Old School Iron Ford Coupe in the Valley of Silicone

1930 Ford Model A HotRod

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SoCal – Long revered as the mecca for hot rods and custom cars, and for good reason… Builders from LA and the San Fernando Valley launched what is now known as traditional style builds and continue to set the standard.  But, just a few hours north up the 5, San Jose’s Jeff Cimoli and the Rompacoglioni C.C. are turning out traditional customs and hot rods rivaling anything cruising the PCH.

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Originally a self-proclaimed Cadillac guy and with a well recognized and respected ’60 Caddy to back up this claim, a visit to the Cow Palace in San Francisco back in 2007 would steer him away from his first love. On display was a traditional styled ’30 Ford Coupe by Nor Cal builder Scotty Chops. Jeff immediately knew what he’d build next.  Fortunately, Jeff soon heard about a barn fresh coupe in the near-by farm town on Morgan Hill.

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The rumor turned out to be true and Jeff soon scored a ’30 five window Ford body and frame to kick off the project. His time building Cadillacs earned him a good local rep and several contacts in the area. In no time, the coupe found its way to Top Notch Kustoms in San Jose.

Nacho at Top Notch handled the body modifications, starting with chopping the coupe’s top 4″ and bringing the body down with a 4″ channel. Just the right amount of body modifications to the coupe is proof positive that sometimes less is more.

The traditional pinstriping gracing the deck lid also came courtesy of Nacho and a 32 Ford grille gives the coupe a menacing presence in your rearview but it’s rare you see it there for very long. When the body work was complete, it was time to pick a color. The unique root beer hue adorning the ’30 coupe was achieved by starting with metallic brown with a flat agent added in the clear coat.

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Jeff’s coupe is powered by a 350 SBC with the right combination of old school flair; finned valve covers, 3 deuces with progressive linkage and mega-phone pipes protruding from the exposed engine bay. What else but a turbo 350 tranny sends the power down the drive shaft and back to the buggy style rear-end.  The mild mill delivers an excellent balance of power and reliability.

The coupe abruptly comes to a halt thanks to ’40 Ford drums at all corners. Up front, a 4” drop axle brings the nose down to the pavement with chrome shocks only adding to the visual appeal by contrasting nicely against the black powder coated frame.  Short work is made of the twisties of Silicone Valley thanks to the suspension upgrades, a Vega steering box, and Firestone bias plys spun by black O.E. wheels.

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One of the most time-honored and respected custom build traditions  is using what parts you have or salvaging what parts you can get your hands on. Nowhere is this more evident than in the bench seat of Jeff’s coupe.

Found on the side of the road and in such condition there’s no telling how many people rolled past it without batting an eye; Jeff scooped it up to see what could be made of the tattered seat. He dropped the seat off at Tony’s Upholstery for a resurrection and decided to deviate from the tried and true tuck and roll formula. Instead he opted for brown and tan hounds tooth with pitted vinyl. Judging by the finished product, the gamble paid off. Other interior standouts include a full set of Stewart Warner gauges and a removable headliner fabricated from a mesh dog screen.

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All together the build took approximately 8 months and the awards literally started coming in the day after completion. After just finishing the interior the day before the Strangers C.C. 2009 Annual Show, Jeff took home Best Hot Rod in Show. Another Best Hot Rod followed shortly after at Scotty Chops’ first show in 2009 and a Sponsors Choice Award was snatched up at the 2009 Capitola Rod and Custom show. Its a perfect blend of keeping it traditional but with subtle hints of personalization; the unconventional brown paint instead of the more popular black or red, the cloth houndstooth instead of tuck and roll naugahyde, that sets Jeff’s Coupe apart from the crowd. Not bad for your first hot rod build!

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Photographs by Trent Sherrill
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