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Hot Rod 2-Pack: Traditional 1934 Ford Coupes


By Tim Bernsau, HOT ROD


Two Ways to Build A Retro Style '34 Ford Five-Window Hot Rod

What is a traditional hot rod? Hot rodders who want to build a car in the style of a particular bygone era have a lot of options. Thumb through ancient issues of HOT ROD and Car Craft magazines, and you'll see it for yourself. These two 1934 Ford coupes are awesome examples of what we're talking about. Aaron Von Minden and Marcus Edell both love vintage style hot rods. Both built '34 Ford coupes, and both nailed the period appearance they were going for. Von Minden's coupe reflects the look of the earliest hot rods from the 1940s. Edell set the time machine about 15 years forward, with a five-window right out of the early '60s.



Forties-Style Dream Hot Rod

Aaron Von Minden has owned many hot rods over the years, and he has amassed a garage full of vintage race car and hot rod parts. When he finally started to build his dream car, a 1934 Ford coupe, he was prepared to do it like rodders in the '40s did it, using parts that would have been available then.


The body was purchased from another collector who was selling a bunch of '34 Ford parts. Aaron believes the body was drag raced in the '60s. The only modification to the body was a welded shut cowl vent. He chose not to chop the roof because the body was so nice, and he liked the looks of the stock roof.

The unchopped body was painted with a custom blend of gray, blue, and black, consistent with colors rodders were choosing in the Forties. The slightly flattened finished and some low-key patina perfects the authentic look of a much-used, mid-century hot rod.


Aaron already owned a chassis, relatively stock, and entirely vintage, with a 1937 two-speed rear axle and a rare Okie Adams dropped axle hanging on Armstrong lever action shocks. Aaron left the caps off the 16- and 18-inch 1939 Ford wheels and wrapped them vintage style Goodyear 6.00-16 bias-plies in front and 7.00-18 rubber from Specialty Tires of America in back.

The Cadillac flathead engine had been modified to power a lakes racer at one time, and features Cyclone heads, an Edmunds intake, and dual Stromberg 97 carbs. A 1937 LaSalle three-speed transmission backs up the Cadillac.


The dash was transplanted from a 1936 Chevy school bus and houses old-time AC gauges. Stewart-Warner gauges are mounted under the dash, out of sight from outside. A well-worn steering wheel is original 1934 Ford.

Journalist Kleet Norris took these photos for his Hot Rod Deluxe magazine feature on Aaron Von Minden's throwback 1934 Ford.


Sixties-Style Rockabilly Hot Rod

Marcus Edell's 1934 Ford coupe had been finished for a few weeks when it made its debut at the 2012 Grand National Roadster Show, where it won the Suede Palace Best of Show award. Enthusiasts had been watching the buildup of the '60s show car-inspired coupe for years on the HAMB website.


When Marcus bought the car from another HAMB member, the top had already been chopped and the decklid louvered. Altissimo Restorations continued the bodywork on the original 1934 steel before spraying the metallic blue paint. It's a 2005 Mustang color, it but looks like a 1959 Cadillac color Marcus likes. Famed striper Herb Martinez added perfect low-key pinstriping.


The coupe's traditional chassis features a Super Bell dropped I-beam axle, So-Cal covered shocks, hairpins, and Posies Super Slider leaf springs. The Ford 8-inch rearend is suspended from Posies parallel leaf springs and Pete & Jake's shocks. The big 'n' little tire and wheel combination includes whitewall skinnies and piecrust cheater slicks, rolling on 15- and 16-inch Halibrand "Smoothie" replicas.


Inside, the panels and Chrysler minivan bench are upholstered with blue and white vinyl. Classic Instruments built a custom speedo to match the Stewart-Warner Twin Blue tach and gauges. The Moon 15-inch white vinyl steering wheel perfectly continues the overall theme.


At the Suede Palace, and in these photos, the coupe is powered by a 1951 Ford 8BA Flathead with polished aluminum Sharp 59A heads. Four Stromberg 97 carbs with Cal Custom-style finned aluminum air cleaners sit atop a Weiand intake. A Flat-o Products adapter tied the Flathead to a T5 transmission. Since then, Marcus has replaced the Ford Flathead with a 390ci Cadillac.

See more at: HOT ROD

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Home Magazine: Hot Rod 2-Pack: Traditional 1934 Ford Coupes
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