There’s a faction of hot-rodders that think the scene has gone soft. Looking around at the sea of $30k paint jobs and modern fuel injected engines that inhabit every show, it’s easy to see where they’re coming from. The days of junkyard swaps and home brewed speed parts are definitely hanging on by a thread. That’s why it’s refreshing to see cars like this ’31 Ford Coupe roll into our showroom. There’s no air ride or sophisticated…well…anything. It’s the type of car that harkens back to when hot rods were built in backyards by guys who simply liked to work on cars. With a chopped and channeled all-steel body, a big block V8 and tons of old school swagger, this car gets back to the basics without sacrificing build quality or functionality. If that sounds like your kind of scene, give this ’31 a closer look.
Approaching the car, it’s difficult to not be taken with its low sleek profile. To achieve these new dimensions, an actual all steel ’31 Ford body was sourced then chopped down a whopping six inches. To get the body a little closer to the earth, it was then channeled four inches over the framerails . Once the body work was complete, the Ford was shot with a coat of glossy black paint. The paintwork can be questionable on a lot of traditional rods but this one is first rate all the way. Reflections are straight and there are no major imperfections visible. That slick paintwork is accented by a plethora of expertly applied red and white traditional pin striping. Featured on the headlight buckets, grille shell, cowl, roof and below the trunk lid, the striping takes the cars attitude to the next level.
Obviously there isn’t going to be a lot of trim on this car, so let’s start with what has been shaved or removed entirely. Fenders, hood, door handles, trunk handle, the original taillights and all of the original glass have all been sacrificed in the name of the clean look. If the glass part raised an eyebrow, don’t worry. The main pieces (windshield and rear windows) have been replaced with Lexan. There are no side windows anymore but we can guarantee you won’t miss them. Up front, a custom grille sits between two large round headlights whose wiring is concealed by snake skin patterned wiring loom. Above the windshield, a body-colored visor keeps out the sun while offering yet another traditional styling cues. Out back, taillights are neatly relegated to a space under the trunk lid.
The real show is up front, between the frame rails. That’s a GM 454 big block V8 likely pulled out of a full size truck from the late 1970s.Thanks to a full rebuild, it’s putting out somewhere in the neighborhood of 450hp. Up top, an Edelbrock steel tunnel ram replaces the factory intake and makes room for two Holley 600cfm carbs fed by transparent red fuel lines. With the chrome velocity stacks in place, the setup is roughly as high as the center of the chopped windshield offering a sinister look from both inside and outside the car. Cast iron heads are dressed up with finned aluminum valve covers that have a great nostalgic look. The alternator is polished and there is some assorted billet hardware as well, including the crank and fan pulleys. Despite the handful of modern parts, nothing seems to detract from the overall vintage vibe. Exhaust gases only have to travel a few feet through the headers and out the collectors that dump in front of the cabin.
Look underneath the car and you’ll find a TH400 automatic transmission backing the built big block. Power is applied to the road through a Ford 9” rear that sits in the center of a triangulated 4-link with coilovers. Up front, you’ll find a traditional drop axle and cross spring and hairpins. Braking is handled by a highly effective four-wheel disc system while steering has been kept a manual effort. The entire frame as well as the suspension components have been sprayed with a bright coat of red. With this type of build, there are no secrets. Simply look under the car and you’ll be able to see exactly how everything was done. At the corners, red 15” steel wheels are wrapped in Firestone white wall tires in sizes 5.60-15 and 8.20-15, respectively.
The interior is, as you would expect, 100% business. There is no air conditioning, modern stereo or even sound deadener for that matter. The door handles are bent metal rods and the “headliner” is simply a series of steel supports. Seating for two is provided by a reworked bench seat. The seat back is one piece but the actual seat is split into two separate areas by the transmission tunnel. An extended shifter looks right at home in the sparse interior. Being channeled, cabin space is tight but not nearly as confining as you might expect. There is still plenty of room to stretch your legs out. All necessary instrumentation is provided by a slick set of Omega Kustom gauges mounted into the factory dashboard. A red ten-inch three-spoke steering wheel sits directly in front of the driver, while a chrome Everlasting signal stalk puts turn signals within easy reach. The pin striping from the car’s exterior is continued onto the door panels, tying the whole theme together.
If you’re after a badass street rod that’ll steal the attention away from those $200k cars in a heartbeat, this ’31 is exactly what you’re looking for. With tons of big block power and absolutely killer looks, don’t miss the chance to take this one home.