Mick Fabar's '33 Ford Coupe RAWR is a classy combination of ideas from hot rodding, pro touring, super cars and aircraft
This article on Mick's '33 Ford Coupe was originally published in the October 2009 issue of Street Machine
CONTENTION: Australians can build cars up there with the best from the USA or anywhere else. Cars such as EFIJY, Mercules and Rex Webster’s FJ Holden are examples of Australians leading the pack; and some of those vehicles have even shown the Yanks how it’s done on their home turf.
As if the lines of a ’33 coupe aren’t good enough, Andrew Ash spent hundreds of hours perfecting them before laying on the paint
Our latest world-beater is the work of Mick Fabar, and follows on from his ‘’ Model A pick-up and blown ZA Fairlane, both of which have graced the pages of Street Machine and wowed crowds and judges alike at Summernats.
Swooping fenders cover custom-made 18-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels that help to give the desired rake. The grille is laid back to accentuate that rake
After working with some of the country’s top rod builders on past projects, Mick has taken Aussie street-rod building back to its roots with this 1933 coupe, and most of the work was done by a team of mates in a shed in the city of Orange.
“This car was built by people who are passionate about cars and innovation,” says Mick. “No big-dollar workshops, no $300,000 CNC machines, just dedicated car enthusiasts.”
Interview: Dez Knight, Knight's Garage
The group’s pride in its work is evident as each member recalls his efforts in spending hours die-grinding the castings off one part, fabricating the chassis, machining the door handles, milling up all the bolts and fasteners, making individual components fit and countless other tasks that will go unnoticed by most observers.
Most of the fabrication work and modifications were done by Tim Hathaway at TJ Conversions. Tim was also responsible for wiring the car’s mass of electronics.
Some big names lent their support to the build. Mick first discussed the project with House of Kolor’s Owen Webb as far back as 1998.
“I wanted to blend elements of a V8 Supercar, a jet fighter, a Shelby Mustang and a hot rod into this car,” recalls Mick. Just like building a house, Mick set out his plan and had renderings done, then he stuck to the plan throughout the build, which only started in earnest 18 months ago. Keeping to the plan is what has made the result as stunning as it is and ensured that the many unique details all work as one.
Clear-sighted and powerful influences ensure that form follows function on the ’33. You won’t find billet or bling here. Welds are exposed rather than finger-bogged and items like the bonnet frame are displayed rather than covered. Mick calls it a “raw look” hence the car’s name RAWR, which you’ll see on the flip-down number plate and milled onto the brake calipers, the ends of the cylinder heads and the V8 Supercar-style centre wheel nuts.
A look under the back reveals the rolled pan, quad exhaust tips, fabricated sheetmetal diff housing, flip-down number plate, tailshaft-mounted park brake, air-bag suspension and huge rear rotors
The body started as an aftermarket fibreglass unit into which hundreds of hours went, reshaping the lines, widening and bobbing the guards, rolling the rear pan and notching it for the quad exhaust outlets, getting panel gaps perfect and laying the grille back. All details designed to give the car the right look and stance, which is further accentuated by the 18- and 22-inch wheels. AA Panelcraft’s Andrew Ash, who received the Master Craftsman’s Award at Summernats 22, is the man responsible for the body and paint on RAWR. Andrew says he spent between 800 and 1000 hours on the ’33, which included the bodywork and laying on the House of Kolor paint.
Art in motion – the Ford big-block looks inoperable as all the hoses and wires are cleverly concealed. The 557-cuber was pieced together by Ford legend Benny Gatt and produces 735hp
The monochrome and satin finish gives a result that is understated and simple, yet it draws the onlooker in for a closer look to find details such as the two-tone finish on the custom-made wheels, the satin clear-coat on the underside of the guards and headlight buckets, the carbon-fibre-look detail in the stripe, the handmade fasteners and countless other factors that need to be seen to be fully appreciated.
The cockpit-inspired cabin is memorably distinctive. The leather trim was hand-stitched in a baseball style and the hide extends from the headlining to the floor via the handmade doors panels and seats. Michael Carter of Custom Trim Works says he spent 500 to 600 hours on the trim and might have taken longer if he’d had the time.
The console houses the gated shift pattern for the six-speed Tremec gearbox as well as switches for the power windows, the electric water pump, lights, ignition and the starter button. There are three computer control units hidden between the seats and boot that control the various electronic systems including the fuel injection, Shockwave airbags, remote control start and suicide doors.
The engine compartment is mind blowing! On first glance you might think the 557-cube Ford mill doesn’t run as it appears completely without lines or wiring. Yet this 700-plus horsepower, Benny Gatt-built bullet is a driver and Mick hopes to use it as much as possible once its show duties are completed. Closer inspection of the mill reveals a cover in the valley that conceals the injectors, fuel lines and wiring. The only visible moving part is the throttle linkage that also runs in the valley under those gorgeous handmade intake trumpets. Mounting the alternator directly to the front of the harmonic balancer and using an electric water pump means no drive belts are needed on the front of the engine, further cleaning up the look.
Mick and his crew unveiled RAWR at Meguiar’s MotorEx in Sydney and it stunned the crowds with its individual style. Comments such as “taking things to the next level” and “like nothing ever seen here before” were heard as people spent hours taking in the unique details. House of Kolor founder Jon Kosmoski was visiting MotorEx from the USA and was so taken with the coupe that he gave it his personal award. “This is a breakthrough car for Australia,” Jon said after the show. “I was impressed by its lack of bling and glitz and the ingenuity that has gone into it. It would certainly be a contender with the best hand-built cars in the USA.”
Using a jet fighter for inspiration, the interior was design to be cockpit-like with individual seats and roll bars, milled alloy footplates, machined pedals, and a gated gear shift in the hand-fabricated console
Could RAWR be the next Australian-built rod to take on the Americans in the US? Mick plans to take the Coupe to the Stateside and show them what a bunch of car enthusiasts from a country town in New South Wales can do.
1933 FORD COUPE
Colour: HoK RAWR Silver/Black Gold
Engine: 460 Ford bored to 557ci
Intake: Custom-made intake, 650cc injectors
Heads: Super Cobra Jet
Cam: Crane roller
Crank: Scat stroker, 4.7in
Box: 6-speed Tremec
Clutch: Kevlar plate
Diff: 31-spline 9-inch spool, 3.89:1 Richmond gears
Instruments: Dakota Digital Dash
Shifter: Custom-made in gated console
Trim: Hand-stitched leather, custom-made seats; trim by Custom Trim Works
Rims: 18x7 (f), 22x10 (r) Intro, designed by owner
Rubber: Toyo Proxis, 215/35 (f), 285/30 (r)