Tracy Turner had owned performance cars in the past, but when he and his wife, Laura, got back into the hobby, they decided to do it with something really cool and really fun. "I have always admired the simplicity of traditional hot rods and noticed that, at most of the shows I was attending, the people with these cars seemed to be enjoying themselves the most," he said.
After flipping through magazines and parts catalogs, Tracy concluded that, with a little planning, smart choices, and working on one section of the car while saving up for parts for another section, he could build a reliable, safe, and fun hot rod on a low-buck budget. And it was a $50 swap meet rearend that started the build on one of the coolest homebuilt Model As we've seen in a while.
Sometimes, his budget backfired, as in the case of a $180 small-block. Tracy rebuilt the top end, but he discovered some serious bottom-end problems when he finally fired it. "I was devastated, because I didn't have the cash to send out the short-block for a rebuild," he said. "But, when I got home the next day, I found a newly remanufactured short-block on the stand." Tracy's father-in-law, Steve Moody, had stepped in to help keep the project moving. "Thanks to him, I had a new bottom end rebuilt and painted, my top end installed, and the engine back in the car and running." Tracy's own father, Thurman Turner, also contributed to the project, donating a lot of the parts and lending a hand throughout the buildup.
The '29 Tudor body was a $1,000 purchase from the swap meet at the '03 Street Rod Nationals in Louisville. It was in good condition, with near-perfect doors and no major rust except for the subrails, which were removed when Tracy channeled the body.
That 4-inch channel plus a 4-inch chop gave the sedan a pure hot rod profile- and domino'd into a whole series of modifications. The grille shell was notched at the bottom to sit over the frame, keeping the proportions just right. Instead of recessing the firewall to fit the small-block, Tracy slid the body back 4 inches to keep the engine out in the open. The wheelbase stayed the same, so he pushed the wheelwells 4 inches forward. "The metal in the body was so nice I hated to cut it out only to turn around and replace it," he said. "So, I just cut a new arch, recessed the sheetmetal, and welded in strips to fill it in."
The sedan was ready to drive three years after Tracy bought the rearend that started the whole thing. "My daughter, Blaney, who is the reason this is a sedan and not a coupe, was 4 at the time and wanted the first family trip to be to go get ice cream. ever since, she has referred to the car as the Ice Cream getter."
Nowadays, the sedan is almost always going somewhere. "The longest trip was a 1,500-mile round trip to the Jalopy Showdown in Pennsylvania, just to hot-lap it on a muddy dirt track," Tracy recalled. "It's not uncommon to see it in the parking lot at the grocery store or the hardware store. If I don't drive it to work, my wife does. I drove it in the snow to go sledding with Blaney and parked it among the 4x4 SuVs."
Whether it's parked among SuVs or show cars, Tracy's Tudor is typically one of the coolest cars in the crowd. "I built it the way I wanted and the way I wanted it to look," he said. "I built what I consider a hot rod. I'll probably never sell this car. It may go through a few transitions during its life, but it will always remain a simple hot rod."