Leroy Semas' 1937 Chevrolet

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Dick Bertolucci's 1938 Chevrolet Coupe, Leory's Coupe, and Kenny Bigelow's 1937 Chevrolet Coupe at a Rusetta lakes meet. Photo courtesy of Leroy Semas
Leroy's Coupe at the 1949 Bonneville Speed Week. Photo from the Kustomrama Photo Archive.
Another photo of Leroy's Coupe at the 1949 Bonneville Speed Week. Photo from the Kustomrama Photo Archive.
Photo from the Kustomrama Photo Archive.
Leroy's Chevrolet at the first Sacramento Autorama in 1950 were he won the "Best Custom" trophy. Notice the louvered hood sides.
Lawrence Brocchini's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster behind the Semas Coupe. Photo from the Lawrence Brocchini collection.
The chopped version of the coupe at the 1955 or 1956 Sacramento Autorama, after Leroy had sold the coupe to his friend Lawrence Brocchini. When Lawrence bought the coupe, Leroy had had the top chopped by Riley Collins of Riley's Custom Shop in Chico, California.

1937 Chevrolet Coupe restyled by Harry Westergard for fellow Thunderbolts member Leroy Semas. The car was extremely lowered, and featured an unchopped roof with filled side windows. Door handles and running boards were removed, and the fenders were extended where the running boards used to be. The fenders were molded to the body, and chrome panels were installed on the leading edge of the rear fenders. A Packard grille was grafted on to the nose and solid hood sides were installed. Up front the car was fit with fender mounted headlights. Buick fenderskirts, DeSoto bumpers, and dual spotlights were also installed on the car. Leroy's coupe ran wide whitewalls tires with 1948 - 1952 Cadillac Sombreros. Inside the car was upholstered with rolled and pleated interior. A gauge was installed on the steering column, and the glove compartment door was chromed.


Photos from the 1949 Bonneville Nationals shows the coupe with solid hood sides and dual spotlights. In 1950 Leroy's Chevrolet won the "Best Custom" trophy at the first Sacramento Autorama. Photos from this show shows that the car had been fit with louvered hood sides by then.[2] Leroy returned to Bonneville for the 1950 Bonneville Nationals, towing his good friend and fellow Thunderbolts member Lawrence Brocchini's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster behind the coupe. In 2012 Lawrence remembered that the coupe then was powered by a Chevrolet inline-six engine.[3]Later on the same year, Leroy's coupe was exhibited at the second annual The Century Toppers Auto Club Hot Rod & Custom Auto Show in Modesto, California.[4]


As the V8's were coming around, Leroy had his friend Lawrence Brocchini install an Oldsmobile V8 and a hydro in the coupe. This was done sometime after Larwence returned from the Korea war in 1953. After working on the car so much for Leroy, Lawrence ended up buying the coupe around 1954/1955. When Lawrence bought the coupe, Leroy had had the top chopped by Riley Collins of Riley's Custom Shop in Chico, California. The coupe was still in primer when Lawrence bought it. He completed the build by painting it in a Maroon color that Dick Bertulocci had made popular. In fact, he even got the color mixture from Dick. After buying it, Lawrence did also install the Oldsmobile engine from his 1931 Ford roadster into the Chevrolet, as he was building a hotter Olds engine for the roadster. He had Harry Westergard do the hood panels before painting it. After wrecking the front end, Leroy had also Harry install 1940 Chevrolet headlights on the car. While owning the coupe, Lawrence did also install a chromed dashboard. Lawrence kept the old Westergard custom until about 1958 or 1959, when he sold it to a fellow named something like Bryce Burner or Bryce Barry. Lawrence spotted the car once after he sold it. It was parked in a carport, and it had been painted green. No one was around the place at the time, so he was not able to talk to the owner.[3]


Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine February 1951



References



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