For seven years, Al Seese worked on building a 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery at his machine shop in Lee’s Summit with his son and friends. In early January 2014, when the car was finished, he felt a different emotion.
“Then you immediately start looking for anything that might be wrong,” Seese said.
As Seese was building the 1933 Ford Sedan, he knew it was going to be more than a car he could take to cruises and share stories with friends. His car was going to be judged in shows.
In March of 2014, he entered the car in the Detroit Autorama, which is held annually at the Cobo Center to showcase custom cars. Seese was after the prestigious Ridler award, given to the most outstanding car being shown for the first time.
Seese didn’t win, but he got the next best thing, earning the Pirelli Tire Great 8, which are the eight finalists for the Ridler award.
“It is a pretty good honor for small guys like us,” Seese said. “You are competing against the big boys who do nothing but build cars.”
The 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery wasn’t finished competing. This past January, Seese entered his car in the annual Starbird-Devlin Rod and Customs Charities Car Show in Wichita. The car earned first place Magnificent 7 Favorite, the top prize in the show.
“It was a heck of an honor, unbelievable,” Seese said. “There was some very good competition and to walk away at the top was terrific.
“It is a terrific show. The beauty of their show is all their money goes to charity.”
The 1933 Ford Sedan was the second car that Seese built. He started the project in 2007.
“My idea was to build a car that handled and drove like a new car,” Seese said. “It looked like an old-style vehicle but handled like a new car. We have air conditioning, stereo, Bluetooth, electric seats. We have everything electronic that you can put in.”
The car began life as a fiberglass body. Seese bought a 2005 Corvette that had been wrecked, then took all the suspension components and built a chassis that they would all adapt to. The drive train is a 2005 Corvette. The body was remnants of a Redneck Street Rod.
The first thing that is learned in building a car in this manner, Seese said, is patience.
“The other thing you run into is things change,” he said. “When we started the project, the wheels were the latest and the greatest, but by the time we were finished, they weren’t anymore. Parts become outdated during the process of building a car when it takes that long.”
For Seese, the enjoyment is in making all the systems come together and getting everything to work. Electrical problems crop up that have to be ironed out.
“You are doing it throughout the process,” Seese said. “You put a bolt onto it and something else is in the way.”
But slowly the car grew into the vision Seese had. He picked the 1933 Ford Sedan model because he liked the shape of the front grill.
“It really caught my eye,” he said.
There is a sense of accomplishment once the car is finished, but Seese felt a bit of nerves once he entered it in competitions.
“Other people are going to pick your car apart,” Seese said. “You put your heart and soul into it, and they will find every little thing wrong with it.”
Seese enjoys taking his car to cruises. He drives to them in the Kansas City area. The thumbs-up acknowledgements are always nice when he is on the road. It confirms that he, his son and many friends did a nice job building a 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery.
“When you go to a cruise, it is the camaraderie,” Seese said. “You are all there for the same reason.”
Do you have a car, truck or motorcycle or other vehicle you would like see featured in Make It Yours? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com