1933 Ford Roadster
You might think that Terry Stoker is a nostalgic guy. One look at any of the cars he builds with his son, David, at Stoker's Hot Rod Factory in Upland, California, demonstrates that his automotive taste is firmly grounded in the well-loved vintage styles of the '50s and '60s. But Terry Stoker also told us that he has a habit of building a car and then selling it once it's finished and he's had some fun with it. It's a practical necessity when you're always thinking about the next exciting project.
Photographer Tim Sutton got these shots of Terry's classically retro '33 roadster shortly after it had made its public appearance at the Del Mar Nationals—at the end of a quick five-month build.
The previous owner, Lynn Pew, had intended to finish it, and had collected about 90 percent of the parts, but could never find the time to complete the project. In addition to building enough hot rods to hold his own show, Lynn Pew has had a career as a GM executive—and combined those two interests by commissioning custom trucks by well-known pro builders and designers and selling them through GM in Southern California.
Terry acquired the '33 as a roller and, although there was lot of work to do (and some to undo) it was good raw material for the late-'50s hot rodding styling he wanted. One area that needed immediate attention was the frame, which had twisted—not enough to notice until it was time to try to make things fit. The 'rails were repaired, reinforced with crossmembers, and treated to early era suspension goodies—from a dropped I-beam axle and buggy springs to front and rear drum brakes and a quick-change rearend. Continuing with that style, the Wescott 'glass roadster body is devoid of hardware, emblems, and trim, and was finished in a classic hot rod shade of black—with a contrasting canvas top.
The rear BFGoodrich Silvertown tires on 16-inch Ford steelies roll under the power of a 350/350 engine and transmission combo. The small-block is topped with a single Carter four-barrel on an Offy intake. Terry cut the drivetrain to fit between the column-shifted transmission and Halibrand quick-change rear. Terry designed the interior and turned the construction over to Elegance Auto Interiors, where the two-tone copper and wheat upholstery was stitched.
Between the time Terry finished the '33 and now, he and David have turned their attention to building some more amazing rods—not for themselves but for customers at Stoker's Hot Rod Factory. Earlier this year, the Stokers competed for the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award with the light blue '60s-style Deuce they built for Bill Grant.
As with that '32 AMBR contender and just about every other hot rod Terry builds, this beautiful '33 brings out a sense of nostalgia for hot rods of the past. It also bring out a sense of anticipation for the future, as we wait to see what Terry will build next.
The stock Ford framerails form the foundation of Terry's '33. The frame is muscled up with modified crossmembers to support the transmission and rearend. The low-slung hot rod stance is accomplished in front by a 4-inch dropped and drilled I-beam from Magnum Axle with stock '40 spindles, hanging on a pair of Pete & Jake's hairpins. At the rear, a Halibrand Champ quick-change, running 4.11 gears with limited slip, hangs on a pair of Pete & Jake's ladder bars. Bumps in the road are smoothed out by chrome tube shocks and a P&J mono-leaf buggy spring at the front of the 'rails and Aldan coilovers at the rear corners. For stopping, Terry employs Buick drum brakes with finned backing plates from Wilson Welding at the forward wheels, and Ford 11-inch drums at the other end.
Power is provided by a '70s-era Chevy 350, running stock internal components. An early Offenhauser dual-port intake manifold was capped with a Carter AFB 600 four-barrel. A pair of original Chevy 283 valve covers was chromed to add some shine to the engine compartment. Ignition is provided by a stock HEI, with a pair of Corvette ram horn headers to carry away the exhaust. R&A Muffler built the 2¼-inch pipes, and 30-inch glasspack mufflers provide the perfect note. Chino Hills Transmission assembled the late-'60s GM Turbo 350 transmission, tied to a 2,400 stall converter.
Wheels & Tires
Only skinny bias-ply rubber would suit the style of Terry's hot rod. He selected 6.00-16 and 6.50-16 BFGoodrich Silvertown blackwalls, mounting them on 16x4 Ford steelies, painted glossy black, and dressed up with '40 Ford DeLuxe hubcaps.
Body & Paint
You thought this body was stock Ford steel, didn't you? In reality, it's a fiberglass '33-34 repro body from Wescott's Auto, featuring hidden hinges and a filled cowl. Terry's choice was to go fenderless. The grille is a stock '33 Ford and the hood is also a stock piece. The top had been partially built when Terry got the car. Now finished, it looks great along with the Duvall windshield—a perfect touch in our estimation. Speedway Motors supplied the headlights; taillights are '37 Ford. The initial bodywork was done by R&A Auto Body in Montclair, CA. Final bodywork was performed at Danny's Paint Shop in Ontario, CA, where painter Robert finished the roadster with Valspar black. Bob Reddington, who has done the glasswork for many prominent Southern California cars, did the same for the '33. A&B Polishing in Upland, CA, took care of the chrome.
Mark Lopez at Elegance Auto Interiors in Upland installed the beautiful upholstery, using a combination of copper leather and wheat-colored cloth to match Terry's original design. From his seat on the Glide Engineering bench, Terry faces a set of Stewart-Warner Wings gauges, set in an engine-turned stainless steel dash insert. The '40 Ford steering wheel, painted to match the leather and the dash, is mounted on a '40 shifter column. When asked about a sound system, Terry's answer was: "Halibrand quick-change." Our kind of music!