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 had more powerplant choices than they did a decade earlier and s
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 wheel and column were two of many parts Gary had on-hand at the
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.
Gary acquired the Gene Winfield pickup shortly after finishing the '34 coupe. Looking at both, it's easy to see similarities. The difference between the two is that the '35 pickup was originally built by Winfield to show off his skill-and rebuilt by Gary to reflect that. With the '34, Gary's goal was to keep it simple, and he says his biggest challenge was not to build this car as nice as the rest of the projects that come out of his shop, so that he could enjoy driving it. And that's what he does-almost every day. Since it's been finished, Gary has covered close to 30,000 miles with the coupe, with Bonneville being the longest trip from Canton, Texas, so far. But for a simple driver, this early '60s hot rod shows off some serious skill.