Fifties Hot Rod Stored 52 Years: 1933 Ford Five Window Coupe

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You could argue that many of us frequent Barn Finds because the vehicles here remind us of our past and the fondness that hindsight bestows upon our memories.  The sad thing is that as much as we would like to, it is impossible to relive the past.  However, you can buy an old Ford and throw a lot of cash at it to make yourself the hot rod you always dreamed of.  It doesn’t get much better for fans of building up a traditional hot rod than this 1933 Ford five-window coupe for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Mesa, Arizona.  This advertised as an authentic fifties hot rod is being sold as a roller to allow you to build it to your heart’s content.  With a factory Ford frame and a body that has not been cut upon, is this Ford worth the $28,000 asking price?  If you purchased it and set to work, what would your dream 1933 Ford coupe look like?  Or would you rather build this one back as a stock example of Henry Ford’s finest work?  Thanks to T.J. for the tempting tip!

As time marched on, the American hot rod movement roamed further and further astray from the purity, simplicity, and affordability of traditional postwar builds.  Inspired by the work of prewar builders who found their lives interrupted by a world war, the immediate postwar meant a fresh start.  The hobby found numerous veterans (and the talented workers who supplied the military with the means to wage war) ready to start having fun again.  They scoured the want ads and junkyards for prewar cars as a basis for projects that helped get them back to the business of living for themselves.  From mild to wild, the cars of this era are still the stuff of legends.

In the past decade, we have seen a rejection of the overwrought and sometimes gaudy hot rods of the eighties and nineties.  In its place has been a rise of the traditional hot rod, complete with the engines of the period and the speed parts that were available at the time.  You can probably now build up a prewar Ford coupe or convertible with all new parts, minus the major components, that would look indistinguishable from the cars of back then.  That is a good thing for a hobby that desperately needs a younger generation to take the reins and keep it going.  Hot rods back then were made to be affordable, from the parts to the ease with which they could be built.  You could even argue that a car that requires six figures and an army of craftsmen to build doesn’t fit the definition of a hot rod at all.  Museum pieces are to be seen.  Hot rods are meant to be driven.

So, if building a traditional hot rod is your plan, then most agree that starting with a prewar Ford coupe is ideal.  Ford just seemed to have some of the best styling of the era, and that translated into large production numbers.  Those numbers have been whittled down quite a bit over the years, especially for convertibles and coupes.  These were the preferred body styles of hot rod enthusiasts, collectors, and even early stock car builders.  You can’t help but cringe when you see old pictures of a full field of prewar Ford coupes tearing around a dirt track back in the day.  So, finding an example of a 1933 Ford coupe as you see in the pictures above and below has become a rarity.

As usual, we aren’t told very much about this coupe.  The ad states that it was an original hot rod from the fifties, it is a solid steel body car, and it has been stored for the last 52 years.  We are also told that it is being sold as a roller.  This is even though there is a Flathead Ford engine with a few speed parts nestled under where the missing hood should be.  The usual definition of a roller is a vehicle without an engine or transmission.  Perhaps the seller hasn’t had the time to pull it out yet.  Regardless, one has to wonder if there are any other parts available but not shown in the pictures.  Or is what you see exactly what you would get if you wrote a check for $28,000?

That price may be a sticking point, especially if there are no other parts available with the sale.  Once that hurdle has been dealt with, this seems to be a good starting place for a great build.  My dream ’33 build would have a built Flathead under the hood, a channeled body, a Halibrand Quick Change rear end, a leather interior, a slight rake, and a body drenched in black cherry paint.  Subtle, but still holding on to that traditional look.  This car would be as good a starting point as any I suppose.

How would you build out this 1933 Ford coupe?  Or would you start with something else to build your traditional hot rod?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Todd J. Todd J.Member

    I love the looks of this car, but it seems like an eye-popping asking price. I’m an older dude who remembers when you could pick up Fords like this for a song, so I accept the fact that maybe this price is not at all unreasonable for those guys who can go to a shop, open a checkbook, and say, “Build me a hot rod, buddy!”

    Like 13
  2. Rodney - GSM

    This was the dream car of my youth. Pictures on the walls and plastic models littered the floor as I imagined the day when I would actually own a real one. I still admire them but now I see the reflection of my youthful self in the patina of the shiny surfaces.

    Like 4
  3. Tbone

    I can’t fault the seller for the high asking price. It seems a but optimistic but show up with cash in hand and a trailer and see what happens. The value is in the original steel. I know it will make me sound like a snob, but I would not want a fiberglass car. I appreciate that they exist so more people can have the car of their dreams, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.

    Like 7
    • Demonsteve

      I agree Tbone, but for 28 big ones you could be driving a turnkey hot rod, I myself have a fiberglass body and wish it was steel but the price difference is crazy, that steel body is very nice but how much more will it take to be street ready, wish I could afford it.

      Like 1
  4. Walter

    The price seems high but this is not an area I know much about so maybe it’s reasonable. The market will tell.
    As to the other question about how to build?
    I would love to build a pre-war rod in the spirit of the old days but extend the window for parts accumulation up to the 1970s.
    Choice one would be a Caddy 500ci. There are some dress up and performance parts available but with its torque, it wouldn’t need much of the latter.
    Second pick would be a Olds “Rocket.”
    4 on the floor with a chrome Hurst shifter with a white cueball.
    I’d definitely fit disc brakes because I’m not THAT nostalgic but could source most of my parts through yards and remanufacturers.
    Anyways, that’s what I’d like to do.

    Like 3
  5. Todd

    I don’t think it’s worth $28k WITH the flathead. It’s a project regardless, and will require more money, and a lot of time, to make it safe and drivable. And if the flathead was included, you are going to spend a lot more money to rebuild it. They almost always have head stud problems, and it’s getting more and more difficult to find an engine builder and machine shop that have the experience, and desire, to work on one.

    Like 7
  6. HoA HoAMember

    “younger generations to keep the hobby going”, not sure what part of that to correct 1st, t’ain’t gonna happen. As an avid complai,,,I mean, watcher of TV auctions, prices of hot rods, with CHROME DRIVESHAFTS, are barely cracking what I figure the paint job alone must have cost. I’d be embarrassed to have my “creation” selling for 1/10th the build cost. What really grinds my gears, is how out of whack this whole mess is. This car originally didn’t cost the builder a dime, everything was “found” usually holding a door open. “Those carbs and manifold? $10 bucks”, a transmission? If you can carry it, you can have it. And fast forward to this person, asking what most would consider an outrageous sum, hoping to get that old gray( or no) hair, looking to relive their youth. Sadly, not many of “those” folks are around, and this will fall back into storage for another 100 years.
    No? Don’t think so? Prove me wrong, how many here, and don’t give me that “if I won the lottery” schpiel, has the resources or energy to take this on? Mmm-hmm, I thought so,,,

    Like 11
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      And SOLD !!!!

      Like 3
  7. Todd FitchStaff

    I’d love to own one of these for a while: the essence of hot-rodding. Somewhere I heard, “You drive a custom to attract the ladies. You drive a hot rod to get away from them.” It sold, so evidently the price isn’t too high. I’d probably spend $8000 and burn 7000 hours of labor on mine, so maybe $28k isn’t so bad. We’d love to see what becomes of this one from the new owner. Thanks, Jeff!

    Like 4
  8. bobhess bobhessMember

    After spending Todd’s $8.000 I wouldn’t chop or channel this car. The Model As and the ’32s are boxy and take well to that move but the ’33s and ’34s’ have a shape that shouldn’t be messed with. Fenders and a 4″ dropped axle up front and whatever engine I wanted would do it for me.

    Like 4
  9. V12MECH

    Ballpark or better price, if all checks out should be gone in a day. Good deal.

    Like 1
  10. MarveH

    So nice to see a hotrod that isn’t stuffed with a chevy 350 and slushbox (yet).
    I never liked the candy apple chrome hotrod with chrome steering wheels, tufted and stuffed seats, and a bunch of tack-on tat. I don’t like fake painted on rust either, just a genuine car that some guy built in his garage that’s a little rough around the edges and a little scary to drive.

    Like 3
  11. okmkoMember

    Take a look at the “cut” on the rear tires.
    Looks like it may have been on a dirt oval ?
    52 years ago, this would be a $100 vehicle , but then again, gas was 30 cents a gallon for 100 octane in California.
    Everything is relative. I personally think the Buick is the better buy.

    Like 0
  12. Bill ToelMember

    Beautiful, fun, showstopping car! 28 large is a LOT of scratch though.

    Like 1
  13. Troy

    Personally I’m not a fan of the open wheel on these I would get the rear fenders and running boards back and maybe a half fender on the front otherwise I think it’s cool

    Like 1
  14. Warren JohnsonMember

    It’s sold

    Like 0
  15. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Sold….going across the pond I’m betting…..

    Like 0
  16. Joe Haska

    Well here we go again! Same old comments including mine. I am going to zip my lip this time . However, I will answer the question “How would you build out a 33 Ford Coupe”. So, I went out to the garage and looked. This might be better than just dreaming up stuff. It is definitely a Hot Rod. All black and has all its fenders in fact ,it looks almost stock except for the stance and the big and Lillie tires and wheels ,the car is crazy low. Inside a black and white rolled and pleated leather interior, stock seat, 40 Ford wheel and 33 dash with Stewart Warner winged gauges, a floor shift for a 5–speed OD transmission. And a look underneath reveals super clean a little chrome , a late Ford rear end on coil overs and 4-bar. Up front drooped axle , disk brakes , and modified wishbone. Steering gear VW bus? Stock 4 piece hood closed. Oh no it looks like a vintage Corvette. Please no haters, I know how you feel. This is my dream Hot Rod after 60 years, 5 engines , 4 paint jobs , 3 interiors and who knows how many tire and wheel combinations. That’s it for now, but it is scheduled to go under the wrench in a week or so. Who knows it might be un-recognizable in a few months. So goes Hot Rodding.

    Like 1

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