Customer Car: Cool Hemi Coupe

Another cool customer stopped by the COMP Cams world headquarters in Memphis and let us check out his car. Brian Kohlmann of Wisconsin brought his 1931 Chrysler by and the FAST tech guys really enjoyed taking a look. It’s a street-driven car that runs in the 9-second range in the quarter mile. Brian is a previous winner of the Goodguys Street Car Shootout in Bowling Green and is a frequent Drag Week competitor. He was on his way to Bowling Green for the Hot Rod Reunion this past weekend.

A Mopar guy through and through, Brian says he found the car on eBay, mislabeled as a DeSoto. Figuring that was “Mopar enough,” he eventually purchased the car after it failed to meet the reserve and brought it home. It had been stored in a barn after being reduced to just the body, frame and fenders. It was after listing the fenders for sale that he discovered that it was in fact a 1931 Chrysler, and not a DeSoto. It’s also an earlier car as evidenced by its one-piece windshield.

He built the chassis, retaining the parallel leaf springs up front after having them chrome-plated and paired with a custom dropped axle. Out back he added a Dana rear axle on a four-link. To power the rare coupe a big blown Hemi was built from a 354 block with a 392 crank and matching heads from Hot Hemi Heads, along with a Littlefield 6-71 supercharger. An old Hilborn four-pot injector was converted to work with new FAST EFI, and methanol injection was integrated into the intake runners of the manifold. This cools the compressed intake mixture just before it goes through the intake valves.

The factory dash was retained and trimmed with AutoMeter Pro Comp gauges. He used the ribbed roof skin of an old Plymouth wagon to fill the roof and used the rest to make a matching belly pan underneath the car. He also left the rear factory roll-down window intact. “It was a rumble seat car,” he says. “Those models had roll down windows so the driver could talk to the passengers. I thought it was really cool and it still worked, so I left it.”

The Radir wheels were shod in whitewalls, and keen eyes will spot the lack of center caps on the rear and the beadlock screws for the cheater slicks. This is a competition car that sees regular track duty. The roll bar and parachute are definitely not there for show.