Art Lehner's 1932 Ford
The Banker Brothers
In 2019 Art's son, Charles "Bud" Lehner, told later owner Terry Stoker, and his son David, that his dad bought the car from a third party or a dealer. At the time the car was black and it was powered by a small block Chevy engine with a 3-speed transmission. "He said the car had belonged to the Banker Brothers prior to his dad purchasing it," David told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019. After talking to Bud, Terry and David asked Walt Banker about his old car, and he told them that he sold it to a used car dealer in 1961. "Shortly after selling it, he had regret and went back to the dealer to buy it back. The dealer told him he sold it, and that it was hit by a train soon after." An interesting detail here is that Terry was told in the late 1980s that his car had been hit by a train in the early 1960s. "The car has had the driver side rear section replaced/repaired," David told Sondre. Walt lost track of the car after that. According to Bud, the car looked like as if it did in the magazine article when his dad bought it. Unfortunately, Bud can't remember if his dad bought it wrecked, or if someone had fixed it up before he bought it.
Built around 1961 - 1962, rumor has it that Art installed the 1958 Chevrolet 348 engine from his Fadeaway Ford in the coupe. The engine ran triple carbs and a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette 3-speed gearbox. Engine details and all suspension parts and brackets on the car were chromed. The firewall was neatly recessed and tube bracing was added around the rear of the engine. Upfront, Art installed a 3 inch dropped and drilled axle with 1948 Ford brakes. 1946 Lincoln brakes were installed in the rear of the car. Shocks were 1937 Chevrolet. It rolled on 15" Chrysler wire wheels and 7.60 Mobil tires.
The Blue Indigo
Finished in a transparent Blue Indigo Metalflake paint job by Bud, the car became known as "The Blue Indigo." Inside, it featured an outstanding White Pearl Naugahyde and Blue Frieze upholstery by Harry Loveland of Loveland Custom Upholstery. The coupe went on to become a show-winning hot rod, and a couple of old photos of the car appeared in Popular Hot Rodding November 1962. The same month it did also grace the cover of Car Craft November 1962. Bud Lang photographed the car for Car Craft, and according to the author of the featured story inside, Art and his shop had done an outstanding job building the coupe. According to David Stoker, the coupe was also photographed for a story in Rod & Custom, but it was never published.
David believes Art sold the coupe in the late 1960s. He asked Bud about it in 2019, but he couldn't remember how long his dad owned it. "The car was later rebuilt and painted Kandy Tangerine. We think that would have been the mid-late seventies. It was parked in the early 1980s by a guy named Ron in Chino, California, until my dad bought it in 1986." When Terry bought it, it also had some traces of red paint.
Terry Stoker Buys It
Terry Stoker of Ontario, California first bought the old hot rod in 1986. It was Kandy Tangerine at the time, and it still had the 348 engine in it. "Over the next few years, my dad did a few things to it, and he painted it black. When they stripped it for the black paint job, the old blue paint was discovered. It wasn't until stumbling across the November 1962 issue of Popular Hot Rodding, that he realized this was the "Blue Indigo" coupe built by Art Lehner. The engine looked the same when he bought it as it did in the magazine article from 62. The engine still looks the same, wearing the same valve covers and air cleaners." David also adds that the way the firewall was done makes it pretty hard to deny.
What Comes Around...
Terry sold the car around 1992. It stayed in the area, received some more changes, but stayed basically the same in appearance. "My dad tried to buy the car back numerous times over the years, but could never make it happen. The car disappeared for the last 10-15 years until I discovered it at this past year's LA Roadster Show. We were able to buy the car back after 30 years," David told Kustomrama.
Do you recognize this car?
Terry and David Stoker are currently trying to track down the full history of their car, looking for any info or photos to add to its story. Did Art really turn the Banker Brothers coupe into the Blue Indigo? Gary Lorenzini, owner of the car that has been believed to be the Banker Coupe does not believe so. The story all lines up, but according to David, there's nothing on the car still to say 100%, without question though. Please get in touch with Kustomrama at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any info to share about The Lehner Coupe or the Banker Brothers coupe.
Magazine Features and Appearances
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