Ryan Kopchin­ski’s ’49 Ford Cus­tom Re­lives the Past


Ryan Kopchin­ski’s ’49 Ford Cus­tom

For Ryan Kopchin­ski of Pasadena, Mary­land, get­ting into the au­to­mo­tive groove started as soon as he could walk into the fam­ily shop where his dad, Steve, was al­ways el­bows deep into the build of his lat­est traditional cus­tom or hot rod. The pair formed an im­me­di­ate bond, with the young­ster learn­ing the finer points of wrench­ing on a car while also gain­ing a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a job well done. Cruis­ing in the fam­ily hop-ups and feel­ing the ex­cite­ment they gen­er­ated when pulling into a lo­cal cruise night per­ma­nently lit the fuse, es­pe­cially when be­ing able to hang out with their friends and check­ing into the lat­est rides on the scene. Add in plenty of time spent at large na­tional events and the lo­cal dragstrips and it’s easy to see how his per­spec­tive was be­ing shaped.

In a world where most of his friends were fo­cused on im­port tuners, he was ob­sessed with Fox-body Mus­tangs and vin­tage muscle cars packed with amped-up V-8s turn­ing solid times on the quar­ter-mile. By the time he got his li­cense it wasn’t long till he was wheel­ing one of a dozen Mus­tangs he would even­tu­ally own, many of which were des­tined for the dragstrip, while do­ing all the work in the fam­ily shop. While the track held plenty of adrenalin from rac­ing, he still en­joyed cruis­ing in cus­toms since his dad and many of their fam­ily friends were de­voted to shoe­box Fords. There was just some­thing so cool about them that brought him back to his teen years, enough so that he made a de­ci­sion to start the search for a suit­able ’49-’51 Ford to act as a base for his vi­sion to rise.

Af­ter look­ing at count­less cars it was by chance that Steve found just the right list­ing on­line for a ’49 Ford two-door sedan in Cal­i­for­nia that had been started down the cus­tom path, hav­ing al­ready been chopped, giv­ing it a great pro­file. The car was dented, in primer, without glass, and not run­ning, how­ever it had plenty of soul, so a deal was made and it was shipped back East to start its res­ur­rec­tion.

Upon ar­rival the pair stud­ied its finer points and set a game plan to bring it to a fin­ished level. Since it was to be a traditional cus­tom it was ob­vi­ous that the stance would have to be spot-on, so the stock chas­sis was up­dated. Start­ing out back a Ford Maverick 8-inch rear packed with 3.55 gears sus­pended in place by a Gam­bino Kus­toms Ford Tail­drag­ger kit fea­tur­ing their ex­clu­sive cus­tom-fab­ri­cated brack­ets and mounts, tri­an­gu­lated four-bar, and Fire­stone ’bags com­bined with an Air Lift Per­for­mance Au­topi­lot V-2 air man­age­ment sys­tem. Up front Jamco up­per and lower tubu­lar con­trol arms meet match­ing 2-1/2-inch dropped spin­dles with Fire­stone ’bags com­plet­ing the stance. When it comes to slow­ing speed, a Jamco dual mas­ter pushes fluid through steel lines to Ford drums out back with Jamco 11-inch discs up front. Link­ing it all to the street you’ll find a set of stock 15-inch Ford steel­ies capped with Coker Amer­i­can Clas­sic wide whites crowned with gen­nie ’52 Cadil­lac hub­caps for a time­less look.

There’s noth­ing quite like the sound of a wicked Flat­head mill to give your cus­tom a sig­na­ture be­tween the ’rails, so Ryan called on Paul Hogge of Pasadena to bring the goods. A ’50 Merc block was mas­saged to 284 ci and packed with plenty of go-fast bits, in­clud­ing a Scat crank linked to Ea­gle rods wear­ing Ross Rac­ing pis­tons given a heavy thump from an Isky stick. Finned and pol­ished Navarro heads make plenty of power, es­pe­cially when fed though an Of­fen­hauser two-pot in­take suck­ing fuel though a pair of Stromberg 97-se­ries carbs wear­ing an Ed­die Meyer air cleaner all pol­ished to the hilt. To

chan­nel power a warmed-over Ford C-4 trans from CT Trans­mis­sions of Glen­burnie links to a cus­tom drive­shaft to put it all to the ground.

Cre­at­ing the ul­ti­mate sig­na­ture of any true cus­tom are the sub­tle mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the body, and if the devil’s in the de­tails, he’s wear­ing a Cheshire grin. Get­ting started, the car as pur­chased had a per­fectly bal­anced chop, start­ing at 5 inches up front and grad­u­ally pro­gress­ing to 7 inches out back to cre­ate the ul­ti­mate pro­file. From there Ryan worked with fam­ily friend Pat Guthrie, well-known for his cus­tomiz­ing skills, to cre­ate the stain­less mold­ings, french head­lights and tail­lights, nose and deck the body, and round the door and trunk edges. From there Roy Jor­dan stepped in to work his magic, which in­cluded craft­ing the cus­tom in­ner fend­er­wells and fire­wall as well as peak­ing the hood and tak­ing on nu­mer­ous other tasks. From there the floors and trunk were up­dated and lower ex­te­rior body patch pan­els in­stalled. The body was then metal fin­ished with all gaps be­ing mas­saged to per­fec­tion. To lay down the vibe Ryan went to Dave Corn­well at DC Hot Rods in Lau­rel to com­plete the body­work and get ev­ery­thing ra­zor sharp. He then put down a lus­trous coat­ing of PPG Mer­lot Jewel, bring­ing it all to life.

In­side is the per­fect com­ple­ment, with the orig­i­nal dash filled with di­als from Hane­line to mon­i­tor the vitals while an orig­i­nal Ford Crest­liner wheel carves the course with shifts pulled through a stick from Lokar. The in­te­rior was then treated to stun­ning ma­roon and white rolled Nau­gahyde with com­ple­ment­ing loop car­pet by Bobby Moore at Evo­lu­tion Cre­ative’s in Hamp­stead. This is one traditional cus­tom cruis­ing the streets of Mary­land keep­ing the torch lit for a fu­ture gen­er­a­tion, and we to­tally dig it! For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence: https://bit.ly/2ExE1c8



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