Home built 1930 Ford Sport Coupe Hot Rod
1930 Ford Hot Rod with Traditional Style
Time – that one thing you can never truly get back and the one thing you can never seem to have enough of. There are those times though when a little patience, a bit of preparedness and a calculated bit of timing pay off dividends when a long awaited opportunity raises its head.
For Kopis Georgalos, that time came at the 2008 LA Roadster show. Despite a good rep as a fabricator and custom builder, with a mild 1951 Pontiac custom to showcase his work, Kopis long had plans in the works for a project yet to occupy a space in his garage – a traditional rod. Notice I said his garage, not so and so’s customs or such and such’s garage. Nope – this build wasn’t simply just for Kopis to have the traditional rod he had always wanted, but a chance to push himself, test his skills and learn some new tricks along the way.
Kopis knew an open car, maybe a roadster would be right for him. Coupes were a little cramped on the inside, especially for the Throttle Kings’ annual trip to Viva. He wanted something topless and loud from the engine to the color but still simple and traditional – Man and machine on the road, “I’d like to know what it’s like to own and build something like that…” The plan was no secret as he had been stockpiling parts here and there, waiting for the right opportunity. He’d even acquired an original ’32 Ford Grille as a gift from a friend to adorn the front for when the project finally came to fruition.
Kopis spotted a 1930 Sport Coupe shell at the Roadster Show back in 2008. Despite some rough patches and a few odd cuts made by the current owner, likely to allow for creative storage, the shell was complete. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t have much background on the car, just that he’s owned it for a few years and moved it around a few places.
None of the body worked seemed too challenging and Kopis had plenty of practice on the aforementioned 1951 Pontiac that became well known on the local scene around Kopis’ hometown of Whittier. So he ponied up the cash and moved from “tire kicker” to owner.
Now the proud owner of a ’30 Ford body and with years of waiting behind him, he kicked off a project that would consume the majority of the next three years of his life. The first obvious step – pick up a frame to set it on. He ordered a full 2×3 tube frame for the sport coupe with a slight rake to give the proper lines once the body and suspension were attached. Before bolting the body to the frame though, Kopis channeled it a few inches to give it an acceptable ride height.
With each build, comes new lessons, new skills to hone and the added sense of accomplishment that comes with stepping up and owning a new challenge. Despite the skills Kopis acquired from years of building customs, it was the tiny details of the build that would prove he was worth his salt. Hiding brake lines, deciding where to mount the master cylinder, and cleaning those previously hidden areas now exposed and visible to even the untrained eye are the details that would earn respect with this build. You could never tell the window frames on the doors were removed – Remember, this is a Sport Coupe body, not a roadster.
Nowhere is the time honored adage “less is more” more relevant than in a traditional hot rod. Their lightweight makes engines more about usable power and balance than simply high horsepower numbers – great for gauging your neighbor’s affinity towards parallel black marks down your street, but not so much for regular commutes.
Following that bit of rodding wisdom, Kopis had a donor in mind for the ’30. His good friend and soon to be engine building partner, Kenny Brown, had a line on a 283 SBC out a mid 60’s Elkie. A fresh rebuild complete with an Isky cam, and Edelbrock 3×2 Manifold topped with a set of Rochesters came together in Kenny’s garage. The little extras ensure Kopis stays planted firmly against the back of the driver seat and a set of custom Gear Drive Headers send out an early warning the coupe is heading in your direction. It’s plenty to chirp the Firestone wide whites while banging through the TH350 trans.
Kopis originally intended on tackling the interior finish as well, but was more anxious to get the car finished and on the road than learning upholstery work. So, he dropped the seat with Sew Cal Upholstery for white and cream tuck and roll treatment with matching door panels.
With everything together and the body sporting a fresh coat of blue paint awards from various show rolled in frequently. The most prized so far being a club pick from the Suede Palace at the Grand National Roadster show. Three years of patience and perseverance paying off.
Before contacting Kopis, a mutual friend had mentioned the coupe and how laid back and down to earth the owner was. Within a few minutes of chatting with Kopis, I realized how it added a new spin to the almost now cliché description. This guy has one of the best looking rods on the streets of So-Cal, built the car with his own hands and with the help of a few good friends and has no pretense or arrogance towards his work. That’s genuine – and so is his roadster.
Photos by Trent Sherrill
Model: Betsy Vandeusen (have a link you’d like me to use dear?)