Rod & Custom Feature Car
Long Beach, California
1929 Ford Model A roadster
An early show rod had to have a stunning engine. Nick continued the tradition by loading the roadster with a Chrysler Hemi. The stock 354 came out of a '56 New Yorker. Lance Soliday in Burbank, California, did the machining and assembly on the block, boring the cylinders 0.060 over. The Iskenderian 270 Mega cam operates the valves in the stock iron heads, topped with chromed Firepower valve covers. A six-pack of fully functional Stromberg 81 (rebuilt by Jere Jobe at Vintage Carburetion Technologies with adjustable jets from Flathead Jack) feed the Edelbrock log intake manifold. The headers were fabricated from '36 driveshaft tubes paired with lakes pipes. A SPAL sidewinder fan (with off-center motor) pulls air though a custom radiator. Nick runs a gear-reduction starter from Mopar, vertex magneto rebuilt by Joe Hunt, and a Chevy generator. Pat McGuire from Wilcap provided the transmission adapter to tie the Hemi to a '64 Muncie M20. The four-speed, built at Ron's Transmission Service in Anaheim, has a 10 1/2-inch clutch. A custom driveshaft from Driveline Specialties turns the 3.78 gears in a '57 Ford 9-inch limited slip rearend.
Nick added a Chassis Engineering '34-style X-member and custom quarter-inch steel plate crossmembers to the American Stamping '32 'rails, and built the motor mounts, headlight stands, F-1 shock mounts, hairpins, and other suspension and steering parts. What didn't get painted was chromed. In the front, the grille shell conceals the SAC leaf springs mounted with a modified suicide perch. The Mor-Drop Ford axle has a 4-inch drop and is drilled with 11/16-inch holes. Nick made a set of custom batwings to fit the axle and the hairpin radius rods. The front and rear shocks are from Pete & Jake's. The '40 Ford spindles were switched left to right. Brakes are '40 Ford in front and Pete & Jake's in the rear with a late-'50s to early '60s Chevy truck master cylinder. The Schroeder 10:1 steering box is mounted by a fabricated roll hoop. In the rear, the 'rails are Z'd up several inches. The rear suspension includes '36 wishbones, antiroll bar, and Panhard bar. The '36 rear springs feature a custom main leaf from Deaver Spring in Santa Ana, California. Lower shock mounts were custom made from early Ford steering arms. The rear axles were drilled out to fit early Ford bolt pattern. Nick made a flange to fit a N.O.S. aircraft filler cap from a '54 Constellation (possibly from a de-icing tank) to a Model T gas tank.
Wheels & Tires
A narrow tread and wide white sidewalls is exactly the authentic tire the gold roadster needs. Nick wrapped 6.50-16 and 7.50-16 Firestone bias-plies around chromed 16-inch Ford sedan wheels.
Body & Paint
The body is original '29 Model A steel, repaired after some past fire damage and typical neglect. Nick's performed a lot of bodywork, but kept it all very low-key-shaving the handles (except the trunk handle), radiusing the perimeter of the interior edge to keep the upholstery below the body lines, and channeling the body 1 inch over the 'rails. The Hallock windshield frame and cowl were curved to fit together perfectly. The Deuce grille shell was sectioned 3 1/2 inches to match the proportions of the car. The taillights are '46-48 Ford. The vintage BLC sealed-beam headlights were popular aftermarket parts during the '40s and '50s. These are mounted on fabricated stands. Mario Cazare did the skin finishing. Nick picked House of Kolor Goldmine Gold to give the roadster a timeless finish. Gary Gastmeyer shot the paint.
It took a lot of imagination to come up with an interior as deceptively simple-looking as this. Nick designed the seats so that the bottoms are split by the driveshaft hump, but the full bench-style back is retained. He took his concept drawings to Eddie and Sons in Bellflower, California, where the seat frames were padded and covered with Arctic White Spinneybeck full-grain leather. The stitched rolls were kept flat in keeping with the old-time hot rod look. Notice how the Deuce-style dash was pie-cut and curved to follow the lines of the cowl, and then welded to the cowl to form a single seamless piece. Stewart Warner Wings gauges were the perfect choice to fill the instrument panel. The two-spoke wheel is from a '49 Chris Craft boat, restored to new condition. Finally, Nick shifts gears with a cool-looking extended T&F shifter, top mounted near the firewall.