Black
Red
351 V8
4 Speed Automatic

There’s something irresistible about super-clean rods that don’t pull any punches. This 1933 Ford 3-window coupe, for example, is a great example of how to do it right. The basic black body looks sharp, especially draped over a bright red interior, and the mechanicals are sturdy, reliable, and powerful, without being exotic and finicky. It shows as well as it drives, and there’s nobody who wouldn’t be proud to be seen behind the wheel. No nonsense, just a cool car that was built right.

The body is by Gibbons, one of the top manufacturers in the hot rod body business. That means no 1933 Fords were harmed in the construction of this coupe, which should also make purists breathe a sigh of relief. The hood is steel, and the louvered side panels are an exact replica of the OEM hood, which is another way this car sets itself apart—not filled, or modified, just clean original styling. Whatever it’s made of, the shape is timeless, elegant, and reeks of high-performance. Although it was built several years ago, and has been driven and enjoyed on the road, it still shows very nicely, with excellent prep and paint that is a credit to the builder. The black paint is deep and rich, applied to standards that would make hot-rodders proud and guys on the factory assembly line blush because it’s so nice. Forget flames, scallops, and other flashy graphics, you simply can’t go wrong with basic black when it’s this nicely done.

You’ll also appreciate that all the original-style trim remains on the car, from the correct 1933 grille shell, to the radiator cap, to the artfully dipped bumpers and original-style tail lights out back. It’s all reproduction stuff, so it’s fresh out of the box and looks awesome with no signs of age or deterioration like you’d find on original pieces. Even the gas filler neck was left exposed, just as it was in 1933, which we here at RK Motors Charlotte find refreshing and different. Glass is all-new and tinted, giving this coupe an even more sinister, blacked-out look.

Powering this cool coupe is a genuine Ford V8, this time a 5.8-liter fuel injected mill out of an early Lightning pickup truck. With a broad torque curve, it moves this lightweight coupe effortlessly and delivers OEM quality reliability at the same time. It’s been nicely dressed up for duty in the ’33, with custom laser-etched valve covers that have a satin silver finish, billet wire looms with the old V8 emblem engraved on their surface, and a bright red air cleaner to match the interior. That ‘Lightning’ engine cover, however, is OEM and finishes off the cool tubular intake that was unique to the Lightning (Mustang Cobras got a cast version and Ford fans know it as the GT-40 intake manifold sold by SVO). A billet pulley and bracket system tucks the accessories in tight, including the original alternator and a new A/C compressor. Custom headers manage the exhaust and probably free up a few extra horsepower. The Ford engine management system was retained, so this one starts with a single turn of the key, idles perfectly, and runs happily on pump gas no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Underneath, there’s a custom-built frame that has been fully boxed for strength and rigidity, and painted bright red to really stand out against the black body. A 4-speed automatic, also from a Lightning pickup, handles the gear swaps, and thanks to Ford SVO’s intervention, is actually one of the sharper slushboxes ever installed in a truck. In back, a traditional Ford 9-inch rear hangs off a set of ladder bars and coil over shocks. The front suspension consists of a tubular dropped axle, a transverse leaf spring, and tubular shocks, which is how they’ve been building them for decades. Power front discs and rear drums handle the braking, and the exhaust system has been custom built and beautifully tucked up tight inside the frame for great ground clearance. Wheels are polished aluminum Torque Thrust IIs wearing 195/60/15 front and 235/60/17 rear Goodyear Eagle radials.

If our history is any indication, there’s no more desirable color combination than black over red leather, and this ’33 Ford nails it. The interior is beautifully stitched and assembled, and that vivid red leather fits the car perfectly. The custom front bench is upholstered in a vintage style with pleats and some subtle ostrich skin inserts, and shows only comfort marks from hours of open road fun. The door panels are sculpted to add some definition and carry some original-appearing hardware. A pair of Pete & Jake’s gauges are in a simple billet housing in the center of the dash, with one gauge housing four auxiliary gauges inside, while the other is the speedometer. OEM-looking eyeball vents have been installed for the A/C, and the overhead dome light looks like it was borrowed from a Lincoln. A polished aluminum tilt steering column carries a billet wheel that has been wrapped in matching red leather and carries a traditional V8 horn button. Under the rear deck you’ll find a fairly spacious trunk that has been upholstered and sculpted to match the door panels, with an access door for the battery located behind the seat.

Simple is good, and this is a car that can appeal to a wide variety of people. It will always be gorgeous, of course, and when hot rodding is increasingly about outdoing the other guy, cars like this basic black ’33 coupe stand out in a crowd. That’s not because it’s outrageous, but because it’s beautifully finished, sophisticated, and built with an eye towards putting it on the road. The interior is every bit as comfortable as it looks, and with a host of creature comforts and reliable OEM Ford power, it’s the perfect long-distance cruiser. If you’ve been looking for a no-compromises rod that looks great, drives like a new car, and doesn’t cost as much as a college education, you’ve found it. Call today!

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