What makes cars more than just the steel and rubber they are is the stories behind them. Decades of dents, stickers, and paint jobs often tell the story of a car which is what attracts a lot of builders and enthusiasts, but the sentimental value often exceeds the dollar value. Sometimes that story can start off pretty bizarre.
Cruising the famous Pomona Swap meet back in 1996, Todd was browsing the stalls and hunting down parts. He caught a stock 1951 Chevy in the parking lot, cruising back and forth for sale, and decided to take a look. The car was owned by a local roofer who had gotten the car in trade for a job. Looking like he was under, let’s say, a few controlled substances, and he didn’t have enough money to get the car into the swap or for that matter put much more gas in the thing. Todd liked the car though, and while the man had been on the phone arguing with his wife about the price, he decided to toss him a lowball offer to see if he’d take it. A little off, the man wanted at least $20 up front so he could get enough gas to drive it to Todd’s address in a few hours and drop off the car so he could pay him the rest.
He felt with how weird the guy was that perhaps he had just tossed away $20, but he figured he would head home after the swap and see what would happen. Luck would have it, about an hour and a half later the guy showed up in Todd’s alley with the car… and ran it out of gas literally trying to get it into his garage. Definitely an unconventional way of picking up a car, but that’s how it happens sometimes.
The old inline-six was replaced with a donor V8 and transmission that came out of an El Camino at the local junkyard. To accommodate the new ponies, a Chassis Engineering bolt-on Mustang II front end and eight inch Ford rear end were stuffed under the car. During the transformation, his friend, Kevin Francis, threw out the idea of installing an air-ride suspension since he already had everything out of the car. This led to Todd’s first c-notch and air-bag job which quickly added to the love affair that Todd was building with his ‘51.
The drivetrain and chassis upgrades proved to be exactly what was needed, and Todd enjoyed the modernized drivetrain which battled the crazy highways of Southern California. But like anything we build, it’s hard to leave anything alone for too long. Taking inspiration from vintage photos of Larry Watson’s Grapevine, Todd wanted to add ‘56 Olds headlights. He’d never done anything like this before, so he started with some research online and ended up finding some amazing help from the H.A.M.B. message board. After finding a set of front fenders, one of the members came and helped him out on a weekend to start grafting them onto the Chevy. Todd’s friend, Lance “Bones” Rowlett, continued working on the car with Todd and over time the dream in Todd’s head became a reality. While the customizing was happening, life happened too, and so it took over a decade to finish the body modifications.
Finally, the time for the paint came. The car was sprayed with several coats of custom-mixed candy and pearl paints. Once the base coats were laid down, attention was turned to the custom paint detail that would be put into the roof and firewall. Life happened again, putting another stall on Todd’s dream, but he picked everything right back up where he had left things, continuing his quest to complete his vision.
His friend, Matt Wilfert, stepped in to help him get it “wired and fired”, finally bringing the car to life after a decade. His friend Chris Harsh helped revive the clear coat by cutting and buffing the car to a stellar glow. Pete’s Glass installed all new glass around the car, which was followed by the installation of all of the stainless trim Charles Shilling helped straighten and polish. The final touch on the car was the interior completed by Rex Copeman. After a meeting to go over designs and colors, Rex knocked out the perfect interior to match the ‘51 Chevy’s unique paint and styling.
Todd has owned this car for almost 30 years and despite being tempted to move on to other projects or cut corners, Todd stayed true to his gut feeling and finished the car of his dreams. We think the name “Monogamy” fits pretty well with that kind of commitment.