Most of my hot rod articles start the same; they usually make mention of the owner starting with street machines when he was younger, selling that car, moving on with his life and then having an epiphany somewhere in his middle age and deciding to build a hot rod. Phil Pavicich’s story is remarkably different.
Phil started young, real young, try 16. His first hot rod was a flathead-powered Model A bucket. That was back in the early 80s, when most blokes were punting around in run-of-the-mill Holden and Fords. Phil consciously chose another path for his modified car journey – hot rods and he has never strayed. Put quite simply, hot rods are a way of life for the man.
In chronological order: there has been a red ’34 coupe, a black ’34 coupe, a flamed ’32 roadster and then more ‘34s; 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.
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 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 cheque book cars. That just isn’t me. My time is my investment,” explained Phil.
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 4-inch chop and the concealed roll cage. To accessorise the body properly, Phil purchased a ’34 grille shell, commercial ’34 headlights, Model A tail lights and then hand-crafted the front nerf bars himself.
Probably the most radical part of the body are the stamped louvres that are features on the top of the hood, trunk lid and hand-made guards. Phil reckons that real hot rods have louvers and that those little raised slots are the perfect example of form following function. The side panels that have been cut and then massaged to give clearance for the heads on the Hemi donk.
The DeBeer Black paint was expertly applied by Terry Rowe and is topped off by pinstripe work from the deft hand of Fred Nylan. 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 15×10 with 6s up the front. The polished wheels are shod with Hoosier rubber.
Underneath the gorgeous body is more of Phil’s handy work. He fabricated the boxed-in repro ’34 frame and fitted the Pete and Jakes front end with the SoCal 4-inch drop spindle hairpin set up. The rear of the rod is fitted with a Winters quick change with Dutchman internals. Keeping it old school, Phil chose to ultilise a Model A transverse spring assembly. All of that polishing and chrome work 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 392ci Hemi wears a heap of forged gear and a pair of Hot Heads are treated to some nicely pinstriped, ‘Fire Power’ rocker covers. Phil fabricated the fully-polished 3-inch stainless steel exhaust. It’s not all looks either, Phil pedaled the car down the track for an 11.70 with low 11s expected on the next visit.
A striking feature of the ’34 is the blood red leather trim work from Shane Anderson that can be spied once the suicide doors are opened. “I love the contrast of the colours. The interior is like the heart and soul of the car.” Once again, utlising his metal skills, Phil hand-made the unique trims that adorn the seats, door cards and trunk panel. “I started with ½-inch plate that was plasma cut and then ground back and shaped. It was a tonne of work but worth it,” said Phil. The Genie shifter on the Turbo 400 ‘box is topped by a mace gear knob, Mooneyes gauges adorn the striped dash and a simple, 4-spoke Bell wheel complete the stylish cabin.
With the ’34 only just hitting the road in its completed guise, you may find it hard to believe that Phil is already looking at getting into another project and can you guess what it will look like? It’s not a tough question.