October 31st, 2013


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This week’s “Tuesday’s Tales” features John Cooper, the Entry Chairman for the Indianapolis World of Wheels event. Coop has been showing cars at indoor car shows since 1973 thanks to his friend Gary Cassidy. His first indoor show was at the downtown convention center in Indianapolis. He still has the 3rd place trophy and commemorative engraved ash tray given away back then.

John joined the Cluster Busters Hot Rod Club in 1975 & was a member for 33 years where he helped Co-Chair the James Dean event in Fairmont, Indiana for 20 of those years. He’s been a member of the Road Rockets Car Club in Indy since 2008. John started out as a judge and then a judging supervisor with ISCA in the late 70s.

The judging experience helped John in building a ‘32 Ford 5 window coupe to compete on the ISCA circuit. It took 7 years of overtime pay and tax refund checks to build the car. With the help of two close friends, thousands of dollars, no fancy shop or painter, just the guys, the car was completed for the 1986 Detroit Autorama. The car was a runner up for the Ridler Award and finished 19th out of the top 50 in the US at ISCA’s Grand Finale.

That summer, the ‘32 Ford was awarded the “1986 Outstanding Street Rod of the Year” at the Hot Rod Super Nationals as well as 2nd place Best Engineered Car. He received a ring from Hot Rod Magazine for the accomplishment and considers it one of my most prized awards.

John has co-chaired the Indy show for the last 7 years and was named “ISCA Individual of the Year” in 2013. Six of those years, he worked with Red Bledsoe and most recently Adam Wilson. Meeting and working participants and vendors is what he enjoys most about helping with the Indy show.

John’s wife Susie, daughter Amanda, and a son Dustin are actively involved in the Indianapolis World of Wheels show and the hobby. Susie is 100% car gal! She goes just about everywhere I go with the cars. In 1976 Susie rode with John in a supercharged blown T-Bucket from Indianapolis to Tulsa Oklahoma and back. He knew then she was going to be a keeper.

Over the years the family has owned many cars, and now collects cars. Now that the kids are grown, Susie doesn’t care how many cars they have. Her only stipulation so far has been is they can’t sell any of them. How cool is that?

The Cooper Family enjoys these builds and projects:
1929 Ford Roadster called “El Tiki” Top 100 car by Street Rodder Magazine in 2008
1955 Chevy Gasser “Top 5” award by Rod and Custom in 2013
1949 Chopped Ford Coupe
1951 Mercury 2 door
1957 Chevy Pickup
1932 Chopped Ford Sedan
1931 Ford Roadster built in ‘55
1959 El Camino (project)
1939 Lincoln Zephyr (project)
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