“It’s a piece of junk.” Mark Fisher says it proudly as he motions to the rusted, green ‘33 Ford Pickup whose bumper he uses as a footrest. The paint was at one time John Deere green, he explains, but the brushed-on job has faded from its 1949 repainting. He’s proud to have his cobbled-together Ford with old-school hot rodding in mind: The car is made largely from parts Fisher could get his hands on.
The patina is real—aside from the driver’s door that was prepared for a restoration Fisher never got around to—although the original frame was replaced with a stock-like frame that Fisher built. The original frame horns and crossmember were retrained. Fisher bought the New Mexico car several years ago and built it up from mostly cast-off parts in his Ohio home.
The engine came from Fisher’s uncle, who had the old Target 190 horsepower Small Block Chevy crate motor in another car. The heads had cracked and the short block was headed to the dumpster, but Fisher laid claim to it first. He threw some PBM heads and a Holley 600 cfm carb at it, then threw in biggest hydraulic lifters he could find along with a cam. Those, Fisher explains, are just to get a killer sound; the cam doesn’t make power until 6,500 RPM and Fisher shifts at 5,500 RPM. And it does sound great.
Behind the cobbled-together Small Block Chevy, Fisher usually runs a Tremec TKO five-speed manual, but he was worried about its survival with hard launches on the drag strip. Instead, he threw a Turbo 350 at it that is “probably 15 years old and untouched with some torque converter.” The power goes from there to a Ford 9-inch rear end with 3.00 gears that make it tolerable on the highway. Disc brakes were the other big upgrade, but it’s otherwise a pretty standard, awesome-looking hot rod.
Fisher and his son, Paul, are regular HOT ROD Power Tour™ participants with the ‘33 Ford who have driven the truck “everywhere except Hawaii and Alaska.” He even took it to a Good Guys autocross, where some of the muscle car guys ribbed him for bringing a car with antiquated suspension to the sea of cones. They ribbed him, that is, until after the first run when Fisher had whipped up on their big-buck rides.
This, however, was their first time on HOT ROD Drag Week™. Mark and Paul expressed that they were just trying to reach the end of the road as “rolling spectators,” although their quarter-mile passes had the old jalopy running third place mid-week in the pre-1948 Hot Rod class with a best time of 12.437 seconds at 105.09 miles per hour.
That’s not too bad for a truck running a tire 30 inches tall. The Fishers do have a couple more ’33 Fords, including a beautiful red one with a twin-turbo setup, but we at ROADKILL were glad they brought this one in John Deere(-ish) green this time around.