Although the headlines of automotive blogs, websites and magazines are often dominated by the latest high-horse, high dollar machinery out of Europe, the tradition of custom craftsmanship is alive and well in America. There’s perhaps no better example than Cal Customs’ 1940 Ford Coupe, dubbed “Checkered Past.” This jewel received the Ridler award at the 2013 Detroit Autorama, one of the most highly sought-after awards in the custom world. With the level of detail in this car, it’s not hard to see why it received the accolade.
Hot Rod Magazine’s Elana Scherr got an exclusive first ride in this one-of-a-kind masterpiece, and saw first-hand the painstaking detail and custom craftsmanship that went into building it. A lot of the Ford’s body work was custom-fabricated to give it a unique look, including the headlight housings, custom 3D-printed taillight lenses, and raked-back grille.
And while the ubiquitous Chevrolet small-block V-8 is under the hood of the majority of custom rods, Checkered Past stays true to its roots with authentic Ford Flathead power. But to give it some contemporary performance, the engine is fortified with fuel injection and supercharging.