Big Al's Featured Car's
Ryan Mohr
1951 Chevy Styleline Deluxe Coupe
Article & Photography by Dufus Garbonzo

Our sport of old cars has a rich and long history. So, it's always fun to show newbies and kids how they did it in the old days. One great example is from our NE Ohio area and it's the black '51 Chevy Styleline Deluxe Coupe belonging to Ryan Mohr of Mentor, Ohio. When you look at his 'Latest Flame,' it's really hard to tell if it was made back in the day or built today to look that way. But after a little more looking, you won't care.

Ryan is a custom painter in both the flake/flames and pinstriping area of Kustoms and this is his 'Four-Wheeled Business Card.' Ryan spent the better part of two years of nights and weekend work on 'Flame and it looks like it paid off. But it may be a ringer as Ryan and his 'Flames and Flakes' painting business is firmly entrenched in Old School.

When Ryan started building 'Flame, he collected plenty of kool stories about hunting down the right pieces for his Chevy. Like the one where a friend of his scored a clean '55 Chevy with low miles he literally bought from an old lady. The friend had big plans for the '55 that included a Rat motor, four gear and Ford 'niner so the '55's stock motor, tranny and rear were up for grabs. Ryan started talking and snagged the deal for the 235 cu. in. 6-hole Stovebolt, two speed PowerGlide, driveshaft and rear-end. Ryan dropped 'em all in and bolted a Hurst shifter onto the 'Glide. Ryan then gave the Six some breathing room with an Offy two-pot intake, split manifold, solid lifters, a set of two inch pipes and the shortest mufflers Smitty's makes. As Ryan like to say, "She barks big-time" with just the right amount of rap - a commodity that needs to be heard to be appreciated.

Chassis changes on the 'Flame were kept simple, too. Ryan slid in four-inch drop blocks and air shocks in the rear and that keeps the frame off the rear end when the trunk is loaded up for the road. Another chassis change in the name of safety was the conversion to disc brakes on the front affected by the R/B's Obsolete Parts Power disc brake unit. The '55 Chevy rear end retained stock shoe brakes. Stock wheels with 'Flying Saucer' hub caps and old school Sears AllState, Wide White Bias Plys rubber round out the rolling stock.

Body mods to the shoebox Chevy include a nosed and peaked hood with a different take on the hood ornament, shaved door handles with solenoids, decked trunk lid with solenoid, shortened front and rear splash pans and over 80 hours to fit those classic '54 Merc Tail-lights. If those bumpers look familiar, they're by Briz. For paint, Ryan tells another story, "When I bought the car, I had every intention of painting it flat black with the 'flaked flames. After I got the whole car straightened out my Dad stops by and says, 'You're outta your mind if you paint that thing anything but shiny, glossy black.' Ok, he was right…" Ryan squirted a black base coat with clear coat chaser. He still laughs about the day he shot the flames and how his neighbors got consumed by the big red cloud of flake that came out of his shop that day. Those bitchin' flames are House of Kolor Kandy Red Flake and two gallons of Alsa's Speed Kleer. When they were dry, Ryan broke out the One Shot white striping enamel and finished 'em off hisself.

Ask about the interior and Ryan says, "No one believes me… Except for the door handles and window cranks, I did the whole thing from J.C. Whitney. I called them up and told them I wanted their white pleated seat covers for the original '51 seats. While I had 'em on the phone, I ordered some extra material for the door panels as well as new carpeting. The door panels are done with the pleated white vinyl and red metalflake diner booth vinyl. All of the window trim was stripped and painted Kandy red 'flake. I finished off the interior by painting the dash - and 'striping it and the door jambs - for the final touch." Of course, knowing how to do upholstery helped Ryan, too. He slid an AM/FM CD player into the tissue dispenser to keep that period look yet still have modern tunes. A complete rewire of the car included a Painless wiring harness and conversion from 6 volt to 12 volt.

Ryan did all the work himself - with friends and family, of course - and only had to send out one job; the custom bending for the exhaust pipes. One more lesson in how to get things done is the always popular trading aspect. As a pinstriper, Ryan traded working his Mack brushes and One Shot paint for the '51's period tires, intake manifold, and steering wheel. He says, "When I started this project, I wanted to finish with a car that looked like it might have been put together back in '59." We'd say that when 'Flame rolled out of Ryan's 'Flames and Flakes' shop, he nailed it.

So the next time you want show someone how it was done in the old days, check out this '51 Chevy - it's got all the right pieces.