“Those were the days.”
Nostalgia has a funny way of coloring our memories of the past in a hue of rose. The further we travel away from it, the more we become convinced that things will never be as grand as they once were. However, if we’re constantly looking back, we risk missing the gifts of the present. We neglect the opportunity to implement the lessons from yesterday, with the technology of today; in order to burn some serious rubber tomorrow.
Ira Schacter, the owner of one of the most insanely intricate project builds we’ve ever come across, has decided to pay homage to the past in a way that illustrates just how far automotive culture has come. This is what happens when the soul of American Graffiti collides with the unrestrained imagination of The Fast And The Furious. This is the embodiment of mechanical precision and hand-built execution. And it is mind-blowingly awesome.
Perhaps, we should say THESE are the days.
The marriage of a 1933 Ford coupe with an 8-cylinder engine is far from extreme. The idea of fitting, fabricating, and finalizing a build all within the comforts of one’s own garage moves the chaos needle a bit. However, the idea of a senior corporate partner at one of the world’s premiere law firms finessing an ultra-modern European drivetrain and ECU into an old-school American hot rod chassis, relying on skills that hadn’t been tested in 30-odd years is damn near unthinkable…But Ira and his eternal can-do attitude weren’t fazed. After all, he’d been performing his Dr. Frankenstein act since the mid ’70’s.
His first ride was a 1966 Buick Riveria, equipped with the classic 425 Nailhead motor, that had been wrecked in a head-on collision. Ira spent two years rebuilding, straightening, and modifying the car…all before he was legally old enough get behind the wheel. The straight-line speed the old Buick embodied was intoxicating, but expensive. The motor blew mere months after he got his license.
Fortunately, this discouragement didn’t derail what was quickly becoming a life-long passion. Ira emerged triumphant…In a 1971 Triumph TR-6, on which he performed a frame-off restoration in his parents’ garage. The lightweight sports car was slower than the old Buick, but far more nimble. As the years passed and Ira found his life full of everything else but spare time, the seed that would blossom into his most extensive project yet slowly took root. V8 power, a capable chassis, and the means to make it all happen were the recipe for his masterpiece. Once BMW released the S65 with the E9X M3, Ira knew he’d found his power plant. All he needed was the right home for it.
At only six years old, Ira’s father handed him his first copy of Hot Rod Magazine, hooking a young Ira on hot rods. A chance encounter with an article in the same publication, nearly five decades later, proved to be the final piece of the puzzle. Factory Five Racing’s ’33 Hot Rod was the lightest, most versatile, and most bad-ass looking option available, making the choice an easy one. After cutting a deal on an engine and drivetrain package with 14,000 miles on it, donated from a wrecked M3, Ira ordered FFR’s stage 1 kit, and took a deep breath. From this moment on, he knew he’d be on his own.
He knew he had what it took in the ‘70’s, but the degree of complexity that this project presented was far greater than anything he’d previously encountered. Bringing his grand scheme to fruition required Ira to dust-off his sidelined skills, as well as acquire a host of new ones. Employing the project management skills he’d gained as a successful attorney, Ira scoured Craigslist and EBAY for the tools necessary to turn his dream into a reality. His garage soon became home to a Bridgeport Mill, bandsaw, plasma cutter, 230-volt welder, and a host of hand tools. The only thing left to do was begin…and trust that his willpower would guide him to the end.
Stay tuned for Part 2!