The hot rod is a luscious lipstick red that reflects light like a mirror. Its interior is dun colored seats with faux ostrich hide accents. Letta gave the upholstery shop an idea of what he wanted but allowed them liberal artistic leeway.
The sumptuous carpet is a soft beige and possibly finer than what’s in the governor’s parlor. The black steering wheel and column match and appear to be perfectly serviceable, but naturally Letta has plans for those.
“I’m going to change them out and put in a chrome wheel,” he said.
The guy is fearless when it comes to starting and finishing mechanical projects that most would approach with trepidation.
“When I put the motor in, the estimate was that it would take 40 hours,” he said. “It wound up taking closer to 300.”
The frame was six inches shorter than anticipated so many components had to be custom fabricated. Letta hasn’t had to actually make any tools for the car other than re-vamping a few wrenches so they’d fit in tight places. Parts are another story.
“I made a bracket to hold up the recovery tank for the radiator,” Letta said. “And also new shift linkage out of steel rod and nuts.”
He reworked the existing motor mounts by welding, cutting and re-drilling them. Rear booster springs were added because Letta thought the car was sitting too low and he wanted to improve the appearance.
“I had to change out the Ranger gas tank for an Explorer one so the fuel flow would be right,” he said.
Labor expended on the hot rod would represent thousands of dollars if Letta hadn’t done the work himself.
“I’ve done that kind of work all my life, bending, cutting and making things fit so they run properly,” he said.