A Family Heirloom
Photos: Dale Murray Photography/Billish Family :: Story: T-bone with Scott Billish
I am walking around the Grand National Roadster Show last year and bouncing between the buildings, meeting up with new and old friends and inside one of the buildings I am struck by a jewel with a black coat and cool blue interior. I met Moxie. True to its name, this car was a “Force of Character.”
Some would pass by thinking what a nice deuce coupe. But, there was something different about this car. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and it drew me in. So much so, that I had to interrupt the two ladies sitting next to the car what the story was. Jane Billish jumped from her seat to tell me a bit about the car, then her husband Scott invited me between the ropes to have a closer look at the interior. We get our inspirations from the craziest places. Jane had a favorite pair of black leather boots with a unique blue leather lining. She sits in Moxie, just as comfortable as her feet are in those boots.
The story of the car is part barn find and part family history. Let us allow Scott to tell the story:
In 1973, Jane’s father John read an ad in a local Minneapolis paper for a 1932 coupe for sale he naturally thought, wow a 32 ford I’ll go take a look at it and much to his surprise, he was staring at a 1932 Plymouth PB coupe, he was so shocked he bought it immediately, he always thought the Plymouths had much better lines.
Jane tells us: “In 1973, my dad brought home the coolest red coupe; my sisters and I LOVED this car. It would be many years until any of us could drive, but we all dreamt of the day we might be able to take this beauty for a spin. It was a member of our family, and we’d get pictures of it in different locations and at important events like Back to the 50’s or my sister’s first communion.”
Jane continues: “Through the years, my Dad made plans to do some major work on “The 32”; he collected parts and researched his dreams for this special car. In 1990 he decided to put the car into storage until he could make room in the garage to start his project. As life goes, one year turns into 16 and in 2006 my husband had just finished our 1971 Big Block El Camino and I asked my Dad if he might be interested in selling us this project. We were so pleased that he turned over this exceptional car to us and 6 years later, it seems that we have all seen our dreams realized.”
When Jane and I meet in 1990 and had been dating for a few months, Jane’s father John asked me if I would help move his 1932 Plymouth coupe from the house to a storage facility to make room for another car he had just purchased, so we loaded it up and dropped it off. I fell in love with that little coupe and thought maybe someday I could own it.
Fast forward to 2006, married 13 years, my wife Jane and I purchased the car from her father John and he said I’m not really sure where it’s at. I said what? He laughed and said for years Judy’s been paying the storage bill and they had sent us a few letters over that time that they had sold the business and another one that they had moved to a new location. So after making some calls, Jane’s Mom Judy tracked it down. Not knowing what to expect or what condition the car would be in, we loaded up a truck with tools and a trailer to pick it up. When we arrived, a little nervous the car would be damaged or ruined, we noticed the overhead door was open and there about 100 feet inside, sat the coupe, a little dusty but looking as it did 16 years earlier when we dropped her off. They had aired up the tires, rolled it out and we loaded it on the trailer and brought her home. The added bonuses of this find were the many parts that John had collected over the years. Prior to EBay when he and Judy went to car shows and while Judy enjoyed the show and made new friends, John would pour through the swap meets and make pit stops at junk yards.
When we got her to the house, Jane and I spent several months trying to decide how the car was going to be refinished. It originally had an Olds Rocket that had long been removed and junked. The original front suspension was well worn past its useful life and the olds rear end that was put in the car back in the late 50’s was also past its prime. All this work along with a 5” channel had been completed in an anonymous hot rodder’s garage in or around 1958!
We had purchased the car for Jane and I asked her if she wanted to restore the car as it was when her father purchased it in 1973 and she said no. Initially we had thought about making a rat rod coupe but once we actually laid our eyes on this beauty it was all about the beautiful lines, and we wanted to give her a new life, make her better. When we had our minds wrapped around the idea of how we now wanted this project to go, Jane asked for a 392 Hemi, a gorgeous black paint job, lots of chrome and “jewelry”. She showed me a pair of black boots with a unique shade of blue leather lining and said, she needs this color leather for an interior. Well I had my marching orders and Moxie became a reality.
Back at the Grand National Roadster Show I for one am certainly happy it became a reality. And not without the help of some of the top builders in the country. Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle, Rad Rides By Troy, Voodoo Lary and more. Check out the specs below.
- original 1932 PB Coupe by Plymouth, PPG Black with a 5” channel, Custom slide back top, Extended and reshaped rear fenders with 1941 Plymouth tail lights, re-shaped front fenders with custom built support brackets, 1933 Chrysler Imperial “Flex Beam” headlights modified to fit original stands Chopped and sectioned original grill and shell
- Modified, original 1932 frame Rails boxed, Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle custom One-off chassis. Sculpted and smoothed, painted PPG Black to match car by Flatline Kustoms
- Front: JW Rod Garage IFS Mustang II rear steer Rack and Pinion, Wilwood vented disc brakes
- Rear: Heidt’s Superide IRS, Strange Engineering posi-trac, Wilwood vented disc brakes
- 1957 Imperial 392 Hemi, Hot Hemi aluminum heads polished, Hilbourn electronic fuel injection with custom milled cover, Joe Hunt Distributer. Built by AES. Rad Rides by Troy Custom pulley system, fan shroud and details, Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle Custom headers.
- 2004 R Overdrive automatic with One off aluminum dust cover, IDES Aluminum driveshaft
Wheels and Tires
- Coker 15 inch smoothie wheels with custom logo etched caps and Coker Classic tires.
- Original 1934 Plymouth dash cluster by Classic Instruments, 1955 Olds clock, 1951 Shoebox pillar lights, power side windows, power rear window Ogden Top and Trim custom built bench seat, blue leather with Blue suede headliner. Rad Rides by Troy Custom build speaker covers, gas and brake pedals with custom door and trunk sill plates. Alpine custom sound system, XM satellite radio, ipad/iphone connect all hidden in rear panel compartments.
Final Assembly, Fit and Finish
Special thanks to: Rad Rides by Troy, Flatline Kustoms, John Hohenadel, Bruce panzer, Jamin Heyde and the Stone Mountain Access Gang, Ogden Top & Trim, Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle, Voodoo Larry Customs, Automotive Engine Specialist