|Featuring over 200 pages of full-color imagery, the award-winning Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette is delivered monthly to over 75,000 active Goodguys members and automotive industry insiders. The unique large-format (10.5”x12.5”) of the Gazette is jam-packed with event coverage, feature articles, special sections, new product features and more. |
This Month's Featured Picks
1937 Ford coupe.
“We drive it all over the place,” says Pat Harvey. “I don’t see the sense in having a car that you can’t jump in and drive anywhere you want.” He’s not joking, either. His first hot rod was a ’39 Ford coupe that he bought in 1958. It ended up with a 409 and a Zephyr-geared three speed and he drove it to California and back.
He’s had many cars since then. Like many hot rodders, he recently grew tired of his old car, a steel-bodied ’37 with air bags and LT1 power, and sold it off. “I was ready for something different,” he says. He also says that he wasn’t looking for a ‘glass car in particular as he cruised the online ads of the Hot Rod Hotline, but this one really caught his eye. Better still, it was on the eastern coast of Florida, and near his winter home of Sarasota. He was sold after taking it for a test drive.
“It drove even better than my steel car,” he says, “ it was quieter and didn’t squeak or rattle.” Apparently whoever originally built the car, said to be in North Carolina, did a good job with the build. It’s a three-windowed coupe from Downs Manufacturing with flushed taillights.
Downs’ thirty years of experience has resulted in rigid cars with tubular steel inner structures and an optional 3” chop. Their matching chassis is always a safe bet, and Pat’s version features Heidt’s front suspension and an 8” Ford with 3.00 gears on leaf springs out back.
The disc and drum brakes are ultra dependable and are capped with 15 and 17” Billet Specialties wheels on Goodyears. Pat says every car is a work in progress, and he has updated the running gear with a ZZ4 Fast Burn 350 with a Holley 4bbl under a faux 8-stack injection air cleaner and a 700R4 trans.
Pat says he was attracted to the car’s two-toned Tangelo and champagne pearl paint job and attention to details. The multi-hued dividing stripe winds its way throughout the entire car, weaving in and out of the jambs and across the smoothed dash. The VDO gauges are mounted vertically in a custom center console. The leather seats and door panels and their armrests allow Pat to cruise in comfort and the turns are made with a Billet Specialties steering wheel.
Pat is a two-state resident, having a summer home in Tipton, Indiana and a winter home in Sarasota, Florida. Being in both areas during the optimal weather definitely has its advantages for a hot rodder, and Pat says that he enjoys driving his ’37 almost every day.
Body: Downs 1937 ford 3w coupe. Flushed taillights, Tangelo pearl over champagne pearl metallic.
Chassis: Downs chassis, Heidts front suspension, Ford 8” rear on leaf springs with 3.00 gears and Posi-traction. Disc and drum brakes.
Power: GM ZZ4 Fastburn 350, Holley 770cfm 4bbl, Mallory ignition, 700R4 trans with Lokar shifter.
Wheels and Tires: 15 and 17” Billet Specialties wheels, 195/60/15 and 225/55/17 Goodyear tires.Interior: Smoothed and painted dash, VDO gauges in a custom console, Billet Specialties steering wheel, leather upholstery.
Brian and David Zahn
1933 Ford coupe
While some modifications on today’s crop of hot rods are done for pure shock value, such as hiding the radiator in the trunk, there was a time when they were built with form following function. Competition in particular necessitated modifications in the pursuit of higher speeds and less weight. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw hot rods morph from daily drivers, to street & strip machines, to competition-only cars towed to the tracks.
Chopping the top to cut down on wind resistance and the removal of anything not needed to get through staging and across the finish line aided in these goals. Many cars did away with the bulky cooling systems altogether.
Long time hot rodders Brian and his father David Zahn are fans of those cars, and are diehard swapmeet scroungers who know their way around a shop. Previous projects include Brian’s ’48 Ford and Dad’s flat head powered ’33 sedan with a S.C.o.T blower. They collected parts for this particular ’33 for fifteen years before putting the puzzle together. The car’s clean and simple appearance is the result of hours of thoughtful planning and creatively engineered solutions.
The body was found in a swap meet and been raced as a stock car, complete with a water pipe roll cage, but the sheetmetal was all there and in surprisingly good shape. That’s not to say that their Uncle Jim had it easy straightening out the wrinkles and chopping the top almost five inches. Uncle Jim also handled the heavy welding on the chassis after Brian tacked together the ASC rails and homebuilt crossmembers. They stretched the wheelbase in anticipation of the forthcoming engine seven inches. They wanted it to be uncluttered and serve as a focal point.
The flathead also came from the swaps, it’s a beefier 59L block that was fitted with a Scat stroker kit and Offenhauser heads to now take up 304ci of volume. David deburred the block and built it himself with his heart set on using the Hilborn injection he had scored. They went back and forth before deciding they could have good looks AND reliability if they converted it to electronic injection with a custom manifold. Brian says he spent many hours on the phone with the guys at Kinsler to get it dialed in and is thankful for their help. “The guy on the phone had way more patience than I did,” says Brian, “but he was extremely nice and helpful. I can’t say enough about how great those guys are.”
The flathead was mounted to the rails with an engine plate and linked to a Mustang T5 five-speed. To keep the competition look, the Zahns discreetly routed the coolant hoses rearward via black hoses that run through portions of the crossmembers to a radiator with electric fans in the louvered trunk. Brian says they have driven it quite a bit and it sits right on the thermostat temperature at all times and hasn’t run hot.
An aluminum fuel tank was mounted in front of the engine and a ’33 grille shell decorates the front, supported with chromed struts that run to the firewall. The front suspension uses a 5” dropped Magnum axle with a Posies spring and spilt and drilled Ford wishbones.
The front wheels are real magnesium Americans. Brian put his tool and die maker experience to use and machined holes into the bearing area before fabricating an adapter to mount the rotors, now stopped with Airheart calipers.
Also real and magnesium are the vintage 16” Halibrands out back, mounted on Firestone slicks. The Zahns knew they wanted to run their Winters Sprint quickchange but were concerned about keeping things clean. “When looking at old drag cars,” says Brian, “they didn’t have bulky springs hanging down, and many were mounted right to the frame.”
That was not an option for a street car. Brian’s inspiration came while looking at a cantilevered setup on an Eleanore Mustang. “We can do that,” he thought. So they created their own cantilever suspension that uses pivoting rockers and coil springs mounted in front of the axle.
The interior was also kept clean of gimmicks and unnecessary additions. The dash was filled and re-fitted with Stewart Warner gauges in a center-mounted panel. A column-mounted sweep tach was added behind the three-spoke steering wheel, and a new shifter was fabricated. Speed Trim in Trempealeau, WI handled the distressed leather upholstery, crafting a driveshaft tunnel pad and trimming the Speedway bomber seats.
Brian says he and his father were each pulling for either orange or red for the color and they ended up driving around car lots to find a nice compromise. They settled on the high impact Inferno Red of an ’09 Dodge Challenger and sprayed it inside and out. It is worth noting that the underside of the coupe is just as finished as the top.
After collecting parts for 15 years and building for another two and a half, the Zahn’s competition-style coupe stops people in their tracks. The rear-mounted cooling system isn’t a gimmick, but a discreet way for them to enjoy the look that they were going for. In a way, their hot rod has come full circle of engineering function to follow their form.
Body: 1933 Ford three-window coupe, 4 3/4” chop, channeled, 2009 Dodge Inferno Red paint.
Chassis: ASC rails, owner-made crossmembers, wheelbase extended 7”, Magnum 5” dropped axle, Posies front spring, split and drilled wishbones, Winter’s Sprint quickchange, cantilever coil spring suspension by owner, Airheart front disc brakes, Corvette master cylinder, Wilwood rear brakes.
Power: Owner-built 59L Ford flathead stroked to 304ci, mechanical Hilborn injection converted to EFI, Offenhauser 425 heads, custom sprint-car style headers, Mustang T-5 5-speed, Weber aluminum flywheel.
Wheels and Tires: Real magnesium American Racing 12-spokes, drilled for disc brake rotors, on 135SR15 radials. Magnesium 16” Halibrand Speedway wheels on Firestone Dragster cheater slicks.Interior: Modified stock dash with center gauge panel housing Stewart Warner gauges, Speedway aluminum bomber seats, 3-spoke steering wheel, column-mounted sweep tach, distressed leather upholstery by Speed Trim.