One Fine '34
The Story of a chopped up '50s Hot Rod!
In San Diego, California, sometime around 1951, Joaquin Arnette needed a little extra cash. The '51 Motorama was going to happen up in Los Angeles in November and he decided to build a Hot Rod to sell at it. A '34 Ford 3-window coupe became his choice for the deal. The '33/'34 was a pretty common car to be Rodded, but Joaquin decided to do something a little different with this one.
He chopped the top on the car (an unknown number of inches), but he didn't channel it down over the frame like everyone else did. Instead he sectioned the car, just below the beltline, a full 11 inches. He then shortened the overall length of the car to compensate for this now squatty appearance. He also, left the fenders on the car. Something that was VERY unusual at the time for a Hot Rod. The door openings had gotten so small, he was forced to use the front doors off of a four-door '34. That's a small door!
It worked! The car was stunning and when Andy Granatelli laid eyes on it, at the '51 Motorama, he purchased it for the asking price of $3,000. That wasn't chicken feed in 1951. Andy set about refining the car. He installed a full-race Grancor Flathead Ford V8, swapped out the Tijuana tuck and roll interior for one in a green and white Naugahyde. Then he had the car painted a distinct color of white. A small amount of mint green pigment was added to the cream base before it was shot on the car.
Here's where the story goes a little sideways. In 1953, a teenage Bill Couch, found the Rod for sale on a car lot in northern Chicago, Illinois. Bill was somehow able to talk his father into letting him buy the car and take it back home to Detroit, Michigan. Where Bill proceed to drag race and cruise the car on Detroit's infamous Woodward Ave.
Photo courtesy of: macsmotorcitygarage.com
In '55 Chevy introduced the Power Pack OHV V8, and the Flathead Ford was rendered obsolete over night. Bill couldn't stand the idea of tearing down and cutting up the old Hot Rod, so he parked it in a garage. It would stay there for the next 40 years. Until 1998, when he pulled it back out again, restored it and reintroduced it to a new generation of gearheads. The cars last public appearance was at the Gilmore Car Museum, 2013 American Legends show. At last report the car was still in the Couch family.
Now that's some real Hot Rod history. Just like me, man! I'm history... Keep on Cruisin'!
Stories like this make you wonder it it's really possible to find a Hot Rod in a
dusty old garage someplace! What do you all think?
Let us know, in the COMMENTS below! Don't forget...
Art: Chris Breeden
Other related stories:
A look at one wild Custom '40 Ford Coupe
Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford 3-window coupe.