- Completed in 2009
- Downs Industries fiberglass body
- Dressed GM LT1 V8
- GM 4L60E 4-speed automatic
- Jaguar independent rear
- Power steering / disc brakes
- Air conditioning
- Power windows
- Modern stereo system
You'd be forgiven for glancing at the lead image and assuming this is another fiberglass Ford. Despite half the deuce coupes in the world running small block Chevrolet power, an actual Chevrolet street rod still seems like a rarity. Looking over this '35 coupe, it's hard to imagine why. The lines are certainly there and the longer front ends seems ideal for entertaining a serious power plant. With a warmed up LT1 V8, 4L60E automatic, and a comfortable interior with amenities like air conditioning, power windows, a great stereo and thoughtfully placed cup holders, this Chevrolet was built both for the show and the drive there – even if it's two states away. If you're looking for a unique street rod ready for the long haul, take a minute and get to know this '35 Chevrolet.
Despite the steel-like first impression, the body is a fiberglass piece from Downs Industries. It takes all the proportions of a '35 Chevrolet three-window coupe and adds traditional modifications like a 3-inch chop to achieve that classic street rod look. Of course, nothing fiberglass ever leaves the mold perfect and ready to use. There is a lot of first rate work here. For one, all the mold seams were filled with epoxy and then sanded smooth. Next, the fiberglass grille shell was put into place before the three-piece hood was fitted neatly behind it. Finally, the RTM fender package was installed, capping off the signature Chevrolet look. Panel gaps are narrow and even all around, highlighting the attention to detail put into this build. The completed shell wears a sleek coat of Red Fire Metallic that reads like a simple burgundy until placed in direct sunlight.
Up close, this slick Chevrolet coupe follows up its introduction with some impressive details. Up front, that fiberglass grille shell hosts a custom aluminum grille insert flanked by a pair of round headlights with integrated LED turn signals. The three-piece hood gets its range of motion from a Dan Fink hinge kit while the suicide doors open with power assist and stay in place thanks to deadbolts and bear claw latches. The body came with a complete tinted glass package that carries a distinct advantage over any other possible candidates – it fits perfectly because it was designed with the car. At the corners of the A-frames, perfectly proportioned mirrors offer 20/20 hindsight while stainless wipers make sure the view ahead is always clear. The ultra-clean side view offers little more than a thin stainless trim strip at either side of the hood to break up that sleek paint work. At the rear, sloping rear fenders make room for LED taillights while a recessed license plate looks at home in the custom roll pan.
Between the frame rails, this slick coupe features slightly more contemporary motivation in the form of a GM LT1 V8. This one is a 1994 vintage, meaning it utilizes a two-valve pushrod system and reverse-flow cooling to achieve higher compression than any of its immediate predecessors. Good for roughly 275hp and 325lb-ft of torque in stock form, this one has seen its fair share of upgrades. The engine was torn down and cleaned up by Kalina Machine & Engine Part in Peoria, Illinois before pieces, such as an updated cam and stronger rod bearings, were installed during reassembly. Since this Chevrolet is a little more straightforward than anything offered in 1994, a custom tune disabled unnecessary items like the speed limiter and EGR while also adjusting for the axle ratio and rear tire size. Aside from power and reliability, the hot LT1 offers plenty to admire in the looks department as well. A polished intake manifold pairs with chrome valve covers, Corvette fuel rail covers, and chrome accessories like the air conditioning compressor and alternator for a show ready look. Up front, a compact radiator pairs with a single electric fan to keep the bay cool. Surrounded by fresh hardware, neatly hidden wiring, and reflective surfaces all around, you can show this small block with pride.
A quick look underneath confirms this street rod was built to be enjoyed. Behind the LT1, a GM 4L60E 4-speed automatic knows just when to shift, spinning power back to a differential with highway-friendly 3.31 gears. Around that stalwart drivetrain, a Downs chassis serves as the foundation. The front is supported by polished tubular control arms and Kugel spindles while the back is held in place by a Jaguar-style independent rear with inboard brakes. Both ends feature polished Aldan coilovers and the front carries a thick sway bar. When the roads twist a polished power rack and pinion minimizes steering effort while power brakes utilize four-piston caliper front and two-piston caliper rear disc brakes. The brake booster and master cylinder are tucked underneath the driver side, delivering fluid through fresh braided steel flex lines. A set of 16 and 17-inch chrome Dayton wire wheels provide a unique look wrapped in 215/55R16 front and 205/40ZR17 rear Toyo radials. If you're wondering about those wheels – yes, they are real knock offs. There's even a special hammer for them included in the sale.
Swing the doors open to find a simple but stylish interior finished predominately in leather. Despite appearances, there is a surprising amount of legroom and the suicide doors make getting in and out easier than usual. Seating for two is provided by a pair of modern bucket seats wrapped in two-tone tan leather while below, fresh tank carpets with matching custom floor mats cover the ground level. That carpet covers the lower portion of the door panels until more two-tone custom leather takes over. The sculpted armrests do a great job of concealing the power window switches while the stylish polished door handles place equal emphasis on form and function. Behind the seats, a leather-wrapped panel conceals the brains of the operation – the ECM and fuse panel. From the driver seat, a leather-topped billet steering wheel bolts up to a GM tilt-column with a familiar looking stalk on the left side. Silver-face gauges by Classic Instruments contrast well against the Red Fire Metallic dash while keeping tabs on fuel, oil pressure, speed, temperature, and voltage. Directly below, HVAC controls rest below a JVC AM/FM/CD/MP3 head unit that sends signal to speakers mounted in the kick panels and package tray. A switch behind the drivers seat lifts the decklid to reveal a nicely finished space with leather and carpet that match the seating area for a unified look throughout.
The sale includes a Certificate of Manufacture and invoice from Downs Industries as well as receipts for the machine work performed on the engine, custom tuning, and custom wiring harness.
Equally comfortable on the road or at the cruise in, this '35 Chevrolet is a great example of a fully functional street rod. With its modern LT1/4L60E combination, reliability won't be a concern and, with all the features packed into that compact cabin, passengers certainly won't complain about the ride either. Best of all, this solid spec sheet is wrapped in a solid Downs body dressed in a color guaranteed to turn heads in daylight. If you're ready for a different kind of street rod, don't miss the chance to bring this sleek Chevrolet home today!