Lean Green Machine

1934 Chevy Rat Rod

Built by Simon of Old Mill Rod and Custom

Owner Costa Vakis

Costa Vakis bought his first rat rod from Simon of Old Mill Rod and Custom about four years ago and fell in love with the rat/resto look. It was during a moment of weakness that he sold it – a ’33 Dodge – and Costa has regretted that decision ever since. After that he built a ’46 Ford pickup street rod, but he was never happy with it, and wanted a rat rod again. One day while visiting Simon in Cape Town, he mentioned this and said he was looking for a body that he could do a rat build with. Costa says that Simon being who he is, immediately got on the phone and found a him a 1934 Chev body, which Costa bought and took back home to George.

He had to build a complete new floor for the car and converted it from a four-door to a two-door and closed the roof, which involved loads of metalwork. A custom rat rod chassis was built, and a 9-inch Ford rear diff was installed. The artwork that constitutes the suicide front end, with pins and discs was built by Simon. The motor is a 351 Cleveland with a new intake, a Holley 4-barrel carburettor and a new electric distributor. Four-into-one custom-built exhausts by Powerflow exit either side of the motor, bandaged like the fingers of a large Egyptian mummy. The steel wheels are clad in Bridgestone Dueler H/T 840s at the rear, while the front tyres are Velocity Axe 195/65/15s, all with whitewall inserts.

The gearbox is a 3-speed auto box operated by a B&M quick shifter which is adorned with a skull gear knob, complementing the bright red upholstery that evokes thoughts of something Bram Stoker might have included in his novel, had he been around a little later. The driver and passenger seats are from a VW Beetle and the rear bench was custom-made. The doors and roof are without panels and some of the original wood frame is still visible, but the ceiling itself has been strengthened with square tubing.

The paintwork was done by Thorp Impact Panel Beaters and the car was sprayed five times and then sanded back to create a patina effect. This rat has found its way to Cape Town where it eagerly awaits unleashing. It seems Costa already regrets his decision of selling this one too, as he is already in the process of creating another – a ’58 Chev Apache in a rat-patina look.