery and Body Shop in Paramount, Calif.

The build started in early 2004 and stopped in late 2006.    

Completing my project would not have been possible without the help of my very good friend, Nick Nickels in Lake Havasu City. I gave some thought to buying a finished 41, but after searching I decided to build one. The car sat unfinished for more than two years until Nick convinced me to go forward. He oversaw my project for the entire six months. The car went to Lake Havasu where several skilled craftsmen completed the build. The final assembly and fabrication by Ron Bruins, paint touch-up and detailing by Frank’s Custom Paint & Auto Body, interior by Howard’s Fabricators and the special center windshield stainless trim fabricated from raw stainless steel material, polished and installed by Colin at Kimmin’s Custom Fabrication. All Havasu work was completed by car March 2010. The Vietnam tribute graphics were provided by Ruben Perez of Skyline Airbrush in Phoenix, Ariz. 

Thank you all for helping achieve my goal, which was to drive, share and enjoy my ride!

The car is a frame-off resto-mode with a viable drive train and suspension. It has a 350/350 engine/trans, Walker radiator, Mustang II front, Ford 9-inch rear, 4-wheel disc brakes, Classic Industries Gages, Ididit tilt column, hidden hi-low beam switch, Briz ribbed polished aluminum bumpers, a single glass truck windshield was modified to fit, Vintageair heat and A/C, power wipers, windows-n-seats, power rack-n-pinion, Flowmaster 40’s, concealed rear license plate and many other features. The exterior paint color is 2003 Chrysler called “Intense Blue” and the interior is leather and suede, both are “British Tan” with Mercedes dark blue carpeting. The polished aluminum wheels are the “Hot Rod Series-Classic” from Centerline Wheels and it rides nice.

I am currently working on a “Project Car” — 1936 Chevy Sedan Delivery.


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