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.
Long Beach, California
1930 Ford Model A
A Total Cost Involved chassis was selected when the original unit found under the car was determined to be in very sad shape. The new '32 frame would give the car a much better profile with its sweeping lines and provide a much sturdier platform with its boxed 'rails. The rear of the frame was shortened 6 inches to tuck the '32 Ford fuel tank under the rear of the Model A body. Up front is a chromed and polished stainless I-beam and hairpin set up with a monoleaf transverse spring, with a four-bar and coilover suspension in the rear. SO-CAL Speed Shop Buick-style disc brakes slow down the front with a pair of Ford 9-inch drums in the rear.
For power, Chip Foose elected to use a "retro" powerplant and tracked down a Ford 312ci Y-block that was rebuilt at L&R Automotive Supply in Santa Fe Springs, California. A Ford Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission backs up the mill that has been dressed up with a trio of Stromberg carbs on an original Edelbrock intake, flanked on each side by a pair of polished Mooneyes finned valve covers.
Wheels & Tires
The set of '36 Ford wheels and hubcaps was one of the most unique features on the car when it rolled into the "Overhaulin'" garage. Chip decided to retain this element and had them restored and fitted with a set of fresh Firestone wide whites from Coker Tire. A 5.50x16 was selected for use up front with a 6.50x16 in the rear.
Body & Paint
Basically every panel of Matt's original car was heavily massaged, as well as reinforced, before the final bodywork could even begin. Once squarely placed on the new chassis, the passenger door was found to be 1 1/2 inches too short, and the list goes on. Major mods include the fitment of a narrowed '41 Ford dash and a custom aluminum windshield frame mated to the cowl. After the last panel was straightened, all the pieces were hauled over to West Coast Customs and sprayed with a deep coating of BASF Black. The checkerboard firewall is a touch from Chip's own childhood.
After a '56 Ford F-100 seat was narrowed to fit the body, Bill Dunn's team handbuilt a rear seat to match and then covered them and the interior panels in genuine red leather from Keyston Bros., accented by white topstitching and white piping. Redline Gauges reworked the '41 Ford gauge panel to use VDO gauge internal and custom sprayed a gauge faceplate with a Bones-style font for all the numbers. A '40 Ford-style steering wheel and Swan Stick from Gennie Shifter finish off the inside.