MOST people find their way into hot rods after building a string of street machines. It’s only then that they have the courage to tackle a rod. It’s funny how something so simple can seem so daunting to so many, but that’s not the case with Phil Pavicich. He’s been a hot rodder right from the get-go. Well before it was fashionable, Phil was tooling around in a flathead-powered Model A bucket.
This article was first published in Street Machine's Hot Rod #19 magazine, 2018
Since then, there have been so many hot rods come out of Phil’s shed he should have put in a revolving door. Since the Model A bucket there has been a red ’34 coupe; a black ’34 coupe; a flamed ’32 roadster; then several more ’34s, including a flat-black and flamed sedan, a couple of pickups and another exceptionally neat coupe. Then it was back to a ’32 coupe and another flamed ’34 coupe before this machine was constructed. One of those ’34 coupes – also with a blown Hemi like the one you see here, but fendered – was on the cover of SM Hot Rod 2009.
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With such a comprehensive list of builds behind him, it’s no surprise that Phil has this hot rod building gig down pat. There are a few constants to his mindset though – as far as he is concerned, there’s only one colour for a hot rod: “It’s gotta be black.” When it comes to wheels, there is only one option: “Halibrands.” And when it comes to engines: “It’s gotta be a Hemi.” If those three elements aren’t involved, neither is Phil.
He doesn’t do everything himself, but what he can do, he does well. He takes care of all the chassis fabrication, steeling-out of the body and the assembly of his machines. “I don’t build chequebook cars. That just isn’t me. My time is my investment,” Phil says.
His current ride, this ’34 Ford five-window coupe, has ‘Mr Hot Rod’ written all over it. The body was sourced from Deuce Farm and was already prepped with the four-inch chop and concealed rollcage. To accessorise the body properly, Phil purchased a ’34 grille shell, commercial ’34 headlights, Model A tail-lights and then handcrafted the front nerf bars himself to add a perfect 60s look to the front end.
Probably the most radical body feature is the stamped louvres on the top of the hood, trunk lid and handmade guards. Phil reckons that real hot rods have louvres and that those little raised slots are the perfect example of form following function. The side panels have been cut and then massaged to give clearance for the heads on the Hemi donk.
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The DeBeer Black paint was expertly applied by Terry Rowe and is topped by pinstripe work from the deft hand of Fred Nilan. Completing the Phil Pavicich signature look are the big ’n’ little Halibrand wheels. With some crafty tub work on the rear, Phil was able to fit a 15x10 rim, with 15x6s up front. The polished wheels are shod in Hoosier 12.5in-wide rubber — and they struggle.
Underneath the gorgeous body is more of Phil’s handiwork. He fabricated the boxed-in repro ’34 frame and fitted the Pete & Jake’s hairpin front end with a So-Cal four-inch dropped axle. The rear of the rod is fitted with a Winters quick-change with Dutchman internals. Keeping it old-school, Phil has employed a Model A transverse spring assembly. All of that polishing and chromework looks incredible too as the ’34 hunts down the road.
With the front panels stripped off the body, you realise just how much motor is in that tiny bay. It is metal on metal thanks to a 6/71 GMC blower topped with twin 750DP carbies and a custom scoop that Phil made from polished 6mm aluminium.
Internally, the 392 Hemi wears a heap of forged gear, and a pair of alloy heads from Hot Heads have been treated to some nicely pinstriped ‘Chrysler FirePower’ rocker covers. Phil also fabricated the fully polished three-inch stainless-steel exhaust.
It’s not all looks either; Phil has pedalled the car down the track for an 11.70.
A striking feature of the ’34 is the blood-red leather trimwork from Shane Anderson. “I love the contrast of the colours. The interior is like the heart and soul of the car,” Phil says. Once again employing his metal skills, Phil handmade the unique trims that adorn the seats, door cards and trunk panel: “I started with half-inch plate that was plasma-cut and then ground back and shaped. It was a ton of work, but worth it.”
The Gennie shifter on the Turbo 400 ’box is topped by a mace gear knob, Mooneyes gauges adorn the striped dash, and a simple four-spoke Bell wheel completes the stylish cabin.
One of the reasons Phil has built so many cars is that there is always someone willing to take them off his hands. He’s managed to hang on to this one for a little while now, but the time has come to move it on. There’s another Hemi-powered chassis just waiting for a body, preferably an original roadster, so if you’re in the market for a killer hot rod, get in touch.
Then Phil can finish off the next one; no prizes for guessing the colour or which wheels will go on it.
1934 FORD FIVE-WINDOW
Paint: DeBeer Black
Type: 392 Hemi
Carb: Twin 750DP boost-referenced
Blower: GM 6/71
Heads: Hot Heads
Valves: 2.06in (in), 1.80in (ex)
Cam: Hot Heads blower-grind
Crank: Forged Chrysler
Radiator: D&D Radiators
Exhaust: Hot Heads full-length headers
Ignition: Mallory ready-to-run
’Box: Turbo 400 by Dimoff
Converter: 3000rpm stall
Diff: Winters quick-change, Dutchman Positraction centre
Front end: So-Cal four-inch dropped, hairpins
Shocks: So-Cal tube
Steering: Unisteer, Wizard Fabrication Steer Clear
Brakes: So-Cal hidden discs (f), 9in police specials (r); electric booster
Rims: Halibrand Sprint; 15x6 (f), 15x10 (r)
Rubber: Hoosier; 25x7.50R15LT (f), 31x12.50R15 (r)