Rod & Custom Feature Car

Mick Rau
Council Bluffs, Iowa
1930 Ford roadster

Chassis
A pair of original '32 Ford 'rails forms the basis of Mick's roadster, with a Model A front crossmember mounted 3 inches farther forward than stock, and 1-inch box section steel replacing the stamped central X-member. The rear framehorns were bobbed, the 'rails were pinched to better fit the Model A body, and the wheelbase was stretched 5 inches. Mick used an original Mor-Drop '40 Ford I-beam and '40 spindles, coupled with a leaf spring and gas shocks from Speedway Motors to support the frontend, along with a split '40 wishbone, in which he drilled oval holes for appearance. Finned Buick drums were mated to '40 Ford brakes. A Vega-style steering box from Flaming River takes care of directional duties. As with the frontend, drilled '40 Ford radius rods locate the 3.55:1-geared Ford Maverick 8-inch hung on a '40 Ford transverse spring.

Drivetrain
The '58 vintage Mike Wohlhutter-assembled 348ci W-block is pretty stock internally, with just a 0.030 overbore and the addition of a Crane solid lifter cam. Polished Offenhauser valve covers flank an aluminum intake (of an unknown make), atop which is a 600-cfm Holley lurking under a '56 Olds air cleaner. Stock points and Taylor wires light the fire, with cooling provided by a copper U.S. Radiator. Mick fabbed his own headers using Speedway-sourced materials; 1 1/2-inch ID tubing and 2- to 4-inch megaphones. Backing the 348 is an '87 S-10 five-speed, rebuilt by Mick and his cousin, Jeff.

Wheels & Tires
Wheel Vintiques supplied the 15x5 and 15x7 Series 62 steel wheels, which are wrapped in 165/80 and 255/70 radial rubber and dressed with trim rings and chrome lug nuts.

Body & Paint
Starting with a "pretty rough" conversion of a coupe into a roadster, Mick had his work cut out for him, replacing the rear quarters with useable roadster versions, and replacing the exhaust tubing that had been used to form the cockpit perimeter. Once the roadster was in useable shape, Mick set about modifying it to suit his decidedly roadster-unfriendly tall frame, lengthening the doors by 6 inches and adding a narrowed dash from a '51 Ford pickup. Also from that '51 truck is the gas tank, narrowed 6 inches and mounted behind the seat. Harley-Davidson 90th anniversary drab olive green was chosen to cover the extensive body prep, a PPG product applied by the owner, while the various parts chosen for chrome plating were shipped to Industrial Plating in Omaha, Nebraska. Early Ford truck headlights now light the way at night above a camshaft spreader bar, with '50 Pontiac items bringing up the rear.

Interior
There's not much to mention when it comes to a bare-bones interior, and this 'un is no exception! The third-row seat from an '87 Chevy van now provides creature comforts, covered with an Indian blanket. A rubber mat covers the floor, and a '39 banjo wheel tops a homemade stainless-shrouded steering column. The vinyl door panels were once shower stall panels, and the early '60s seatbelts were found lying around Mick's garage, while the '39 Ford shifter wears a knob from an early Peterbilt truck.