Automotive journalist Chuck Vranas has written hundreds of stories about other people’s hot rods. Today, he’s telling the remarkable story of his own 1933 Ford coupe, a long-lost survivor from the pre-War era, resurrected from a half-century slumber and driven in preserved condition from hot rodding’s earliest years.—HRM
If the Devil drove a hot rod, it would have to be as nasty as this 1933 Ford five-window coupe. This is a car with a battle-scarred body that tells its story with an attitude, and with the accent of a snarling, hopped-up flathead V8 breathing through straight pipes.
It was fate that brought this car and owner together. As a hot rod photographer, I see plenty of wicked hot rods on a regular basis with some of the best stories being unearthed along the way. Typically, by the time I see them, the cars have already changed hands and moved on to their new owners. In the case of this particular coupe, the game-changer was a scheduled visit to Dave Simard’s legendary East Coast Custom in Leominster, Massachusetts. I was working on a photo assignment, shooting a build book for a roadster destined to compete for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR). As I pulled up to the shop, I came face to face with the ’33 parked under an open-air storage area.
This was a fresh arrival—still covered with cobwebs after being unearthed and with an obvious story to tell. The first thing I noticed was a tortured 1961 Texas license plate bolted to the front bumper. Dave informed me that he had known about the car for a decade and had been calling the owner in Texas twice a year for the last 10 years to inquire about it. The owner finally agreed to sell the car and it had just been dropped off at the shop the night before.
Dave is one of the foremost experts, collectors, and builders of traditional Ford hot rods in the world today, and I quietly listened as he told the story behind the car. In front of my eyes was a truly rare survivor car. The rust-free 1933 Ford five-window V8 business coupe had been a pre-war (World War II) hot rod, then transitioned into a ’50s rod before being put to sleep for 52 years.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
FIVE DECADE SLUMBER
Built in the ’30s. Forgotten in the ’50s. How a barn find 1933 Ford was resurrected as the Devil’s Coupe.
RADICAL IN RED
Spot All The Changes Made to This 1956 Chevy
Carbon Fiber: The Performance World's Go-Fast Gold
What Is Carbon Fiber and Why Is It Today’s Hottest Performance Automotive Material?
I Love My Suburban
Freedom of Movement
Install a Bolt-On Independent Rear Suspension for Early Camaros and Firebirds
Project Car Update: 1967 C10 Truck Norris Cowl Rust Repair
Our project 1967 C10, Truck Norris, is getting closer to turning wheels under its own power, and when that time comes, it will be riding on an all-new suspension system from TCI Engineering.
Time Capsule 1965 Pro Street Chevelle Has Stayed Nearly the Same for Over 40 Years!
Road Testing the '59 El Camino and Its 348-inch W-Series
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
This Low-Mileage Barracuda is an Ex-Drag Racer Now Restored to Showroom Condition
The Right Tool for the Job
Last month, I wrote the autopsy report on the small-block Chevy that lived briefly in the engine compartment of Truck Norris, my 1967 C10.
Big Sky's Moment of Glory
The most rugged resort in Montana gets speedy lifts, luxury hotels, and fine dining to match its extreme slopes
Ford Foundation's Darren Walker: ‘We Have to Get Uncomfortable'
DARREN WALKER, 62, disrupted his Wall Street life more than 25 years ago when he left what is now UBS Group AG to volunteer at a school and eventually pursue a career in community development and philanthropy. Since 2013 he’s been at the pinnacle of the philanthropic world as president of the Ford Foundation, created by the family of automaker Henry Ford during the Great Depression to advance human welfare.
Ford to Add 10,800 Jobs Making Electric Vehicles, Batteries
Ford and a partner company say they plan to build three major electric-vehicle battery factories and an auto assembly plant by 2025 — a dramatic investment in the future of EV technology that will create an estimated 10,800 jobs and shift the automaker’s future manufacturing footprint toward the South.
A Lowered and Bagged Childhood Dream Come True
2022 Ford Maverick
Small truck, small price, big mpg.
THE REAL DEAL
FORD’S LONG-AWAITED BRONCO IS ABSOLUTELY LEGIT
TSM Mfg’s easy, affordable way to upgrade any Ford 9-inch from drum to disc brakes
2022 FORD F-150 LIGHTNING
Ford’s fully electric truck of the future arrives … and starts at under $40,000!
Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited
Final report: The end of the road (and trail) for our heavy hauler
How to replace the cylinder head gasket in a Willys Go Devil flathead engine