If there's one constant in the world, it's that things are always changing (not always for the best). In the world of street rods, the same holds true. Trends come and go and then before you know it their back again. Vince and Terri Spretnjak know this firsthand. Their history with this '34 coupe goes back to 1978 when the newly married couple found it worn and beaten but it was original steel and it was affordable, two things hard to beat when scouting for a project.
Over the next 6 years they worked on the coupe and like so many at the time were highly influenced by ZZ Top's Eliminator coupe. The finished rod was powered by a blown small-block Chevy and was painted red. It was full-fendered with the same 4-inch chopped and filled top it has today, not a bad look but the crowning touch was graphics down the sides with a huge "Show Down" airbrushed on each door. At the time the coupe did quite well on the show circuit but after towing it around in a trailer all year and not wanting to drive it because it would suffer in points the Spretnjaks had had enough. The coupe was parked and they concentrated on building some drivers.
After going through several other street rods they decided to turn their attention back to the '34 that had been sitting in the corner of the shop. This time though they had another theme in mind. Sixties Gassers were cool again and they figured the look would fit the coupe perfect. Once the '80s excess was stripped away and the fenders were gone, it was easy to see that the coupe's body already had the right attitude. The only major change was relocating the gas tank and building a new rear roll pan.
Vince knew that he wanted to drive the coupe this time around but wanted an engine that carried the Gasser theme. Now a 528ci hemi might scream strip demon but driveability might not be its strongest point. Helping its street manners is a Hilborn intake converted to EFI, which has given the hemi a mild-mannered alter ego.
The rest of the elements, bright yellow paint, black tuck 'n' roll interior, 12-spokes up front and big E-Ts in back, and the factory bumps and barbs have given the three-window a new lease on life that should keep it in style for many years to come.
Vince & Terri Spretnjak
'34 Ford Three-Window Coupe
Drivetrain: If a little hemi is good then 528 inches of aluminum-headed crate hemi must be better. Give it a period look with a Hilborn eight-stack intake running a Blower Drive Service electronic fuel injection and you have the ultimate street bruiser. Stainless Sanderson headers direct the burnt gases to the custom 3.5-inch dual exhaust. A '66 Chrysler 727 auto trans handles the shifting duties and a Posi-equipped Currie 9-inch plants the power through 3.50:1 gears.
Chassis: The Roadster Shop rails (shortened and C-notched in the rear) provide the foundation for the coupe. A dropped and drilled I-beam suspended by a Total Cost Involved chrome spring and tube shocks is held true with a set of hairpins. Triangulated four bars and Alden coilovers smooth out the bumps in back. Wilwood discs and Ford rear drums bring things to a quick stop when called on.
Wheels & Tires: If you're building a Gasser inspired hot rod, E-Ts and 12-spokes are almost mandatory. Vince chose 16x10 E-T Fuelers wrapped with Goodyear Eagle P295/65R16s and 15x4.5 E-T Gassers with Michelin P135SR15s.Body & Paint: The real-deal '34 has been chopped 4 inches with the posts laid back and the insert filled. The gas tank was moved to behind the seat with the filler neck in the trunk. A custom rear pan was fabricated to fill the missing tank's void and was augmented with a pair of '37 Chevy taillights. Up front a rechromed original grille flanked by King Bees leads the way and a Rootlieb hood with stock louvers cages the hemi. Vince retained the hinges and handles to give the yellow paint just enough chrome highlights.
Interior: The Gasser theme is carried inside as well with a chrome roll bar hoop and black tuck 'n' roll leather covering the Glide bench and interior panels. Moon gauges fill the stock dash and an ididit chrome column topped with a Billet Specialties wheels keeps the coupe pointed in the right direction when the go pedal is mashed.