With plenty of Bonneville-inspired accents, Paul’s coupe looks like its ready to run flat-out on the 3-mile course. Notable touches include a hand-formed track nose by J&M Rod Works, extended wheelbase, American Racing Salt Flat Special wheels, and a low-slung stance.
For seamless power, a Bill...
For seamless power, a Bill Mitchell–built 427ci small-block was packed with a speed shop full of goods, including a Scat crank, Mahle slugs, and a COMP Cams stick. Extra gusto comes from a dazzling Inglese induction, featuring FAST EZ-EFI fuel injection with Inglese 50mm IDA-styled throttle bodies.
The evolution of street shakers can actually be traced back to the dawn of hot rodding, when young car builders first started stripping down their coupes and roadsters to create early hop-ups. By dumping the extra weight, adding more horsepower, and dialing in an aggressive stance, their cars easily stood out among the rest, thanks to an infusion of attitude and performance.
For teenagers growing up in the ’50s, the activity seen on the salt, dry lakes, dragstrip, and local streets easily generated excitement, influencing them to get involved. For Paul Rhodes of Fredericksburg, Virginia, seeing his first hammered Deuce coupe motoring through the local streets was all it took to pull him into the world of hot rodding. By the time he was 17 in 1964, he was campaigning a ’55 Chevy with a nasty 327ci mill through 5.13 gears in B/Modified Class at Manassas Drag Strip in Virginia. A few years later, after moving to California for work, he assembled a ’23 T with a Hilborn-injected de-stroked small-block on nitromethane to compete in the B/Altered Class. A regular runner at Carlsbad Drag Strip, he consistently turned quarter-mile times in the 140-mph range. Although Paul took some time off to settle down and start a family, he never forgot the adrenalin rush he experienced both on the street and at the racetrack driving his cars.
The ’34 looks period perfect...
The ’34 looks period perfect with its classic scalloped body, neatly laid-out louvers, and tucked ’39 Chevy taillights.
As the ’90s rolled in, Paul was ready to step back into rodding. He had never forgotten his years in drag racing and in his new quest combined it with a passion for Bonneville and land speed racing while seeking out the right car. After pursuing a number of uninspiring leads, he finally came across a ’34 Ford coupe that stood out among the rest. The coupe embodied a very ’80s-era Pro-Street build style but also featured an Anderson Industries 5-inch chopped body, 3-inch channel, stretched wheelbase, and a custom one-piece nose. A deal was made and Paul drove off with the car, continuing to enjoy it for close to a decade with his wife, Anita, prior to making any changes. Since it was powered by a mild Chevy small-block, a decision was made in 2005 to finally incorporate some serious horsepower into the mix. A visit to Speed Unlimited in Suitland, Maryland, located the perfect mill from engine master Bill Mitchell. The 427ci small-block was filled with plenty of go-fast goods, including a Scat crank, Manley rods, Mahle pistons, COMP Cams hydraulic roller cam, and Motown 220 aluminum heads. Capped with an Edelbrock intake and 870-cfm Holley carb, the combination dynos at 534 hp, finally bringing the car to life, shifted through an ATI TH400 trans. Somehow though, Paul still yearned for more and started drawing illustrations of how he imagined the car could look if it was massaged with some Bonneville-inspired influence.