Jerry Berg's 1934 Ford
1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe owned and restyled by Seattle Headers member Jerry Berg of Seattle, Washington. Jerry bought the old coupe from a couple in 1956. It was their only car, so he had to find them another car before he was able buy the '34. Jerry's coupe is also known as the "Northern Star", and it gained national recognition when it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine November 1958. When the story was made, Jerry was 21-years old, and the car was supposedly his sixth hot rod. The first version of the car was completed in 1958, but Jerry wasn't happy with the way it handled on the drag strip. The tires spun and made a great smoke show, but he didn't have enough weight in the back to go faster than 13 seconds in the 1/4 mile. According to Hot Rod Magazine November 1958, the coupe was weighing in at the bottom of the "B" Gas Class, cranking on 104 with a 13.0 e.t.
The Northern Star featured a 4 inch top chop, shaved door handles and solid hood sides. The hood was entirely formed out of aluminum. The deck lid handle was removed, the deck lid corners were rounded, and the rear end was fit with a simple nerf bar carrying the licenseplate in the center. The fenders were filled in, and the taillights relocated to the nerf bar. The body was painted lime gold metallic, and a set of sparkling 1956 Lincoln Premier wheel discs were installed for a modern look. The paint was ordered from Barris Kustoms. The running boards were made out of deck material normally used on high end yachts. The upholstery was done in fully padded white pleated leather. Pleated leather was used on the bench, door panels, dashboard, roof and roll bar. The door panels featured a nautical star on each door. Under the louvered hood, Jerry installed a monster of a completely chromed Firedome Hemi engine from a 1953 DeSoto. The DeSoto engine had been bored to 276 Cu, In. and fit with a 4-carb Weiand manifold, an Iskenderian camshaft, Mallory ignition and large valves and ports. A Cragar adaptor hooked the engine to a Ford transmission. Hydraulic brakes had been installed along with adjustable shocks and wide base safety rims. The car rolled on 6.70 x 15 Double Eagles tires in the front, and 8.20 x 15 tires in the rear. The front axle was dropped 2 1/2 inches and fully chromed.
The Plum Cherry Version
Jerry sold the coupe to Ben Sebastian of Kenmore, Washington in 1963. The car was in several pieces when Ben bought it. Ben made the hood and fenders tilt forward, he installed a front nerf bar and he installed quad headlights and Plymouth station wagon taillights. Ben's version of the car was named "Plum Cherry". In 1971 Ben showed the Plum Cherry at the Portland Roadster Show. Ben rebuilt the coupe at least three times. By 1974 a blower had been installed on the Hemi engine, and Russ Meeks of Portland, Oregon had installed a chromed Jaguar independent front and rear suspension. The coupe was also repainted a number of times while Ben owned it. Once in flames and scallops. It was also re-upholstered twice. One version featuring angel hair. Ben owned the car until the late 1980s. it was then sold to a fellow in Edmonds. The guy in Edmonds ripped the DeSoto Hemi out, and pretty much destroyed the drivetrain, paint and upholstery before he sold it to a young man in West Seattle.
Sold to Larry Moe
In November of 1995 Larry Moe of Federal Way, Washington bought the coupe from the fellow in West Seattle, Seattle. At the time Larry was working as a Manufacturing Engineer at Boeing. In 2017 Larry told Kustomrama that one of his guys came to him saying "There's a '34 coupe in the Trader this week." "It was common knowledge that I was in the market. I head down to the shop, show my street rod bud, and that night we head out in the worst wind and rain, storm ever, find the car, drive it, make an offer, negotiated a lower price, and drive it home." The car was in a horrible shape. It had been painted in black primer and it had been fit with a stock 302 Ford engine and a four speed transmission. The upholstery had been painted black. Upon driving the coupe home, Larry went through a bunch of old hot rod and custom magazines. He spotted the Jerry Berg coupe, and recognized the car due to the nerf bars, the reworked radiator and the rounded deck corners.
When Larry was 18 years old he was in the US Air Force, living on a base in Wichita; "I was so homesick at the time, missing my honey so bad I was ready to skip town and walk back to Seattle. I subscribed to the "Rodders Bible" of the times, that being Hot Rod Magazine, and picked my copy up at lunch at mail call. When going through it I came across the feature article on a "1934" 3 window Ford from Bellevue, Washington, just a few miles from my home and my honey. Well that sure as hell didn't do any good to my juvenile loneliness and homesickness condition. I was a lovesick, homesick idiot kid, and pretty much forced myself on many of my Air Force car buddies, pestering them with looking at the mag, and the article, and bragging about how we had as good a rides in Washington as any place in California, and here was the proof. I bought another mag, tore out the article and taped it up inside the door of my wall closet, along side the panties my honey had sent me earlier. That article stayed there until I moved off base with her in 1960 after we were married, and I still have the issue of H.R. I got in the mail that day."
Larry traced down Jerry, who came over to check out the remains of his old coupe around 1997. Jerry told Larry about Ben, so Larry decided to pay Ben a visit. Ben gave Larry photos of the coupe from when he reworked it and showed it up and down the coast as the Plum Cherry.
In 2012 Larry was busy fixing the car up, bringing it up to todays standards, and as far as he could tell, it was currently undergoing its 5th rebuild. First went the 302 and the horrendous hose lashup Ben installed to the radiator for the tilting of the front end. Larry decided to rebuild it as a Hi-Boy, as he has always admired most of the '34 fenderless coupes. It was necessary to rebuild the frame, box it and make a new rear crossmember to get the car to sit right and to build a transmission mount. After the frame was boxed and rebuilt, Larry installed a 1955 Chrysler Hemi with a 60 overbore, an Isky regrind camshaft, a Weiand manifold and two 4 bbls carburetors along with a 727 transmission by B&M. After 22 years of determination and patience, the rebuild was finally completed in July of 2017. At the time Larry was 78 years. Painted satin black, most of the original parts were still on the car, including the grill, windows, windshield frame and more.
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep history alive. For as little as 2.99 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional information or photos to share about Jerry Berg's 1934 Ford.
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 advertise your business on Kustomrama.