As long as people chop tops they’ll always brag about how much they lowered a lid on a car. But when was the last time you heard anyone even mention how much they raised a roof?
Rich Greiner raised the one on his 1933 Ford three-window coupe and you probably would’ve, too. Someone in the car’s past inevitably applied one-upmanship to car design and cut too deep—5 inches, to be specific.
“Un-chopping a car is much more difficult than chopping a car because you haven’t got the pieces for the windows and pillars,” Rich observes. The solution: he bought a ’33 Fordor from a friend. “We used the front section of the sedan and chopped (it) to 2 inches at the A-pillar. We then mated the front section of the sedan with the rear section of the coupe and raised the rear section of the coupe to net a 1-inch chop.”
The other part of the “we” Rich referred to is fellow Yakimanian Bill Ross. Ross used the sedan’s chassis, on which the coupe body lays.
He preserved the factory X-member, opting to update rather than replace its stock pedal assembly. Ross modified it to accept a Corvette dual-circuit master cylinder. He did replace the front suspension with a variety of components from Magnum Axle Company, including an axle, hairpins, and spindles. Also gone is the draglink steering box, a Vega cross-steer unit in its place.
He swapped the rear axle for one from a ’46 Ford, rebuilding it with a 3.54:1 gear set and updated it with an open drive. Pete & Jakes ladder bars pin it to the chassis. Both ends ride on Speedway Motors reverse-eye transverse springs and Bilstein mono-tube dampers.
The car stops on a combination of Ford parts, like the brakes that came on the rear axle and a set of ’41 Lincoln self-energizing units up front. Bolted to them are chromed ’50 Mercury wheels, the fronts 5 inches wide and rears widened to 7 inches. They wear Diamond Back Classic Radial tires in 185/65-15 and 225/75-15, respectively.
Though bookended by two of the world’s most famous engines, Ford’s Y-block has the right features for an early Ford swap: it’s bigger and more powerful than the nastiest Flathead yet doesn’t require the heavy firewall setback that a Windsor does. This one started as a 292 in 1955 but Lenard’s Automotive Machining in Yakima bored it 0.060 inch and built it as a 301. A 650-cfm Holley on a ’57 manifold feeds it. To maintain the exhaust gas velocity Bill Ross built its 1 1/2-inch headers. They feed 2-inch pipes bent up by Sharp’s Fabricating and Muffler in Moxee.
At the front of that engine is a Walker Radiator Works copper/brass cooler. At its rear is a Ford C4, a union ordained by a Flat-O-Matic adapter. Between them are T-bird rocker covers. Drive Line Service of Yakima created the link between the transmission and axle.
The Nottingham grille shell withstanding, the coupe is made entirely from Ford metal. Ross tidied it up before presenting it to Tim Eleutschi for a wash in PPG Concept series urethane base/clear. The car emerged Dark Ink Blue, a late-model Ford color kissed with a touch of metallic. Though the car retains every bit of its gingerbread—handles, cowllights—Rich followed mid-’50s practice and replaced the oversized headlights with smaller sealed-beam units—Guide 682-c to be specific.
Bill Ross installed the Vintage Air climate-control system and wired the car with an It’s a Snap Wire and Cable kit. Rich wired the car for sound with a Secretaudio SST head unit and Boston Acoustics GT-2200 amplifier and speakers. A ’51 Ford steering column serves as the shifter and the mount for a Lecarra Newstalgic banjo-style 15-inch steering wheel.
To say that Rich redeemed the car is a bit of an understatement; he transformed it from a cramped, over-chopped relic to a suitable all-weather car—his first choice in comfort to be specific. And one could make the case that it wouldn’t have been possible without raising the roof. But in hindsight Rich noted that he could’ve gone just a little bit further. If given the opportunity to change anything, he admitted, “I might take it back to full stock.”
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1933 Ford Three-window Coupe