Featured Vehicles / From the Summit Racing Catalog

Double Take: Jim & Diana Lopochonsky’s 1930 Ford Coupe

It was July of 1993.

Flannel shirts were high fashion, Walker, Texas Ranger was laying down the law, and Jim and Diana Lopochonsky’s radical Pro Street ’33 Ford coupe graced the cover of the Summit Racing catalog. Fast-forward 19 years and they’re still at it—and now they’ve even got their teenaged son Jamison in on the act.

The Lopochonskys’ most recent creation—this smoldering silver 1930 Ford coupe—exemplifies Jim’s lifelong passion for performance and carries on a legacy of truly awesome home-built hot rods. This time around, he’s drawn on 40-plus years of planning to pay tribute to the classics.

“I’ve gone to car shows all my life and read through literally thousands of magazines, taking inspiration from here and there,” Jim said. “Really, I wanted to build a ’60s-style hot rod the way I remembered them as a kid.”

The buildup started at the ground floor with a custom-fabbed 2-inch x 3-inch tube frame chassis, complete with a suicide-style front end (assembled by Jamison) that stretches the wheelbase an extra 10 inches. To get that street-scraping ride height and aggressive stance just right, he Z’ed the frame rails 3 inches up front and a healthy 15 inches out back. On top of that, Jim cleverly set the Chevy 350 way back on the frame to accentuate the length of the machine. And we don’t think a mouse has looked more at home in a blue oval!

 

Take a gander at the “crown jewel,” as Jim so eloquently puts it, and you’ll know why a hood was never part of this equation: perched on top of the 350 is a jaw-dropping intake setup, composed of an Offenhauser 6 x 2 manifold and a half-dozen vintage Holley 94 2-barrel carbs, fed by a set of frog-mouth air cleaners. Classic finned valve covers, Sanderson Limefire headers, and a set of Summit V-belt pulleys add some extra polish to this jewel.

With the chassis and driveline buttoned up, the crew set its sights on breathing new life into the Model A’s all-metal, 70-year-old body with a little nip from the plasma cutter and a tuck with the welding torch. After Jamison patched up the holes, Jim replaced the rotten floor, filled the roof, gave it a 4 1/2-inch chop, and channeled the body over the frame to achieve that definitive hot rod look. In the front, Jim reversed the firewall to make room for the engine’s new midship position.

Nobody’s a bigger fan of the hot rod’s body and paintwork than Jim—and with good reason. That smooth-as-glass PPG Bright Silver color and arrow-straight sheetmetal were left to the masterful hands of none other than his wife, Diana. And this isn’t their first tandem effort; she’s been knocking out amazing custom jobs on their project cars since the ’33 Pro Street coupe.

The interior sticks to the Lopochonsky’s three H’s of hot rods: hand-built, home made, and hoo boy! So it’s no surprise that you’re surrounded by the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail on the inside. “I know what I like and I know what I’m satisfied with,” Jim said. “That’s why we’re fanatics about doing everything ourselves.”

From either side of the waterfall-style console, rolled and pleated white leather buckets (custom made by Jim, of course) provide a perfect view of the 1930 Ford pickup dashboard, seamlessly grafted into position. To help keep the driver informed, Jim sourced his angled gauge pods from an unlikely place: exhaust tubing. And a Grant steering wheel and Lokar Nostalgia 23-inch shifter keep the hands happy.

One of the most striking features of the Ford is one that you could just as easily look right through. There isn’t standard glass framed in the specially widened window channels, but rather institutional-grade stainless steel mesh safety glass. Why?

“I’m always looking for something different,” Jim said. “With all of the hot rods out there, you almost have to set your car on fire to get it noticed,” Jim said. “Just throwing on a set of whitewalls doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Thankfully, no unforgivable acts of automotive arson were committed here; instead, Jim, Diana, and Jamison are lighting up the streets with remarkable street machines that stay true to their hot rod roots.

Here’s looking forward to the next one!

Photography By: Studio Martone

FAST SPECS

Chassis
Frame: Custom-fabricated 2-inch x 3-inch steel tubing, Z’ed 3-inch suicide-style front and 15-inch rear, painted PPG Silver Steel
Front Suspension: Custom-drilled Super Bell 4-inch dropped I-beam, hairpin radius rods, friction shocks
Rear Suspension: Ladder bar with Alden Eagle coil-over shocks
Rear Axle: Narrowed 1970 Ford Bronco 9-inch with 4.11 gears
Brakes: 1948 Ford drum with custom-drilled backing plates (front), 1970 Ford Bronco drums (rear)
Wheels and Tires: 1935 Ford wire wheels painted PPG Red Jewel (16 x 6 front, 16 x 7 rear), Coker Firestone Deluxe Champion Tires (6.00-16 front, 7.00-16 rear)
Other Items: Spun aluminum gas tank (relocated to trunk)

Engine and Transmission
Engine Type: Chevy 350 H.O. crate engine, painted PPG Red Jewel
Induction: Offenhauser 6-Carburetor Log intake manifold, Holley 94 2-barrel carburetors with frog mouth scoops
Ignition: PerTronix Flame-Thrower distributor and coil, Taylor Spiro-Pro ignition wires
Exhaust: Sanderson Limefire headers, Car Chemistry inserts
Transmission: Chevy TH-350, Lokar Nostalgia 23-inch shifter
Other Items: Custom-fit Walker radiator, Tuff Stuff One-Wire chrome-plated alternator, Tuff Stuff Full Size chrome-plated starter, Summit Racing V-belt pulleys, custom-fabricated motor mounts

Body
Modifications: Filled roof panel, chopped 4 1/2-inch, reversed firewall, custom-drilled sun visor
Paint Color: PPG Bright Silver
Paint and Body Work By: Diana Lopochonsky

Interior
Modifications: 1930 Ford pickup dashboard, Auto Meter Old Tyme gauges with custom gauge pods, Grant Classic steering wheel, 1970 Chevy pickup steering column, custom waterfall-style console, custom safety glass and widened window channels
Upholstery: White rolled and pleated leather
Upholstery By: Jim Lopochonsky

Awards
“Top 100” Street Rodder 2009 Street Rod of the Year
“Homebuilt Heaven Award” 2009 Goodguys Blue Suede Cruise, Norwalk, OH
“People’s Choice” 2009 Thompson Raceway Park Steel Valley Nationals, Thompson, OH

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