Sunday, November 20, 2005

Having Fun With The Coupe

The details are still fuzzy. There are a lot of books and magazine articles out there that give you supposed facts and figures about the most popular hot rod of all time. But most are wrong or misleading at best. It is surely better now than it was three years ago when we started our coupe. There is presently a website solely dedicated to the project of building a Graffiti clone. But even they, in their enthusiasm get quite a bit wrong. But a more dedicated bunch to this famous car would be hard to find. They hunt for facts and interview anybody who has ever come in contact with the car. The founders of that site have even tried to manufacture reproductions of hard to find parts. They haven't had much success though.

A gentleman in the Boston area currently reigns as the kinda Gnome king of the clone builders. A real 'car guy' who knows his stuff, he has the patience to wait until he is sure of something, and the skills and knowledge to actually get most of his part discoveries right. He has been an valuable source of information and inspiration to us so far. Both he and the folks at the project website seem to worship the Milner Coupe and reflect that in each correspondence and phone call.

The actual car from the film is, of course, still out there. For the last several years the owner of the Milner Coupe has made the revered yellow icon available to anybody with the bread for admission. Based in San Francisco, he has toured like a rockstar all over the world letting a seemlingly endless line of fans que up to glance at the car and buy a third generation copy of a poster signed by Paul LeMat. The owner won't really tell you much about the car. He forbids measurements and feigns ignorance when pressed for details of specific parts. He's had the car since he was a kid and a slight loss of enthusiasm can be forgiven.

So we spend endless hours staring at the well worn photos. E-mailing and telephoning fellow coupe builders for hours at a time. Hoping against hope to glean one more fact or tidbit that will help us figure out just what that part is. How many leaf springs are on the rear end? What exactly is that gas tank from? The battery holder? Faggidaboudit.
We've made quite a few good friends in this quest for knowledge. You have to. No one could do this on their own. We've been yakking a lot with a great youngster from Chicago, who is intense with a capitol Crazy about this car. He is intent on building an absolutely accurate clone of the Milner Coupe. You share a little bit of what you know and hope to get the same in return. This guy has been fair and keeps confidences when asked. Because sometimes you don't mind sharing with a friend, but you don't want to make it too easy for everyone else. Let them share in the hunt. The fun. The aggravation. The insanity.

What do we know for sure about the Coupe? Well the list is getting longer.
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No Particular Place To Go - Chuck Berry