Sunday, June 23, 2024


Ever since Phil Pavicich first laid eyes on a hot rod, he was hooked. 

“I was 16 when I saw a hot rod magazine. I thought yeah, that looks alright… let’s do it! My older brother had a 1939 Ford coupe ute and I thought ‘I could do that.’”  

And he’s been doing it ever since. 

Born and bred in Australia’s far west shores of Perth, he’s a second generation steel fabricator that continues to build outstanding hot rods in his home garage. It’s a workspace that’s evolved into a haven for fellow car junkies in need of a fix of likeminded banter and injected inspiration. 

Phil’s first vehicle was a hot rod bucket constructed from a Model A Ford and powered by a flathead V8. After he spun a bearing in the vintage mill, it was replaced with a bullet proof overhead valve Chevy. Over the years, many hot rods have come to exist only because Phil built them. A passionate talent that’s benefited admirers of his handiwork for decades. 

“I’ve had ‘32s, Model As and plenty of ‘34s!” he quips. 

These days, Chrysler Hemi’s are his motivators of choice and ’34 Fords his preferred body style. A flamed ’34 coupe with a blown 331, a 392 ‘34 pickup, an American ‘34 sedan with a 354, Turbo 400 and 9” are just a few that he rattles off with ease. He also lays claim to having the first three window ’34 licenced in Perth, a car he built using a reproduction body from Ray Quan that was later sold for a house deposit.

“They are the only ones to build,” he adds. 

His latest rendition of the popular year model is this badass five-window coupe based on the American body style, recreated in fibreglass by a New Zealand company, Deuce Farm. While many of his past creations were crafted from factory sheet metal, about 20 percent have been constructed with reproduction bodies. 

This particular shell already sported the healthy four-inch top chop and was one of two he imported with good friend and talented builder, Les Moran. It has since found a new home to be completed, but Phil invested four years of blood, sweat and many beers to achieve the black beauty before you. 

For anyone that knows him, and there are many, a black Hemi-powered ’34 is a tried and true formula for Phil, but when they look as good as this who can blame him! just eeing the coupe sitting idle in the workshop raises the hairs on the back of your neck. You don’t even have to pop the hood to get an eyeful of the behemoth motor, but swing open the suicide doors and the smorgasbord of delicious treats continue.

A qualified fitter and turner for 21 years before being retrenched along with 150 employees at Orbital Engineering Company, Phil knows his way around metal. He has also constructed many hot rod foundations for clients, so the chassis for this project was a snap.

Phil started with pair of ’34 rails and tubbed them two inches at the rear to allow non-diet option tyres to freely rotate, spun by a Winters quick change diff. Ladder bars and a buggy spring keep the polished statement piece in position. Up front a pair of polished hairpins flank a four-inch dropped I beam axle. A buggy spring sporting six leafs and a dead perch continue the traditional suspension with style second to none. Chromed tube shocks from Pete and Jake control rebound on all corners.

A combination of Willwood discs and Police Special drums front and rear respectively are controlled by a non-boosted ABS electric brake system… and Phil’s foot. A quartet of Halibrand Sprints wrapped with Hoosier rubber hoops complete the upgraded factory frame perfectly. 

Squeezed between the massaged rails is the bad boy of Hemis; a Chrysler 392. Not to be content with just a rebuilt mammoth Mopar mill under the hood, Phil went the whole hog by adding a GM 6/71 blower into the mix that sucks go-fast-goon through twin 750 Holleys at a rapid rate.

Terminal torque is delivered to the Dutchman equipped positrack centre via a GM Turbo 400 rebuilt by Chriss Dimoff at DTM. The beefed up transmission now features a 3,000 stall converter, heavy duty clutches and shift kit operated by a Gennie stick. 

The imposing drivetrain is a righteous counterpart for the equally impressive coupe body completed in Jet Black duco. Phil is quick to credit Steve Lynch for massaging the ‘glass body shell laser straight before the DeBeer two-pack paint was laid down by Terry Rowe at Xtreeme Custom Restorations. A louvered three piece steel hood, deck lid and cycle fenders were also bathed in inky black during booth time. Fred Nylan receives the kudos for the accented pinstripes. 

With two massive elements of the build completed with outstanding results, an interior of equal quality and execution was imperative. Phil rates Shane Anderson as the best in Perth and by checking out his handiwork here it’s easy to see why.

Shane commenced the challenge armed with a Glide seat frame, swaths of red leather and 12mm steel plate to create an extraordinary interior that’s both inspiring and distinctive. Also worthy of note is that the entire ensemble of tuck and roll conceals a four-point roll cage cleverly interwoven into the Deuce Farm body. 

With new fast glass cut by MOR Glass in Malala, an owner fabbed 80 litre fuel tank and electrical spaghetti connected by ‘Old Dave’ through a custom built harness, Phil’s latest ’34 was ready to hit the road. Now with 700 miles logged on the Mooneyes odometer, he’s enjoying the fruits of four years hard labour. 

Standing still or barking at full noise, this is one fine Ford worthy of recreation.

Full feature Cruzin Magazine #210, by Dale Haberfield, Photos by Millbrook Studio.
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