In the last couple issues of Rod & Custom, we've shown you the highlights of the televised rebuilding of one very lucky hot rodder's Model A Ford after it was "stolen" by the "Overhaulin'" television crew. In this final installment, we present to you the finished product that any warm-blooded rodder would be proud to call his own.
Initially, the project seemed like it was going to be an easy one for the veteran team of builders that is only too familiar with turning well-worn vehicles (primarily cars not older than 45 years) into show-stoppers over the course of seven long days and nights. But trouble began almost as soon as the car rolled through the "Overhaulin'" garage doors.
The initial teardown revealed that both the heavily modified body and frame were in sad shape. While the body could be repaired with a ton of bodywork and heavy reinforcement added to strengthen the flimsy skin of what was once a Tudor (only now with the top cut completely off), the same could not be said for the chassis and its components. The chassis found under the car would prove to be in even worse shape, to the point of being completely unsafe and a hazard to anyone riding in or near this car. The frame lacked any necessary boxing, crossmembers, front brakes, and was just plain scary.
After the preliminary evaluation showed the body and frame would require massive amounts of labor to correct, it was decided the crew would focus on the body while a completely new and much more stylish '32 Ford chassis would be a wiser choice. The bodywork began with a trip to the sandblaster so the team could see exactly what they were dealing with. The bare skin was probably worse than they even imagined, but they just went straight to work reinforcing the body and massaging the lumpy panels. Once the body was relatively solid, a new Total Cost Involved '32 Ford chassis happened through the door and the two were a much happier couple than the original teaming. The sweeping curve of the '32 chassis required all-new subfloor bracing be created from scratch, but the A-Team barely raised an eyebrow and just as quickly had the body soundly attached to the new chassis.
A new chrome and polished stainless steel I-beam suspension and a fresh 9-inch were installed along with a rebuilt 312ci Ford Y-block that was a definite step up from the gasping Mazda four-cylinder motivation found in the original chassis. All the work in the "Overhaulin'" garage happens at a blistering pace because of the one-week time frame in which they must complete the car, so as each piece of bodywork was completed, it was all piled up and fed to the awaiting crew in the paint booth. This meant the painter could be handed parts at 4 a.m., and in this particular case, the painter was head designer Chip Foose himself. Because the car came in black with red wheels, the design team decided to stick with that theme, only now it would be deep gloss black instead of primer and the red would be a rich hue that would be a huge improvement of the rattle-can red found on the original components.
On the final day, with the crew working through the night, the car all came together and impressed even the team itself that has seen plenty of gorgeous rides completed in the shop. The moment of ultimate truth came when the pranked owner, Matthew Wyatt, was given the final reveal and shown his vehicle and exclaimed, "It's not mine, I think I just died and went to heaven!" Well, the car was indeed his, and the "Overhaulin'" crew grabbed a quick nap before getting their next life-changing challenge to complete in another seven days, and so goes the circle of hot rodding life.