Chuck Dalley’s Dream Car
Owner: Chuck & Judy Dailey
Chuck Dailey’s initial car hunt was actually for a 1932 Ford. Back in 1978, Chuck was on the hunt for a Deuce roadster. His friend Bill Campbell told him that he knew where to find one but he failed to give him precise directions. That’s why Chuck was not able to find the location.
Still, Chuck was able to buy a car which satisfied him in the ending of this story. Chuck had a 1937 Chevy two-door sedan during that time but he wanted a convertible and he told this to Campbell. Campbell kindly offered to sell his 1937 Chevy Cabriolet to Chuck.
The Cabriolet In The Hands Of Its Previous Owners
The previous owner before Campbell found the rare car somewhere in New Hampshire way back 1972. It was just one out of the 1,724 units manufactured that time. It was a complete and original car, only that it was already old. Rust was already evident over the body and headlights. Most of the seat fabric had been gone and holes were taking over the original cloth top. It had been also badly repainted with yellow house paint in the dash and garnish moldings but it also had good traits as well. The floor was in fairly good condition, and the hippie-era flower decals were only several years outdated. Then, the owner pulled several parts from the car before it was bought by Campbell after a year.
Five years later, Chuck and his wife, Judy, purchased the 1937 from Campbell together with N.O.S. fenders and running boards. They brought it home while having their two kids in the rumble seat. The Chevy was only torn apart when Chuck retired. By then, Chuck dedicated his time and attention to the rebuild, which he mostly did at home.
Restoring the Cabriolet
After the body was detached from the frame, Chuck upgraded the chassis. He started it by stiffening the factory frame rails with a 1×2 inch transmission-mount K-member and a Mustang II independent front suspension bought from Kenny’s Rod&Kustom in Newton Falls, Ohio. He also included Monro-Matic front shocks, a Chassis Engineering front antiroll bar, CE dual leaf springs, and 1937-39 Chevy rear gas shocks to steady the ride. The 8-inch rearend with 3.00:1 gears was from a Ford Granada. Wagner disc brakes are controlled by a Corvette master cylinder with a power booster and Wilwood proportioning valve. Chuck wanted to use the stock pedal so he also modified the Chassis Engineering pedal assembly.
The body was fixed and restored to its original condition by using most of the factory sheet metal and hardware. The 1937 top cloth needed to be replaced. A new HaartzStayfast canvas was stretched over the original bows and all of these were done at J’s Upholstery.
Chuck painted the car with the help of his friend Russ Minick and they used PPG Medium Cabernet paint in it. Ford had chosen the similar color for Mustangs, pickups, and other vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s although it is most suitable with the classic style of the Chevy’s exterior. Judy thought the nickname for the car, the “Cabernet Cabriolet.”
Cragars added street rod seasoning to the resto-rod outward appearance. The 15×7 and 15×6 Street Pro-Chrome wheels with Cragar spinner centers and for the tires, it had 235/75R15 and 205/65R15 Kumro tires.
When Chuck fabricated the small-block, he was also considering the driveability without sacrificing enough performance goodies to still have fun. With a 350 Chevy Block, the Professional Engine Systems of Canfield, Ohio bored 0.030 inches out of the cylinders, now filled with 10:1 Speed Pro Pistons and rings. Ball-milled aluminum valve covers cap the GM double-hump heads. A Cadillac air cleaner is covering the Edelbrock carb and intake. The block-hugger headers from Patriot feed into Chuck’s custom bent pipes, and it had Thrush mufflers to keep the volume low.
The small-block was paired with the Turbo 350 Transmission that was built by J&E’s Auto Repair in Newton Falls. Chuck considered swapping it for a 700-R4. Since the car is used a lot, it would be nice to have the overdrive gear.
Russ Minick also helped in restoring the interior. He laid the tan carpet and stitched the door panels. At Portage Trim in Ravenna, two-tone leather rolls was used to cover up the factory bench. Likewise, the rumble seat went through restoration.
Isn’t it a happy ending after all? It’s just great seeing a rare Chevy restored to such a nice condition. Not to mention, that a gorgeous 1937 Chevrolet Cabernet is one rare find nowadays.
Reference and Photo Credits