Proving that not all early hot rod roads lead to a Ford - but a 1933 Chevy roadster is a difficult road to take.
There’s hardly a more iconic base for a hot rod than the ’32-‘34 Ford. For as popular as those have been over the years, there’s hardly any fanfare for Chevrolets from those years. Of course, there’s a very good reason for that- much of the inner body structure on those Chevys is made not from steel, but wood. Because of that heavier, flexible decomposing material, most builders back away from the challenge, but not Greg Meyer. His ’33 Chevy custom roadster has seen 13 and a half years of constant building, upgrading and customizing to create one of the finest ever to wear the bow tie.
When Meyer found the car in Jackson, Mississippi in 1999, the Chevy had already been converted from a 3-window coupe into a roadster by a previous owner, but on the long drive home on Route 66 to Oregon he began to find the first signs of trouble. Small stress cracks in the sheet metal began to appear, and by 2001 Meyer had uncovered the culprit- the aging, flexing Chevrolet body’s wooden frame. At that point, what started as a fun weekend hot rod turned into a massive ground-up project.
Meyer enlisted the help of expert builders A&M Deluxe Customs in Cornelius Oregon, initially to build a custom tube frame for the roadster, but as the Chevy came apart so he couldn’t help but add a few things to the wish list. Nearly every piece of bodywork on this Chevy has been reworked for the goal of “removing the sharp edges,” as Meyer puts it. The grille, hood and windshield have all been raked back to offer a more streamlined look, aided by a 7.5” kick forward at the bottom of the grille shell. The front fenders have been reprofiled around the 5-spoke Billet Specialties Rails (17x8s in the front and beefy 20x10s in the back), and the fender seam now matches the door line thanks to a sizable cut at the rear and new hand-formed steel running boards.
Harley-Davidson V-Rod lamps replace the stock headlights, sitting inside custom buckets by Steve’s Auto Restoration that are canted to match the angle of the grille and windshield.
Around back, the rear fenders have been extended, removing the original ’33 Chevy “step-up” and bringing them in line with the rear apron, which has also been adjusted slightly to give a better view of the goodies underneath. Rear taillights have been frenched into the fenders and the bulbs are replaced with crisp new LEDs. Overall, the look is still proudly Chevrolet, but cleaner and more aggressive than General Motors ever intended. All this new sheetmetal was wrapped in mile-deep House of Kolor Kandy Tangerine courtesy of Ben’s Custom Paint in Oregon City.
His ’33 Chevy custom roadster has seen 13 and a half years of constant building, upgrading and customizing to create one of the finest ever to wear the bow tie.
This roadster is just as attractive on the inside, courtesy of an all-custom interior upholstered by V34 Custom Interiors in Eugene, Oregon. The two-tone motif of Edelman Artisan Black and rich, tobacco-brown Santa Fe Brûlée leather wraps through the doors and front buckets for a slick, unified look, and set off against the paint perfectly. The brightwork is a highlight here as well, especially the gauge cluster. Originally a Classic Instruments panel, this bronze and steel work of art was completely refurbished by Kustom Knobworks, who also custom-built nearly every piece of switchgear and paneling in here. Tying it all together is a two-tone banjo-style wheel, also by Kustom Knobworks, picking up both the brushed stainless and bright bronze tones from the dash for a look that’s both bleeding-edge modern and timelessly cool.
Meyer’s ’33 is far from just a pretty face, however, with a crate LS6 providing grunt to go with the style. While the power plant remains mostly stock, the gleaming Imagine Injection stacks are a clear sign that this mill isn’t quite fresh out of the box. In addition, Comp Cams XR275 HR-12 with .566/.568 lift along with Street & Performance headers, custom stainless exhaust and Flowmaster Hushpower IIs out back bring power to comfortable and respectable 400 horsepower at 5800 RPM and 400 lb./ft. at 4500.
This modern Chevy mill is mated to a modern Chevy 4L65E automatic with Lokar paddles for a bit more control when driving gets spirited. All this gets to the road through a modified Jag diff with 3.42 gears.
Speaking of spirited driving, the drivetrain isn’t the only modern system on this ’33, which proudly sports all-new front and rear suspension and brakes. Up front, it’s all Kugel Components, with Kugel spindles, steering, and antiroll bars set up Mustang II-style. Alongside these are Bilstein shocks, 400’ springs and 11” Wilwood discs front and rear mated to twin Wilwood master cylinders. Around back is a rear Panhard bar, along with a set of RideTech Shockwave bags for a buttery smooth ride.
It’s not every day that a hot rodder sets out to build a ’33 Chevrolet, especially to this level. They may not have the instant recognition or ease of a Blue Oval build, but if there’s one thing that Greg Meyer and his ’33 roadster prove it’s that done right, these Bowties can be every bit as bitchin’ as their Ford rivals.