The Duke of Burl – 1940 Chevy Coupe

1940s Chevy Coupe – West Coast Style Deep in the Heart of Texas

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Richard Donham, better known to his friends and around the traditional customs scene as “Burl” is a true to heart Californian that somehow was misplaced into the hot and humid metropolis of Houston, Texas. His roots and style are deeply seeded in skating and surfing; evident by the number of boards that line his garage and patio. A long-time member and treasurer of the Los Cochinos Car Club of Houston, TX he’s happy to extend some Texas hospitality in the form of some fresh gulf shrimp chased with an ice-cold Tecate with a lime and salted rim; something yours truly is on the hook for on the next visit to Houston.

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Always up for a cruise night or cruise by the boardwalk and beach in Kemah, a suburb of Houston, we hopped in this pristine custom with Burl and headed straight towards the beach. With Houston’s long history in the oil and gas industry, there’s no shortage of high-end euros, Maserati’s, Porsches, etc. lining the streets. But take one Gambino Kustoms built, traditionally styled 1940 Chevy Coupe scrapin’ the pavement and those same euros-rides suddenly fade as the spotlight shifts to the kustom and whatever tunes happening to be pouring out of the windows.

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Burl picked up the Chevy coupe from famed builder Alex Gambino of Gambino Kustoms of San Jose, CA. As with anything that rolls out of Gambino’s shop, the ’40 followed a methodical build with heavy attention to the even the most mundane detail… But that’s what sets the great kustoms apart from the good ones – the details. Details like a channel so deep the running boards touch the ground when the air bags are completely deflated.

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Styling cues such as shaved door handles and badges add traditional touches to the coupe, and the retention of certain trim pieces such as those along the hood, doors and rear quarter highlight the vision and eye for detail of the builder. But it’s the copper suede paint that one- ups any ride with the misfortune of being parked next to it at a show or parking lot.

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Under the hood, Burl keeps it old-school running a 235 inline 6-cylinder with subtle chrome accents; so clean you could eat off of it. The gears are rowed via a column shifted “3 on the tree” protruding from the meticulously restored dash with original gauges.

Engine and Interior Details Next:

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