Andy Kassa's 1932 Ford

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The coupe fully fendered.
The Coupe as it appeared when it was featured in Honk! August 1953.
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The Kassa Coupe at an indoor show in New York City, 1954. [2]
The Coupe in Newark, New Jersey.[2]
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The Coupe as it looked in 1954
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Andy's Coupe in the snow.[1]
The coupe in Dallas, Texas in 1964.[2]
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Photo courtesy of Dick Page.
The Kassa Coupe at an indoor show in New York in 1962. Note the new blue paint and chromed steelies.[4]
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Photo by George Barris
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Barris Kustoms did also restyle Andy's Thunderbird with a matching paint job, and a third asymmetrical headlight.
The Kassa Coupe at Pebble Beach in 2001.
The Kassa Coupe at the 2007 Grand National Roadster Show.
The Coupe as it sat in January 2010.[5]
By May 2010 the coupe received a chromed 1932 Ford grille shell.

1932 Ford Three Window Coupe built by Andy Kassa of Passaic, New Jersey. The car is known as the Kassa Coupe, and Andy bought the car in 1948.[6] He started to modify his coupe in 1953, and a featured story from Honk August 1953 shows the coupe fully fendered with a chopped and filled top. The top was chopped 3 inches. Inside the coupe was fit with quilted plastic seats and matching door panels. The dashboard featured a gleaming array of Stewart Warner instruments and toggle switches. The coupe was shown without a hood, and a 268 cid 1948 Mercury flathead had replaced the stock mill. The engine was fit with a complete set of Offenhauser equipment, and every piece of metal that was not painted had been chromed. In the rear the car remained stock except for a new set of taillights.[7]


In 1954 the car was shown at an indoor show in New York City. By then the fenders had been removed, the body had been channeled 5 inches over the frame, and the frame was Z-ed in front of the rear cross member. Andy did most of the work on the car himself.[6] After channeling the body, and chopping the top there was not much space left for the stock seat, so Andy had to make two bucket seats that were upholstered in white vinyl. By then the car had also been fit with a four-carb intake fit with four ordinary air cleaners. The engine was hooked to a 1939 Ford transmission with Zepher gears. By 1954 the air cleaners were replaced by four distinctive tubular air cleaners. This version of the car was red, and the car rolled on wide white biases fit with Cadillac sombreros. As Andy kept changing the car, the stock grille shell was smoothened and chromed, and the hubcaps replaced by a set of smoother looking hubcaps. After showing the car in red for a while, he painted it metallic brown. The brown version of the car rolled on some chromed steel wheels. In 1964 Andy's Coupe attended an indoor show in Dallas, Texas, by then the car had been painted pink. it didn't take long before Andy got tired of the pink color, and painted the coupe blue metallic. This version featured a chromed frame, "chromed" engine, and new headers running along the body. The look was finished off with chromed five-spoke Astro wheels that were capped with Dragmaster slicks on the rear and bias-ply up front.


The Cyclops

In the mid sixties, on one of his show tours on the West Coast, Andy had George Barris of Barris Kustoms design an asymmetrical single-headlight radiator grille shell. George did also fit the Coupe an unique taillight assembly, and he come up with the idea of painting the car in multiple tones of violet, purple and lilac. The semi-tunneled taillights were covered with expanded chrome mesh and the license plate was recessed into its own custom mount.[8] After the car was restyled by Barris Kustoms, the coupe was renamed the "Cyclops Deuce". In addition to the Coupe, Barris Kustoms did also restyle Andy's Thunderbird with a matching paint job, and a third asymmetrical headlight.


Kassa toured all the big shows with his coupe from the 1950s until 1964 when he parked it in his gas station garage in Passaic, New Jersey. By then the car had appeared in several magazines, and was known all over the country as " The Jersery Gem", "The Ruby Rod", "The Kassa Coupe", "The Dream Boat", or "The Cyclops". The car sat in Andy's garage until Ron Meola and some fellow members of the Meadowlands Street Rod Association in the mid 1990s talked Andy into letting them restore the car for him. Many of the guys had seen the car as kids, and were glad to help Andy bring his old show car back on the streets. The restoration started in the early 1990s, and Andy chipped in some money for chrome and paint. Many years of storage had taken its toll on the car. The paint was ruined, the engine needed rebuilding, and lots of chrome needed rebuilding and replating. It took 15 months, working only on Friday nights to complete the restoration. They kept the car as it was, as the interior was still in great shape, and only needed a little cleaning. No changes were done to the car except for changing color. The Barris paint job was replaced by a Viper Rad paint job. The only changes they made were done for safety. Fresh wires, electrical and fuel shut offs, and improved body supports. By 1996 the car was running again, and Andy was very satisfied with the work the guys had done. They took the car to Lead East in 1996, and to the NSRA Nats East in York, Pennsylvania in 1997.[9]


October 24, 1998, Andy passed away of lung cancer. The car swapped hands, and is currently owned by Meadowlands Street Rod Association member Gary Mekita of New Jersey.


From October 23,2010 to May 8t, 2011 the Kassa coupe will be shown at the "Right Coast Rods" exhibit at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Magazine Features

Honk! August 1953
Custom Rodder June 1958


References




 

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