There are huge numbers of Pro Street-style cars that have transitioned from drag racing to the street, but Ken and Karla Biesboer’s 1937 Chevy coupe is a derivative from an actual NHRA Pro Mod of high pedigree. But, “Hey man, is this thing street legal?”
This coupe was once a Pro Modified car built and campaigned by NHRA competitor Danny Rowe. This attention-grabber may not only give off an outlandish appearance, but a wealth of reworking that offers both genuine street-worthiness as well as dragstrip time-slips. Biesboer is exceptionally gratified when an onlooker appreciates the small fabrication points that make the car “streetable” in durability but yet remain hidden to so many.
“I am constantly asked the very same question, whether it’s at a local car show or possibly a street-legal class at the dragstrip,” Biesboer says.
“Is this thing really a street car?”
“My answer is always the same: it is, and that’s why it is now on my license plate.”
Superior Glassworks originally created the fiberglass body, plus the sleek Danny Rowe-designed hood and front fender combination. A set of custom stainless headers were fabricated by Rocky Troxel from US 12 Speed and Custom. These headers take advantage of the teardrop fender area behind the front tires to house the custom mufflers that give it some street legality.
Weld Racing Alumastar 15×3-inch spindle-mount front wheels mate to Hoosier Racing Tire frontrunners, while 16×16 inch rear Alumastar wheels and Hoosier Quick Time Pro 35×22.50×16 rear tires fill the wheel wells that once rolled with big Pro Mod drag slicks.
An all-aluminum 540 cubic-inch big-block Chevy uses Mahle 10:1 compression pump gas pistons, an Eagle Specialty Products 4340 crankshaft, and Eagle H-beam rods inside of a World Products Merlin III block. Dart Machinery PRO1 24-degree 325cc heads work around a complete Jesel valvetrain system. The setup is topped with a 1050cfm Holley Performance Dominator carburetor combined with a Dart single plane intake manifold.
A Bickel 9-inch chrome-moly fabricated housing is filled with a complete Mark Williams Enterprises setup, including an aluminum third member, a 4.86:1 gear set, 40-spline spool, and axles. A Bickel four-link and wishbone rear suspension ride on Strange Engineering coilover shocks.
A competition-built Powerglide transmission with a pro transbrake and 4500-stall converter is put together by Joe Gouger Racing. With a conservative engine/drivetrain tune-up for the street, the coupe still pushes the 9-second zone at his local dragstrips.
“I originally built the car with an original-style front doghouse, but I slightly bumped a car in front of me leaving an event, which damaged the fiberglass,” Biesboer described. “It wasn’t a bad crash or anything like that, but it broke the fiberglass. I decided for the money, I wanted to put the stretched front end on it. That required extensive chassis work to stretch the wheelbase, along with cutting and altering the doghouse to fit this body.”
All of the doghouse modifications resulted in the hood line coming too close to the carburetor inlet. Biesboer decided to have US 12’s body shop add a teardrop-style cowl scoop. Ken is very satisfied with the improved overall appearance of the scoop added to the front of the coupe. Brett Miller at US 12 Speed and Custom applied the custom black with blue pearl paint.
“A custom-fabricated laid-back radiator appears similar to its Pro Modified days and does very well on the street,” Biesboer adds. “Though we set it up with much larger cooling fans, we have traveled an easy 25-30 miles while keeping it under 200-degrees on the temperature gauge. I’m not afraid to drive it to car cruises, shows, local burger stands, or even to a track. I’m just a little paranoid of railroad tracks (laughs).”
Biesboer finishes, “I was expecting to manhandle the coupe at the track similar to my previous Anglia gasser that used this very engine, but this coupe is very easy to drive and it goes right down Broadway every pass.”