Dave Meal's 1948 Ford Business Coupe
(from Volume 24, Issue 278)

story and photos by Michael B. Kelly


Dave Meal started working on cars in 1956, back in Cleveland, Ohio. That included helping build the Leffler Bros. AA/FC Bantam Coupe, which he helped campaign in California. Once back in Cleveland, Dave was back at it with more race cars and street cars, which included building the AA/FC Bantam for Loukas & Preising, which is still running today. In fact, Dave has worked on cars while touring all over America, for the likes of Stone, Woods & Cook, Tommy Ivo, Chuck Finders, Joe Schubeck of Lakewood Industries, and Gene Schwartz.

Dave was also involved in other ventures, such as starting M&H Engineering with Joe Hrudka, building chassis and headers. He also helped start the Mr. Gasket Co., and built race cars for them. Eventually Dave went to work for himself building race cars and street cars, including offering custom painting and pinstriping. After 20 years of that he went to work at the Crawford Auto Museum in Ohio, restoring cars and airplanes. Other ventures included building offshore boats for Terry Philipe, and racing 30 to 40-foot boats all over the USA until about 1985. All of this eventually found Dave moving to St. Cloud, Florida, and working at Mercury Marine in their test area called “Lake X”. Next up was a job at Disney World in the staff shop as a mold and model maker, which also included building crafting anything else they wanted him to build. Retirement from Disney came in 2008.

Since the beginning Dave was always building cars, but now it is only for himself. Cars along the way have included a 1930 Ford Roadster in 1996. Next up was a pro-street 1948 Crosley Coupe with a tube frame, roll cage, 4-link, coil over front end, air ride, supercharged 350 cubic inch engine with an Isky cam, and a handmade body that was 24-inches wider and 24-inches longer than stock. He then turned his sights to a 1948 Anglia / Volkswagen, which among other custom touches included a handmade nose, roof and trunk, and was powered by a 4-cylinder S-10 engine and 5-speed transmission.

All of this lead up to his current car, a 1948 Ford Business Coupe. It was made by combining a 1941 Ford with the front sheet metal of a ‘48 Ford. The exterior also features an extra grill bar where the bumper would normally be located, a 4-inch front spoiler, shaved door handles, custom made taillights, and a 4-inch chopped top. For power it utilizes a 350 Chevy engine, 5-speed manual transmission, and a 9-inch Ford rear end. It also has an S-10 front suspension and a coil spring rear setup. Inside you will find a lipstick red interior, handmade wood steering wheel with inlaid turquoise, and a rear camera system with the display on the center console.

Never one to sit still, Dave is currently working on a 1947 Pontiac Torpedo Fastback, which will be chopped 6-1/2 inches, channeled 4-inches, have a complete air ride system, plus a 350 Chevy motor backed by a 700R4 overdrive automatic from Fourth Gear Transmissions. After that he already has plans for a ‘32 Ford Roadster....and I’m sure he is already thinking of the next car after that, too!

There is no doubt Dave Meal has led a life full of interesting endeavours, which he keeps adding to every day. He would like to thank his son, Jon Meal, and his special friend Kathy Hart. We always enjoy running into Dave and swapping stories, and of course we are always interested in what he will be up to next, because you never can tell. CN