1933 Ford Coupe: Bill Herb’s White Hot Racer

Photographs by Mike Harrington

Bill Herb’s B&B Sunoco Special 1933 Ford Coupe is anything but the norm. Bill grew up, as he puts it, with “motor oil in his veins”. In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s his father Bob owned a Sunoco station where Bill, his brothers, and brother in law all worked – hence the name “B&B Sunoco Special.” That is where it all started and Bill’s 1933 Ford Coupe is a small tribute to the great times they shared at that station.

Bill now owns and runs a collision center in Conneaut, Ohio where his crew mostly handles collision repairs, but they are more than capable of building hot rods with the proof being this latest oh-so-cool coupe. Bill and his crew were in the process of finishing a ’33 Ford for a customer during the same time they started his car. As the build progressed Bill decided he wanted a car similar to his customer’s but with a different style, just to be different. All he knew is that he wanted a creamy white 3-window with black accents, very little chrome and some race car lettering and styling. Always a fan of racing whether it be salt flat, drag or dirt track, race car styling was the end goal while only using the basic hot rod necessities. When you look at the photos you’ll agree the end goal was more than achieved!

B&B Sunoco Special 1933 Ford 3-window coupe Bill Herb

We didn’t believe him when he told us, but Bill’s ’33 Ford is actually a glass body that was worked heavily to resemble a real steel body. The lines were straightened and sharpened, faux steel door hinges were added on the suicide doors and every panel was meticulously gapped in order to fool the purest hot rodders out there. The roof top and headliner are actually sheet metal dzused-in panels that are heavily louvered to match the trunk, the handmade hood and hood sides. In total there are 684 louvers inside and out all done by Bill’s good friend Mike Crichton.

The body of the 1933 Ford Coupe was “slant” chopped and channeled over the frame with a 1937 Ford truck grille incorporated into the nose featuring modified 1936 Pontiac side trim mounted top and center on the grille. The headlights are 1935 Ford units and the taillights are off a 1938 Packard, both mounted with custom brackets. The creamy white paint is Spies Hecker single stage.

B&B Sunoco Special 1933 Ford 3-window coupe Bill Herb

The frame was built using 10-inch side rails to fit the channeled body and was boxed in. The front rails were raised up and stretched with a flat front cross member while a scrub bar was tucked behind and below the grille shell to save it from scraping the ground. A custom K-member was built and the front suspension setup uses a dropped and drilled axle with ’48 Ford front radius rods, buggy spring and a sway bar.

In the rear rests a Winters quickchange with ’36 Ford radius rods, a ’41 Ford front sway bar reworked to fit the rear and Model A springs and cross member setting the ride height. Power drum brakes are on all four corners tucked behind original Ford steel wheels fitted with Firestone tires.

B&B Sunoco Special 1933 Ford 3-window coupe Bill Herb

Bill needed a big shoehorn to fit the 1957 Hemi engine under the custom built hood and sides yet he still needed to make blisters all around for extra clearance! Tregler’s Machine Shop built the .040 over Hemi which was assembled by the old “Hemi Guru” Charlie Cass. The intake came off a 1958 Dodge D900 truck with two one-barrel carbs for more bottom end torque. The D900 intake had to be machined and reworked for the dual Rochester 2g carbs to be adapted to it correctly.

Covering the carbs is a hood blister that Bill actually cut wrong but reused it and incorporated an Edman air filter. Lighting the fire inside is a Joe Hunt magneto and the healthy Hemi breaths through custom full-length headers attached to a custom dual exhaust system with Porter mufflers. A Wilcap adapter was used to mate the ’57 Hemi V8 to a Tremec 5-speed transmission.

The driver’s cockpit continues the race theme with a full custom aluminum interior featuring a roll cage, Kirkey sprint car seats with black covers, 4-point Simpson seat belts, Hurst shifter, Stewart Warner gauges, custom built clutch and brake pedal linkage, hidden heat and A/C as well as a hidden stereo system. As we stated earlier a dzused-in louvered headliner was built to match the roof and inner aluminum door panels. In Bowling Green, Bill had Bonneville racing legend and longtime Goodguys supporter George Poteet sign the top of the transmission tunnel. There’s no doubt Bill’s ’33 belongs on the salt!

Bill’s longtime dream of building this 1933 Ford Coupe couldn’t have happened without the help of his friends and employees from his collision center. He wanted to make sure they got the credit they deserve for the work they put into this build! In no specific order, Bill wanted to thank his employee’s John Howland, Jeremy Johnson, John Pizzi, Ted English, Eric Hunt and Ron Butts. Additionally, Bill couldn’t have finished his car without the help of Jeff Tregler, Charlie Cass, Chuck Dworek, Terry Watson, and Jayson Hoderny. Last but certainly not least, a special thank you from Bill goes out to his wife Nancy and daughter Mikayla for letting him have the time to work on his cars.

Bill Herb is a humble guy, to say the least. He wanted to build a 1933 Ford Coupe that was different in the sense that it carried a full race car theme while honoring the time he spent growing up working at the family Sunoco Station. Mission accomplished Bill. Y’all hit a grand slam!

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A lifelong car kid, Steven grew up around drag strips – his name may sound familiar because his grandfather is Bob Bunker, a Pro Mod pioneer who piloted the “Folsom Flash” ’55 Chevy from the ’70s through the ’90s. Steven’s father, Bob Bunker Jr., heads up Bunker Motorsports and is a regular in the West Coast racing scene, building chassis and race cars for more than 30 years. With genetics like that, it’s no wonder Steven has a passion for both cars and motorsports. In addition to helping his father and honing his fabrication skills at Bunker Motorsports, Steven began shooting photos at the drag strip and capturing the action with his Canon camera. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When he's is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime out on the water fishing, building his 1962 Chevy Nova, or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.