Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Give Me A Brake

Anybody building a period correct hot rod, and especially those building tributes to the Graffiti Coupe have to decide early on how far to go with accuracy. A lot of owners want a car that looks like it was put together back in the day, but want it to drive and handle like a new car. They prefer modern safety features like disc brakes, seat belts and oh... say, parts that don't break. Others try to create a time machine that has not only the right look, but the correct feel of an old rod. As many NOS parts as possible are used. Junkyards and ebay are scoured for old parts with sufficient life left in them. Some even use period correct methods of construction and finish. And in the case of some tribute builders, mistakes and 'boo-boos' are re-created to make it seem as authentic as possible.

The Naked Milner kind of cut the cake down the middle. We tried to stay as accurate to the original Coupe as possible. But we also knew we wanted to build our car right, something the Graffiti Coupe builders could never be accused of. That meant that each part and issue was dealt with on a part by part basis. We knew that sloppy construction was out. Welding would be done tight and right. Most safety decisions fell on the side of common sense as well. But we tried not to change anything that gave the Coupe it's character. Goofy was in as long as it didn't kill us or threaten the longevity of the car. Leave the rear window out? Right... as if. As has been explained here before, the Naked Milner tries to be the car that the character John Milner drove in American Graffiti as opposed to the prop* vehicle that actor Paul LeMat worked in while making the movie.

Today we show some pictures of the rear brake lines. Thrilling I know. But they serve to illustrate our point about upping the quality a bit without compromising the accuracy too much. Where the Coupe's lines hang like telephone wire on a country road, we took the cleaner and easier to maintain route. We figure when our coupe has been around as long as Milner's, it'll start sagging and showing it's age too. Naturally. Then it should be real accurate.


* We are not suggesting the American Graffiti Coupe was only a prop. But it was used and treated as one in the film. Hence quite a few left over crew modifications were left in tact on the car after filming. The Coupe was purchased as an existing street worthy hot rod and was used as such after the films.