Greg & Nadine Saunders 1934 Ford Sedan
(from Volume 25, Issue 308)

story by Greg Saunders, photos by Michael B. Kelly


Our 1934 Ford Fordor was found in a barn up in Pennsylvania where it had been taking a nap for 40 or more years. My mate, Dave, got it down to Florida only to find his wife hated it. It’s a four door and this was the 1980s, so he put it out in front of his shop and put it up for sale. Well, no one wanted an old four door that didn’t run, so he put it out back to rot away. I came by a couple of days later and asked about the ‘34, and his reply was that I could have it for what he paid for it; $4,200. Two hours later it was at my house. Well, the old girl was solid apart from the rockers, so I ordered new ones. As far as it not running, well my late farther in law, Al Ackerman, a World War II Veteran and ex-racer from 50’s knew a thing or two about flat heads. He soon had the old girl running like new and I drove it for two years, with 6-volt wiring and mechanical brakes that worked!

My wife, Nadine, told me she wanted air conditioning and more power. So I pulled it apart, and sold the whole drive train (darn it!)....but I needed the money to build with. Cecil from Hercules Motor Car Company in Tampa built the frame, and Dave, the guy I bought it from, painted it Sea Foam Green with blue pearl. I sent the grill out to be re-chromed. My brother-in-law Charlie and his wife did the upholstery back then, which by the way was in 1989, and they just redid it last summer in leather for an updated look.

Like many people I was a fan of the television show Home Improvement. On the show Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, played by Tim Allen, was building his blue ‘34 Roadster, and when he did his frame, I did mine, when he did his paint, I did mine, etc. So I sent a photo of mine to Tim once my car was finished. Well to my surprise, he sent me a signed picture of himself and told me to be kind to my tools. But the biggest surprise was my photo was posted on the bulletin board on the door to the garage and stayed there all season, clearly visible on TV in many episodes! I think it was the next to last season of Home Improvement.

I have been involved with the NSRA for many years, but before that I was one of the founding members of the Tampa Knights Rod and Custom Club, and we wrote letters to the NSRA to look at Tampa for an event. We then got a visit from Jerry Kennedy of the NSRA, and from that point on the Knights have been the host club for the NSRA Southeast Nationals at the Tampa Fairgrounds. I dropped out of the Knights about 20 years ago, but I became an NSRA Safety Inspector, and then in about 2006 I became the Central Florida Rep for the NSRA.

Back to the ‘34. We have put 121,000 miles on it since the build. Every year we try and do a run out of state. I’m proud to say we have been to all four corners of the United States, including York, Syracuse, Burlington, Pueblo Colorado, Bakersfield California, and the biggie Spokane Washington. This was a big run, and my mate Mike Key and his wife June shipped their ‘32 Ford Roadster from England, met us at my house, and so the “Left Hand Tour” began. We set out and headed north on I -75 to the Woodward Avenue Cruise in Detroit, Michigan. After that we turned left (west) and did the trip of a lifetime, taking in Mount Rushmore Crazy Horse, Glacier Park, and then onto Spokane. The return trip was just as great, including Wyoming, Colorado, Texas (including Cadillac Ranch), then home 7,500 miles later.

The following year we did a trip to California, leaving home on Thursday and arriving in Los Angeles on Saturday night. We hit the swap meet Sunday morning, then headed north to San Francisco and got a photo of the ‘34 by the Golden Gate Bridge, then headed up to the red woods in Northern California. It was then back to business as we headed south to NSRA Bakersfield. But wait, after the show ended on Sunday afternoon we headed east on Route 66 to attend the NSRA Nats South in Knoxville Tennessee. 7,200 miles later we were back in Florida.

We really love the ‘34, and of course we have given it a few upgrades. A few years ago the engine got really tiered on the way to Knoxville and I had to turn around at the top of Florida and limp home, so I bought a new crate engine. The billet wheels had to go too, replaced with a set of chrome steelies. The paint has held up really well, apart from a trip to Knoxville about 5 years ago when I ran over a log on the interstate (it was either hit the log or the concrete barrier). So the front fenders got a new lick of paint. The grill looks just as fantastic as it did when it was first done.

So here’s to many more memorable miles in our wonderful ‘34! If you’d like to come along with us on our journeys you can also follow me on Instagram at #britrodder. Yes, I am British (obvious to anyone that has talked to me), and I was into hot rods back in England too! CN