Using Original Henry Steel: 1933 Ford Roadster

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One of the major bragging points for hot rod builders is to craft your masterpiece from an original prewar Ford.  While antique Ford lovers are left aghast, “original Henry steel” cars always have a much higher sale price than those with reproduction bodies, especially in comparison to those made of fiberglass.  While we occasionally hear of a restored Ford being butchered up, there is some absolution from sin if one starts their hot rod journey with a rough example of Henry’s finest ferrous material.  This 1933 Ford roadster for sale on eBay in Fort Worth, Texas has already spent some time as a hot rod project.  Now, having spent considerable time out in the weather, it needs someone with the metalworking skills of Hephaestus to bring it back to life.  At a current bid of $15,100, are you interested in being the maestro of metal that brings this roadster back from the dead?

If you are going to build a hot rod, an early thirties Ford is an awfully good starting point.  Of all of the cars that still survive from the prewar period, Fords are by far the most supported by the aftermarket.  While there are a few exceptions as companies adjust to the shrinking market due to this type of enthusiast aging out of the hobby, you can get almost any part you need on your computer.  The most popular of these Fords are the open cars.  Whole bodies are reproduced for these gorgeous drop tops, with the beautiful yet utilitarian roadster the most prevalent.

With whole bodies comes the sale of whole panels as well in addition to the usual patch panels in especially rust prone areas.  As you can see from the pictures, this Ford may need some patch panels at the least.  The problem you have is that replacing a rusty fender is cheaper than repairing it if you use a professional.  If you can do the work yourself, then that is all the better.  While there may still be a few folks out there familiar with the lost art of using lead instead of Bondo for repairs, their numbers dwindle by the day.  Adding patch panels can also be an issue.  Welding sheet steel of this thickness requires some knowledge of the process and a dump truck full of patience.  Once again, the cost of a professional here is considerable.

The seller tells us that the car is pretty rough, but the main body is not that bad (in their opinion).  It will need a driver’s side running board, floors, a sub rail, a decklid, and a windshield frame.  While the ad says that the car needs a decklid, the pictures show a decklid already there.  Perhaps they mean the rumble seat assembly which would fit under what most would call a decklid today.  Regardless, this one would have to be trussed up, removed from the frame, and be subject to ruthlessly cutting out the rust and rot.  You would also have to take into account the wood that framed up the body when the car left the factory.  You can purchase kits for this, but I have seen some clever uses of steel framing by creative hot rod craftsmen.

The seller tells us that this car was an original east coast hot rod that has seen better days.  The engine has a set of finned and corroded early Corvette valve covers and may be an original Corvette powerplant.  These were often used in hot rods of every variety and were a bragging point until the LS revolution happened along.  Sadly, we know no details on the engine or the rest of the car.  Every hot rod tells a story, some good, some bad, and a few in between.  It would be neat to know some backstory here.  Most likely this is just your average old car flip.

With bidding currently at $15,100, the car has not yet hit its reserve.  It will be interesting to see what this car sells for.  On one hand, bringing it back to show standards using professionals will likely be more than just picking up the phone and ordering a body.  On the other hand, it is an original Ford.  Perhaps the selling price will tell us if that still matters in today’s market.

Do you think an original body should bring a premium?  What do you think this Ford will sell for?  Please let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. mike

    Original steel body but that Chevy mtr.has got to go.

    Like 9
    • Mitchell G.Member

      Exactly. Needs a proper built Flathead there

      Like 11
  2. Big C

    Any ad proclaiming “original Henry Ford steel,” while bragging about the “SBC and TH350” that they cheaped out on? Is one I laugh at, and move on.

    Like 6
  3. ChingaTrailer

    I’m sure that high bid is by Mr. Hill, S.Hill to be exact!

    Like 1
  4. Joe Haska

    Again another car to start the Great Chevy in a Ford debate. Let it go ,this is about the car, not the engine that is sitting in it. Having owned a 34 Ford for 60 years ,I have watched the market a lot. I don’t think there is any doubt that real steel is preferred when possible. As Jeff pointed out, the real issue is how much money do you have and will you have to pay someone to do the work. Once you know that, it is a very simple decision if you want “REAL STEEL”.
    From the pictures ,I think there is enough there to start making a car. Why do you think he didn’t wait for the rain to stop before taking the pictures?

    Like 1
    • MikeG.

      Sorry Joe, but it NEEDS, and deserves a proper Ford, flathead V8
      Engine! Stick that Chevy product into some nondescript tri-five GM
      product !!

      Like 8
      • bobhess bobhessMember

        Anyone out there know why so few cars like this one wound up with Ford engines and the small block Chevys put into so many cars? Just asking…

        Like 2
    • stillrunners

      The pictures were taken in Florida where it was bought before the trip to Texas……the trip was posted on the internet.

      Like 0
  5. dogwater

    Well lets fight over the running gear look at the big picture the winner of this rust bucket is going have to dump a lot of money is it worth it ?

    Like 3
    • Big C

      Especially since you’ll have to find a proper Ford engine to install in it. Flatheads don’t grow on trees.

      Like 1
  6. Jimmy Novak

    An original 1934 Ford survivor is molested beyond recognition, and objections are only raised over who made the engine?

    Like 2
    • MikeG.

      Beyond recognition? It still appears
      to be a ’34 Ford roadster !

      Like 4
  7. Jeff

    Love the fact that someone had the common sense to put a Chevy motor in this baby…strong, reliable, & easy to work on. Love it.

    Like 5
    • MikeG.

      Common sense? How about lack of originality? Chevy power ?. No thanks !!

      Like 5
    • MikeG.

      Your logic makes no sense. A rotisserie restoration covers every aspect of the vehicle. The process
      commences with a all-inclusive action plan from the frame up…including power plant. I’ve been a professional antique, vintage automotive restorer
      ..from Model Ts to Auburns and Cords. It is an all-, encompassing process. Try doing a complete, proper restoration…ita a total process.

      Like 3
  8. Joe Haska

    You can’t see Forrest for the trees. This car has nothing to do with that SBC motor setting between the frame rails. Talk about tunnel vision, if you start this project, by the time you get the body work done and done right, you will have totally forgot about the drive train. You will just be wondering where all your money went and if you can even finish the car enough to ever drive it with any engine. You wont even care at that point.

    Like 5
  9. Colorado Joe

    3 Window Coupes and Roadsters are Murray bodies, lotta wood.
    ’33 hood + grille unique, expensive + rare.
    Model 40’s are cool, Roadster is smallest number produced
    High teens, low to mid twenties buy in will be the start of a big journey. I’ve got original flatties and hopped up ones a couple with nail head Buicks and 350/350 combos.

    Like 1
  10. Joe Haska

    Colo Joe, I know 32, 33,and 34 3 windows were Murray Body’s and certain Model A’s as well, but I have never heard that roadsters were. If that’s true, I will be very surprised. Also, your comment on 33 hoods and grill shells, they are slightly different ,but one is not any rarer than the other unless there was a significant difference in production numbers. less amount of 33’s manufactured than 34’s and I don’t know that to be true. Side bar, I could be Colo Joe too, as I lived there until I moved to AZ. about 6 years ago. I produced the model 40 Meet years ago in Colo and have owned my 34 Coupe 60 years

    Like 2
    • Colorado Joe

      Those Roadsters sure had a lotta wood, I’ll check the resto bible on Murray questions I think we met, Your coupe had recent big rims. I’m western slope kid 65 , Have a black 5W , fenders. No chop. Kinda Like yours.
      Have Rusty stock 3W 350/350
      33 repop stuff outta production.
      I dig those model 40’s 5W my favorites.
      No roadsters currently, this one for sale looking OK.

      Like 1
  11. MikeG.

    No thanks…rice grinder engines (not motors) should stay in rice grinder vehicles!

    Like 2

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