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beast from the east

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It's not just that I have a soft spot for 1980s hard rock album titles. But this car truly is an East Coast build, even though it now resides in Southern California and is owned by Matt Kimmel and his buddy Isaac Bowser. Both of them consider the 1933 and 1934 model years to be the best-looking Fords, so in order to make their dream come true, they decided to team up and join (financial) forces: »A few years back my buddy Isaac and I were wandering around the Grand National Roadster show looking at cars and dreaming up ideas«, says Matt. »That day we decided we had to have one and had to have it by the time that the Grand National Roadster Show came around the following year.«

Matt and Isaac started looking at bodies and cars but everything they came across was built of fiberglass or street rod material. Finally, they stumbled upon a '34 in Maryland that had been built by Jason Sheets. Matt had been following Jason's bikes and hot rods for some time, as he has a great eye for period correct parts and great vintage builds. Jason’s '34 Coupe was no exception. It was close to exactly what Matt and his buddy were looking for so they worked out a deal and shipped the '34 to California.

Jason Sheets had done an amazing job making the Coupe look like it was an old build. And indeed there’s a little bit of local hot rod history hiding in the car. Like so many three window coupes of the era, the ’34 Coupe originally was supposed to become a dirt track racer. But instead of making laps on a dirt oval track it was just rusting away in a field until 1960 when it was rescued. But still, nothing happened to the three-window coupe and it went from one hot rodder to another. Jason finally found it through an ad in the local newspaper.

The car was in rough shape – or let's rather say the fragments it consisted of? But Jason knew this was the only way to get his favorite year Ford. When he got the '34 body back from the blaster, Jason started reconstructing the missing sheet metal from the bottom up. There was no floor anymore so he decided to channel the body over the frame. The roof was left unchopped in true East Coast style. And Jason already had accumulated a stash of interesting period hot rod parts that found their way onto his project.

One day while Jason was at his shop, an older gentleman stopped by. He was looking at the hot rod project and mumbled something like he might have an engine for Jason’s hot rod. It turned out he actually had a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr he was going to turn into a street rod. The old Lincoln didn’t have its V12 anymore but a ’55 Cadillac 331-ci engine, so Jason got ahold of the old Caddy mill. It was covered with grime and grease but after a thorough clean-up some cool old chromed parts re-appeared, like the valve covers, the fuel pump and the valley pan. The engine received new gaskets, a new main seal and a fresh coat of gold paint.

When Matt and Isaac got the 34 Coupe in 2012, they did what should be done with any running hot rod: They drove the hell out of it. But they also wanted to change a few things: »We had a great little white tuck and roll seat built with gold piping so we could fit in it better. And we pulled the rear end and changed the gears to make it faster off the line.« They got it all finished up just in time to take it to the 2013 Grand National Roadster Show where it was accepted into the suede place. And even better: They ended up winning a trophy from the Thee Inland Emperors Car Club.