Hatfield Restorations got some publicity earlier this year when Gene Winfield's '35 Ford show truck showed up at the Grand National Roadster Show. Winfield's historic pickup had been purchased by Gary Hatfield in 2008 and beautifully restored to its early '60s style at Gary's shop in Canton, Texas.
If you visit the shop's website (www.hatfieldrestorations.com), however, the hot rod you'll find on the homepage is not the Winfield truck. It's Gary's 1934 five-window coupe. The rest of the cars on the website exhibit a high level of effort and detail, but Gary says he took a simpler approach with his personal project, built in the style of an early '60s hot rod. "I was looking for an older restored car to build as a daily driver, something I could put a lot of miles on," he explains.
Rodders in the early '60s...
Rodders in the early '60s had more powerplant choices than they did a decade earlier and started showing interest in Chevy's relatively new OHV small-blocks. The '57 283-and those clear red fuel lines-reflects that trend and that era.
The right raw material turned up 20 miles away when one of Gary's friends spotted the '34 and found out it was for sale. When Gary went to check it out, he found a well-restored original that had been finished around 1980, owned by the same guy for years, and never driven. "I just raised the body up and placed it on a new chassis, and sold the running gear and chassis to a restorer for almost the cost of the new chassis. I dropped in a 283 and four-speed and installed a 'Tijuana special' interior and it was ready to go."
Gary already had a lot of parts for building a '60s-style ride, including the engine and trans, intake manifold and Strombergs, steering wheel, and hubcaps. He also had the help of Dale Barnes, Paul Shelton, Stephen Tompkins, Tony Chamberlain, Jim Veader, Michael Stovall, Travis Schedules, and the rest of the crew at his shop.
The '56 Cadillac steering...
The '56 Cadillac steering wheel and column were two of many parts Gary had on-hand at the shop.
The replacement chassis came from Pete & Jakes, with a Super Bell 4-inch dropped I-beam axle, spindles, shocks, and buggy springs contributing to the period appearance. Steering is handled by a Vega box. At the other end, the 9-inch Ford rearend is loaded with 3.25:1 gears and hung by a ladder bar setup, with Posies buggy springs and P&J shocks. Braking was upgraded with a pair of GM 11-inch discs in front and Ford drums at the rear, with a Corvette master cylinder and P&J pedal assembly.
At Ray's Engine Service in Tyler, Texas, the engine was bored 0.060-over, blueprinted, and balanced. An Offy four-deuce intake and Stromberg 97s with frogmouth scoops feed the 283, while Speedway headers deliver the exhaust to a set of custom-built 2-inch pipes with Cherry Bomb Glasspack mufflers. A PerTronix ignition and Taylor wires light it up, and Cal Custom valve covers and Alan Grove's accessory brackets dress it up. Hatfield Restorations assembled the Hurst-shifted '64 Muncie four-speed, which delivers torque to the 9-inch via a custom driveshaft.
Don't forget, this was a correct restoration with pristine steel, glass, and rubber when Gary got started-so the coupe's sheetmetal, including the hood top and grille, was kept original. Even the paint, shot by a now-unidentified painter when the car was restored 30 years ago, has been preserved. "I didn't want to repaint a car I was going to put a lot of miles on," Gary reasons. The classic black was accented with copper-colored graphics, done by Gary and Michael Stovall at Hatfield Restorations. The color matches the paint used on the suspension components, interior, rims, upholstery, and top insert. The stock taillights were retained and the peep mirror and SO-CAL Speed Shop headlights were added during the course of the buildup.
The "Tijuana special"-inspired interior features a bright two-tone combo, with the doors and stock bench upholstered in white vinyl with copper tuck 'n' roll panels. The in-dash gauges are stock, with Classic Instruments oil, temp, and volt gauges mounted below the dash. Controls for the Vintage Air A/C system are hidden. Gary and Paul Shelton installed the Haywire wiring package.