Attention to Detail – Bill Sitar’s 1937 Ford Phantom Coupe

Attention to Detail – Bill Sitar’s 1937 Ford Phantom Coupe

Story and photos by Paul Kennedy

Bill Sitar had always wanted a ’37 Ford, but he just wanted one as a two-door hardtop. The original 2-door sedan spent 30 years in the bush north of Cornwall, Ontario. Let’s just say, rust was an issue.

In 1996, Bill brought it home, and in 1999, when he moved to Kingston, the restoration began.  The frame had some cheese tendencies, so Bill patched and boxed all of it, including cross members.  He also moved the X-member back about six inches, and shallowed the X so there was more transmission room. He built a Mustang II-style front end, including the A-arms, then installed leaf springs to hold the detailed Ford 9-inch rear end with its 3.50 posi. The frame was blasted, then Bill painted it with epoxy primer, followed by a dark silver finish.

In 2001, Bill took time off from the Ford to help his son Mike restore his own 1967 Chevelle two-door hardtop.  The 396 – 325 HP was rebuilt, as was the 700R4. They did everything in Bill’s garage, adding fresh red paint and an all-new black interior. By 2006, it was done and Bill got back onto the Ford.

All the suspension pieces were epoxied and painted a lighter shade of silver, for contrast to the frame. The bodywork was a huge job, and took most of the following six years. The original roof had to be replaced and chopped slightly at the same time. Then the floors were replaced and the C-pillar was leaned forward to meet the lowered roof. The lack of a B-pillar meant that the door jamb had to be made wider. The firewall was modified for engine clearance, and Bill matched the beading on the remaining firewall pieces. He says it took six bottles of welding gas to do the roof reveal on the sides. He also mini-tubbed the back wheelwells to allow for his wider wheels and tires. The American racing wheels sized 6×17 up front, and 8×18 out back, are shod in Continental DW rubber.

The engine, a 1986 TPI from a Camaro, was totally rebuilt by Bill, and the entire injection system with those runners was polished so well that it looks almost as shiny as the chrome headers! The 2 ¼-inch exhaust system is all mandrel-bent polished stainless, with Magnaflows to mellow the exhaust note, a bit. The 700 R4 was rebuilt with better Raybestos clutches, then smoothed and painted. Bill used the wiring harness from the ’86 Camaro, and heavily modified it to suit his needs.

In the interior, Bill modified the original steel dash and built the centre console. He then stitched all of the upholstery, full-length head liner, door and back seat side panels, and re-covered the cut-down 2005 Camry seats, all in a light and dark grey pattern.

Finally, the outside was painted a beautiful Deepwater blue in base clear, and in 2013, out rolled the masterpiece you see here. Pictures cannot do it justice. The attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship is staggering. This car is finished to Ridler standards, there are no flaws.

All done in a two-car garage, by the owner.

Categories: Features, Muscle Car Plus