Just the Facts

Year: 1933
Make: Speed33
Model: Cabriolet
Owner: Danny Shaffer
State: California

Sometimes when you get a second crack at something, it turns out for the better, but you typically wouldn't wish how Danny Shaffer got his second chance on anyone. That's because while he already owned a nice American Speed33 convertible, a fenderless version powered by a Roush 427, he also wanted one with fenders. Since American Speed did such a nice job building his fenderless car, he went back to them for another one with fenders. But, while the one with fenders was being built, Danny's fenderless car was stolen out of the parking lot of the host hotel at the 2013 L.A. Roadsters Show.

Danny likes the fact the all-steel Speed33 has a hide-away top, ample head and legroom, and doors that shut like a real car should. The plus column also includes Vintage Air A/C and power windows—the best of both worlds as far as Danny is concerned. So everything Danny was going to do with his first convertible became the base for another stab at owning another Speed33, just one that was bigger and better in every way imaginable.

And though American Speed is located in Plymouth, Michigan, and Danny lives nearly 2,300 miles away in Bakersfield, California, the amazing world of computers and digital photographs allowed him to keep up with American Speed as they went about custom building Danny's new ride.

With a background that includes decades of working with automotive OEMs, the Speed33 was developed by combining computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and innovative styling that produced the first all-steel '33 convertible with a folding hide-away top that disappears under a rear tonneau, similar to a '60s-era Mercedes SL.

Just like they were back in 1933, the Speed33's quarter-panels and other various parts are stamped out on a huge multi-ton press and assembled by American Speed. The cars are made from 18-gauge steel, incorporate a sturdy substructure, feature a curved glass windshield and power side windows, and come with stainless steel windshield stanchions. American Speed puts a lot of effort into making sure the gaps are even and everything fits the way it should before the bodies ever leave their shop.

Already accustomed to having this high level of attention to detail, American Speed began the build process on Danny's convertible with a call to Danny Tesar. Tesar learned his craft over the years as the master chassis welder/builder at Lobeck's Hot Rod Shop and, a few years ago, opened Precision Hot Rods & Fabrication in Macedonia, Ohio. Tesar built this chassis bringing the rear section in 2 inches for the larger tires Danny wanted. Danny also had some good experiences with Kugel Komponents' IRS/IFS systems in the past, so both went into this ride, too. Romic Manufacturing shocks and Eibach springs were also installed while Wilwood disc brakes are found on each corner (with GM calipers up front, Wilwood units out back). Steering is accomplished with a power rack-and-pinion along with a Shorty column from ididit. American Speed's Mark Trostle had EVOD Industries make up a set of billet 16x6.5 and 17x10 wheels for the project, media blasting their faces (for a '60s as-cast look) and painting them to match the color of the engine's valve covers. The wheels are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle RS-A 205/55R16 and 255/60R17 tires.

Most folks would be satisfied if they ended up with a car that looks as nice as Danny's, but what puts his convertible over the top is the engine. Danny went with a Jon Kaase Racing Engine Boss Nine monster, which tips the displacement chart at 520 inches. These engines replicate the '60s-era 429 Shotgun V-8s, and the custom-built powerplants can generate anywhere between 500 to 1,000 hp, or up to 1,500 hp when blown.

Kaase, based in Winder, Georgia, built Danny's motor with a 9.8:1 compression ratio, and it dialed in the dyno with a comfortable 640 hp. It's fed by a Kaase Boss Nine eight-stack injection system, and nothing about the engine is half-ass—including the price. Expect to pay about $23,000 for a base, dyno-tested model, and more if you want options such as a blower, titanium valves, a sump-style oiling system, or a billet crankshaft.

Cooling for this motor is handled by a custom fan shroud with a 16-inch Cooling Components fan and a radiator from Performance Rod & Custom. An MSD ignition box, paired with a FAST XFI controller takes care of the spark, and custom headers from Watson Engineering extract spent gases to Flowmaster mufflers. Gearstar Performance Transmissions assembled the 4R75W automatic tranny, which connects to a 6061 aluminum driveshaft from Dynotech in Troy, Michigan.

It's great to start a project with virgin steel, and that's only one of the benefits of using the Speed33 body. Danny had the Rootlieb hood for his convertible modified so it would open three ways (left, right, or alligator), and the car does not have side hoods (would you want to hide this engine?). The PPG PN 9700 Concept Black paint, applied by Advance Custom Paint in Bellville, Michigan, covers the body and fenders, and the Speed33 grille is protected by an ASC nerf bar (another larger bar is used as a rear bumper). The exterior was finished up with Porsche 356 taillights set vertically in the fenders with a custom housing, and '35 Ford headlights were updated with H4 bulbs.

American Speed finished off the build by installing an interior that centers on a modified TEA's Design split-back bench seat (each back section can flip forward to access the area behind the seat). Spinneybeck supplied the leather, and it was used on the seats' door panels in a decidedly upscale and elegant design. Up on the '32-style dash (standard with the Speed33 bodies) ASC used an insert of their own design that mounts the gauges—in this case one-off Classic Instruments units with the Boss V-8 logo—from behind. Bill Hirsch Automotive supplied the carpet used over the Dynamat insulation and, wanting all the creature comforts, Danny had a Gen II A/C system from Vintage Air installed, though it is well hidden from view.

Even though the installation of the 520 was something of a challenge, Danny really wanted to go the extra mile with this car and, with help from American Speed Company, it is everything he imagined it could be. The car made its debut at the Detroit Autorama in 2013, and then appeared on the West Coast in 2014 at the Grand National Roadster Show, where it took Second in the tough Altered Street Roadster, '33-34 class. At 64 years old, Danny says he's been into cars for 50 of them, but we would bet he's had few cars in his life that can measure up to the Big Boss.