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GOLD STRIKE – TONY GRAVES 1934 FORD SEDAN

There are those of us that go through life and make the best of what we can. And then there are others who make the best of an opportunity when it’s presented. Tony Graves falls into the latter category who made the most from a body swap of the Henry Ford kind.  

Like 99 percent of our readers Tony loves his cars and owned his first hot rod, a ’37 Ford business coupe back in 1987. More recently he has been busy piecing together a pretty nice ’39 Ford tudor when the opportunity to purchase this USA sedan ’34 body arose. Tony already knew the car which had been imported and completed by accomplished rodder Graham Poulson and had kept a close eye on its status. Graham spent a good deal of time panel beating the stock sheet metal into perfect condition before applying the luscious gold exterior and complementary interior. When completed Graham enjoyed the four door sedan traveling to events like the Bright Rod run in 2009 but really desired a ’34 with less doors. After adding a few more miles on the odometer Graham purchased a ’33 tudor body with the intention of clean swapping the body on his existing and reliable chassis. When Graham was ready to jettison the family sedan shell, Tony was the first to step up and seize the moment purchasing the rebuilt body and complete interior. As Graham’s replacement rod was manufactured one year earlier, Tony lucked out big time scoring the accompanying bonnet and highly desirable original grill in the deal. 

Now with the major component of any hot rod project in hand, Tony made a swift decision to have Oz Rods Hot Rods & Street Machine Specialists piece together a suitable platform to make the car whole again. Starting with a fresh set of ’34 rails Graeme and the crew outfitted the frame with a Superbell dropped axle, hairpins and So-Cal Speedshop shocks and spring at the pointy end and four bar and coilovers at the business end. A combination of disc and drum brakes keep the Edelbrock enhanced 327 Chevy small block in check. Precision Automatics tricked up a Turbo 350 that’s directed by a Lokar shifter to a narrowed 9” pumpkin. After all the fiddly bits and bobs were in place the bullet proof collection of components were blown apart and the frame was treated to a two-tone paint scheme of gold and brown.

During the chassis creation Tony got busy locating a set of replacement fenders to complete the sedan, aided by Warren Wilkie and Neil Stamp. Luck swung Tony’s way again as Neil was parting out a same year tudor and was more than happy to offer his set up for the cause. The only slight chink in the armour of Tony’s fortuitous venture was that the rear guards turned out to be from a coupe, necessitating modification to bolt up to the sedan, a job that Oz Rods managed with ease before laying down fresh coats of Fiat brown metallic paint to all four corners.

With the sedan pieced back together, Tony added new carpet to the predominantly unchanged interior with a complement of Moon gauges, So-Cal switches and some cool tunes hiding in the glove compartment. Andos Mobile Auto Electrical was contracted to hook up the juice for the era correct lighting equipment and engine management. A Flaming River column topped with a Grant wheel orchestrates a new Vega box with precise direction when Tony takes the family out for fun in the four door. Tony’s aim to target the look of resto style rods from the late 70s early 80s is bang on and further enhanced with choosing an appropriate set of wheels from Halibrand. 

The overall look and feel of the imported sedan is classy and tasteful with a healthy dose of reliability thrown in for a car 80 years young. On Tony’s first outing with the rebuilt sedan to Cooly Rocks On in 2012 he was more than chuffed to take home “Best pre ‘48” of the event. But when it was voted “Top Sedan” at the 2013 ASRF Nationals at Parklands he was totally gob smacked.  Seems his keen eye for investment in quality gems is… pure gold.

BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS MILLBROOK STUDIO, FULL FEATURE CRUZIN #161.

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