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Featured Cars: Custom Street and Classic Rods, Build kits

Story & Photos by Terry Denomme

Glenn Botting sold this car before he got a chance to really drive it. He only has himself to blame. When you build a car this cool people get biblically covetous. Botting hardly had time to relish his class winning trophy at this year’s Detroit Autorama Extreme show when, while walking back to his car, he was met by a gentleman who made it clear he wanted to buy the Comet. A few minutes later a deal was finalized. The car’s paint was hardly dry as it had been finished just the week before.         

Why do that? Botting relishes the process of bringing his gearhead visions to life. The driving part is definietly fun but he says he’s got A.D.D. (We like to call it A.A.D.D., Automotive Attention Deficit Disorder. Plus, if you put a slash between the As and Ds you get AA/DD and it sounds like a condition that could only be cured with frequent doses of nitro and tire smoke. But I digress.) Botting says he builds a car or two a year so he’s always looking for the next project. It’s exactly that process that led to building the Comet.

“A few weeks after returning from the Syracuse Nationals I was sitting on my front porch with a friend,” says Botting who lives in Brantford, ON. “Scarred (his 1928 Model A rat rod pickup) had won a big trophy at Syracuse, won best exhaust and a Top 24 and had already won at the Unfinished Nationals show in Paris, ON so I was thinking aloud that I was going to sell it. My buddy asked what I’d want for it and next thing I knew he had pulled $1,000 out of his pocket as down payment and that was that. It was sold.”

That was in August of 2014 and Botting suddenly found himself without a hot rod, something that always makes him anxious. “I was like man I’ve got to get something else.”

Clearly Botting’s friends don’t mind feeding their buddy’s addiction because soon after the sale another friend dropped by and asked Botting what he wanted to do next. “Well, my wife (Ruth) wants a 1965-68 Mustang coupe and I want to build a gasser so chances are she’s going to get a Mustang gasser,” Botting told his friend.  “Well hell,” says the friend, “there is a guy right around the corner that’s got an old car. I don’t know what it is but it’s ’60s something and its for sale so let’s go take a look.” Botting was so eager to check it out he didn’t bother to wear shoes. “I was in my socks and I just jumped in his car and we drove around the corner.” Fate likes to hang around “around the corner” and sure enough fate was hanging out at the seller’s house. “I get out of my car and I’m walking up the driveway in my socks and as soon as he pulls the cover off the car I say ‘holy crap’ I knew the car,” says Botting. Turns out the undercover ’62 Mercury Comet had spent time in a friend’s shop getting metal work done. “My buddy Paul Dennison two years earlier had put in all the floors and did the trunk and a lot of other work and as soon as I knew he’d laid hands on it I knew the car was square and straight so I made a deal for it right there.”

The car was gasser gold. “That body style has gasser written all over it,” says Botting. “I knew on the spot I was  going to build a gasser style Comet. The only problem was the Comet was in resto mod mode. It had a Heidts front end in it with a 4-link and coilovers out back with big wheels and tires. None of that fit Botting’s vision so the deal was made for just the body shell. When Botting got the car home he cut out all the new stuff and returned it to the car’s former owner. Then the real fun began.

The car was amazingly intact and original with just 80,000 original miles on it. The interior was in very solid condition (as you’ll see on the next page) but years before it had been left outside to rot. “It sat under a tree for 10 years and the cowl area, heater box and firewall were rotted out,” says Botting. As mentioned Dennison had fixed the floors and trunk but much metal work remained.

“I think I burned through two big tanks of MIG gas and put about 22 pounds of wire into the car,” says Botting, who not only repaired sheet metal but built a custom square tube frame for the unibody car and also added a 4-point roll cage and front frame supports. He also had to replace inner and out quarters, the cowl, heater box area and firewall. Not all gassers have flip front ends but it’s certainly a trademark and Botting welded together the entire front clip but with a nod to modern convenience he hooked the now 1-piece clip to electric accuators so it opens and closes with the touch of a switch.

Botting doesn’t waste time getting parts on hand so before long he had everything he needed to turn his Comet into a gasser, including a Speedway motors straight front axle kit and a set of 15x10 Chrome smoothie wheels wrapped in 8.50x15 Firestone Bias ply whitewall piecrust cheater slicks. To get the rear wheelwell radius correct for the slicks, Botting got very technical. “I set the car up to the ride height I wanted then I put the tire up to the arch and took a two inch block taped to a marker and traced around the tire onto the quarterpanel and that was my clearance.” After cutting out the arch he then usedsome 18 gauge sheet metal, bent it 90° in a brake and then put it through a shrinker/stretcher until it matched the arch. The fitted piece was then welded in and body worked for a perfect, solid arch.

A big part of the vision for this gasser was a wild paint job and visions of the car that would influence the style had been simmering in Botting’s brain for almost 30 years. Southern Ontario custom painter Ken Kay painted a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner back in the 1970s that was featured in Volume 6, Issue 1 (2010) of CHR. Botting had been carrying a photo of that car in his wallet for years and knew he wanted to do something like that with his comet had been simmering in Botting’s brain for almost 25 years. Iconic Southern Ontario custom painter Ken Kay painted a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner back in the 1970s which survived and was featured in Volume 6, Issue 1 (2010) of CHR. Botting knew the car from his youth but had been carrying a recent photo of the car in his wallet for  a few years. He knew he wanted to do something like that with his Comet.

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