When he first laid eyes on his 1937 Chevy Business Coupe Street Rod, Cal Jackson had an instant connection to the ride that harkens back to the early days of the automotive industry.
Jackson discovered the ride in Winnipeg after initially making a trip to the provincial capital to check out a rebuilt Model A. However, he found the Model A was not the right fit and he kept on the prowl looking for the perfect classic ride.
His friend mentioned there was a 1937 Chevy Business Coupe for sale, and Jackson immediately called to view the ride and take it for a spin in the fall of 2017.
He knew right away it was coming home with him.
The vehicle had originally been found a little worse for wear on a farm in Reston.
“It did need a lot of work. I spent probably $6,000 just on rust repair,” Jackson said. “The bottom of the doors were all rusted out.”
He first noticed bubbling on the quarter panel of the doors and soon discovered how extensive the water damage to the Chevy was. Jackson added the rust was so severe because no drain holes were present. When it rained, the water pooled, slowly eating away at the doors.
The restoration of the body was completed by Fowler Hyundai and it took about seven weeks to finish the job of cutting off the bottom of the doors.
“The bottom six inches were cut down and rewelded on. They sanded it down, repainted the doors, [and] they took the fenders off,” he said.
Jackson was drawn to the unique style of the Chevy and its smooth look, especially the roof sitting with a lowered top slightly below the original height.
“It’s got a little bit of a different style to it. It’s more sleek looking,” Jackson said.
The fenders for the Coupe were custom-built using fibreglass from Michigan. The bottom panels for the doors came from the Back to the ’50s Weekend car show based in Minneapolis.
“It has a nice profile when it’s coming at you. It’s about eight inches off the ground, so it’s fairly low,” Jackson said.
He added the automatic transmission was also not shifting properly when he first started driving the vehicle. He found that out the hard way while on a trip to Morden with a friend. Jackson went to pass someone and when he hit the gas to overtake the car, the Chevy would not shift into high gear.
Jackson soon remedied this issue.
The Coupe has a Chevy 350 under the hood out of an early 1970s GMC truck. The Coupe originally had a smaller engine, but the previous owner wanted an engine with a bit more power.
Jackson said it can be a bit of a rough ride because of the short wheelbase.
“It’s like driving a go-kart because it’s so positive with the steering. If you’re going to make a move, you have to make sure you want to make that move because it’s going,” Jackson said with a laugh.
The Coupe has had heat, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering and power windows installed or upgraded. He added the driver’s seat is powered and adjustable up and down for maximum comfort.
Tinkering with the ride adds to the experience of owning the Coupe because it provides the opportunity to add his own unique touches.
“It reminds me of when I was growing up. Dad sold snowmobiles and we used to go snowmobile racing every Sunday. Dad used to always say there was nothing like going snowmobile racing for two hours and spending the rest of the week fixing it,” Jackson said with a chuckle.
“That’s kind of like what this is. You go for a drive on a Sunday and you spend the rest of the week fixing it. It’s continuous. There’s always something to do.”
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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun