Building a 1934 Ford Pro Street Rod

Jerry Uttrachi's love affair with hot rods began in the late 1950s. While he was still in high school, he built a 1941 Ford Opera Coupe, using a 1/8” over-bored 1951 Olds engine that he built in his basement.

Jerry entered the welding field in 1963 and learned a good bit about welding along the way, eventually becoming the 2007 president of the American Welding Society after retiring. In 1999, some 40 years after building his first car, he decided to try his hand again at building a hot rod. This time, he wanted to build a “street rod” with all the features he had dreamed about over the years. “Having small block Chevy's in a number of cars, it was time for a Big Block,” Uttrachi said. “A 1934 Sedan allowed the room I needed for the Pro Street Chassis and 502/502 engine combination I desired.&lrquo; And so began the assembly of the motor in his garage.

The parts were MIG welded with the 0.030” diameter ESAB Arcaloy 308LSi wire and the Tri- Mix gas. The welds were ground smooth and the brackets polished. Rear fog/back-up lights were added and are visible under the stainless bumper. They are triggered with the shifter in reverse or with a dash switch. The 55 watt halogen bulbs make the car very visible in poor weather.

The car has now accumulated 3000 miles, primarily attending car shows in South Carolina. Uttrachi has shown the car at 24 shows and has won 24 trophies including the Mayor’s Trophy at a car show in Darlington, South Carolina in 2006. “The quality of construction is the key attribute that gets the judge’s votes,” Uttrachi says. ESAB MIG welding and plasma cutting equipment were a big help in achieving this high quality.