Graham ran the sedan in its original guise for a couple of years before deciding that rodding it was the only way to go.

American Auto Club UK, with the idea that it was to be given away as a raffle prize to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. However, the subsequent winner didn't want the car and so duly advertised it for sale in Classic Car Weekly, which is when Graham became part of the equation. At that time the car was completely stock and was used in that guise for almost two years until, realising it needed various jobs doing to keep it on the road, it was decision time for Graham the main question being "should I restore or rod it?"

Excerpts reproduced with kind permission of Custom Car magazine.


Most of us can identify our initial hot rodding inspirations, but Mike Key cutting down a tree...


Graham Rexon confesses to first getting into hot rodding when he saw a photo of Mike Key cutting down a tree so he could get a '32 tudor out of a shed. But, like so many of us, Graham had to be content driving a MkIl Cortina with alloys, until in 1996, he found himself in a position of being able to buy this '42 Chevy. A Fleetmaster two-door town sedan to be exact.

In 1942 Chevrolet produced 39,421 Fleetmaster sedans and word has it that one of them was purchased by a woman in her early 20s, who then kept it until she died some 50 odd years later. With just 39 thousand miles on the clock, the car was then bought from the woman's estate by someone from the

Tom also turned his attentions to the engine at that time. The small black Chevy now displaces 406ci and is fitted with Wiseco pistons, Scat crank and con rods and an Edelbrock Performer RPM cam. Topping it all off are a pair of Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminium heads and a 770cfm Holley on an Edelbrock Performer RPM inlet manifold. In readiness for those times when that extra bit of grunt is needed a NOS nitrous oxide kit was added, whilst a PerTronix Flamethrower ignition system provides the spark and gases exit via custom-built headers made by Tom. Backing up this impressive power plant is a rebuilt TH350 auto 'box fitted with a modified Mega Shifter and a custom made prop.

Concealed panels

The car then went to the workshops of Burnham Autos in Kent for the remainder of the work to be completed. The body itself was found to be in really good condition but needed some subtle modifications to achieve the look Graham was after. The bumpers were removed and a new front valance was made up and fitted together with nerf bars. The centre bar was also removed from the grille, together with most of the trim originally on the bonnet and sills. The 'screen was fitted with a new stainless centre bar, which cleverly doubles up as an aerial for the radio.

At the back the number plate was frenched into the boot and the original rear lights mounted lower down the body and again frenched in. As at the front, a new rear pan was also made to give a smoother look, and the filler cap was re-positioned to just below the rear window to feed the stainless steel tank made by Brise Motorsport, who also supplied the custom built radiator. Many of the body mods are so subtle they could easily be overlooked. How many will have noticed the concealed panels built into the dash which flip open to reveal the switchgear, stereo and that nitrous arming button, for example? Once all the bodywork was completed the car went across to Viking Coachworks where Gary and Rob applied the Volvo blue paint.

Back at Burnhams, Keith Andrews then set about the interior. The seats are originally from a Rover 800 coupe and were recovered in grey leather. Door panels were trimmed to match, as was the Grant steering wheel, with grey headlining and carpet completing the job. The dash is fitted with Auto Meter white-faced gauges, which complement the interior's colour scheme.

Most of us can identify our initial hot rodding inspirations, but Mike Key cutting down a tree...

Without resorting to having to 'phone a friend' he knew that rodding the Chevy was the only way to go. Good call Graham.

The initial chassis work was completed by Tom Newman and is based around the original, albeit modified, rails. There's now a Mustang II-based TCI set-up up front, complete with TCI shocks and hi-tech brakes utilising six-pot calipers. Steering is handled by a Mustang II power rack, turned by a GM tilt column. Before the 12-bolt Chevy back axle was fitted, Andy Robinson narrowed it, adding an LSD and Mercedes discs at the same time. The axle is located on a four-bar set-up, together with TCI springs and a Panhard rod. To achieve the Sedan's super low stance Air Ride shocks were fitted all round with separate front and rear air pressure controls.

Whilst not every rodder's choice of ride, sedans do offer family practicality and can still look really cool, especially when slammed like this one.

Cavernous boot space contains the stainless steel fuel tank, yet still provides more than enough storage space for the weekly shopping.

Concealed panels keep the dash smooth and uncluttered with only the white-faced Auto Meter gauges on show when the car is parked.

The main advantage of running a sedan it that it seats four in comfort. The Rover 800 seats were re-trimmed in grey leather by Keith Andrews at Burnham Autos.

Plan B

The original plan was to run the car on Chevy Rallye wheels, complete with beauty rims and caps, but when it was all back together both Graham and the team at Burnhams felt it just didn't look right. Plan B was quickly brought into effect and the wheels were changed to the polished 17-inch American Racing Hopsters you see here. Tyres are Goodyear 215/50/17 and Kumho 255/50/17 front and back respectively.

Subtle body mods, such as the relocated and frenched in rear lights and the frenched in number plate make for a much smoother rear. Note the tailpipes exiting neatly through the handmade rear panel.

Graham works as a business development manager for Gillette, a company whose well-known motto is 'the best a man can get...' Guess he's one of those guys who takes his work home with him then.