What happens when a ‘33 Ford is seen in the snow? That will depend on the audience. From a lot of car guys you will get a, “You can’t drive that in the snow,” or a, “He must have more money than brains.” I was among that group until recently. It all changed when I saw more classic cars than I could count, and heard passionate stories about not just keeping a car clean and out of the snow, but about building a car, then the enjoyment of driving it. I first saw Brent Allender’s ‘33 Ford at a Christmas party. It was a little dark, and I assumed that someone who lived around the corner had eased it around the corner to show it off. It turned out that Brent had driven it about 40 kms, and not to show it off, but because that’s what he drives in his every day life, well either that or the ‘52 Meteor.
Brent’s choice to build the ‘33 Ford has been a dream of his for a while, and was initially based on passion, but keeping the car had to be justified by logic. Brent’s thought process behind keeping the ‘33 goes something like this: If he keeps the car, he has to use it. If he didn’t drive the car in the winter he wouldn’t be using it, and therefore, wouldn’t need it. Lastly, if he wouldn’t need it, why not sell it to fund the next project or have some extra cash? When you think about Brent’s explanation, it really is practical. Isn’t it more of an accomplishment to use what you build in your everyday life, rather than just use it when all of the circumstances are right. The story goes that there are girls you want to date, and girls you want take home to meet your mom. Brent’s car fits both of those, with the looks, power, and practical use. Brent started the build with a pair of tail lights he picked up at a swap meet. The lights hung on a wall in his garage for a number of years until he finally got to building a car around them. It proved a reminder of his dream until he got around to it. When he got to the project he did so with the enthusiasm he approaches everything he does. He dives in head-first and doesn’t come up for air until it’s done. With funding from selling a previous build, his motorcycle, and a truck, he was ready to start.
First he bought reproduction rail stampings and original blueprints so he could fabricate everything to the original specs himself. After finishing the frame he used as many leftover parts from previous projects, and only bought what he had to. Brent seems to have most things in a corner, or somewhere in the back yard. Things like the narrowed 9” rear end he happened to have laying around, and with a borrowed jig he managed to narrow the rear end quite easily. Now on to the engine...well it was found behind the shop too, and he “cleaned it up, threw an intake and cam in... basic, so it would run decent.” Just like they used to do it, back when all the hot rodders were teenagers, and didn’t have money for crate engines and chrome. Brent bought a car just for the transmission, and transplanted the Ford five speed, and ended up scrapping the rest of it. Now all of this had to get wrapped up in a body, and Brent still feels like he cheated, but if you know what a 1933 Ford steel body costs, you would understand his decision to go with a fiberglass body. This “easy” route fought back though, he had to spend several weeks making the body panels fit! Having a glass body also helps him justify driving the car every day.
After purchasing brand new aluminum rims, Brent found that the rims were the wrong dimensions, so he cut them apart and welded them back together to get the desired offset. The rubber does a decent job in the winter, but Brent does admit to making sure the fuel tank is over half full most of the time, because it helps with traction. I think a lighter foot might help too, but sliding around is half the fun. When it was all set and done, Brent built his daily driver in 2-3 months. Now that he is driving it every day there are new problems that arise that I hadn’t expected. Filling up the tank is one of those places none of us with vehicles can avoid and wish we could. Brent wants to avoid it for a different reason. When people see his car they want to come up and talk to him about it because it’s so unusual. However, when a classic car is part of your daily routine, it’s not such a big deal. To Brent it’s the same as talking about a mini-van. At first I didn’t get it, but then as we took Brent’s car out for a drive it just clicked. Driving in this car isn’t all that different from any other vehicle, and after a bit you forget about what you’re in.
There are some notable differences about this vehicle; Brents speedometer for example is his cell phone, Brent made a handy little mount for it that velcros onto the dash. The “V8” symbol on the glove box is also a handy reminder which tells you that the car will get up and go when needed, a point which Brent happily demonstrated. My lasting impression of Brent was not about him being a car guy. He is a romantic. He has a determination, unlike anyone else I have ever met. Time and sleep fade away as the man works till it’s done, and sleeps when it’s over. He approaches restoring instruments, working on motorcycles, and every project he undertakes with the same passion as the car. When he hits a wall, he finds a way over, around, under, or through. It’s easy to see that Brent’s determination he approaches these projects with pays off. Keep it up Brent! I can’t wait to see what’s next!