The Coupe Express was built on a rigid Dictator sedan chassis, and it even incorporated the sedan's original cab. Mike rebuilt every moving part on the '37, including the I-beam frontend, the Dana 4.55:1 rearend, and the variable gear ratio steering box. Many of the J5s were sold without a pickup box but with rear fenders so customers could mount a utility box. The stock gas tank is behind the rearend and between the framerails, which left more room in the J5's cab and bed. The Coupe Express was only sold with a driver-side taillight, so Mike decided to copy and fabricate one for the right side for safety reasons since he drives it so often.
After Mike carefully ironed out all the wrinkles in the truck from years of hard use on the farm, he went to see Larry Neman of Neman Painting in Waukesha to return the '37 back to its original glossy black elegance. The interior is as stock as it should be for a restoration, with one exception-Mike modified a rearview mirror from a sedan to fit. The '37 Coupe Express never came with one, and they weren't even an option, but we'll let it slide. Believe it or not, even the dashboard and instrumentation are original and unrestored and function just fine thanks to the six-volt positive ground electrical system. Mike ordered an upholstery kit from Loga Enterprises and installed it along with his own carpet.
Unfortunately, Mike's father passed away a week after rebuilding the motor and never got to see the '37 to completion, which is Mike's only regret about the project, but now it serves as a tribute to Mike's dad and his lifelong love of Studebakers. Mike has logged nearly 10,000 miles on the Coupe Express and is having a blast. Thanks to the Kluth family for showing me some fine Wisconsin hospitality!