Thursday, June 19, 2008

Safety First

1962...That's the year we're shooting for. As much as possible, parts and style adhere to that historical time frame. We all know the tag line "Where were you in '62", so we figure in the story Big John built this car from '58 to '62.

Although the Milner Coupe is a car from a film, it is not strictly a 'movie car'. It was a SoCal hot rod long before it was found and purchased in Compton, CA by American Graffiti producer Gary Kurtz. By no means a show car, it was none the less on the street and running basically the same powertrain you see in the movie.

Sure, the intake manifold was changed to the Man-A-Fre, but the filmed engine, tranny, and rear end were on the car at the time of purchase.

The Coupe's present condition is the result of many years, a lot of miles, too many mechanics, and zero TLC. Although the car was prepared for American Graffiti in a timely schedule, it was a good build and what you see in the movie is what it was, a very cool, useable hot rod. Parts were not tack welded, taped and bondo'd on the Milner Coupe as they are on so many movie cars. The fenders were bobbed right, the grill shell and radiator were

customized to last. That very same shortened radiator is still holding pressure. It was a decent, well made deuce.

Our tribute holds to these truths while realizing that even show cars of the day employed some techniques and features that don't pass the safety muster now-a-days.
Check out this cool late '50s gas cap. Similar to the one in the Coupe. Problem is that these type were internally vented. The AG Coupe gas tank and filler tube are in the trunk. We installed a vent tube exiting the floor. In case of a roll or crunch, we wanted the cap sealed tight. Look closely at our solution. Is old, looks old, works new. Safe and sound. We've used that motto on a couple other aspects of this build, not the least of which is the frame boxing. We hope when it's done our coupe has the appearance, feel, even some of the karma of a period ride, but also the integrity, workmanship, and safety of a modern hot rod.