Ken Edwards' 1933 Ford Hiboy Coupe with a Late Model Hemi
(from Volume 24, Issue 281)

story by owner Ken Edwards, photos by Michael B. Kelly


I grew up in Western Kentucky, the son of a real estate broker who decided he wanted to go into the used car business. One thing about being in the used car business, is that you meet all sorts of people that perform every imaginable sort of repair to autos. I also grew up and attended high school in the 70’s, the height of the muscle car era. To say that becoming a gear head was almost pre-ordained, would be a massive understatement.

One of the people I met through the car business was a man by the name of Jim Defew, who owns a body shop and does custom painting. Jim and his wife Pat had been building custom chopper motorcycles for several years, raced a car on dirt tracks, and drove hot rods for daily drivers. More food for my growing gear head dilemma.

Defew’s shop was a hang out for racers, hot rodders, and motorcyclists, and before long I was one of the hanger-outers. First I was attending races, then working on the race car, then helping out on the building of custom motorcycles, trucks, and cars. It turned into a valuable trade for both of us. Jim got free labor, and I got an education in every aspect of the custom car, truck, and bike world.

Living only three hours from Louisville, Kentucky, the home of the NSRA Street Rod Nationals, and being immersed in the Hot Rod culture, it was only a matter of time before I found myself a regular attendee. After about 30 years of being around the hot rod world, 20 years of attending the Street Rod Nationals (and other shows), and with the kids out of the house and on their own, I decided I wanted a street rod of my own.

Anyone who has been around the hot rod world for any amount of time, knows it is cheaper to buy a car than it is to build one. So I decided the thing to do would be to buy one that someone had started, and either got tired of working on it or spending money on it. I quickly learned that the reason most unfinished cars are for sale, is that the person building it made so many mistakes that it is easier and cheaper to start over than fix all the problems. Another problem is that I am very, very picky. I knew what I wanted, and was not open to much in the way of deviations.
So, at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville in August of 2006, I bought a 1933 Ford 3-Window Coupe body from Rats Glass out of Marysville, Tennessee. Thus began a 9 year odyssey that turned my garage into a shop, and resulted in the car shown here.

The frame rails are from Hot Shoe Customs, which were stretched 3 inches and I pinched in the front so the rails were inside the grill, they are also bobbed and c-notched front and rear. The front cross member is for a ‘32 Ford. It was shortened and installed flush with the top of the frame. The complete front end is from Pete and Jakes, as is the rear suspension and coil over shocks. The rear end is an aluminum center section 9-inch Ford from Currie, which contains 3.90:1 gears and a Posi-Track. The brakes are from Wilwood. The aluminum grill is from Alumicraft, while the hood and hood sides were built by Pete Hagan of Hagan’s Street Rod Necessities. The steering column is from Flaming River, and controls a Uni-Steer rack and pinion through a Steer Clear unit. Due to the fact that I pinched the rails, the mount for the Uni-Steer would not work, so I had to fabricate a custom mount.

The heart of the beast is a 2005 5.7 Liter Hemi and six speed automatic transmission that was rescued from a totaled out Durango that only had 13,000 miles on it. The compressor, valve covers, and alternator were chrome plated, all the aluminum was polished, the fuel rails were replaced with a set from Sullivan performance, and all hoses are stainless from Gotta Show. Engine and transmission wiring along with computer reprogramming are all thanks to Hot Wire Auto. The wiring kit I used for the rest of the car is from American Autowire. Remote control and electronic interfaces came from Dakota Digital, while the gauges are from Stewart Warner. All the tubing on the car is polished stainless from either Stainless Specialties or Pure Choice, depending on the application.

Many, many more pieces large and small make up the build of this car. Body mods are numerous, and both slight and major. The paint used is modified formulas of both stock and custom colors from Axalta and House of Kolor, all covered with a sprinkling of Diamond dust. The interior panels are all covered in Ultra-Leather.

After taking over my garage for 9 years, and occupying more of my time than I ever thought it would, the car make it’s debut at Louisville for the Street Rod Nationals in 2014. So, at the same place I started the journey, the journey came to completion. CN