Just the Facts
Year: 1934
Make: Ford
Model: Coupe
Owner: Beau Boeckmann
State: California

Where were you in 1962? It's a decades-old question that is meant to physically, if not mentally, place a person in a very specific place in time. The early 1960s was an exciting time for car lovers because drag racing was just entering its Golden Age, custom car shows were producing some of the most memorable vehicles ever, and Main Street of every city and small town in the country was overflowing with cruisers.

Dual-purpose rods—ones that could compete on the show level as well as the on the dragstrip—were also gaining in popularity. A perfect example of this type of car would be Tom McMullen's wildly flamed 1932 roadster, as it could do it all, from dry lakes racing to cruising the boulevards, and many other car owners did the same.

Dave Shuten, a 41-year-old Michigan car builder and restorer who now lives in Southern California, grew up loving the creativity that was generated during this special time in rodding's history. A tool and die maker for GM for 15 years, Dave spent his off hours either restoring 1960s-era show cars or building clones or tributes to those vehicles. He is especially impressed with the work of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, and Shuten is a true hot rod builder, capable of doing everything from one-off metalwork to pinstriping. Back in 2007 Shuten designed and built the Astrosled show car in tribute to those Roth cars, and it featured many Roth-esque design elements, right down to the acrylic bubbletop.

Also a few years back Shuten built a replica of the "Mysterion"—the candy yellow, twin-engined, bubbletopped creation Roth built in 1963. Roth was instrumental in the popularity of bubbletopped show cars—his "Beatnik Bandit" arguably being the most famous, and, in 1964, Roth also built the "Orbitron", another wild creation with asymmetrical headlights. The Orbitron was eventually forgotten and seemed to have disappeared, only to resurface 30 years later (and mostly intact) in Mexico!

It was during the time Shuten was building his Mysterion clone that he met Beau Boeckmann who, with his family, runs what is known as "the number one volume Ford dealership in the world": Galpin Auto Sports in North Hills, California. The Boeckmann family has had a long history with customizing vehicles through their dealership, and a special on-site showroom showcases many of the vehicles they've been involved with over the decades, plus it also houses a collection of 1960s-era show cars. In fact, two of the vehicles in the display, the well-known show cars "Ice Truck" and "Milk Truck", were restored by Shuten while he was still in Michigan.

Beau was able to purchase the remains of Roth's Orbitron, and then commissioned Shuten to restore it. After GM closed the plant he was working in, Shuten moved to California and worked for Beau full time. But among the things Shuten brought with him from Michigan to California was a 1934 Ford coupe. He wanted the five-window to be the ultimate expression of what he felt those 1960s show cars were all about, and had a lot of ideas that would make the car truly unique. As it happened, Beau was looking for a vehicle that he could build and take to the Detroit Autorama in 2013 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Ridler award, and so the two struck a deal on the car: Beau would buy it from Shuten and finance the project, and Shuten would have the freedom to build it the way he only dreamt he could.

Over a period of 18 months, Shuten took the stock coupe and reworked every aspect of its shape, starting with its chassis. He used aftermarket framerails and added Ionia Hot Rod Shop boxing plates that feature a belled (concave) lightning hole. To that Shuten added domed discs to the backside of each hole to give the impression the 'rail is dimpled rather than be open. Not only was the unique design element used on the 'rails, but on the X-member and other suspension pieces, too. To give the bottom of the framerail a sharper edge, Shuten added material to it, then shaved and filled the area to get the desired effect.

The frame was painted pearl white by Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan, and a buggy-sprung early 1960s 9-inch rear (4.10:1) with a locker rear was located with one-off ladder bars that also featured the car's dimpled design. Shuten also made the Panhard bar from one-half of an extra hairpin. Up front the 4-inch-drop axle is filled in the center, but on the backside it's dimpled to continue the theme. One-off batwings were also made (from 1940 wishbones) and the spring perches were peaked. Custom-machined 1941 Lincoln hubs were used with 1940 Ford spindles, and Shuten designed and fab'd a unique steering arm setup before everything (and we mean everything!) was sent to Advanced Plating in Nashville to be chrome plated.