VANDALIA — Busted knuckles are a way of life when you restore a classic car. Vandalia resident Mike Stein has busted more than his share of knuckles over the years restoring a variety of classic cars.
His latest passion is a 34 Ford three window coupe that he bought roughly 15 years ago. Since then Stein has invested about $35,000 into the project along with a lot of blood, sweat and tears and his requisite share of busted knuckles.
“I’m a glutton for punishment,” Stein joked as he recounted all the old iron he has worked on over the years. And, he has put a lot of work into turning his 34 Ford into a nice street rod that he can enjoy.
“When I bought the 34 it was half done,” Stein said. “I took apart the engine, transmission and rear end and put them back together the way I thought it should be. “
The coupe features a Chevy 327 engine, a rear end out of a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and a front suspension from a Ford Mustang II. The engine is bored and stroked with flat top pistons and two four barrel Edelbrock carburetors, as well as a lot of chrome. He even added a backup camera and monitor because the back window is so small he had a hard time backing the car up without someone standing outside to guide him.
The interior on the coupe had already been refurbished, but Stein had it redone.
“I had to go back and do it my way. I can’t leave nothin’ alone,” Stein noted.
Other features are American Racing Wheels on the back end and E/Ts on the front.
“I like the spokes on the E/Ts,” Stein said. “They are kind of what I remember from when I used to drag race. Me and my brother-in-law, this is one of the cars we used to race. This and a 55 Chevrolet.”
Stein has plenty of experience restoring cars. He says he has totally rebuilt five classics and partially rebuilt ten. He has totally rebuilt a 58 Chevy, a 47 International pickup, a Triumph TR3, a 62 Chevrolet and a 54 Chevy pickup.
Now that his 34 Ford coupe is complete he mainly takes it to cruise-ins.
“I go to cruise-ins but I can’t stay at a car show and talk about it all day. It’s not my personality,” Stein added.
Either way, the work he put into the 34 Ford Coupe was well worth the effort. Despite all the busted knuckles Stein has a classic any car enthusiast would love to call his own.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind