Rod & Custom Feature Car
Owner contact info:
Ray Forbes
Reno, Nevada
1934 Ford Five-window Coupe

The original frame was treated to boxed 'rails, bobbed frame horns, and a Model A rear crossmember. The front suspension was located 4 inches forward to stretch the wheelbase and consists of a drilled '37 Ford tube axle with '40 spindles, Super Slider front springs with reverse eyes, and drilled and split front wishbones. Panhard bars and Pete & Jake's shocks were installed front and rear. A Model A rear spring and two pairs of drilled '40 Ford rear wishbones set up as a four-link connects to the Hot Rod Works-rebuilt Halibrand Culver City quick-change. 45-fin Buick drums work with the Vintage Circle 4 Racing brakes in front and '39 Ford brakes in the back to stop the coupe.

The 364ci '57 Buick Nailhead was built by Mike Hughes with an Offenhauser 3x2 intake with a trio of Rochester 2G carburetors and a Schneider cam. Stock 303 valve covers with Offy breathers and chrome air cleaners offer just the right amount of sparkle. 1949 exhaust manifolds sent the exhaust to modified '36 Ford inner driveshaft tubes with homemade caps. An '88 Chevy World-Class T5 transmission, built by Jim Foley of Reno, helps make the coupe more streetable.

Wheels & Tires
Ford steelies (16x4 and 16x5) with dog dish caps roll with Firestone 4.50 and 7.50 bias-ply tires.

Body & Paint
The coupe was originally chopped 7 inches with the A-pillars leaned back by the Binacci brothers in the '40s. Rory convinced his dad that the body needed to be channeled 2 inches. The grille was lowered 2 inches as well to allow the hood (which had been louvered in the Fifties) to flow at the same angle as the top chop. PPG custom paint mixed to match Navy surplus paint was shot by Eric Collins. Dale Weber lettered the body and included Hal Baglin's old racing number, 617C. Rory built the 7/8-inch tubing steel front bumper and 2-inch tube rear bumper with push bar.

Original P38 bomber seats were made more comfortable and safe with upholstered vinyl pads by Gary Koepnik of Reno and WWII-era belts. The stock dash was accented with an owner-built aluminum engine-turned dash insert filled with vintage Stewart-Warner crossover gauges, Fifties-era SW police speedo, and WWII GE fuel level sight gauge. Schroeder steering column and 17-inch Bell steering wheel and Kugel drilled swing pedals fit perfectly between the dash and modified firewall.

Try to picture Tom's coupe the way it looked when a friend spotted it in the Midwest, dressed up Eighties-style with purple paint and yellow flames. Tom's own daughter Ciarra ("a true blue hot rodder") laughed at it and nicknamed the car Barney. That motivated Tom to transform the full-fendered, unchopped street rod into a cool traditional hot rod, which-in addition to getting the look right-meant doing as much of the buildup himself as he could.

Steve Watson helped him tear it apart. Tom had already determined that the car would have a Bonneville and lakes racer look. He'd spent 20 years accumulating the right parts, including the '55 Dodge Super Red Ram Hemi. Mike Hughes at Hughes Automotive Machine in Fallon, Nevada, built up the Hemi, which is tied to a T5 trans with a modified B&M shifter.

Earl Cook treated the top to a 5-inch chop and 1 1/4-inch stretch and laid back the A-pillars 2 inches. Eric Collins at Final Finish Auto Body finessed the sheetmetal and shot the paint, and Dale Weber handled the lettering.

Tom kept the cockpit racecar simple, with a canvas-covered bomber-style bench by Frank Wallace, Stewart-Warner dash insert and gauges, So-Cal sprint wheel, owner-built pedals, and vintage aircraft belts.

After Bonneville, Tom drove the coupe to Pleasanton for the Goodguys show where it won the Period Perfect award. That, and the regained approval of his daughter, prove just how well Tom achieved his goal of building an early-style, salt-inspired hot rod.