1933 Ford Phaeton is all Hot Rod
When you sit and think of all the amazing domestic marques of cars that have rolled off assembly lines since the inception of the horseless carriage it gets pretty daunting. Regardless if they were from the Big Three or from fringe builders who disappeared almost as soon as they evolved, the sheer amount of style and design invested into a multitude of models was nothing short of spectacular. From roadsters to cabriolets and onto coupes, sedans, and trucks there were plenty of offerings to satisfy every type of consumer from the average worker to the debutante. Some models, however, were produced in smaller batches than others making them extremely scarce today.
Where exactly have all the phaetons gone? It’s a question Network Director/Editor Brian Brennan posed in a recent STREET RODDER Editorial. For example, Ford production in 1933 totaled 334,969 units with only 1,483 deluxe phaetons and only 232 standard models produced. Granted that’s not a lot while looking at the total model year production, but still significant enough to make you wonder what happened to them. The long, sleek, dramatic lines that flowed from the pens of designers to create a look that rivaled the larger more expensive marques like Duesenberg, Cadillac, and Packard gave the phaeton a truly glamorous look at a fraction of the cost. Hot rodders embraced the look while giving it a fresh new attitude for decades, but they have all but disappeared from the landscape recently.
For Vaughn Veit of Buffalo, Minnesota, growing up in nearby Minneapolis let him experience hot rodding at an amazing level during the ’50s. Running the strip and frequenting both Porky’s Drive-In and the Sun Drive-In left a lifelong impression on him. Always hanging out with the older crowd, he was able to experience firsthand the hottest hot rods and customs making the scene. It wasn’t long till he built his first car, a ’50 Chevy mild custom followed by a wicked chopped ’28 Ford sedan sitting on a Z’d chassis with a hot Chevy V-8 (he still owns both cars today). Many others followed including an extensive collection of ’33 Fords as well as countless performance cars. Somehow in the early years he acquired a fascination with ’33-’34 Ford phaetons, eventually starting a quest to locate one. With the rarity and so few cars available for sale, finding one turned into a game of cat ’n’ mouse translating into see me now and catch me later … years later! We all know the story of locating the perfect car, making an offer then losing it to someone else to only find it again years later. They say that every great hot rod has a story to tell and this one is no different, seeing that it was fate that eventually brought Vaughn and the car together.
Having seen the meticulous traditional hot rods being built by East Coast Custom in Leominster, Massachusetts, for the last few decades, it was an easy decision that they would be taking on the build. Vaughn met with shop owner Dave Simard to discuss the direction of the project and the pair shared many of the same ideas, so a deal was made and the car was delivered. Once disassembled, the team started on creating a perfect period-correct chassis. Working with a straight original spine the front crossmember was lowered while the X-member and rear crossmember were also modified. To accommodate the lower stance the rear ’rails were C-notched and the frame was then completely boxed for added strength. Out back a Ford 9-inch rear was packed with Currie 31-spline axles spinning 3.70:1 gears. It’s suspended in place by a TCI Engineering four-link and Panhard bar matched to a re-arched and reverse-eye ’40 Ford spring and So-Cal Speed Shop tube shocks. To set the right attitude up front a So-Cal Speed Shop 4-inch dropped forged axle was deftly matched to modified ’40 Ford spindles linked to matching SO-CAL hairpin radius rods and Panhard bar. SO-CAL tube shocks and a slightly de-arched 1933 Ford stock spring with custom-rounded ends soak up the bumps. When it’s time to slow speed, a 1967 Ford dual master pushes fluid through custom stainless lines to 11-inch Ford drums out back and 11-inch discs and calipers from Magnum Suspension up front. For a classic look a set of 15-inch front and 17-inch rear Wheel Vintiques 71-Series Street Rod Wires with ’33 Ford caps are shod with Goodyear Integrity blackwall radials linking it all to the street.
There’s nothing quite like deciding on the mill to power your car. For a perfect ’60s-era feel Dave came up with a genuine ’65 Chevy 283ci V-8 that was still fresh in crate from the factory. With everything still fresh from the day it was built the block was packed with a stock crank, rods and pistons while Dave altered the thump by adding an updated ’65 Chevy L79 cam. Factory iron heads generate plenty of seamless power while up top an Edelbrock three-deuce intake breathes deep through a trio of Stromberg 97-series carbs wearing Cal Custom-style 40-30 air cleaners from O’Brien Truckers. Endless attention to detail includes custom fuel lines, vintage Corvette valve covers, and plating by Jon Wright’s CustomChrome Plating. A PerTronix Flame-Thrower stock-look distributor lights the fire while spent gases flow through a set of vintage Ram Horns to a custom stainless exhaust sending notes through Stainless Specialties mufflers. A GM 700-R4 warmed over by Jeff Lynch links to a custom steel driveshaft from Mitchell Driveline to move the power rearward.
It takes true craftsmen to bring back vintage steel back to life that’s over 80 years old. Starting with modifications, Dave along with team members Ryan MacDonald and Joe Carbone first chopped the top, including the windshield, and proceeded to cut down and modify the top irons to increase the angle of the rear window. From there they highly modified the hood for a perfect fitment with uniform gaps all around, and continued on metal finishing the body and setting all the gaps flawlessly to make it razor sharp. The painting duties were then handed over to Kevin Olson of ECC to work his magic and lay down the mile-deep coating of PPG jet black vibe. Exterior accents were also brought to life by Jon Wright while Dennis Day added the final icing with his brushes.
Maintaining the correct level of elegance inside the car was of the utmost importance to make the car memorable. The stock dash was filled with refreshed original gauges by Instrument Specialties of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, who also updated the speedometer to 140 mph. A neat starter button tagged “fire” was also integrated into the dash face. A focal point is the stock ’39 Ford banjo wheel cut down to 16 inches by Bob Monetti and treated to a cosmic altering red translucent coating by Bob Deneault of D&D Automobilia of Lincolnton, North Carolina, while shifts move through a Lokar swan-style unit. To add plenty of distinction, Steve Pierce of One-Off Technologies in Gilford, New Hampshire, designed a classic pleated red leather interior accented by a black convertible top and complementing black loop carpeting. Bringing it all to life, Skip Readio crafted a custom cloth wiring harness adding the final bit of class. The completed car has an amazing presence, bringing out the finest points of the phaeton’s design elements with plenty of style from the team at East Coast Custom. This is a car that won’t gather any dust as Vaughn promises to lay down plenty of miles, and, to us, that’s just bitchin.
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