Back in high school John Mumford tore around Santa Monica, California, in his Olds-powered '34 Ford coupe. At the same time he marveled at the Buick-powered machines "TV" Tommy Ivo ran on the dragstrip. To John, early Ford coupes symbolized the ultimate hot rod envelope. Throw in a Buick Nailhead or Olds Rocket and the package was complete. He held onto that mental picture for years, building the car over and over in his head until the opportunity came when he could have his good friend, Roy Brizio, make his dream a reality.

The first step began with locating the '33-34 Ford coupe. John chased many leads until one classified ad seemed to have additional promise above all the previous letdowns. The owner of the car was a retired priest who claimed his coupe to be "the finest '33 Ford three-window in existence." John doesn't like to think the priest was lying, but the car was very rough, albeit complete. Knowing Brizio could make it right, John paid the man his price and dragged the '33 home.

Once inside Roy's house of hot rods, the Brizio crew began work on the '33 Ford chassis by boxing the original frame for added strength. With the 'rails beefed up, new front and rear suspension pieces were selected and bolted in place.

Going back to John's fascination with early Buick muscle, a '65 425ci Nailhead was located and rebuilt by B&B Machine Shop. Because these engines were plenty healthy from the factory, the specifications were kept relatively stock with an original dual-carb setup tossed in for good measure. Backing the mighty Buick is a T5 manual transmission borrowed from a Chevy S-10 pickup.

The plan for the exterior was to leave things pretty much the way Henry intended. Dan Laughlin was called in to massage the metal back to better-than-original condition before spraying the '57 Chevy Sierra Gold paint. Once the paint was dry, all the freshly re-chromed bits were returned to their original locations and the finishing exterior touch was a fresh set of lines by Brizio's favorite 'striper, Rory.

Completing John's hot rod vision is a classic '50s-style stitch job by Sid Chavers in white and gold Naugahyde. Complementing the retro rolls 'n' pleats is a cut-down '39 Ford banjo steering wheel, chromed garnish moldings, and Stewart Warner gauges tucked up in the header panel. Amazingly, that's just half of the story because, while the '33 was going together, Roy was also building the similarly themed '32 three-window coupe for John to enjoy. The toughest part for John now is deciding which one to drive. Anyone got a coin?

John MumfordPortola Valley, California1933 Ford Three-Window Coupe