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Hot rod dreams

By Staff | Sep 3, 2008

Dan Freeman of Graettinger with his 1946 Chevy coupe. Freeman will show the coupe at the Black Knights cruise-in starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday night in Library Square. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

It’s probably once in a lifetime, if that, that a person finds that perfect car.

Dan Freeman of Graettinger has found just that in his 1946 Chevy coupe.

“It came to me on a flatbed in pieces,” Freeman said of the car that he bought from Denny Houseman in Spencer.

The fact alone that the car is a 1946 makes it rare – Detroit hadn’t completely retooled yet after the war effort, so it wasn’t until 1949 that newer styles really hit the showroom floor. What makes the Chevy even more rare is that it’s a coupe. Few remain.

Since he wanted to make a street rod which is by definition not stock, Freeman put in a 350 engine that churns out 375 horse. A 400 turbo automatic helps put the rubber to the road.

Probably the most noticeable thing about the coupe is the color, a 2000 Ford Mustang screaming yellow.

Restoration from flatbed to car-show-winning beauty didn’t all happen overnight, though. Freeman started with just basically a shell and had to find an engine, tranny, rear end, brakelines, brake pedal and steering column. The front end came from a Mustang.

It took 18 months from start to finish. Freeman gives credit to M.E.’s Body Shop of Estherville and Marty Domek for the paint job. He also hands a lot of credit to his fellow members of the Black Knights. “I want to thank the members of the club,” Freeman said. “Without them it wouldn’t be half done.”

He also thanks Dean Wickman at Dean’s Auto Salvage & Repair in Estherville for giving him a lot of parts.

So why a ’46 Chevy coupe?

“I’ve always wanted a street rod,” Freeman said. “The reason I like a street rod is you can put your own personality into it.”

The rear fenders are three inches winder than stock, which helps make room for the radials that are much wider than the original glassbelts.

Despite the number of ponies under the hood, coupe gets a pretty respectable 15 miles per gallon highway.

You can see Freeman’s coupe and other great cars at the Black Knights cruise-in 6:30-10 p.m. Friday at Library Square. It’s the last cruise-in for the summer, so if you haven’t seen one yet, be sure to come.

The Black Knights are also hosting their first-ever drags at the Estherville Airport Sunday, Sept. 21 just east of Estherville on Highway 9. Cars must have be seatbelts and be street legal and license and proof of insurance are required. The cost is $5 for each race. Admission for racers is free

Spectator admission is $2 a person or $5 a car. The gate opens at 10 am. with races from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by the Estherville Lincoln Central Booster Club.