In our current issue, TRJ #60, we feature Rob Montalbine’s supercharged Cadillac-powered ’34 Ford five-window. The old coupe has a storied past going all the way back to the mid-’50s, and today we heard from a hot rodder who owned it for several years from the mid-’90s through the early-2000s. We always love seeing photos and hearing stories about how hot rods came to be, and thanks to Louisville, Kentucky’s Joe Sams we now have another piece of the “SpeedKing Coupe” puzzle.
Rob’s ’34 started life as a Salt Lake City street and strip machine built by Ron Maxwell in 1954. Ron ran it under flathead and later Cadillac power, competing in B/Altered at strips around Utah. He sold it in ’62 or ’63 and it bounced around the state, first to Lynn Butler and then to Rick McMichael, who owned it when it appeared in the February ’64 Rod & Custom. After that the car went to Idaho. By 1995 it was in Joe Sams’ garage in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe, a longtime hot rodder who has owned a number of other early Ford hot rods, saw it advertised in Hemmings Motor News, recognized it from the R&C article, and had it shipped to Atlanta where he was working at a Lincoln-Mercury Regional Sales Office at the time.
When Joe got the car, it was still more or less the same as it appeared in the R&C “Rod Test”: a heavily channeled body, custom roll pan, Deuce grille shell, American mags, and that four-carbed early OHV Cadillac engine. The previous owner installed bobbed rear fenders, painted over the original Packard Naples Orange with a reddish-copper hue with gold highlights, and installed a ’70s-era crushed velvet button tuck interior.
Joe immediately removed the crushed velvet and replaced it with more appropriate black and red rolled and pleated interior. The fenders were removed and the body was re-sprayed with flat black primer. The 354-inch Cad engine with its Edelbrock 4×2 intake and signature headers and side pipe arrangements remained intact throughout Joe’s ownership. “I drove it a lot and had so much fun,” he says.
Joe sold the car to a hot rodder from New Mexico in 2002 and lost track of it until it turned up on eBay two years later, which is when Rob Montalbine bought it. And from there our article picks up the story of its resurrection at the hands of New Jersey rod builder Randy Bianchi. You can find your copy of TRJ #60 on newsstands now, or click here to begin or renew your subscription and have it mailed to your home. And if you’d like to take a look at Rob’s radical coupe in person, it will be on display along with hundreds of other hot rods, customs, and racecars at the upcoming Rodder’s Journal Revival in Baltimore, Maryland, this September 27-29.