All-Steel Hot Rod! 1934 Ford Five-Window Coupe

After surviving 40 years of storage, this sweet 1934 Ford Five-Window Coupe promises amazing potential. Thanks to reader Michael who spotted this unfinished project here on Los Angeles, California craigslist. Considering the asking price of $21.00, I’m reaching for my wallet as we speak, and reasonably sure I can double my money before lunch. Potential buyers should seek inspiration watching a young Martin Sheen’s trick ’34 Ford Five-Window dueling with a ’57 Plymouth Police cruiser in 1974’s The California Kid.

As practiced by Chip Foose and other automotive artisans, two early decisions define your design:  1. Stance and 2. Wheel and Tire selection, and those elements appear well-envisioned on this custom. The all-steel body features full fenders, a stock height roof, and the frame is partially boxed for strength. Suspension consists of a front I-Beam Drop Axle and Corvette rear end, with disc brakes all around.

The seller says this car “originally had a Hemi motor,” where “originally” obviously refers to its recent as found state. In 1934 this coupe would have featured an 85 HP “flathead” V8 (thanks to itstillruns.com for some details). Interestingly the shiny small block Chevrolet 350 cid V8 and three-speed TH350 automatic you see here would have made the obvious choice 40 years ago. One might question the sanity of replacing a Hemi with this powertrain today when A. vintage hot-rods derive significant value from unmolested originality, and B. Chevy’s newer LS engines deliver significant advantages for an incrementally larger investment.

The seller confirms the pictures’ suggestion that wiring, plumbing, and significant engineering remain and, (oh so tricky!) the asking price is actually $21.500. I would have loved to see this car before its recent low-budget, low-imagination alterations. What’s a steel ’34 Five-Window body holding a $1500 ’80s drive-train worth to you?

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Comments

  1. Dean

    I think that was Sheen’s first movie if memory serves me. Decent “made-for-TV” flick.

    5
  2. Lance Nord

    I have visions of that Hellcat motor wedged in a chopped and channeled version of this car…

    4
  3. Uncle Bob

    The “California Kid” was a 3 window, not 5, but you’re close.

    Some pluses and many minuses, the experienced old Ford rodder knows what I mean (e.g. the Vette rear in this kind of car has fewer fans than might be imagined) not the least of which is apparent title issue. Fortunately the ask isn’t the usual $10k or more over market, but probably a bit high for a project in this declining slice of the auto hobby. So Cal was swamped with this era hot rod guys from all over the world last weekend and it didn’t sell………that would have been unimaginable say 10 years ago. Tells you something about relative value.

    5
    • Chinga Trailer

      But this car isn’t in SoCal.

      2
      • Uncle Bob

        Ah, good catch, thanks, but this particular ad has still run for over two weeks which for a car once prized, albeit in No. Cali now, stills says pretty much the same thing. Too bad that when/if it sells we won’t have visibility on the agreed price.

        3
  4. Andre

    Hemi parts are quite expensive.. Depending which hemi was in the car “originally”, and if it needed significant attention, it could have been cost prohibitive to get it motivated.

    2
    • 86 Vette Convertible

      Not only that, if that Hemi had been breathed on at all it likely would be totally squirrely unless you had absolute traction all the time IMO. Had one in an early Dodge PU and that thing could make you want to review your insurance and will in short order.

      I like the car, with some time, effort and $$ it could be quite the ride.

      4
  5. geomechs

    Well, if it was a 3-window I’d be hearing ZZ Top about now. Actually I AM hearing it anyways. Just had to look at that grill and the sounds came in strong. For me, I’d prefer it stock, or warmed over with a flathead V8. But since it’s already gone the modification route. I’d be inclined to keep with the program and finish it. Of course that SBC would have to go. Either a small Ford, which I have, or a flathead, which I also have. If I won the lottery I’d see if I could land a set of Ardun heads and really be different….

    6
  6. SC/RAMBLER

    If you take out a hemi for some reason, at least put a Ford motor in it, anything from a 289 to a 390, personally I would get rid of the Corvette rear and go with Ford 9 inch with Explorer dick brakes and traction bars I realize sbc make more power for less money but I would rather have the hemi or a Ford in a Ford. Sick of the number of cars running sbc have a little imagination

    8
    • Ken

      Absolutely. I too am tired of seeing Chevy engines in non-Chevy cars. And the only thing a Turbo 350 is good for is a boat anchor. Turbo 400 or GTFO.

      6
    • Tricky

      Always been a fan of dick brakes (wasn’t he a 70’s B-grade actor)

      5
      • Chinga-Trailer

        Porn star no doubt . . .

        4
  7. Ken

    You forgot to tell us about the patina. It’s the law around here – every article has to feature it at least once. Patina, patina, patina. It’s one of the three most annoying words bandied about in automotive circles these days. The other two are “iconic” and “bulletproof.”

    5
    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi Ken. Rats! Guess I missed that opportunity to jump on the “patina” bandwagon. Personally I don’t count partially-sanded red primer as patina, but I don’t mind an honest, hard-earned or weathered look on certain cars. I must admit, though, had this been a ’32 I would have jammed “iconic” in there somewhere. 🙂

      2
  8. Bob S

    Personally, as a very old, but not traditional hot rodder, I would have preferred to have the car with the original hemi and running gear. The basic idea of building a rod in the first place, is as an extension of the builder’s personality, and the satisfaction of having built it yourself.
    This isn’t to say that the Chevy running gear is a bad thing, but if the swap was just done to sell the car, I think some of the meaning of hot rodding has been lost in the process.
    There will always be shops that build customs and rods, but the heart of the hobby is located in the hundreds of thousands of home garages all over the country.
    BTW, back in the late 50s, I ran an Olds powered 34 1/2 ton, and the average street hemi was no big deal. It is just a name.

    6
    • tom schweikert

      yup, olds used to be the thing, ask stone,woods, and cook with their olds powered gassers

  9. Joe Haska

    I have to comment because I own a 34 5-window Coupe that I bought in July of 1963. It has been a running driving car all these years and still is, I have had 3 different flatheads in it one small block Ford and a small block chevy. I get so tired of hearing people saying what motors these should have, its up to the owner. Every engine combination I had was great for the time, they all worked ,but there all different it depends on use and how you want to drive the car.
    I think this car is reasonably priced, but is easy to get caught up in the moment and the presentation and not fully understand how much time and money it will take to finish this car.
    If no one mentioned it the California Kid 3- Window was owned and built by the late Pete Chaporis at the time the movie was made, Pete formed Pete and Jakes, with Jim Jacobs, both super Hot Rodders and friends.

    5
  10. Wrong Way

    Nothing irratates me more than any who advertises a Ford with a damn Chevy engine in it! This is not a freaking Ford anymore it’s a half and half! Half breed, whatever you may want to call it! When you put a Chevy engine into a Ford it’s no longer a Ford!

    2
    • tom schweikert

      best way to improve a “damn”
      ford is to put a chevy in it. look at 90 percent of mustangs running drags
      right now lol

  11. pugsy

    Uh-oh….I’m putting a BBC in a 41 New Yorker…..oh, and 2004 Cobra running gear and brakes….WTH will that be???

    Oh, I know. It will be a Chrysler. It says so on the VIN plate….sheesh….

    5
    • Wrong Way

      You have to admit tho pugsy I do have a point!

      1
      • 427Turbojet

        A good hat would probably cover it.

        2
  12. Larry

    Hey Wrong Way, Guess you weren’t around in the” Early ” days of Hot Rods when all the Fords had Old’s , Caddy and Buick engines. What would you have called them ?? They changed the engines so they ran better, not for any new name.

    3
    • Wrong Way

      Well let’s see I’m 77 years old so you tell me if I was around during the good old days or not! I’ve always been a purist I like things original completely original I guess my problem is I am too damn old fashioned LMAO

      1
  13. pugsy

    That’s OK. Completely stock is the “Wrong Way”, but I guess it’s your way….ha….

    2
    • Wrong Way

      Completely stock is the ORIGINAL way not the wrong way! 🙂

      2
  14. pugsy

    Ha…to each their own.

    • Wrong Way

      What’s the matter with you stupid? Are you a troll? We don’t allow trolls on this site! I have been on this site for a very long time! This is the first time I have ever seen pugsy name ever used! If you are wanting to cause trouble or argue with someone go to Facebook they will welcome trolls like you! I think that you have shown everyone what you are! Have a great day! 🙂

  15. Pugsy

    Really?

    I agree with you and you come back like this?

    I do not troll any sites.

    Check my username 123pugsy on a google search to see if I am a troll or not.

    Oh, and yes, I believe old cars are junk in stock form.

    However, I believe more that everyone has a right to enjoy this hobby any way they please.

    • Wrong Way

      Maybe I read your message wrong! I don’t know, I am going thru alot of grief for now! Just lost someone closer than close! If I misread your message sorry! Have a great day!

  16. pugsy

    No worries.

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