Ray Williams' 1937 Ford Coupe (from March 2003)

When Ray Williams of Hialeah, Florida was 19 years old he was the proud owner of a ‘40 Ford Coupe. He street rodded it himself, with a 283 Chevy motor and drive line. By his own admission it wasn’t the classiest job, and he never finished it. He soon got married and started a family, and had to sell the ‘40 Ford so he could afford his first child, Deborah. Then a year and a half later Ray Jr. came along.

Before he knew it 15 years had past, and he found himself in the position to finally afford a toy again. Ray’s next ride was a ‘40 Ford Pickup, which was all original. He sold it two years later and went looking for another ‘40 Ford Coupe, when he came across a 1937 Ford Club Coupe that was already street rodded, but need cosmetics. He bought the car and enjoyed it for the next 10 years, then he saw a Minotti bodied ‘37 Ford Coupe that knocked his socks off.

Ray already knew a local street rod builder for the previous 15 years by the name of Eddie York, who had already built 6 of the Minotti ‘37 Fords out of his Davie, Florida shop. Soon Ray sold his ‘37 Ford Club Coupe and went looking for a Minotti ‘37 Ford for sale, hoping to find one Eddie had crafted. After going fishing at many shows Ray ran into Eddie in Knoxville, Tennessee. Eddie said he was between projects, and proposed he build Ray a new ‘37 when they got home....and so they did.

Things got started with an order for a Minotti body and a TCI chassis. With the chassis came a stainless TCI independent front suspension with power steering, a 9” Ford posi traction rear end with 350 gears in the aluminum center housing and 3 inch chrome axle tubes, stainless parallel 4-bar, 11 inch Wilwood disc brakes with an 8 inch power booster, and coil over adjustable shocks.

The engine compartment soon found a 2000 LS1 motor fitted inside dressed up with a chrome intake manifold and fuel rail, with ceramic coated Street Performance headers passing the spent gasses along to a ceramic coated exhaust with stainless steel mufflers. A Griffen aluminum radiator with an electric pull fan does the cooling chores, dressed up with braided stainless steel air conditioning and heater hoses. A 4L60E transmission was selected, with the power ending up at a set of Budnik Tiller-5 billet wheels (17 inch diameter rears, and 16 inch fronts).

The exterior saw the addition of a chrome grill with matching side panel grills, Drake halogen headlights, Hagen taillights, a third brake light and Vision side mirrors with turn signals integrated into the leading edge. The color selected was an eye-catching 2000 Prowler Orange, which was nicely done by David Gault out of Pompano, Florida. Other items rounding out the stylish body are a grey smoked V-Butt windshield, Big Al’s billet wiper arms, and a vacuum fold down license plate tag.

Inside it was Clint’s Custom Upholstery out of Kendall, Florida that Ray turned to. The camel leather interior has a Glide Engineering seat, with color matched Italian wool carpet and suede headliner. Clint also designed the overhead console which houses the Pioneer flap face stereo and an overhead light. A custom pop open hidden compartment behind the seats is home to the Pioneer 6 disc CD changer, storage for about a dozen CD’s, and a few roadside tools. A chrome tilt Ididit steering column is topped by a Stringer polished aluminum banjo steering wheel, with other billet items adding some flash here and there. A Painless Wiring kit gets the volts routed around, with Dakota Digital gauges in the smooth dash, remote entry doors and trunk, and power windows.

The project took about 14 months, and when it was still only half complete Ray remembers telling his wife, Maryann, that it was going to be the nicest car they will ever own. In the approximately 6 months since its completion the car has won numerous paint and interior awards, and was picked by Rod & Custom Magazine at the Southeast Street Rod Nationals in Tampa last October. Ray told us he still has the same sentiment....that it is the nicest car he’ll ever own. CN