IN THE BARN

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ Scene - • WORDS & PICS: STEPHAN SZANTAI • CAR: PAUL GOMMI

The change of own­er­ship proved a bit of a chal­lenge, as the ’33 Tudor was the nephew’s last con­nec­tion with his beloved uncle. But after five months of ne­go­ti­a­tions, cash changed hands, and Miller towed his trea­sure home. The odome­ter showed only 51,243 miles.

“I be­lieve that ev­ery­thing on the car was orig­i­nal, ex­cept the tires,” he wrote in Cot­ter’s book. Besides a miss­ing ra­di­a­tor cap and air fil­ter, he had un­earthed one of the most com­plete and orig­i­nal 1933 Fords in the world. He also no­ticed the sheet­metal was very straight, though the fend­ers had mi­nor dings, likely suf­fered dur­ing the 40-year stor­age. Since the flat­head V8 turned freely, Miller de­cided to get it run­ning, a task he ac­com­plished eas­ily. How­ever, the en­gine quickly started to over­heat, as rust trapped in the block broke loose, clog­ging the ra­di­a­tor.

The next chap­ter of the saga be­gan when Tom Miller sold the sedan to a Ford Mo­tor Com­pany en­gi­neer. His plans called for a street rod treat­ment, re­sult­ing in a few orig­i­nal com­po­nents be­ing parted out (and some put on the mar­ket): wheels, spare tire mount and cover, lock­ing hub­cap, wiring, wiper mo­tor, fire­wall in­su­la­tor, en­gine, trans­mis­sion, brakes, and more. In the mean­time, other pieces of the puz­zle joined his garage, such as a su­per­charged flat­head V8, a ’39 Ford gear­box, a torque tube over­drive, late Ford rear axles, a mod­ern wiring setup, an elec­tric wiper, elec­tronic gauges, af­ter­mar­ket spin­dles, and a hy­draulic brake sys­tem.

Sev­eral shops be­came in­volved in the ve­hi­cle’s res­ur­rec­tion, but the project did not turn out the way the owner wanted. Work soon stalled, hence the de­ci­sion to sell the un­com­pleted sedan. Well­known hot rod­der Paul Gommi found out about it through the Early Ford V8 Club and quickly sealed the deal, be­ing fully aware that pre­war Fords with orig­i­nal paint and in­te­rior can be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to lo­cate.

> Paul Gommi achieved his sedan’s nose-down at­ti­tude by us­ing a 4-inch dropped axle made in the 1950s, com­ple­mented with a se­ries of new-old-stock com­po­nents such as a 1933 spring. Gommi not only re­built the front end, but also the ’40 Lin­coln brakes, front and aft.

> Au­thor Tom Cot­ter wrote an ex­ten­sive chap­ter about the discovery of this very car in his book, The Co­bra in the Barn. Paul Gommi fell in love with the Tudor’s orig­i­nal paint and in­te­rior, “which is im­pos­si­ble to find these days,” he says.

> Stromberg 97s with Ed­munds air fil­ters sit atop a S.CO.T. su­per­charger, equipped with a ’33 Ford fan thanks to a cus­tom pulley de­signed by Gommi and ma­chined by Tom Taros.

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