Friday, July 11, 2008

Revenge Of The Nerfs

I like this shot. I can't really explain why. It shows a lot of what I like about the Coupe I guess. The cool, fat curve of the deck lid. Those perfect-for-this-car '41 Chevrolet tailights. The not-so-perfect paint job. The stock '32 Ford handle. The famous license plate of course. And that wicked who'd a thunk it nerf bar.

At it's core the Milner Coupe is a solid period hot rod. When purchased it was basically a '32 Ford 5W body and frame with a '57 Chevy drive train. But even then it had enough odd accouterments like the '47 rear crossmember and the PSI traction outfit to make it one of a kind. Throw in the uniquely applied 50's Ford upholstery trim, and the fairly rare Stewart Warner dash insert and it starts to get easy to see what may have caught Gary Kurtz' eye. But the addition of some of the parts that were added afterward for the film also contributed greatly to the funky karma that makes this deuce so special.

For the folks building their own 'Graffiti Coupe', the nerf bar is tough. Until a couple years ago, you had to make your own. They rarely came out right. The bar's shape has to be perfect to have it resemble the Coupe from all angles. It's a very weird shaped piece of tubing. You can fudge on a lot of different parts when building your clone, but this particular nerf bar is unique to the Coupe and it helps to make the rear of the car instantly recognizable.

It isn't custom anyway. DB The Swede of Massachusetts was the first to figure this out. Because it looked like a larger version of an MG front bumper guard, we had suspected it might be English. Right continent, wrong country. It is a 1971 Alfa Romeo Duetto front bumper guard. An add-on piece, they were manufactured by AMCO. DB was kind enough to share his discovery and it was 'off to the races' to find one for our Coupe. We were lucky and located one right away. And it was a good thing we did.

Because at this same period of time we were at a dead stand still on our frame. We were placing the rear crossmember when it was announced from the mid west by Paul LeMat's 'lost twin brother of a different mother' that the Graffiti Coupe's wheel base had been extended!!! To almost 109 inches!!! So, not knowing otherwise, we stopped. Getting the wheelbase wrong would drastically reduce the odds of getting the stance right or having the slicks sit in the fenders properly. This was huge. We called the owner. He said that as far as he knew it was stock. But we figured "What does he know? The Great & Powerful Odd said it was 109"!!! So we waited until I could get to the Coupe and measure... Like that was ever gonna happen.

In the end, it was the photo above and others like it that confirmed the Coupe's wheelbase measurement. It was so simple. One of those V8 juice moments. Using the right nerf bar and mounting it the same way as the Coupe's leaves no margin of error. It's stock.

Thanks DB, you're a daisy!

(Every Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone - Roy Montrell