Friday, October 16, 2009

Gittin' Some Trim

The primary reason for the existence of The Naked Milner is to show the structural details of the American Graffiti Coupe. And although we haven't created a real clone of the Coupe (JH is racing toward the completion of the first real 'clone'), it can still be appreciated as a skeletal view of a late 50s, early sixties hot rod. Personally, I think I appreciate it most because it shows the handiwork of the metal artisans at A&M and the fruition or 5 years of intense research by 'da Hui. Every single piece on this animal has a story behind it. Usually one that started with ignorant bliss, followed by a 'what the f***!' moment of discovery that turned into lost weekends of ebay and long distance phone calls. The tale most likely continues with an 'aha!' morphing into depression and dread with the realization that you will never find another part like it. The chapters preceding each happy ending were always filled with fun, aggravation, competition, and even some new friends made through the experience of shared pain and exhaustion.

We've received some very gracious and complimentary phone calls and e-mails from the recent postings here. And though they have come from a pretty diverse group of people, most communications have had one thing in common. They have been nearly unanimous in their advice that we shouldn't paint it. The consensus being that once painted, our car will just be another clone. I cannot say that that thought hadn't crossed our minds as it has come together. But for so long the goal was to build Milner's Coupe. After all this time, and intense focus and determination on reaching that goal, I don't know if we could take not ever driving that little yellow coupe. Forgetting for a moment the impracticality of maintaining a bare steel automobile, the end result would be simply, that we didn't finish. Now I agree that the damn thing looks cool as is, but sorry, no.

Our attention now turns to the upholstery. The interior of the Coupe is one of the identifying aspects of the American Graffiti Coupe. Along with the bobbed fenders and Man-A-Fre intake, the unique insides make it instantly recognizable as Milner's. The upholstery is a somewhat common black tuck & roll, but the combined addition of the Ansen steering wheel, super rare SW dash insert, and custom 'ticket' pocket set it apart from most other rods. And yet, the most unique feature of the interior may be the door trim. Rarely seen in copies of the Coupe, the trim is simple, stock 50s Ford. The rest of the Coupe's trim may or may not be the same vintage, but it is straight, matching, stainless steel.

Just a few weeks out from our date with the upholstery shop, yesterday we spent time laying out and measuring the trim pieces we have accumulated making sure we have what is needed. From the doors forward, our upholstery will be very close to the Coupe's. But we will be adding a few minor details to the interior and trunk hopefully completing what we have always considered an 'unfinished' upholstery job. More details on that later.

And due to a glitch in scheduling, our interior may have to be completed in California, so we need to have all the trim cut, polished, and mountable before we head out. Turns out we had enough trim, now we just have to do the A&M thang. I was worried about a couple dings here and there, but as Mark always says, "It's only metal'.

Alex Woodard - Open Road