When you think of milestone cars of the ’30s, it’s mainly Fords that probably come to mind. Pretty much every single one of Henry’s cars from 1929-1939 are the basis for the majority of hot rods and early customs we see. Why? Well, it’s been discussed before, but Ford’s this era were fairly cheap, plentiful, V8′s were fast, and the designs were cutting-edge. Now take a gander at the list below. Every one of these manufacturers are long gone and dead now, but they made some beautiful cars that are often overlooked for hot rod material. As a bonus, they are a relative bargain compared to their Ford counterpart these days. I submit to you my top 5 “Orphans Makes” and why they deserve the listing:
1. 1932-34 Plymouth PB Coupe: I’ve mentioned this car before, but it bears repeating. This honey is just as much of a looker as the ol’ Deuce, for about 1/3rd the price. Ditch the parallel leaf front end or leave it full fendered and you are good to go.
2. 1937-39 Studebaker Coupe-Express: Another one I’ve posted on previously, but what a drop dead gorgeous ‘truck’, if you can call it that. Graceful proportions and beautiful lines. You only need to lower it, drop a healthy motor in, and just enjoy.
3. 1939-41 Graham Hollywood (& Hupmobile Skylark): Now the ‘coffin-nosed’ Graham’s were interesting in a weird Art Deco way, but the Hollywood was a Supercharged 6 dream machine. The body looked sectioned and channeled right from the factory, and with those center-hinged doors, was there a more badass sedan on the road?
4. 1934-36 Desoto Airflow 2 door sedan: Yes, it’s a ‘love it or hate it’ face and body design, but the short wheel-based Airflow fastback coupes from DeSoto have some nice, compact, insect-like proportions. They are also among the lowest in production numbers, which makes them that much cooler in my book.
5. 1939-40 Nash Ambassador: I love the square, flush-mounted headlamps mounted on the raked front fenders. The tall and narrow grille is tilting forward into motion. With some simple trim shaving and a chassis drop, this girl would make a nice choice for a pre-war custom.