1937 Ford Cabriolet Smoothster
Like stock automobile names, the tags applied to one-off hot rods are often chosen because they sound good, and not because they reflect any particular aspect of the car. Not so with the Smoothster, it’s hard to imagine calling this sleek machine anything else. Designed by Larry Erickson, the Boyd Coddington Smoothster is a steel-and-aluminum rendition of the classic 1937 Ford Cabriolet. Differing from a true roadster, which has a dismountable windshield and side curtains, a cabriolet-the word has long since been supplanted by “convertible”-features a fixed windshield and windows operated by a hand cranking or electric motors. On this cabriolet, here’s a further distinction to the windshield; it was transplanted, with some modification, from a Corvette. Vette crossbreeding is also evident in the front and rear suspension, shocks and brakes, master cylinder, differential, rack-and-pinion steering, and in its 1992 LTl engine, a favorite of Boyd Coddington Smoothster. It’s the body, though, that sets this car apart- and the subtlest of touches do the trick. The principal grace note is the tapered continuation of the grille, along both sides, into single strips of trim that ride the waistline in right back to the rear fenders. Both grille and trim were custom-formed from brass- the grille was assembled by George Gould from 3/4 -inch by 3/8-inch solid brass bars- and heavily chrome-plated.
The Smoothster’s flawlessly clean lines and absolute banishment of clutter extends into the engine compartment, where the yellow-and-chrome fuel-injected Corvette mill looks as if it were on a platform in an art gallery. There are no cables, wires, or hydraulic lines snaking around to block the view- everything has been concealed and rerouted. Beneath Greg Morrell’s creamy DuPont Boyd Yellow paint job, the Smoothster is a sheet-metal hybrid. Craig Naff crafted the front and rear fenders from steel, while the hood and doors are aluminum. The headlights are ’37 Ford originals, although the teardrop-shaped taillights were custom-made to nestle into the rear contours of the car. The six-spoke billet wheels are One-Off designed dubbed the Boyd Coddington Smoothster. Inside, Jim Griffin’s tan leather upholstery sheaths a set of modified Corvette seats; the steering wheel is one of Boyd’s Ultra Classic models. The Smoothster landed Boyd his fifth America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at the 1995 Oakland Roadster Show. Like all of Boyd’s other creations, it was later featured as one of the Testors line of model kits, its name and appearance serving as a reminder not to get one drop of cement out of place. It’s that smooth.
- OWNER: Fred Warren
- DESIGNER: Larry Erickson
- BODY: Modified custom replica of 1937 Ford Cabriolet; steel and aluminum
- CHASSIS: 1937 Ford perimeter
- ENGINE: 1992 Corvette LT 1 fuel injected
- TRANSMISSION : GM 700R4 automatic
- WHEELS: Front, Boyd Coddington Smoothsters; 16″ front and 18″ rear
- TIRES: BF Goodrich tires
- PAINT: Dupont Boyd Yellow
- REAR END: Corvette differential
- FRONT SUSPENSION: Corvette IFS
- REAR SUSPENSION: Corvette IFS
- BRAKES: Corvette 4-wheel disc