Photos by Steve Temple
It's only fitting that a battleship-gray 1927 Chrysler would be chock-full of rivets, some 3,000 in all, just like on those huge steel dreadnoughts. And it's also fitting that Bear Metal Kustoms hammered this 3-window coupe together, since the company specializes in bare-metal, mechanical-style street rods. Owner/founder Jason Pall sometimes goes to great lengths to find the right grade of tin, though.
"I drove all the way from California to Denver, Colorado to pick [the body] up," he recalls. Then it sat at his shop for several months without anything being done, just waiting for the right guy to come along.
That would be alfalfa farmer Bob Rohrer, who showed up at the shop to check it out, saying he wanted to buy a hot rod to add to his Gasser, Pro Street Willys and truck collection. When he saw the Chrysler, he made Pall an offer that he couldn't refuse, basically giving him free rein to build what he wanted, with only occasional input from Rohrer.
Rohrer would periodically stop by the shop to check on progress and offer up his ideas, and after 11 months the Chrysler was done just in time for Sacramento Autorama. Since then, it has shown up at a slew of other events, where spectators often praise the all-Mopar drivetrain, but also wonder out loud if the doors were stretched. Actually, they were not, because Pall went to some pains to make sure the roof chop preserved the right proportions, and the factory frame is longer than a Ford of the same era. Onlookers are also stunned by all the handcrafted components, along with the WWII treatment. Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!
Bear Metal Kustoms
Buildup Details and Modifications
Chassis: Stock length frame. Front lowered seven inches (4" Z on frame;3" lowered with spring location and "suicide perch") 14" Z in rear frame
Front: Transverse leaf
Rear: 4 link and coil over (rear)
Springs: Ford (front); Aldan (rear)
Front: Lever-action Chevy
Rear: Aldan coil over
Front: Chevy Disc
Rear: Stock Ford 9-inch drum
Wheels: Early Wheel Company
Front/size: 6.70 -15
Rear/size: 8.90- 15
Other modifications made to chassis/frame: custom-built Z'd tube chassis, tubular cross members, hidden tow hitch
Engine: Dodge 440 V8
Mods to engine: Cam, Dual 4 barrel carbs and intake
Transmission modifications: 727 Torque flight with Mopar shift kit
Modified driveshaft/material: DOM custom length driveshaft
Relocated battery: Hidden in rear package tray
Rear End type/modifications: Ford 9 inch
Ring & Pinion Ratio: 4:11
Custom tube headers, 1.25" diameter
Muffler type: motorcycle baffles
Body style: 3 window coupe
Body modifications: Custom-built deck lid, molded-in roof and visor, hand-built windshield, aluminum roof insert, custom aluminum wheel wells, hinge covers, rear panel, vent cover, handmade patch panels, driver-side door skin, deck lid, aluminum inner deck lid panel, custom aluminum gas tank
Grille shell: Ford sectioned and smoothed custom aluminum insert
Paint color: BattleshipBlue/Grey
Paint brand: Dupont
Headlights: BLC repros
Door handles: None- electric door poppers with remote
Gas filler location: under deck lid/ custom aluminum tank
Dashboard: Custom aluminum blisters and machine-turned dash insert, Steve Moal aircraft gauges
Steering wheel: Aluminum Speedway Motors
Seats: Custom aluminum bomber seats with lower cushions
Upholstery: Military canvas olive drab
Floor: Riveted aluminum floor
Headliner material: Military canvas olive drab
Upholstery shop: Upholstery by Jimmy Z
Additional interior modifications: Custom aluminum riveted door panels, floor (30 pieces), dash, seats, package tray, driveline/ trans tunnel, custom hand-cast shift knob, Lokar shifter, power windows, power locks
Published Dec 7th, 2015
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