Bill Smith's 1934 Ford

From Kustomrama
Jump to: navigation, search
1934 Ford Roadster Custom owned and built by Shamrocks of Alameda car club member Bill Smith of Alameda, California.
Tired of seeing cars in local shows that were just altered stockers, Bill decided to radically restyle his 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan in 1955. He was 17 or 18 years old when he started the build. Photo courtesy of William Young.
An early construction photo of Bill's roadster. Bill's father, William Smith Sr., was a professional metalman, so the Smith basement was according to George Burnley of Cars Magazine full of tools; "Nearly every weekend or holiday finds one or more of the Smiths hard at work on some intriguing do-it-yourself project." Photo courtesy of William Young.
In 2019 Bill's brother John Smith told later owner William Young that he was about nine years old when his brother bought the car and immediately started chopping it up; "I couldn’t understand what he was doing!" Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill working on the car in their driveway. He modified the body by cutting off the roof and moving it down to form the trunk. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill's roadster as it appeared when it was shown at the 1956 National Roadster Show in Oakland. The Smith's painted and upholstered the car themselves, and the first iteration of the roadster was painted Light Turquoise. The interior was upholstered in matching Blue and White Naugahyde. It rolled on Oldsmobile wheels that Bill installed whitewall tires and 1955 Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps on. Photo courtesy of William Young.
"Roadster With a Flair." Bill's roadster gained national recognition when it was featured in Rod & Custom August 1956.
A photo of Bill's roadster taken at the 1957 National Roadster Show. Photo by Eric Rickman, courtesy of Archive.petersen.org.
Another photo of the roadster from the 1957 National Roadster Show. By then, Bill had installed a pair of brass windshield posts and a windshield. It had been painted red under the fenders, and it was dressed up with dark blue and white pinstriping by Tommy the Greek. Photo by Eric Rickman, courtesy of Archive.petersen.org.
Photo by Eric Rickman, courtesy of Archive.petersen.org.
Photo by Eric Rickman, courtesy of Archive.petersen.org.
Bill receiving an award for the car at the 1957 National Roadster Show. Photo courtesy of William Young.
The Sunset Orchid version of Bill's roadster as it appeared at the 1958 National Roadster Show. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill's roadster was entered in the Street Roadster Division class at the 1958 Fresno Autorama in March of 1958.
A photo taken during the construction of the fiberglass top. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
A photo that John Smith sent William Young. This photo shows the turquoise color of the car. Photo courtesy of John Smith, provided by William Young.
A photo of the car supposedly taken at an indoor car show in 1958. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill-smith-1934-ford30.jpg
A photo from the 1959 National Roadster Show showing Bill's roadster on display. By then the car has received the fiberglass top and Dodge wire wheels. Photo by Rick Amado.
A color photo from the 1959 National Roadster Show showing the Sunset Orchid color.
The roadster as it appeared when it was featured in Cars Magazine. Written by George Burnley, the story was named "This Tudor Can 'Torque'."
Bill-smith-1934-ford26.jpg
A closeup shot of the Tommy the Greek painted spare tire cover. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
In 1981 Bill decided to rebuild the old custom. During the rebuild, he installed a big block engine, a 400 turbo transmission, a Buick rear end, disc brakes, and a leather interior. Photo courtesy of William Young.
The roadster as it appeared after the rebuild. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill drag racing the car at the Fremont Drag Strip around 1981-1982. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill with the roadster in June of 2019. This was how the car appeared when William Young of Austin, Texas bought it. Photo courtesy of William Young.
One of Bill's display signs. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Another one of Bill's display signs. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Bill saved the Tommy The Greek striped spare tire cover during the rebuild. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Old photos of the car from Bill's album. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
In order to bring the roadster back to its former glory, William began the transformation by installing a set of steelie wheels that he dressed up with 1954 Ford hubcaps and Firestone bias-ply whitewall tires. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.
The Ford as it appeared after William had installed 1955 Pontiac Fiesta hubcaps. Photo courtesy of William Young.
Photo courtesy of William Young.

1934 Ford Roadster Custom owned and built by Shamrocks of Alameda car club member Bill Smith of Alameda, California.


A Basement Full of Tools

Built from a retired Tudor Sedan, the build was started in 1955. Bill modified the body by cutting off the roof and moving it down to form the trunk. He was 17 or 18 years old when he started the build. His father, William Smith Sr., was a professional metalman, so the Smith basement was according to George Burnley of Cars Magazine full of tools; "Nearly every weekend or holiday finds one or more of the Smiths hard at work on some intriguing do-it-yourself project."[1]


Tired of Altered Stockers

In 2019 Bill's younger brother John Smith told later owner William Young that he was about 9 years old when his brother bought the car and immediately started chopping it up; "I couldn’t understand what he was doing," John told William. Bill told George Burnley that he was tired of seeing cars in local shows that were just altered stockers, "which, while well built and individualistic, lacked being radical enough to suit his taste and capabilities."[1]


Oldsmobile Powerplant

Borrowing his dad's tools, Bill modified the frame to accommodate a 1952 Oldsmobile powerplant. Up front, he installed a 1940 Ford front end. A Ford torque tube was installed as a front transverse member and a piece of 3/8-inch plate was bent to a channel and welded to the rails as a front engine mount. The frame was X'd with a 6-x-2 1/2 inch channel, and the rear crossmember was modified to hold a 1950 Oldsmobile rear end adapted to Ford springs. A 1940 Ford steering box was turned on its side in order to integrate the 1940 Ford front end with a 1949 Oldsmobile shaft. A 1955 Chevrolet master cylinder and pedal assembly was adapted to the combo.[1]


Chopped, Channeled and Sectioned

The body was channeled and reworked to meet the '34 fenders and rear valance. For space up front, the cowl was moved back 13 inches, widened 10 inches, and sectioned six inches. The total height of the altered body, from the ground to the top of the cowl was 38 inches. Inside, Bill fabricated a new dashboard that he made from grained station wagon metal side-trim, giving it a look of rich hardwood. The top of the dash came from a 1954 Oldsmobile. The window frames of the original doors were cut off, and the remaining shell was reworked to fit the roadster-type doorways. The original top from the tudor was grafted onto the rear of the body, giving it a stock appearing trunk. Bill made a deck lid that he installed in the old roof-opening. Up front, he installed a 6 inch sectioned 1932 Ford grille that he mated to the 1934 Ford fenders. The grille strips were duplicated in brass and chrome plated. Bill then fabricated a 5-piece hood that he punched 60 louvers into. It was dressed up with custom made bumpers, Dietz headlights, Stewart-Warner gauges, and motorcycle taillights. It rolled on Oldsmobile wheels that Bill installed with whitewall tires and 1955 Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps.[1]


Light Turquoise

The Smith's painted and upholstered the car themselves, and the first iteration of the roadster was painted Light Turquoise. The interior was upholstered in matching Blue and White Naugahyde.[1] Once completed, the car was shown at the 1956 National Roadster Show. By the time of the show, Bill had replaced the original Oldsmobile HydraMatic transmission with a 1953 Oldsmobile unit that he converted to floor shift. Later the same year, the car was featured in the August 1956 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine. The story was titled "Roadster With a Flair."


Pinstriped by Tommy the Greek

Bill's roadster was also shown at the 1957, 1958, and 1959 National Roadster Show, and it was known for winning every show it entered. When the car was shown at the 1957 National Roadster Show Bill had installed a pair of brass windshield posts and a windshield. It had been painted red under the fenders, and it was dressed up with dark blue and white pinstriping by Tommy the Greek. According to the souvenir program from the show, that iteration of the car featured a 4" bore, aluminum pistons, Iskenderan cam, and four Stromberg 97 carburetors on a handmade intake. It also ran handmade exhaust manifolds.[2]


Sunset Orchid

By 1958 Bill had repainted the car Sunset Orchid. He showed that iteration of the car at the 1958 Fresno Autorama, and according to the souvenir program from the show, it also ran a Mallory ignition.[3]


Fiberglass Top

Later on, the Smiths fabricated a top out of fiberglass for the car. The top was reinforced with steel before they covered it with white Naugahyde.[1] It was shown with the top on at the 1959 National Roadster Show. By then Bill had also installed a 1955 Chevrolet steering wheel and a set of Dodge 15" wire wheels with original cast brass chrome plated hubcaps.


I Was Mortified as a Teen...

Christa Smith, Bill's daughter, remembers the car from when she was growing up; "I was mortified as a teen when my first boyfriend, who had a fast 69 Camaro, told me that “a couple of old guys blew their doors off” on City Line Rd one night—dad in the 34, of course," she told William Young.[4]


The Rebuild

In 1981 Bill wanted to go drag racing with the old custom, so he decided to rebuild it. During the rebuild, he installed a 402 turbo big block engine that Luther Lane had built for him, a 400 turbo transmission, a Buick rear end, disc brakes, and a leather interior. The interior was stitched by Hank's Trim Shop. Ron La Komy repainted the body white, while Tommy the Greek was once again hired to stripe it.[4]


Sold to William Young

In June of 2019 William Young of Austin, Texas bought the old custom from Bill. Bill had decided to part with his old custom, and he advertised it for sale on Craigslist. In order to bring it back to its former glory, William began the transformation by installing a set of steelie wheels that he dressed up with 1954 Ford hubcaps and Firestone bias-ply whitewall tires. A couple of weeks later William installed a set of 1955 Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps on the car.[4]


Magazine Features and Appearances

Rod & Custom August 1956
Hot Rod Magazine May 1958
Car Craft July 1959
Car Craft April 1960
Car Craft July 1960
Hot Rod History of Hot Rodding

References



Promote your shop, show or business on Kustomrama - This ad space can also be bought to promote cars for sale or to hunt down rare parts you're looking for. Click here for more info...

 

Did you enjoy this article?

Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to protect, preserve and share traditional hot rod custom car history from all over the world.




Help us make this article better

If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Bill Smith's 1934 Ford, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: mail@kustomrama.com.


This Article Was Made Possible By:

SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!

Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can become a Kustomrama advertiser and supporter.


Personal tools
Please Help Kustomrama
facebook
Recommended reading