As the director of facility engineering at Sullair, Frank Harris knows a thing or two about building and maintaining a complex structure. By the looks of it, he also knows a thing or two about building a very cool vintage Ford, as well.
It only takes one look at this cool 1934 Ford to know that Harris is into racing and racecars in a big way. So it seemed natural to him when he saw this old dirt racer and thought that he could make a fun ride that would be as at home on a city street as it was on a high groove at the local dirt track.
“I purchased this car last January from a guy in southern Alabama,” said Harris. “It used to be a dirt race car. I thought this would make a very unique and great street car. And it turned out to be that! Everywhere I go with it, it gets plenty of attention and thumbs up.”
In just half a year’s time, Harris has indeed transformed the former racecar from one sitting outside in the dirt, to one that looks like he could be back running on a dirt course; and that’s after he drove the car there!
The first thing Harris did when he got the car home from Alabama was to strip it bare. As he removed the various parts and pieces, a few of them got tossed out. He wanted to keep as much of the original car as possible, but one of those pieces that was in line for the out door was the 350 Chevy engine that was in the car when Harris bought it. It was well worn out enough for Harris not to want to mess with it, and who can blame him when a crate engine is so accessible and affordable? He also wanted more power, and nobody can blame him for that, either.
Figuring that plenty of horsepower is just about right, Harris chose a Chevy 383ci stroker engine that develops a snorting 425hp. Even Harris admits that the engine may be a bit more than this car needed, but he figured that it would definitely peg the fun meter.
Harris coupled the stroker with that workhorse of all time, the Turbo 350 transmission and he finished off the drivetrain with a Ford 9-inch floater rearend. The floater is a nod to the race heritage of the car and the tough 9-inch is the perfect rearend for the car.
With the car weighing just over 2200lbs., Harris laughs that the horsepower to weight ratio makes it very difficult to keep connected to the road. Apparently, this car is known for long burnouts. The grunt that a stroker motor will do plenty of damage to tires; even ones that are as wide as the Hoosier’s that are on this ’34. Those tires are wrapped around trick looking AERO black chrome wheels.
The interior is racecar chic. That means that once you slide in through the driver’s side window, you have to get through the cage and into the driving seat. No mean feat for those who are slight of build, but tough on the rest of us who are not. Once there though, the car retains most of the accouterments of a full-on racecar.
The exteriors’ paint scheme however is one that is well known to all. While we’re sure that Dale Earnhardt ran dirt tracks earlier in his storied career, we’re not sure if he did it in a vehicle such as this. Also, did Earnhardt ever drive a Ford? Well, no matter, Harris decided to use an Earnhardt theme as a tribute to one of the best NASCAR racers that ever lived.
There’s little doubt however that the distinctive livery brings a lot of attention to the car. That and the fact that there’s probably not too many street legal, former dirt track cars on the road today. So when the folks do see (and hear) Harris and this unusual ’34 coming down the road towards them, it’s sure to liven up the crowd.
Harris says that he’s currently working on a late 60’s Champ car that will be street legal as well (Personally, we’re hoping that he goes with an A.J. Foyt look for that one!). He does say that build will take more than the six months that he dedicated to the ‘34. We can’t wait to see that one as well.
If you’d like to share your ride with us here at SLTV, send us an email at Reader’s Wheels, and tell us a little about your car. Get some pictures ready and we’ll contact you and get more information and you’ll be on your way to sharing your car with the rest of our readers. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!