Rod & Custom Feature Car
Rudi Hillebrand
North Hollywood, California
1931 Ford Model A Coupe

Rudi retained the original, but poorly modified, frame that came with the coupe when he bought it and cut it apart repeatedly, repaired the rust, filled the holes, and straightened and boxed it. The finished frame ended up Z'd 4 inches on both ends and stretched 4 inches. The front crossmember was moved 4 inches back and a new K-member was built from 3x3 tubing. A vintage 4-inch dropped axle with '40 juice brakes hangs on a Posies spring with split '39 Zephyr wishbones. An F-1 pickup 'box handles the steering. Out back a '58 Ford pickup 9-inch is suspended with homemade 43-inch ladder bars and a Model A spring.

The engine choice is critical if you're building a hoodless traditional hot rod, so Rudi went with a '49 Flathead bored and stroked to 268ci by H&H Flatheads. Once the machine work was done, Rudi and his buddy Rick Stine filled the block with a Mercury 4-inch crank with stock Merc rods, Egge pistons, and an H&H cam. Extra power and dress-up come from the Eddie Meyer aluminum heads and high-rise 2x2 intake. The 1- to 3-inch cone tapered lakes pipes were homemade. The transmission is an open-drive Ford pickup threespeed with a reworked stock shifter.

Wheels & Tires
A set of '40 Ford pickup 16-inch steelies were cleaned up and sprayed black and then wrapped in 6.00 and 7.00 Firestone wide whites.

Body & Paint
The body was unchopped and a bit rough when Rudi got his hands on it. It was missing the floor, so the decision to channel it 8 inches must have been a little easier. Rudi and his friend Nick O'Teen worked the body back to almost stock with the exception of the 4-inch chop and filled cowl. Once the body was ready, Nick sprayed the House of Kolor Maltise Maroon. The stock door and trunk handles, Guide headlights, repro '39 teardrops and engine-turned firewall provide the perfect complement to the flawless paint.

The stock dash was replaced with a Howell's Sheetmetal '32-style dash filled with Stewart Warner Wings gauges. The Ford F-1 column is held in place with a custom aluminum drop and topped with a Limeworks Speed Shop '39 Banjo wheel. Dave Martinez covered the custom bench seat and door panels in chocolate brown leather and the headliner in black worn leather. The channeled floor was sprayed in gray and black Duplicolor spatter paint, and engine-turned toeboards flank the exposed three-speed trans.