Some street rod projects have become so common that aftermarket companies make just about any part you might need for them, from the grille shell to the taillights, and everything in between. The ’32 Ford is a prime example, with so many reproduction components available for this particular model that finding period-correct components is almost as easy as ordering a pizza.
On the other hand, certain vehicles are so rare that it requires more than a little digging to find replacement parts for them. For instance, when was the last time you saw a ’32 Nash? Or could even describe one to somebody? This lack of recognition is exactly what Richard Deluchi encounters every time he heads out on the highway in his model 1062 Coupe.
“We’ve been told that Nash made only about 600 of these cars,” he explains. “And that may be true because we have never seen another in the 20 years we’ve been street rodding.”
Apparently no else has either, because many people ask him and wife Leslie, “What kind of car is that?” He’s heard that just a handful of Nash coupes are still even in existence, and not much information is available on them. According to the Nash Car Club of America, and research compiled by American Motors in 1963, the original 1062 coupe sold for $777 in 1932, and came equipped with a six-cylinder engine.
The lack of information on the Nash coupe is both good and bad. While Deluchi drives an utterly distinctive ride, the hope is that he’ll never need to find parts for it, having already been down that long, lonely road. And how he completed the car is a story of persistence and ingenuity, along with a bit of help from a number of rod companies.
Deluchi’s obscure resto project actually started out as just a pile of components he came across just a couple doors away. His neighbor, frustrated by his lack of progress with the project, finally agreed to let Deluchi take this basket case off his hands.
The toughest part was dealing with the wooden frame. Sawn from planks of ash, it had not yet succumbed to rot or termite infestation, but the nails (yes, nails) used to secure the upper body panels just wouldn’t hold any longer in the dried-out wood. So Deluchi replaced the frame members with new steel pieces, which required a lot of time and effort. Initially he tried to simply reinforce them, but ended up creating new ones instead.
The doors’ frames and interiors, floor, trunk and trunk lid all had wood in them. There was also wood extending from the door openings all the way around the back of the seats. Most of this timber was carefully taken out one piece at a time, and then used by Roger Hamby, Deluchi’s paint and body man, as patterns to fabricate the new metal. The only wood left in the Nash is the back window framework and a few strips in the roof that the upholstery fastens to, so there’s no longer much potential for starting a termite farm.
The chassis required a considerable amount of attention as well. After boxing and reinforcing the main framerails, Deluchi updated the suspension using a Heidt’s Mustang II setup with two-inch drop spindles, and Ford 9-inch rearend. He re-arched the original rear leaf springs, and bolted on new Koni shocks. Brakes are early-GM discs in the front, and drums in the rear.
A new Ididit steering column with a Colorado Custom steering wheel guides the Center Line Flare rims (F: 6x17, R: 8.5x18). Deluchi changed the backspacing on the rear wheels from four inches to 3 5/8 inches to clear the Falken meats. The Zexius model tires measure 215/15 in the front, and 255/55 in the rear.
As for bodywork, Roger Hamby customized the rear tail section, and added a third brake light as a concession to modern traffic laws. He also applied the base coat of DuPont 2002 red. Larry Krauss of Vacaville, California, who’s known in the area for his custom paint jobs on Harleys, handled the ghost flames. The hood is a custom piece fabricated by Rootlieb.
While that portion was underway, Deluchi was also busy personally handling the buildup on the engine, a’72 Chevy 350. After having it bored 30 over, he fitted the block with a Comp Cams bumpstick and a Mr. Gasket timing chain. Topping the Edelbrock intake manifold is a Holley 4-barrel, protected by a B&M air cleaner. An MSD unit ignites the plugs, and the hot exhaust flows through Summit headers. The engine is backed up by a ’68 Turbo 400 and a B&M converter.
All of Deluchi’s breathing on the block was good for about 300 horses—nothing crazy, but enough to get your attention. “It gets up and scoots when it needs to,” he smiles, as he happily demonstrated for us with a couple of burnouts.
That hot rod theme pervades the cabin as well. Matching the licks on the outside, the upholstery is embossed with flames on the headliner and trunk lid.
The two-tone interior, done by Ballards Auto Upholstery, uses Caravan mocha cloth and caramel-colored vinyl on the Glide Seats. The Classic Instruments gauges are mounted in the Billet Specialties aluminum dash. Other creature comforts include Vintage Air a/c. In the headliner is a JVC CD player set in a polished aluminum console, with six-inch speakers behind the seats and five inchers in the door panels. In keeping with the rarity of his rod, Deluchi has a penchant for the secretive, as evidenced by the hidden compartment behind the seats for storage, and the hidden hinges by Hagan on the doors.
Wife Leslie kept her good humor through the arduous process of rebuilding the body and tracking down all the right components. “This was one time Richard actually enjoyed shopping,” she laughs. “This was also one project I didn’t mind him staying out in his shop all night and me delivering dinner to him out there.”
Given the workmanship and exclusivity of this street rod, it’s not surprising that a lot of folks have already asked to buy it. The Deluchis aren’t selling, though, as they’re still having too much fun driving to as many rod runs as possible and making friends along the way—and also answering those inevitable questions about their mystery ride.
B&M Racing and Performance Products
Center Line Wheel Corp.
Mr. Gasket Performance Group