Cooper Body Shop
Cooper Body Shop of Lansing, Michigan was a traditional body shop run and operated by Lloyd Cooper. In 1957, when Jerry Drake bought his first car, a 1955 Ford Fairlane, Cooper had already done two customs; Terry Smith's 1954 Ford and Rudy Rodriguez's 1954 Ford. Terry was Jerry's rival, and as he was having his car done at Cooper's Body Shop, Jerry approached Ed Blaisdell about doing his car; "Ed Blaisdell's Body Shop and Lloyd Cooper's Body Shop was only a mile from one another. I thought they were rivals but found out later that Ed got together with Lloyd every Saturday night at Cooper Body Shop, drank whiskey and traded bullshit with each other."
Larry Cooper, Lloyd's son, had a custom that he wanted a custom paint job on. By then Jerry Drake had began pinstriping, operating under the name Spider the Crazy Painter, so he asked Jerry if he would help him. Impressed by Jerry's paint job, Larry asked his dad if he and Jerry could do custom painting on the weekends when the body shop was closed. Lloyd said they could, as long as they cleaned-up and were out of there by the next Monday. A great deal for Larry and Jerry. The shop had a ton of paint already, tape machines and excellent painting facilities. Jerry started working out of Cooper Body Shop in 1959. The duo did several cars in the shop, until one day a kid from out-of-town brought a 1951 Chevrolet that he wanted Jerry to scallop. The kid had done all the work himself, including the base paint. Jerry laid the scallops with 1/4" tape. Larry shot it, and when they removed the tape, it took the base paint with it all the way down to the bare metal. Lloyd then put his foot down, and told Jerry and Larry that this was the end of them using his business to paint on the weekends. He told them he could get sued, and would propably have to paint the guy's car over. On Monday Jerry bought the biggest striping brush he could find. He striped the scallops with a 1/4" striping line. When the kid saw it he said "Hey, on your paint box it says" Fine line - the Ultimate in Striping." Jerry replied "I painted that years ago. Fine line is out!" The kid bought his explanation and said that he really liked the job. He left the shop, and won several trophies with the car. After that, Jerry started to paint out of Carl Casper's shop.
In 2015 Jerry Drake told Kustomrama that he believes only four cars in total were customized by Cooper. In addition Terry Smith's 1954 Ford and Rudy Rodriguez's 1954 Ford, Larry Cooper had his car done at the shop, and they also did all the bodywork on Adrienne Hooper's 1956 Mercury Convertible, The Wild One.
Cars Restyled or Painted at Cooper Body Shop
Dave Peet's 1932 Ford
Howard Tirban’s 1951 Chevrolet - "Lil’ Bitty Pretty One"
Ken Foress' 1952 Mercury Convertible
Rudy Rodriguez’s 1954 Ford
Terry Smith's 1954 Ford
Adrienne Hooper's 1956 Mercury Convertible - The Wild One
Jerry Drake's 1957 Ford Fairlane - Candy Cane
Russ Edgers' 1957 Ford Convertible
Jack Struble's 1958 Pontiac
Dell Chandler's 1960 Pontiac Ventura
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