1933 Ford Coupe review: legendary performance

Ford Coupe

It’s seemed that the modern street rod movement has become more about show and less about go. If you’re a discerning rodder who’s looking for a car with a little more substance than bright performance, 1933 Ford Coupe’s your choice.

Hot rod culture started with guys who drove their cars out of necessity, but for desire that continually push the boundaries of legendary performance. Inspired by ‘60s salt flat cars, and built as a pro-touring mix of streetability and performance, this razor-sharp Ford Coupe is a direct result of what happens when a roster of top notch components meets years of specialized labor.

Ford Coupe

Special legendary performance of Ford Coupe as expected


Built from the ground up, this awesome custom’s solid fuselage began life as high quality Downs fiberglass that Classic Restorations’ Bob Eastman carefully sanded, structured and streamlined into a 3-inch chopped and 2.5-inch channeled race rod. Once that resin was completely smooth, it was bathed in a vivid coat of Buick Magic Red 2-stage. With that glossy pigment buffed, tasteful pinstripes, traditional window numbers and painted Mr. Horsepower mascots reinforced the car’s vintage racer motif. And today, with nary a ripple or misaligned panel anywhere, this positively evil Ford mixes enough utility to hush old school skeptics with enough polish to be front row at the local car show!

A clever descriptor for this slicked off coupe might be “blatantly unique”. That’s because, even though the car makes excellent use of very traditional modifications, it does so in an era of oddly conservative street rodding. At the front of the car, a 2-inch pinched Jim Mann nose hangs a handmade grille between modern halogen headlights. Behind that grille, a louvered hood leads the eye to smoked glass that’s sealed between a custom cowl vent, a chrome windshield frame and an electric windshield wiper. At the sides of that hood, traditional suicide doors hang traditional bear claw hinges behind classy handles and a small driver’s mirror. And at the back of Ford Coupe, a locking trunk reflects a simple bumper, requisite window decals and bright LED taillights.


Great looks of Ford Coupe are only one part of this slick coupe’s broad appeal; it also does a very good job of going fast! Gaze in to the car’s aluminum nosepiece and you’ll find a 350 cubic inch Chevrolet small block that’s been bored .030 over and fully rebuilt. At the top of that sturdy 355, polished and louvered air cleaners funnel wind in to proven Rochester carburetors and a lightweight Offenhauser intake. Below that intake, familiar double hump heads seat 1.94 valves under polished breathers and finned and polished valve covers. At the back of those covers, an electronic Mallory distributor sequences spark between a dressed coil and pliable plug wires. Below those wires, a reliable hydraulic cam heats ceramic-coated block hugger headers. At the front of those headers, a simple V-belt spins a modern alternator. In front of that alternator, a beefy aluminum radiator fronts a big electric puller fan. And, as with any expertly built custom, the car’s narrow, body-matched engine bay is fully sorted and ready to show.


With its exceptionally high power-to-weight ratio, completely modern components and dropped stance, this Ford is an absolute blast to drive! Behind the hot small block, a tough Centerforce clutch kicks a Borg Warner T5 5-speed, which twists torque through a custom Action Machine driveshaft. At the end of that shaft, a powder-coated Ford 9-inch spins big, 3.89 gears. That proven rear end funnels power through a modern 4-bar suspension that’s fitted with smooth QA-1 coil-overs. That fully sorted clip drives a dropped front-half that’s comprised of custom hairpins, a traditional I-beam and a chrome POSIES SuperSlide spring. That suspension rolls in a powder-coated chassis that, in addition to 2-inch pinched rails, features rounded ends, tubular cross members and a 2-inch stretched wheelbase. Stops come courtesy of traditional drums and polished Super Bell Super Stoppers. The aforementioned headers jettison spent gases through polished stainless tips, large-diameter pipes and Smithy’s glasspack mufflers. Torque meets the pavement through traditional Wheelsmith steelies, which spin smooth MQQN discs inside two 195/65R15 Firestones and two 235/75R16 Firestones. And the car’s lightly undercoated floors frame high quality ancillaries like stainless fluid lines and a finned and polished oil pan.


Ford Coupe

As you probably know, actual salt flat racers were pretty spartan.

But this classic was built as more than just some weekend speed machine. Pop the doors and you’ll find a custom ultraleather interior that was installed by Bohdes Custom Auto Interior of Ligonier, Indiana. At ground level, square-weave carpet balances color-keyed floor mats at the sides of a MQQN-topped shifter. Above that shifter, a steel dash hangs a full array of Classic Instruments gauges behind billet knobs, ornate pinstripes and an engine-turned instrument panel. Seating is provided by a modified Ford Ranger bench, which tucks tight pleats beneath simple lap belts. Above that seat, a custom headliner centers a small dome lamp behind a small rearview mirror. In front of the driver, a speed-drilled steering wheel laps an Everlasting turn signal switch. At the sides of the passengers, custom door panels hide modern power windows behind chrome handles and body-matched frames. Behind the cockpit, a surprisingly large trunk fronts a 14-gallon, aluminum fuel tank. And conveniences like double insulation, American Autowire wiring, a Secret Audio sound system and a Sky Drive GPS speedometer make the most of cross-country treks.