Jannie Viljoen is an experienced Rodder with years of building whatever he could find – from a Lotus 7 to bikes. His previous build was a 2JZ-powered Lada Niva and because of the power and reliability of that iconic engine, this featured build also started off with the same engine. Since as far back as he can remember, Jannie has always wanted to own a 1934 Chevrolet Sedan. However, he always struggled to get his hands on one.
One morning, four and half years ago, a good friend and client of Jannie’s told him about an advert that he saw in Junk Mail Classifieds. Various old car bodies were up for sale. He phoned the advertiser and found 2 bodies that were for sale – a 4-door sedan and a 2-door sedan. Jannie and Jacques (Jannie’s son) jumped into the car and raced to go and see the bodies.
They were standing on the property of Pieter Bier who is also an avid Hot Rodder. Unfortunately, they were too late and the 2-door had been sold that morning. Not to be discouraged, Jannie bought the 4 door and it was loaded onto the trailer. The rust bucket arrived “home” and the project finally got off the ground.
Jannie fell in love with a car from Factory Five Racing in the USA. Factory Five is renowned for building high-end Rods and Cobras with tubular chassis instead of the traditional framed chassis. With years of building cars under his belt, he started the process of building the tubular chassis. First, a proper table and jig were made to start the assembly of what would become a lifelong dream come true. He also had to build his own tube bender as he wanted to use a 38.3mm pipe.
Jannie built a complete chassis and front suspension which needed a lot of custom-made parts and a large amount of inspiration. The original design for the front suspension came from a Lotus 7 ho. However, Jannie lengthened the upper and lower arms. The full front suspension was designed and built in-house. The spindles, discs, callipers, power steering pump and steering rack were all taken from a 2JZ Toyota.
The differential and rear suspension came from a Ford Falcon and the reason for this was that the 3.22 diff ratio works perfectly with the rest of the set-up.
Jannie’s goal was for the tubular chassis to be the main feature of the build. It had to be perfect. Every weld, every bend and every cut was immaculate and then painted in a glossy black.
Up next was the body. There was not much left of the original car. The body was cut in half and shortened. The back half of the rear doors were added to the front section. This was done as a 2-door car has longer doors than a 4-door car. The original door skins were on the outside so new inner skins had to be fabricated and electric windows (the only luxury fitting in the car) were added. Each replacement panel had to be welded and smoothed out. The new sections were then rubbed down with a mixture of vinegar and salt to get the rust patina back in order for the new panels to match the old ones.
The original idea was to put a Toyota 2JZ motor into the Rod. As the project moved along the 2JZ was not the right motor for the look that Jannie wanted so this was ditched and in its place, Jannie opted for a 4100 Chevrolet inline-six motor. He then decided to look for a 250ci. The owner of the engine told Jannie that it was completely rebuilt but that is a story for another day.
The engine was stripped down and then handed to the very capable team at Allan Y Brink Pty Ltd Engineering. Under the watchful eye of Kevin, the engine was completely overhauled. It was re-sleeved and balanced with new 2-inch valves for the pistons and a serious camshaft was fitted. A new flywheel was ordered from RS Performance and a Toyota Dyna clutch kit was also thrown into the mix. The bell housing was from Gilo Engineering and a brand new Toyota D4D gearbox was also added.
Jannie says “I ended up buying a complete car to serve as a donor for the project. I am the owner of a service and repair shop and this project got a lot of attention from all of my clients and they were constantly following the progress with regards to the build”.
Next came the interior. There was not much to go into the vehicle as Jannie wanted the frame to show. Fibreglass bucket seats were bought from Street ROD Factory and they were sent to Dennis from Leather Boys, who are based in Centurion, to be covered.
Jannie had a set of 15-inch American Racing wheels laying around the shop. He made contact with Hi-Tech Mag Repairs and sent the wheels to them to be widened. He was very happy with the result. Now for rubber – narrowed 185x65x15 on the front and 295x50x15 on the rear.
This 1934 Chevy build was better than Jannie could have ever anticipated. As the build went along, Jannie had the inspiration to make it better and better.
He would like to thank his wife Amanda, who backed and supported him through the entire build.
Thanks to the following people as well:
Kevin, Peter, Steve and all the guys at Allan Y Brink Engineering Works
Dennis and Jeanine from Leather Boy Upholstery
@Wynand at Sandblasting boys for the preparation of the frame
@Hydra Parts Centurion for all the brake fittings