George Poteet collects hot rods with an eye toward varying genres and levels of build all the while patiently filling "gaps" in his hot rod collection. A few years ago he got in touch with Ken Schmidt and Keith Cornell at the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, New York, about creating a '34 Ford three-window that would leave a definite dry lakes attitude. We're not sure who came up with the design, but our feeling is that George went to Rolling Bones for their vision and visual creativity.
After building a number of '32 Fords, including a couple of well-known three-windows, a five-window, and two '32 Tudors, Schmidt mentioned the strong desire to build a '34 three-window lakes-style coupe. George offered Rolling Bones the opportunity and supplied a body.
The body that George supplied had already been chopped about 3 inches, but not the way that Schmidt and Cornell had it planned, particularly when dealing with the front posts, so they cut it apart, reworked the windshield area, and ended up with a 7-inch chop that very much took it into a "lakes" realm. The rear window was reduced another inch after the chop to accentuate the overall look. The body rework on this car was extensive and subtle; the rear ducktail was tucked in about 3 inches to match the rear wheel radius and, if you look at the relationship between the rear tire and body reveal, the match-up is perfect and in line with the visual aesthetic. Balance and proportion are an important part of the Rolling Bones look, which keeps changing and becoming more interesting as they add to their resume. Surprisingly, they do not lose the traditional look of an early and authentic hot rod. This car is filled with louvers under the rear pan, the rear decklid, the Bobby Walden-built top insert, the part Rootlieb part hand fabbed hood, the frame covers, and partial belly pan configuration.
The front axle is a '48 Ford fitted with a Posies front spring, '32 front wishbones split and drilled to match the original '34 frame that is boxed, flattened, and pinched in front to match the hood and front end lines. The front crossmember is a '32 while both the front and rear framehorns have been removed to keep the frame at a minimal visual statement. The front and rear brakes are '40 Ford with the '40 rear bells attached to an N.O.S. Halibrand quick-change centersection containing a 3:78 ring-and-pinion and a No. 2 set of quick-change gears. The rear crossmember was created from two Model A units to work with a Model T spring. The overall wheelbase is stretched approximately 2 inches over stock now resting at 114 inches. The front shocks are handmade friction units with the rears being early Ford hydraulics.
The '40 Ford steering wheel ended up being the final choice and a handmade column attaches to a Schroeder sprint car 8:1 steering box that comes out of the driver side cowl to hook to the front steering components.
A Tanks 15-gallon gas tank is located in the trunk, which gives fuel to the 59AB '46 Ford block that is running a Merc crank with a 4-inch stroke for an overall displacement of 276 ci. The cam is an Isky 400 Junior, which Schmidt says they run in all their street motors because it's lumpy and has the right sound. The handmade headers connect to 1.75-inch pipes, which come out through the custom rear pan setup. Al Clark in Albany, New York, assembled the engine with the required aluminum heads and intake manifold and dual Stromberg 97 carburetors. The 59AB block connects to a T5 tranny (out of an S-10 Chevy) through a 10-inch clutch and aluminum flywheel. The radiator was built at a local shop and there are two other cores located up in the framerails with air-directing scoops to help keep it all cool along with an electric fan. Terry Hegman crafted the front grille and sprint car nose out of aluminum off a buck that Schmidt created, even allowing for the thickness of the metal. Jeff Decker cast the skulls that go on top of the grille or above the radiator on every Rolling Bones-built car.
The paint is custom PPG acrylic lacquer applied and carefully distressed and antiqued to resemble a beautiful piece of hot rod history. These guys have it down, and it has a lot to do with Schmidt's background experience as an artist. The numbering and lettering were applied and painted by The One Armed Bandit, who hails out of Connecticut. The smaller and shorter Guide headlights were carefully selected to match the overall look, along with the '37 Chevy taillights. The front Firestones from Coker are 4.50s on 4.5x16 early Ford steelies and the backs are 7.50s on 5x16 early Ford pickup wheels. The Stewart Warner gauges were individually raised and tunneled off the dash for better viewing and it all matches the stark and down-to-business interior that has the option of a saddle blanket covered bench seat or a set of aluminum bomber seats built by Frank Wallic. An early Ford shifter has been adapted to the top of the T5 transmission. The "air conditioning" is through a functioning cowl vent, the opening windshield (which is the only glass-in the vehicle-there are no side windows or rear window glass), and the top louvers. There are no bad angles on this car and one of our favorites is a side profile at El Mirage at near century mark speeds. Our guess is that any angle is a good angle on this piece of rolling history.
A 59AB Flattie runs a 4-inch...
A 59AB Flattie runs a 4-inch Merc crank to bump the displacement to 276 cubes. An Isky 400 cam can be found inside, and up top a set of Stromberg 97 carbs feeds the engine. A T5 five-speed trans (out of an S-10 truck) connects on the backside. Photo by Chuck Vranas
This is the interior view...
This is the interior view showing gauge, steering, and bench seat location. The four-bar steering wheel was later replaced with a '40 Ford wheel.
The tail of this hot rod is...
The tail of this hot rod is trimmed with lots of louvers. The pushbar and mail slot back window are essential design elements as well as being functional.
A close up of the Stewart...
A close up of the Stewart Warner gauges and how the Schroeder steering unit sets up.
View of the top insert louvers...
View of the top insert louvers and what you can see out that rear window.