Truth be told, there is nothing easy about building a street rod. Typically, the hardest part is deciding what you really want-not just the general type of car, but all the little details that go into making the car reveal your individual expression of personal automotive taste. When you roam through the car shows, you will see many vintages and models; all too often, these versions are not quite executed the way we would do them ourselves, as it is rare to hear an enthusiast say, "That's perfect-just the way I would have done it." Car guys are universally expert in their opinions, if not in their ability to perform.

Jim Schablein, of West Harrison, Indiana, is a lifelong hot rod enthusiast and all-around car guy. Jim's dad was a motorhead and did a lot of drag racing in the 1960s, while Jim grew up to be the NSRA Indiana state rep these past 20 years. After his retirement, Jim found the idle life was not for him, and he now works for SoffSeal managing the street rod department-he's in charge of keeping the inside of your ride dry and quiet.

Jim has owned a number of cars, ranging from Vettes to roadsters, but he was in the market for a '33-34 three-window after selling his last Deuce. He viewed the prospect of starting a build project with mixed emotions, and he happened upon the black three-window pictured here during the course of making the decision about how to proceed. With the idea of a long project looming over his head, Jim opted for the easy way-buy one that was already done, personalize it a little, and drive the thing.

Jim and his wife, Cindy, most certainly fell in love with this bad black Ford the moment they laid eyes on it. "The first thought I had when I saw it was, that is a bitchin' hot rod," Jim said. With a paltry 400 miles on the odometer at purchase time, Jim and Cindy set out to have some serious and instantaneous fun, promptly putting 2,500 miles on the coupe. The second most fun thing they did was to employ a large inventory of SoffSeal products to ensure dry and quiet cruising.

The cruising did the double-duty of working out the few new car bugs that needed attention and providing the fine enjoyment that comes from driving a street rod. Jim said his toughest challenge was getting the car ready to pass the stringent safety inspection at the '05 Nats in Louisville after only having it in his possession for a month prior to the event.

The Schableins are quite happy with their decision to buy a finished car instead of building one from scratch, as they have done in the past. "Some say buying a finished car is taking the easy way out," Jim mused. "Well, I'm 60 years old, and, at that age, the easy way is the better way!" Well said, Jim, and there are probably builders of all ages who would not hesitate to agree with you.