Chris Stephans 1947 Chrysler Windsor Convertible
(from Volume 14, Issue 154)

Hot rodders have been striving to do something different since cars first started being customized. Why have a car just like the guy next to you when you can be unique? To that end, one of the trends that has always been popular regardless of the era is to take an old body style, the more unique the better, and give it a modern twist. Chris Stephans has built many cars, and every few years comes up with a new ride. His latest takes the idea of mixing the old with new, by starting with a 1947 Chrysler Windsor convertible and giving it a few key modern components to make sure that he won’t see another one just like it at a car show.

To get things going in the right direction the car was given a ground-hugging stance with the addition of a Nova front sub frame, and putting Air Ride Shockwaves on all four corners. Keeping things Mopar, a 354 Hemi with Street & Performance fuel injection was tucked under the hood and mated to a 4L60 overdrive transmission, with a 9-inch Ford rear end fitted with 3.50:1 gears rounding out the drivetrain.

The body was unusual to begin with, since you don’t see many ‘47 Chrysler convertibles around anyway. However, it was given a sleeker look thanks to a 2-inch pie cut hood, 2-inch chop of the convertible top, and the addition of PT Cruiser headlights and taillights. Other deviations from stock include Mazda Miata outside door handles, a Grill Art laser cut stainless grill, and frameless tempered side window glass. Once everything was massaged to perfection Terry Smith of Max Craft laid down the smooth black paint, which is accentuated by having all outside side molding hand made of brass stock and then chrome plated, utilizing modified ‘67 Camaro bumpers in the front and rear, and adding a set of 20-inch Billet Specialties rims.

The car was given just as much attention on the inside as it was the outside. As with all of his past cars Chris Stephans turned to Howard Krusey at Complete Auto Upholstery in Altamonte Springs to help set the Chrysler apart from the pack. That included a wraparound dash and full length console, the use of Alfa Romeo front bucket seats, and a hand made rear seat. All upholstery is done in scarlet colored leather, with matching scarlet wool carpet. Getting the 2-inch chopped top’s framework functional was also the responsibility of Howard, who when done covered it in black stayfast canvas with a full headliner inside. Howard’s son, Chris Krusey, was responsible for installing the Eclipse stereo unit, which can fill the cabin with not only the great sounds of CDs, but also the sights of DVDs on the console mounted screen when parked. Chris Krusey also handmade all of the interior door moldings out of aluminum, then polished them to perfection. A chrome tilt and telescopic steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel, and various billet pieces give the cabin a decidedly modern look while catering to comfort.

Seeing his smile while cruising, there is no doubt that Chris Stephans is pleased with his latest creation, and at the various shows the car has been taken to it always draws an admiring crowd. That included last year at the 2006 Goodguys Spring Nationals in Jacksonville where it received a Fab 5 pick, and this year where we decided to set up an impromptu photo shoot with the car at the Alltel Stadium Grounds. Indeed, Chris has taken the unique 1947 Chrysler Windsor convertible and given it a modern twist. CN