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The Billy Gibbons’ 1933 Ford “Eliminator”

The Billy Gibbons’ 1933 Ford “Eliminator”

What is the Eliminator? If you have to ask, you’re probably not a Rock n’ Roll fan. The thing with the Eliminator, though, is that you don’t have to be a groupie to at least be familiar with one of the most famous hot rods ever made; his name, Eliminator.

In fact, this special 1933 Ford Coupe is so famous and legendary that just about every millennial, and a significant portion of Gen-Z Americans, at least know about it. Both generation cohorts have one of two things in common; either love of rock music or hot-rodding or both. After all, this whole story revolves around the famous guitarist and frontman of the ZZ Top rock band with a shameless love for cars.

Nothing surprising here, as many rock stars are very familiar (pun intended) with the automotive world. The man in question, Billy Fredrick Gibbons, has no rival (in the music industry, we mean) in car collecting, including the 1948 Cadillac ‘CadZZilla’ Series 62, 1932 Highboy Ford, and the most famous of them the 1933 Ford ‘Eliminator Coupe, the object of our fascination here.

Related: The Car Masters Crew Builds a 1933 Delahaye-Style Ford Replica

A Brief Overview of the Billy Gibbons Eliminator

As mentioned, many rock stars are hot rodders too, but Billy Gibbons is by far the best known headbanger hot rodder. Rock is like blues on steroids, while hot rods are literally antiques, injected with horsepower.

At least that was the exclusive definition of hot rods until the ’60s muscle cars expanded the concept. So any car modified for performance and speed can rightly be called a hot rod. Anyway, things were much clearer in the ’80s when Gibbons Don Thelan of Buffalo Motor Cars had him build a chopped 1933 Ford Coupe that would soon become the famous Eliminator. If you thought that this car is only popular because of its famous owner, you are wrong.

Below that was a straight forward The chassis of Pete and Jake with a lowered tube axle and four-bar suspension in the front and a Ford nine-inch in the rear. Yes, you read that right. Billy Gibbon’s most famous hot rod was built on the modified chassis of Pete and Jake’s classic coupe with a real 1933 steel Ford rather than a fiberglass replica. Billy even enlisted Pete’s help from Pete and Jake to create the Eliminator.

In addition to the fame that comes from appearing in music videos and album covers, the Eliminator had many other notable features. They include the classic 1939 teardrop-shaped Ford taillights offset by 1934 Ford headlights, a 3-inch chop on the top, a Steve Davis-built custom three-piece hood, and most importantly the Kenny Youngblood-designed iconic red livery with custom “ZZ “-Pictures.

Remember what we said about ZZ, right? It is part of the name of Billy Gibbon’s band, ZZ Tops. Here’s a fun fact. The original idea was to call himself “ZZ King” in honor of BB King, but ended up finding it too similar to the name of the iconic American songwriter and guitarist who recorded his first record in 1949. So they went for ZZ Tops instead because in the end Tops and King are essentially saying the same thing.

When you open the hood of the Eliminator, you’re greeted by a So-Cal Speed ​​Shop-built SBC 350ci V8 with a single four-barrel carburetor. The engine was mated to a Turbo 350 transmission for improved reliability. Yes, the classic Eliminator wasn’t just for the public. It was a road car built for speed and power. Granted, Billy Gibbon’s Eliminator did a lot of “show” business. The car helped determine the MO of modern music videos. Why, while music bands struggled to come up with concepts, ZZ Tops made up for it by showing off the big three; women, cars and rock n roll.


The strategy paid off and the method has held up in the music business to this day. As for the Eliminator, it was the poster child of ZZ Tops that appeared in songs like Gimme All Your Lovin, Legs and Sharp Dressed Man. That’s all good for music fans, but what gearheads care more about is whether the Eliminator is ridden – a lot.

It was!

Gibbons are known to ride Sunset Boulevard together in his Eliminator and The California Kid’s Chapouris and Jake from Pete & Jake’s for Eliminator’s maiden voyage. Sometime later, with video vixens Kymberly Herrin and Allison Ohnstede joining in, Billy drove the car on a 10-day cross-country trip from LA to New York.

For us, though, the best thing about Billy Gibbons’ 1933 Ford Eliminator is how it gave birth to a new era of radical hot rods that may have been anathema to the mainstream custom car world, yet are admired and respected by enthusiasts of both. spectrum. Some might even argue that Gibbon’s one-of-a-kind 1933 Ford saved hot-rod culture from death and paved the way for the red-hot hot-rod industry we know and enjoy today.

Where’s Billy Gibbons’ 1933 Ford Eliminator and How Much Is It Worth?

You can go ogle at the original Billy Gibbons’ Eliminator where he is located the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame† The interesting thing is, when you get there as a gearhead, you may be “shouldering” with other visitors who may not share your love for cars, but share your passion for music. The car still belongs to Billy Gibbons, although he had a clone of the original Eliminator made to meet the demand for appearance requests.

Also, the classic car market is flooded with clones of the Eliminator, so it shouldn’t matter too much if you’ve never seen the original thing, but you and I know that’s just not the case. We got to see the original Eliminator in Cleveland.

The Eliminator is a legendary classic car, and despite its many clones, there is only one in the world. Although it resides in the RockHall, its economic value depends on how much a discerning buyer is willing to pay for it. Meanwhile, a 1933 Ford Coupe can be purchased from reputable classic car dealers for an average price of $60,000, although some have sold for as much as $265,000.