To some folks, car restoration equals destruction. That may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. With barn finds, patina rods and little old lady cars all the rage, these old cruisers may be all that’s left of the civilization that produced them. The factories, the workers, hell most of the marques, have passed on to the great junkyard in the sky.
Like finding an ancient arrowhead in a riverbank or on a savannah, it provides clues to the people that produced it. The last thing you would do is smooth down the rough-hewn chisel marks as they are now the only evidence that the craftsman was alive.
Similarly, take a look at this 1931 Ford Roadster back from the glory days of hot rodding. Originally built between 1959 and 1965 by Jim Cooper, it is a snapshot in time resplendent with pie crust whitewall slicks, nerf bar bumpers and diamond tuck interior.
Current owner Cody Barrington has wisely decided not to erase the fingerprints and brushstrokes of Mr. Cooper, who has long since passed away, preserving his toil and presenting the car as “polished, not restored.”
This little time capsule is sporting a 425ci Buick Nailhead with a Weiand Dragstar intake, six chrome Stromberg 97’s, and custom fabricated headers and chrome exhaust that runs underneath the car.
Inside, the car has black diamond tuck upholstery, a ’32 dashboard, Stewart Warner gauges, and a Cal Custom steering wheel. Chopped 4″ and channeled 8″, it has just the right stance and attitude. The original paint was applied in 1965 by Ed Lepold with 78 coasts of candy copper lacquer and fogged with candy gold graphics. It still shows extremely well.
The “Cockroach” name is prophetic as it overcame a myriad of obstacles and has managed to survive. The car took 2nd Place in the Early, Altered Street Roadster – pre-1935 category at the 2020 Sacramento Autorama and was one of Rod Authority’s favorite cars of the show. Congrats guys and thanks for gently preserving “Cockroach” for future generations.