Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian's 1934 Ford

From Kustomrama
Jump to: navigation, search
A photo of Gene with the Ford taken at United Automotive. Gene was 15 years old when this photo was taken, and his mother had just sewed up quilted door panels in Naugahyde chartreuse. Photo by Richard Peters, from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Notice the rusted chrome wheels that Gene has dressed up with beauty rings. "My father purchased accessory wheels when new," Gene told Kustomrama in 2020. Photo by Richard Peters, from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of Gene's sedan taken at the 1952 National Roadster Show. Inspired by Blackie's roadster, this iteration of the car featured black paint and chrome. "You can see zebra headliner, chartreuse tuck and roll seats, quilted door panels all done by my mother with a foot-operated Singer sewing machine. Chrome accessories on 21 stud engine, 2 carb manifold, 41 Olds bumpers, white canvas cover over the spare tire. I did not get an award, no sedan class, 32 coupes were just gaining popularity, 34-36 sedans were customs!" Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Another photo of the car from the 1952 National Roadster Show. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene re-entered the car at the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show. This iteration of the car had no bumpers. "I also had a three-piece metal hood made in Fresno at New England Sheet Metal, first one they ever did. I cut out the grill to put the radiator cap under the hood. My father took me and my hood to LA for louvers. Art Ingles at Kurtis Kraft charged fifteen cents each for 92 louvers. Bob Martin, California Chrome had to chrome top of hood half at a time to fit in the tanks. The entire hood was chromed, only the louvers were polished. I won first place in the new sedan class." This photo shows Gene and Chuck Pollard with the car. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene displaying the car at the Fresno show in 1953. This iteration featured whitewall tires. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
After the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show, Gene installed a 1950 Oldsmobile V-8 in the car, along with a 4 pot Horne manifold, Isky cam, and Mallory ignition. "I painted the car American La France fire engine red, "Tommy the Greek" famous "double walked stripes" ($25) on sides, scallops on headlamps and mu chrome fresh air vent, white vinyl top, side shifter, White 38 Ford steering wheel, copper-plated 16" Kelsey wire wheels with spinners." By then, the car had received nerf bar bumpers. The front bumper, like Blackie's roadster, ran Gene's initial "S", while the rear ran a license plate. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
"This is my sports car racing cam grind from Isky. Apparently, I had the double valve springs, McGurk rockers, and lifters according to my notes. I remember Norris Baronian selected it for me at Isky." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene's instructions for his McGurk Engineering Oldsmobile adjustable rocker arms. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene recalled the Mallory ignition and Magspark coil being hot stuff in its day! Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of Gene's Ford taken at the 1954 Oakland Roadster Show. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of the car taken on Gene's front lawn. "My cherry tan 34 sedan in background." Photo from The Mel Lehman Collection.
A Fresno Police Department publicity photo. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of Gene with the Ford taken in 1954. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of Gene's neighbor Ronnie Minnasian with the Ford taken in 1955. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Family Affair. The Sadoian Family bus was featured in Rod & Custom February 1955. Featuring photos by Freed, the story stated that "the Sadoian '34 has made it possible for one more family to understand their son's hobby: Rod and Customs!"
Red, Wild and Fancy. In 1953 Eric Rickman told Gene that his car had to be red to get it in a magazine. "That is why I painted, it worked, notice his name above." According to the story, "Eugene Sadoian's immaculately detailed '34 Ford sedan actually cannot be appreciated without seeing it in its full colored attire."
Back to black. "In 1956 I repainted my 34 back to black with candy gold-red scallops." The scallops were painted by "Screwy Looie" in Fresno. This is a photo of the car in black, before the scallops were added. "Note the exhaust cut outs." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A photo of Gene's '34 next to his sister's 1957 Ford Thunderbird in Fresno in 1957. After selling the '34, Gene talked his sister into giving up the T-Bird, which then became his primary car. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Early in 1962 Blackie talked Gene into putting the '34 in the NHRA Winternationals in LA. "He was friends with Dick Day, editor of Rod & Custom, and show producer. Dick got me in, and I won first place." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene's exhibitor pass from the 1962 NHRA Winternationals. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
A list of first-place winners at the 1962 NHRA Winternationals was published in Hot Rod April 1962. Gene won first in the "Street Coupe" class. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene's '34 was also displayed at the 2nd annual Rod & Custom Invitational Car Festival March 28 thru April 1, 1962. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Late 1960 or 61 Gene had his father's wheels cut, chromed, and welded. The rear wheels were reversed by Roy Vachon at Appliance Plating. "I was having lunch at a Chinese restaurant when I saw a chrome shop next door. Since my copper spokes were no longer shiny, I asked Roy if he could plate my father's original accessory wheels. He asked me to bring them in, which I did the next day. He said he could do it if they were cut apart, chromed, and rewelded. He did a great job, one of the first types ever in LA." The wheels drew a lot of attention at the 1962 NHRA Winternationals, and according to Gene,"Mickey Thompson sat on the floor for 10 minutes staring at my wheels at the show. He then bought out Rader, and started making his own wheels." Later the same year, George Barris featured a photo of Gene's front wheel in his publication Spotlite Book 527 Custom Car Wheels & Lowering. George described the wheels as "Chromed racing wheels with spiders."
Model Car Science October 1963 did a story on Gene's 34, showing how you could turn a Monogram 1934 Ford Victoria into Gene's hot rod.
In 1962 a photo of Gene's 34 did also appear in Popular Customs Spring 1962.
Later the same year, a photo of the '34 appeared in Popular Hot Rodding July 1962, in an article highlighting outstanding hot rods and customs from several shows.
A '34 to end 'em all. Steve Scott did a story on the car in 1963. The article was later published in 1001 Custom and Rode Ideas Summer 1967, and it shows the scallop paint job that "Screwy Looie" laid on the car.
One of Steve Scott's photos from the shoot. In 2016 this photo appeared in Pat Ganahl's book Hot Rod Gallery II. Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
Another photo of the car from the Steve Scott photoshoot. The young lady posing with Gene and the car was Bonnie Larkin. Larkin was a school teacher during the week. On weekends, she was a stripper on Sunset Strip. The photos were taken at Lakeside Drive 2, at the apartment complex where Gene lived. "All the people in my apartment complex thought I was a speed equipment salesman. I maintained a garage for the 34 a few blocks away at 306 N. Maple Street my old residence. George Barris met with Richard Peters and Blackie at Bobs Big Boy where George came up with the name Ala Kart off the menu." Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
A photo of Gene with the car that appeared in the 1001 Custom and Rode Ideas Summer 1967 article. Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
The '34 was Gene's daily driver, and it ran a 4 pot Horne manifold, Isky cam, and Mallory ignition. Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
When Steve Scott shot the car in 1963, Gene's mother had redone the interior in black Naugahyde. According to Scott's story, it featured pleats literally everywhere. Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
The original rubber running boards were stripped off, and the metal was painted to match the scallops. "I used chrome binder clips to fill in holes left to capture rubber." Photo courtesy of Steve Scott.
A few awards and plaques that Gene has won with the car. Gene still had these in 2021. Photo courtesy of Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian.
Gene won first place in the Special Award class at the 1953 National Roadster Show with the car. Photo courtesy of Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian.
Photo courtesy of Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian.

1934 Ford Four-Door Sedan owned and built by Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian of Fresno, California.


The Sadoian Family Bus and First Hot Rod

"My father brought me home from the hospital in his just purchased 1934 4 door sedan," Gene told Kustomrama in December of 2020. "He purchased it in Fowler, California, just 10 miles from our home in Fresno, California. The car cost $640, a lot of money at the time. It was our family car until 1949 when he purchased a Lincoln Cosmopolitan, giving me the 34 to fix up." At age 14 Gene was able to have a driver's license, but no garage, so he had to remove their backyard fence to park the car in the dirt. "My father gave me the tool bag that came with the car, and piece by piece I removed all fenders, running boards, hood, bumpers, spare tire to build a Hot Rod."[1]


Blackie's Hosses

Gene drove the car to school starting in 1950 to show it off. "A senior named Tom Riccardo had a green, fenderless 34-4 door, but his was chopped 6", coolest car at school. Babe Obradovich had a black fenderless 32 3 window, aluminum heads, cam, two 97 Stromberg's. He was the fastest car in school until my best friend, Richard Shirinian, built a channeled fenderless 29 Ford roadster with a 59A block. Richard was Blackie Gejeian's cousin and his father owned a truck garage named United Automotive Works. Richard introduced me to Blackie (and Blackie's now-famous roadster) at age 14 in 1948. This influenced our becoming Hot Rodder's with Blackie being our leader."[1]


Custom Interior by Mrs. Sadoian

Gene's mother sewed up quilted door panels in Naugahyde chartreuse for the car. Gene's father had purchased chromed accessory wheels when the car was new, these were dressed up with beauty rings. "The next stage of the continuing build was to copy Blackie's roadster (black paint, chrome) and other ideas observed from my attendance at the Grand National Show in Oakland, California." Gene had read about the show in Hot Rod Magazine, and his father took him to the show in 1951, when he was 15 years old.[1]


The 1952 Oakland Roadster Show

"In my senior year at age 16, I received permission from my principal to attend the 10 days Oakland show. Richard Peters rode with me, I had no funds, Richard had the money! As a 16-year-old, I wrote up an entry blank highlighting, interior, chrome dash, window frames, 41 Olds bumpers, etc. I was listed in the program as a competitor for the first Concourse De Elegance award, along with Joe Bailon! When we saw Joe's Custom Chevy, he had more money in his dashboard than I had in my whole car. Joe won the award, history named his car "Miss Elegance."[1]


The 1953 Oakland Roadster Show - First Place in the New Sedan Class

Gene re-entered the car at the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show. This iteration was stripped for bumpers. "I also had a three-piece metal hood made in Fresno at New England Sheet Metal, first one they ever did. I cut out the grill to put the radiator cap under the hood. My father took me and my hood to LA for louvers. Art Ingles at Kurtis Kraft charged fifteen cents each for 92 louvers. Bob Martin, California Chrome had to chrome top of hood half at a time to fit in the tanks. The entire hood was chromed, only the louvers were polished. I won first place in the new sedan class."[1]


Drag Racing

Richard Peters convinced Gene about installing a 296 Mercury engine in the car, "for drag racing." They ran it a few times, "but I took it out, too radical for the street. We actually snapped an axle, thank god I had safety hubs. Richard then put it in Blackies roadster, he raced it at Half Moon Bay."[1]


Fire Engine Red Paint, Copper Plated Wheels, Olds Power and Magazine Ink

After the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show, Gene installed a 1950 Oldsmobile V-8 in the car, along with a 4 pot Horne manifold, Stromberg 97 carburetors, an Isky 3/4 track grid cam, Offenhauser rocker covers, and a Mallory MagSpark ignition. An Offenhauser adapter hooked the engine up with a 1939 Ford gear box. "I painted the car American La France fire engine red, "Tommy the Greek" famous "double walked stripes" ($25) on sides, scallops on headlamps and my chrome fresh air vent, white vinyl top, side shifter, White 38 Ford steering wheel, copper-plated 16" Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels with spinners." This iteration was also dressed up with nerf bar bumpers. The front bumper, like Blackie's roadster, ran Gene's initial "S", while the rear ran a license plate. After Gene had redone the car, it was featured in Rod & Custom February 1955 and Car Craft March 1956.[1] Eric Rickman did the story for Car Craft, and according to Gene, Rickman told him in 1953 that the car had to be red to get in a magazine. "That is why I painted it, it worked." According to the story, "Eugene Sadoian's immaculately detailed '34 Ford sedan actually cannot be appreciated without seeing it in its full colored attire." Rickman described Gene's copper plated Kelsey-Hayes wheels a "climatical touch." According to the Rod & Custom story, the wheels were copper plated, buffed by hand, and sealed in clear lacquer to preserve their luster.[2] Other modifications at the time included teardrop 1938 Ford taillights in the rear fenders, and a dropped "Dago" axle that gave it a slight forward rake.[3]


Back to Black

"In 1956 I repainted my 34 back to black with Candy gold-red scallops." The scallops were painted by "Screwy Looie" in Fresno. The original rubber running boards were stripped off, and the metal was painted to match the scallops. Gene's mother did also redo the interior in black Naugahyde. According to a featured story Steve Scott did on the car for 1001 Custom and Rode Idea, it featured pleats literally everywhere.[4] One unique innovation on Gene's 34, and also his TR 3, was the brass plated license plate. "I polished the letters, masked them, painted rest black with clear over brass. North Hollywood PD thought it was cool on my 34. An LAPD motorcycle officer did not think so!. My ID allowed me to park in the LAPD high rise to check records. An officer coming off duty behind my TR 3, threatened to cite me if he ever saw me again. My excuse usually was, "this is a new experimental plate by DMV to check its stability". The car show viewers sure liked them."[1]


Long Beach and Georgia

Gene moved to Long Beach, California in June of 1956 to do graduate work. He brought his 34. His roommates in Long Beach were Joe Regalado, and Ron Price. "I worked at the 10 pump circle gas station I was able to fill gas and service Bill Stroppe race vehicles and trucks. Even his Mexican road race vehicles. I returned to Fresno to enroll in the new graduate program in June 1957, however, I was drafted into the Army the day before school started. Gene took the '34 to Fort Gordon, Georgia while assigned to the MP training base near Augusta, Georgia. "The car caused a commotion at the local drive inns, one having a two-story glass-enclosed upper room. A radio station announcer broadcasting from above. I always put my radio on, they would say: "here comes that thing A majig". I also made an exhibition run at the new dragstrip in Aiken, South Carolina. I learned the hard way, no shut-off area, I ended up in a peach orchid."[1]


Cut, Chromed, and Welded Wheels

Late 1960 or early 61 Gene had his father's wheels cut, chromed, and welded. The rear wheels were reversed by Roy Vachon at Appliance Plating. "I was having lunch at a Chinese restaurant when I saw a chrome shop next door. Since my copper spokes were no longer shiny, I asked Roy if he could plate my father's original accessory wheels. He asked me to bring them in, which I did the next day. He said he could do it if they were cut apart, chromed, and rewelded. He did a great job, one of the first types ever in LA. I was no longer showing my 34, a daily driver, including Georgia and back. Blackie talked me into putting it in the NHRA Winternationals in LA. He was friends with Dick Day, editor of Rod & Custom, and show producer. Dick got me in, and I won first place. My wheels were the hit of the show. George Barris featured my front wheel in his publication two months later in April 1962."" According to Gene,"Mickey Thompson sat on the floor for 10 minutes staring at my wheels at the show. He then bought out Rader, and started making his own wheels."[1]


Traded for a Falcon

Gene drove the '34 until 1964. "When my TR3 lost a clutch, I had it towed to a Van Nuys car dealer for repairs. I drove my 34 to the dealer the next day. There was a Ford dealership next to my repair one. One of the salespeople came over to admire my 34. He then brought over the owner to admire the 34." What Gene didn't know at the time, was that the owner was Johnny Parson, the Indy car driver. "He offered to buy it, I said I needed a pickup, I made an even trade for a used 1960 Ford Falcon pick up." Gene intended to carry his new mini bike to his downtown job at the Federal building. "We had to park twenty-five minutes away at a spot called "Goat Hill", and then arrive and depart using up shoe leather. The first day I brought the bike to the limited parking space, I was denied entrance even though I parked in front of a vehicle parked in our one designated space. I then talked my sister into giving up the 57 T-Bird which then became my primary car."[1]


Bernie Angelone

Gene lost track of his first car until he met a friend of Dale Vaznaian, Scott Dapron at the SEMA Showin 1988. "We started talking cars since Scott had over 200 muscle cars somewhere in Arizona." Scott was a buyer for Jay Leno, and he remembered working on Gene's 34 for an owner in Palo Verdes, California named Bernie Angelone. "Bernie was a Ford Parts distributor for the western region. Bernie was letting his 16-year-old daughter drive the 34. Scott said she really was rough with it so Bernie sold it." Bernie recalled trading the '34 for a 1971 Ford pickup to Bob Estes Lincoln circa 1971. "The dealer charged him about $3200."[1]


Where is it Now?

Around 2000, Greg Sharp called Gene regarding the disappearance of the '34, wanting to know If Gene was going to find it and restore it since that was a trend during that period. "I told him no, I did not want to go backward. I was looking to restore my 57 Bird, 71 Pantera, and my 73 Mustang. I ended up doing most, but only the Pantera became a winning show car, thanks to Blackies Persuasion," Gene told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in March of 2021.[1]


Curious about what happened to the old Sadoian Family Bus and Hot Rod the Kustomrama staff would love to know if the car is still around. Please get in touch with us at mail@kustomrama.com if you have any information to share about Gene's old '34.


Magazine Features and Appearances

Rod & Custom February 1955
Car Craft March 1956
Spotlite Book 527 Custom Car Wheels & Lowering
Model Car Science October 1963
Popular Customs Spring 1962
Popular Hot Rodding July 1962
Popular Customs Summer 1963
1001 Custom and Rode Ideas Summer 1967

References




 

Did you enjoy this article?

Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.




Can you help us make this article better?

Please get in touch with us at mail@kustomrama.com if you have additional information or photos to share about Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian's 1934 Ford.


This article was made possible by:

SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!

Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.


Personal tools
Help us
facebook