I don't often get to write a car feature in the first-person tense because it's just not correct, but in this case first person applies because I dreamed up this car and controlled the entire build. The story goes back to a friendship I made with Peter Guida during my tenure at Sport Truck magazine.
I had gone to a truck show to shoot a few vehicles, and the one truck that most impressed me was a brand-new 2000 GMC Peter had just customized. We hit it off, I shot his truck, and later we went to dinner with a few other truck guys. During the meal the topic of my project '68 Chevy truck, dubbed the Circus Wagon for its many different-colored, well-patina'd body panels, came up. We discussed how it was built, what it was running for power, and how it performed in the real world. I was very proud of this once pile of cast-off pieces I had turned into a well-known project truck, and was doubly proud that it had been put together in six weeks and was my sole daily driver.
Then the unexpected came. Peter wanted to know how much it would take to buy my truck. How could I sell my pride and joy and sole means of transportation? Before I could even make up my mind (and before the main course was served), Peter made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and plans were made to ship my truck from sunny California across the country to his home in Maryland. Peter enjoyed the truck for a while, but then his habit of buying and selling cars (he calls it "flipping") kicked in, the Circus Wagon went on to a new owner, and Peter again looked to me for his follow-up purchase.
The next chapter was finding Peter his very first street rod. While attending a major event a few years ago, we found a '32 Ford roadster that looked great and fit the bill perfectly. As soon as he took possession on an otherwise beautiful and sunny weekend, the skies opened up and flooded the roadster. The same clouds would follow him home halfway across the country. Peter decided that if he ever bought another hot rod it would definitely need a top and wipers.
Peter eventually sold the '32 and hatched a plan with me to build a car better suited to his needs that would keep him better protected from the weather. A sedan was the most likely choice since he was a new father and wanted to include his whole family in the fun. He located a very clean '29 Ford Model A Tudor, purchased it, and started the buildup, but was quickly distracted by the pursuit of another open-air ride.
He asked me, "What would you build if you could start from scratch?" I bounced around the idea of a phaeton, but he just didn't feel that one. My next choice was a roadster pickup, which was much more to Peter's liking. Peter owns his own company that builds new Bungalow-style houses and felt a hot rod "shop truck" would be a perfect addition to his business.
I visualized my perfect drop-top shop runner and decided a '30-31 Model A would be the one to build. Despite my deep affection for '28/29 Ford open-top pickups, I felt they just weren't roomy enough for anyone with a larger-tha-medium-sized frame for everyday use.
We wanted to put this project together relatively quickly, so we decided to go with all-new components and mix them up in order to produce a very nostalgic hot rod. An extended-cab '30-31 rpu body from Brookville Roadster was the first check off the list, along with a matching bed. For a solid and reliable nostalgic platform, we called SO-CAL Speed Shop for one of their complete '32 Ford chassis assemblies. A dyno-tested turnkey 350ci Chevy crate engine from Smeading Performance mated to a 700-R4 AOD trans from Phoenix Transmissions and a Currie 9-inch fell into place for the running gear.
With the chassis buttoned up, we refocused our attention on the bodywork. After knocking down the final chassis assembly, Lynn Bird made some crafty nips and tucks to the tin to enhance the stripped-down hot rod's crisp lines. This work included shortening the bed an additional 8 inches, and making the filler panels to mate the Model A bed to the '32 Ford frame.