Mike Keller and his team at Big Creek Restoration in Ellis, Kansas, were all smiles as their 1940 Chevy Coupe was named America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, CA. last weekend.
The runner-up finalists included David Rios’ 1940 Ford, Mike Holmes’ 1939 Ford Ute, Roger Hill’s 1939 Chevy and Brent Scheider’s 1937 Ford Cabriolet.
The winning vehicle is actually owned by Garry Crawford, a childhood friend of Keller’s father. In fact Crawford and Jerry Keller used to cruise around together in another 1940’s Chevy Coupe during their senior year at Ellis High School back in 1962.
Mike Keller and the guys at Big Creek team reshaped their winning car using a Morrison chassis with air suspension from Ride Tech, and reworked the (squarish) front end with a “scratch-made grille surround and insert, sectioned and pie-cut hood, and reshaped front fenders.”
The coupe features 1946 Ford rear bumpers that have been flipped upside down and taillights from a 1939 Chevy. Custom gravel shields were made from scratch. All of the hinges were hidden. In addition flush fit front and rear windows were added to “smooth the look”, according to Keller, who also outfitted the car with polished Foose “Knight” 18 and 20 wheels, a 480-horsepower LS3, a 4L80E transmission, a Currie 9-inch rearend, a Flowmaster exhaust, and big disc brakes are from Wilwood.
In addition, Keller painted the Chevy in PPG Vibrance Cinnamon candy over copper, and used a soft brown leather interior by Xibit Customs of Hayes, KS for the cabin, along with dash instruments including the art deco speedometer (all cast in bronze) that that he and his team made in-house.
As his prize, Crawford will receive travel accommodations to the Goodguys 15th Southwest Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nov. 16–18, where his 1940 Chevy will take its place in the “Champion’s Arena,” a special exhibit featuring all Goodguys “Terrific 12″ national award recipients. He will also receive a brand-new toolbox wrapped with images of his car courtesy of Snap-on.