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Harry’s Coupe

Back in the summer of 2004, Harry Cline found a ’34 Ford three-window coupe body on eBay. When the auction ended, Harry was the high bidder. He made the trip to Jacksonville, Illinois, to pick up the body. The overall condition of the car was better than he expected, and the doors fit very well for a car that was 70 years old. The seller told Cline that it had actually been stored for nearly 40 years.

Drilled and Thrilled

Rich Oakley is not your average hot rod builder. There is no room for cookie cutter cars in the Retro Rides by Rich shop in Archdale, North Carolina. In fact, he prefers to be one step ahead of the norm when it comes to building his personal rides. Loosely inspired by the Tony Nancy 22 Jr., his Model A highboy comes equipped with an attitude. “The car has a loud, rude nature. That’s what I like about it, the way it shakes, smells, and of course, the noise,” Oakley says. It has an aggressive stance, and those six Holley 94 carburetors are an indication that the roadster might have a chip on its shoulder.

AN AMERICAN TRADITION

Here in the United States, we have been conditioned to find vintage tin in many places. The availability of good cars to build into street rods has become more limited as the years have passed, but depending upon your choice of bodies, there are still quite a few options. Of course, the advent of reproduction bodies has added to the choices. Now put yourself in a foreign land and think about how hard it would be to find a good 70-plus-year-old imported American car to build. That is what Wayne Streams faced as a native of the United Kingdom. Building street rods has grown in both popularity and participation in the UK. There are many vintage English vehicles available, but American cars are the most cherished among British rodders.

Independent at Last

“Real hot rods have axles,” or so they say. That was our story, and we stuck to it fondly for more than 10 years. The ’47 Ford sedan delivery we drive came to us with a new Super Bell dropped axle and four-bar linkage professionally installed by Dick Jones’ shop in Campbell, California. It wasn’t really a hot rod; more like a primered beater with no interior, very little glass and enough rattles that a radio was a waste of time. It was a project car for another magazine for several years, and as such was the subject of many tech articles, updating it with all manner of great stuff. But it was still a primered beater, so the axle suited it just fine, and we got many miles of enjoyment out of this setup.  Oh, it could have had a nice, new IRS more than once, but it just wasn’t that kind of car. 

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