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For many of us, hot rods and customs are our religion. Coby Gewertz is one such faithful disciple of automotive speed and style, and that is what led him to create his own brand known to other devout followers as Church. Coby began spreading his gospel with a series of self-photographed color booklets, soon followed by self-designed t-shirts to help define his flock.
With the Church brand and its fan base growing, it became obvious that he could really use a vehicle to transport his merchandise to shows – one that could also be displayed in his booth instead of being parked in a far away lot. This was especially important since he was attending the events completely solo, requiring his inventory to be left unattended at both ends of the gatherings. The answer eventually became crystal clear to Coby: ” I need a VAN” he reports. As luck would have it his friend Mike Gerry happened to have a 1963 Ford Econoline doing lawn art duty at another friend, Dave Drakes home in Las Vegas. The old box van didn’t run, but it was fairly complete and the rust was minimal. Especially important, the price was right: FREE!
With the raw material part taken care of, Coby then had to develop a game plan of what to do with his Econoline. Normally you can draw reference and inspiration from different builds of the past, but Coby had no interest in a jacked up mullet wagon or shag carpeted, disco-themed bachelor pad on wide chrome wheels. What Coby envisioned was his commercial cruiser lying flat on the deck when parked, yet fully drivable to and from the gatherings of fellow car lovers.
So, what is so tough about that? The fact that pretty much no one had done this task before was going to take some crafty and skilled technicians. Through one of many divine interventions, Coby became acquainted with Kevin Francis and Steve Rose of KA Custom in Huntington Beach, CA. These guys would start by getting the breadbox to lay flat on the pavement. Working from a completely blank slate KA Custom installed a Mustang II front end and worked out a totally custom steering set up. Bringing down the rear is a one-off frame notch for the 8-inch Ford rearend.
Read the rest of this article in Traditional Rod & Kulture Issue #26.