There are hot rods that are flashy and loaded with one-of-a-kind details, and it’s these incredible attributes we remember. And then there are those hot rods that are so subtle you walk past them the first time but when you get the hamburger out of your mouth you realize this is the one. Such may just be the case for Tim Kirby of Fountain Hills, Arizona, and his channeled ’33 Ford three-window coupe expertly crafted and assembled at Hot Rods By Dean (HRBD) of Phoenix.
Flashy it isn’t. There’s enough black to make you look for a light switch. It’s well detailed but as a driver there will be the rock chips and bugs on the windshield shortly. There’s plenty of imagination. Yet you realize there’s a great deal of traditional hot rod resting on the axles and buttoned up between the headlights and taillights. Craftsmanship, well that’s something all of us understand and strive for when we build our own ride. Complex or simple the craftsmanship is readily seen. As for stance all of us have seen enough hot rods so that you would think we could all “nail” the look with our own ride. Such isn’t always the case, but we do strive.
The vintage V-8 is a 303-inch Olds outfitted with custom headers and a Vertex mag.
When we first look at Tim’s ’33 it’s the lack of flash and its subtleness that makes an immediate impression. As for the detail, imagination, craftsmanship, and stance, this channeled three-window has it in spades. There’s no denying the coupe was built in a traditional theme with the ’50s-era 303-inch Olds V-8 topped with an Edelbrock intake supporting a triple-play of modern Stromberg 97s fed by an EELCO fuel block equipped with a fuel pressure gauge. The awaiting gas rests in a ’34 Chevy passenger car gas tank that was modified by HRBD to fit within the ’33 trunk. Take a close look at the air cleaners—fabricated by Tim he made them from ’53 Caddy air ducts. (Speaking of imagination!) The NASCAR ’57 Olds valve covers are other vintage items outfitted with the telltale “bump,” allowing the use of a high-lift cam by giving the rockers the necessary clearance. The exhaust system was fabricated at HRBD using 1-5/8-inch primary tubes with 2-inch pipe and Smithy’s mufflers. If you have looked closely at the engine photo (look again) you will see what appear to be two alternators. Hmm, probably not but what gives? One of the “generators” is a PowerGEN alternator from Powermaster Performance while the second generator housing is just that, a “house” for the Vintage Air compressor. A clever and masterful way to give the car modern electrics and A/C all the while keeping the engine in its traditional appearance. The cooling system (brass radiator and fan) was fabricated at HRBD while the ignition is a Vertex magneto using steel core wires.
Backing the vintage eight is an ’80s-era Chevy S-10 Tremec T5 via an EELCO trans adaptor sandwiching a Hays clutch and flywheel package. The shifter was modified and employs HRBD-fabricated mechanical linkage. At the corners more vintage hot rodding is on view with Kelsey Hayes (milk truck) wheels adapted with ’33 V-8 caps measuring 18x3-1/2 wrapped with Excelsior 4.50s in front and Firestone 7.00s in the rear.
The chassis began life as a ’33 Ford but has undergone many HRBD mods that include a custom-made centersection, flipped rear framehorns, and a modified front crossmember to the 113-inch wheelbase. The front suspension is based on a HRBD straight-axle using ’37 Ford spindles with SO-CAL Speed Shop tube shocks, ’39 Lincoln Zephyr drum brakes, and F-1 steering. The rear suspension is built around a V-8 quick-change with an open differential spinning 4.60 gears, 31-spline axles, and ’39 Zephyr drum brakes. Locating the rearend are ’37 Zephyr split wishbones, custom springs, and SO-CAL Speed Shop tube shocks.
The valve covers have the telltale bump that allows the use of a high-life cam. The bumps
Resting on top of this HRBD chassis is a gennie Ford ’33 three-window coupe body with 3 inches taken out of the front and 2 inches from the rear by Jonathan Williams of HRBD along with a top insert by HRBD’s Ron McCorkle who also fabricated the working cowl vent. The body was then channeled by HRBD with a boatload of other sheetmetal mods. These modifications include a custom firewall, doorsills, windshield laid back, louvered decklid (lots!), replaced quarter-panels, a modified four-door sedan floor fit to the three-window, front and rear functional windows, and a modified ’33 Ford grille and insert. The headlights are ’35 Nash while the taillights are custom-made by HRBD with stock ’33 Ford stands. From here the bodywork was handled by HRBD’s Chris Walker and afterward the PPG black paint was sprayed on by HRBD’s Frank Bennett.
Inside the sheetmetal is a dashboard that began life as a ’33 with a ’36 dash top flipped 180 degrees and used on the bottom of the ’33 while utilizing the “waterfall.” The traditional combo of five Stewart-Warner mechanical gauges (speedo, water, oil, fuel, amp) were housed in the engine-turned dash insert while an EZ Wiring kit was put to use by HRBD’s Tony Arme. From here the Vintage Air A/C unit and lots of Dynamat insulation is used to control the creature comfort temps. The ’40 Ford steering column that operates the F-1 box is twisted through a ’50s boat wheel—a Sheller two-spoke that was most commonly used from 1940 to 1957 on Chris Craft boats.
An Edelbrock intake is topped with new Stromberg 97s with custom air cleaners.
The modified bench seat is covered in black vinyl as are the door panels, all by Glenn Kramer of Hot Rod Interiors, while the floor covering is rubber mat neatly trimmed with metal rings and stitched edges. The pedal assembly is another HRBD effort.
This ’33 is as traditional looking as they come but it’s sprinkled with enough modern goodies to make this something any hot rodder worth his toolbox would thoroughly enjoy driving cross-country. Be on the lookout when in the Phoenix area and see if a very evil-looking channeled ’33 coupe is coming up fast in your rearview mirror.
The ’40 Ford steering column is topped with a Chris Craft Sheller boat wheel.
The black vinyl interior was stitched by Glenn Kramer of Hot Rod Interiors. The floor cove
The engine-turned dash insert is fitted with Stewart-Warner mechanical gauges. The gas tan
The Stewart-Warner tach is centered within the dash.
The gas tank is a ’34 Chevy modified to fit within the ’33 trunk.