We first came across Jim Holmes’ ’33 coupe in the Roy Brizio Street Rods booth at the Grand National Roadster Show earlier this year and immediately knew we had to find out more. The sectioned, channeled, but unchopped five-window had the appearance of an old hot rod, and indeed that turned out to be the case when we were told the history of the car. Not only was it first built in the late ’50s, but Jim actually rode in it when he was in high school, and never forgot the experience!
It was just after his high school graduation in 1957 that Bob Schneider bought the coupe, though it was somewhat of a project as it was disassembled. He put the chassis back together with its early Ford suspension and drivetrain, and added a 283 Chevy small-block. With the help of Dee Wescott, the body was sectioned below the lower door hinges, and the fenders and running boards attached in their stock location. The grille and hood were sectioned to match the body. According to Jim, “Interestingly, Dee was in the early stages of his fiberglass body business, and most of the coupe’s body and fenders were used to make molds for future Wescott’s panels.” With the coupe sectioned, the modified areas were primed though the untouched areas were still the stock black color, and the car was driven on the streets of Portland, Oregon, for several years until it was torn apart again and stored in a warehouse. Almost 40 years later, Wescott learned that the coupe was available and began to reassemble it. He wasn’t able to finish the car but did get most of the assembly completed.
Jim told us, “I first entered the picture in 1960, after Bob sold the coupe to his brother, and rode in it one evening. As a teenager, I thought it was the most fantastic thing I had ever seen, but couldn’t afford it. I have since learned that the car went through several owners afterward, and was a common sight in the Portland area.” One of the coolest things about now owning the coupe has apparently been the opportunity to meet and visit with all the people who remember the car from Portland, including the original builder, Bob Schneider. After that influential teenage ride Jim “thought of the car on occasion, wondering what might have happened to it. I had heard rumors several years ago that it was owned by a collector, that it was in storage and not for sale. The Portland-based automotive writer, Al Drake, informed me that it was back in Dee’s hands, and once I knew where it was, I couldn’t let it get away again!’
Unfortunately, it took until after Dee Wescott’s death before Jim was able to purchase the ’33 from the Wescott family, but almost 50 years after riding in the old Ford and wishing he could buy it, the coupe was finally his. After a further two years at Roy Brizio Street Rods, it turns out when we saw the car at the Grand National Roadster Show it had just been finished, and barely had a couple of hundred miles under its belt. However, it was built to be a driver, as all Roy Brizio builds are, and Jim plans to use it frequently. This time around though, it’ll be cruising the streets of Northern California, not Portland, Oregon.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
James “Jim” Holmes
Mountain View, California
1933 Ford Five-window coupe
A fully boxed Brizio ’34-style chassis forms the foundation for the ’33, with a Durant leaf-sprung Super Bell I-beam on Pete & Jakes hairpins. Super Bell spindles and 10-inch disc brakes complete the frontend, along with Pete & Jakes tube shocks and a Brizio panhard bar. A dual Corvette master cylinder with Wilwood proportioning valve is hooked to a Brizio pedal assembly, with steering courtesy of the ubiquitous Vega box. This is hung on a Pete & Jakes four-bar, with a Deuce Frame Company antiroll bar and QA1 coilovers.
The 0.030-over 283 was machined by B7B Machine in Chico, CA, and uses an Elgin Machine camshaft, with a FAST throttle body on an Offenhauser intake. A C2 Corvette air cleaner makes it all look older than it is, coupled with Vette valve covers. A PerTronix distributor lights the fire within, while Sanderson headers and MagnaFlow mufflers remove waste gases. Behind the 283 a McLeod Racing clutch and flywheel feed the power to a Tremec five-speed, and on to a Currie 9-inch equipped with a limited-slip differential and 3.70:1 gears. The rearend was located 4 inches farther forward than stock in order to center the wheel in the rear fenders, which were moved up and forward on the rear quarters during the sectioning process.
Body & Paint
Originally sectioned and channeled some 50 years ago by Bob Schneider and Dee Wescott, Bill Ganahl at Roy Brizio Street Rods replaced or restored the rear quarters, cowl, firewall, fenders, and all the rear panels, to include all of the original reveals and contours. All replacement panels are from Steve’s Auto Restorations, while Jack Hagemann fabricated the hood from aluminum. The ’67 Corvette Goodwood Green was applied by Darryl Hollenbeck’s Vintage Color Studio. It has ’40 Chevrolet headlights with stainless bumpers from Rock Valley.
Wheels & Tires
As with so many Brizio projects, chrome ’50 Mercury wheels and caps found their way onto the coupe. The Wheel Vintiques wheels measure 16x6 up front with 3 inches of backspacing, and 15x8 on the rear, with 4 inches of backspacing. Firestone bias-ply 16x5.00 and 15x8.20 whitewalls were used respectively.
The original dash and garnish moldings, as well as the Juliano’s banjo steering wheel and ididit column, were all wood grained by Juliano’s, with the dash now housing Classic Instruments in an engine-turned Haneline panel. Jim Vickery at Brizio’s wired the coupe using an Enos panel, before Sid Chavers stitched the tan Naugahyde interior, with a custom bench seat, and added German square-weave carpet.