Daily Driving An Ex-Asphalt Modified Turned Commuter 1936 Chevy
— Photos: Scotty Lachenauer
It takes a bit of vision to see an ‘80s-era Modified racecar chassis next to a surface-rusted ’36 Chevy truck, and imagine them meshed into a daily commuter car. Coti Sanders is nothing if not inventive.
The modded Modifed started as a daily driver dilemma. You see, the young motorhead had just scored the job of his dreams, working as a master fabricator/technician for Eli English at his “Traditional Speed and Custom” shop in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. Excellent for Coti, but the shop was sixty miles away from his home in Waterboro, Maine. How was he going to get to work?
Coti searched the local used car lots for a gas-sippin’ highway hauler; just something that he could make the daily bi-state run with. How about a Prius? Damn…nothing there! Smart car? Not a chance! Yugo? You-go away now! All of the typical micro-sized commuter cars were non-existent in his price range. It just seemed like the state of Maine was fresh out of little four-banger-beaters.
Finally he spotted something in the local want ads that gave him an idea. It might not have been everybody’s idea of a good starting point, but in Coti’s eyes a retired 80’s Troyer Racecars Asphalt Modified chassis made perfect sense as a daily driver. “It’s safe as heck and built to maneuver in heavy traffic,” he told us. It was a little long in the tooth for competitive racing and the asking price was well worth it; an even-up swap for his old worn out ATV. Score!
Next, Coti needed a body to mount on those race-car bones. He started searching around his area for the perfect metal encasement for his chassis. When he found it, it was right there in his neighbor’s driveway all along– A bulked-up, blunt nosed 1936 Chevy pick-up truck. Coti went ahead and bought the patina encrusted Chevy workhorse. Well, he didn’t actually buy it. He once again traded up; in return for a used truck he had gotten free a few years earlier. Once the transaction was completed, he pulled the carcass to his house for dissection. First he took the body off the frame and chopped four inches off the bottom of the cab and nose. Then he chopped the top, and then channeled the body five-inches. He made a new floor from scratch, and it tied the all-new rollcage into the chassis.
Coti wanted to use all the goodies from the Troyer built chassis for his new build. “I used as much of the race car stuff as possible, so the rack and pinion, Wilwood brakes, wide-five hubs, coil-overs, and the Franklin quick change steering wheel stayed with the truck.” Since he was low on funds, Coti searched high and low for cheap parts and salvaged goods to finish up the ride. The bed is handmade, as is the shifter. The radiator was moved out back because there was no room up front. He fabricated a custom shroud for it, and hooked up a pair of electric fans to keep air moving. Just about everything else is made from scrap, from the seats, to the gas tank, to even the hood scoop up top (made from an old Harley tank).
As for the motor motivation for this ride, Coti was still up in the air. He had his eye on this nice little three-cylinder out of a Geo Metro, but at the last minute that plan fell through, so he had to go to his back-up…something just a hair off from his first choice. Coti settled on a 355 ci Chevy smallblock, complete with Brodix heads, forged internals, 530 solid lift cam, air gap intake, MSD igniter and a Holley 850cfm up top. A Troyer motor plate bolts it all down, and an NV4500 five-speed custom trans does the shifting. Just slightly off the original plan.
The engine was a bit of a splurge, but hey it was for good reason. Now the kid has power to spare, and this commuter truck hauls it through the New England woods like a Rat out of Hell. But this is no Rat; it’s a well thought out, powered-up, hot rod. Coti asked that we give a special thanks to his wife Betsy for her support throughout the journey, so thanks Bets, and thank you Coti, for sharing your sweet ride.
Hubba hubba– Your commuter car got these? We don’t think so! JFZ front hubs came with the modified chassis. Wilwood brakes do the stopping.
Tire racked– it started to rain a bit towards the end of the work day, and these slicks are not the best choice when the roads get damp. Luckily Coti keeps a set of roads tires at the shop just in case.
Road Ink– in case you DIDN’T think Coti loves his truck, or Roadkill for that matter, check out his ink. On his forearm is a perfect rendering of his main road ragin’ ride. Now check out the bicep. Yep, you ain’t seeing things. That’s a shout out to Blasphemi right there on his epidermis. This kid just lives and breathes Roadkill. Got room for Rotsun somewhere?
Road Case– Just a typical day in the rat-race we call Roadkill. Coti Sanders blasts through the New England woods on the way to work at Traditional Speed and Custom in Pittsfield, New Hampshire in his “Modified” commuter truck.
Mod Max-Coti Sanders found the modified chassis on Craigslist in Vermont. The owner said it had become too old to race competitively so he swapped for it.
Interior Design– Yeah, Spartan is the only word that comes to mind when describing Coti’s cockpit, but he’s got a list of important goodies here. Removable steering wheel; check. Hurst shifter; check. Metal bomber seats; check. Race belts; another check. Ear muffs for wife Betsy…double check!
Suspension from another Dimension–There’s a Franklin quick change rear stuffed with 3.90 gears, amongst the other goodies out back. This commuter has nothing but the best; Pro Shocks coil-overs, Troyer control arms and spindles, Wilwood rear hubs and calipers. That’s a Chevy one-ton four-core radiator keeping it all cool.
Slick trick– Coti usually runs slicks in fair weather…and why not? The wheels came with them!
Fuel stick– Coti’s fool proof gas gauge is courtesy of the Napa paint department.
Pumped Up– The power steering pump is hidden nicely up in the grille shell, and was installed there after the radiator was moved out back.
“One time I was stopped by the police, the cop came up and put his hands up saying “whaaaat…I don’t even know what to do with this thing!” He let me go after taking some pics to show a friend”.