LS-Powered Rat Rod: 1934 Ford Coupe

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It is fair to say that Rat Rod creators play by their own set of rules. However, those rules are loosely defined, allowing builders to create genuinely unique vehicles that reflect their taste, imagination, and, crucially, their ingenuity. This 1934 Ford Coupe perfectly reflects that philosophy because while most of the body is by Ford, it is titled as a 1935 Studebaker and powered by a Chevrolet LS V8. It appears to need nothing, although there is scope for a new owner to personalize it by making changes as they see fit. If you feel up for that challenge, it is worth a close look because it is a rare opportunity to let your imagination off the leash.

The genesis of the Rat Rod scene can be traced back to the early days of hot rodding when owners adopted a “make-do” attitude of utilizing whatever parts were on hand to create unique vehicles. The practice evolved to the point where those cars typically present beautifully, with dazzling paint and luxurious interior trim. Rat Rods are the opposite, with their creators preferring an aged look and a desire to adapt everyday items for purposes their manufacturers never envisaged. This Ford reflects that approach, with the American Racing Torq Thrust wheels the only real nod to cosmetic enhancement. It reflects the “make-do” approach, with the cowl and doors sourced from a Studebaker, while the remaining panels started life on a Ford. The seller bolted everything to a 1932 Ford Repop frame. The entire all-steel body sports a coating of surface corrosion, although there is no evidence of penetrating rust. The underside shots confirm the vehicle is rock-solid, while the glass and the few bright trim pieces are in good order. Overall, this Ford is guaranteed to draw crowds wherever it goes.

The only frustrating aspect of this Rat Rod is the seller’s lack of information about its mechanical specifications. They confirm the engine is a Chevrolet LS V8, but its capacity and specifications are unclear. It feeds its power to the rear via an automatic transmission, but they don’t specify its type. However, the combination is guaranteed to offer significant performance gains compared to the 65hp and 130 ft/lbs of torque the original owner had at their disposal in 1934. There is good news for potential buyers, with the seller confirming the Coupe is a turnkey proposition. They state that the winning bidder could drive it home, an idea that some might find irresistible.

This classic’s interior encapsulates the Rat Rod philosophy, with occupants sinking back into what appear to be reproduction Bomber seats. They carry the same diamond pattern in their backs that we find on the aluminum door trims and floors, while the handles and armrests are bespoke aluminum items, and the shifter is a unique steel masterpiece. There are some nods to modern comfort and convenience, with the dash housing retro gauges, a modern touchscreen stereo mounted below the dash “eyebrow,” and the tilt wheel for improved driver comfort. It isn’t luxurious, but it is practical and appears to need nothing. Everything wears the traditional aged look, but there is scope for a new owner to change things to tailor the car to their taste.

I suspect we have readers who have scrolled through the supplied photos of this 1934 Ford Rat Rod, noted what they like, and compiled a list of changes they would make. That is not uncommon because many builders view these cars as evolving projects that are never truly complete. The seller has listed this classic here on eBay in Adrian, Michigan. Thirty bids have pushed the price to $13,400, which is below the reserve. Your imagination may be running riot, but are you tempted to transform your dreams into reality?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Howard A. HoAMember

    While an excellent description of the Rat Rod culture, going out on a limb, I’d respectfully have to disagree, this is more Hot Rod than Rat Rod. I’ll admit it teeters on the line, but rat rods rarely resemble any particular make, a hodge podge of everything. This car still embodies the classic Ford coupe hot rod, regardless of what powers it. I enjoy rat rods for the sheer imagination involved, I just don’t think this is one. This is one time a Ford, or whatever it is, can be powered with an LS motor. I also think it would be a nightmare to drive.

    Like 10
  2. 8banger 8bangerMember

    While I do like the waterfowl atop the radiator, methinks this interior be noisy when car running.

    Like 3
    • Derek

      I’m unsure where said bird’s from; Hispano-Suiza used a stork as a mascot though. Might be a repro of something…

      Like 1
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    Some on the ground pictures would be nice.

    Like 3
  4. Big C

    Those seats look ultra comfy! And $13,500 is all the money that this thing should bring. But there’s some stock broker type out there that’ll pay up. They always do.

    Like 5
    • Terrry

      And then it’ll either sit or they’ll hire someone to work on it. I personally wouldn’t pay that much and I’d drive the thing into the ground after I “fendered” the wheels. In my state the car isn’t legal as it sits.

      Like 1
      • bobhess bobhessMember

        Personally, I think he ’33s and ’34s looked great with their fenders on.

        Like 2
  5. mainlymuscle

    I love LS swaps , and own several ,but the exposed motor in this baby needs to have :”the look ” ; 409 ,flathead ,or vintage Hemi .Kudos for making this LS look cooler than most .Agree with others ,that it must be a bear to drive ,as many hot rods are .I have had several , and none have been as comfortable as a trusty musclecar .I’ve also lost money on every single one of them .Will I be lured back in ? You betcha !

    Like 2

    Well, it least it is a Rat motor in a Rat rod. Definitely a big block sitting there. Cool car.

    Like 0
  7. Joe Haska

    I find this car super interesting as I have owned my 34 5-window 60 years and it’s sitting right in front of me and I am not exactly sure what was used to get this configuration. Surprisingly, l like it or at least some of it. I think the rear of the car is wrong and out of proportion. The seller says cowl and doors are Studebaker and the rest are 34 Ford. Looks just the opposite to me, with the back being something other than Ford. I would almost have to see it in person to figure it out. Is it worth the money, sure if you want it!

    Like 1
  8. Jason

    I’m done I think with barn finds. No offense to what you do I think your investigation into every vehicle is great. I w learned a lot about stuff I didn’t know. My problem is this while LS swap crap. I just can’t stand it. For 1 it isn’t the best motor ever so sorry Chevy fans but it gets old. You laugh and post about a LS swap but why. The cars now a days are over priced and the comments from Chevy tar@s is sickening. I think I’m done I haven’t found 1 reasonable priced vehicle. (. $10-$15,000 ) isnt reasonable when you have to that much back in or more. I think I’ll keep looking at Dave’s classic cars or desert valley auto to find a fixer upper. And won’t have to see the BS. LS this and LS that. Just my nobody opinion.

    Like 2
    • CadmanlsMember

      Times change, go out in the yards and that’s the motor out there that’s reliable and still fairly cheap. The fact that the main bearing caps are cross bolted makes for a stout bottom end. It’s a pushrod V8. BTW just put an additional 900 bucks in a .030 over 289 to add roller lifters because oil formulation really doesn’t support flat lifters. Got to change with the times and no this isn’t my first rodeo.

      Like 0
  9. Rw

    See you later alligator/after while crocodile!

    Like 1

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