When walking a show like the NSRA Nationals or a major Goodguys event, with in excess of 10,000 cars present, it can become easy to walk right past one you'd normally spend a while looking at, as with so many similar versions on hand, they start to blend together. That's when a car with that indefinable "coolness" factor will jump out at you. It can be something as simple as stance, the perfect wheel and tire combination, trick little touches, a neat color, or the concept as a whole. We think you'll agree Jim Mayberry's 1931 Ford Model A ticks all those boxes and more.
If you know your Model As, it'll immediately be apparent that a lot of work went into making this unique body one that was never offered by the factory. Sure, it looks like it could have been a Victoria coupe, with those two doors and that forward-leaning rear panel, but it actually left Henry's plant as a Fordor sedan, and came into Jim's life through a friend's son in Ohio, though he'd bought it in South Carolina. It was little more than a roller; a body on a chassis with a 302 Ford motor and transmission. Jim saw the potential and immediately sold off everything except the body, engine, and trans, though he only used the body in the end, and not much of it at that!
The rear doors were welded shut, the fronts extended by 5 inches and converted to suicide operation, and new fenderwells and a firewall fabricated. The top perimeter of the "tub" all had to be made from scratch too, above the beltline molding, as well as carrying the rear fender bead into the lower rear panel and the fabricated rocker panels. That's a lot of work! The roof was discarded and a removable fiberglass version made to resemble a convertible top. When it came time to choose a color Jim says, "I wanted a color that my father had on a '63 Cadillac convertible. I liked that color a lot." Scott Sullivan made a fine job of matching the hue with a custom gold pearl mix.
Jim admits that the most challenging part of the project was modifying the body to what he and builders Scott Sullivan and Johnny Morris envisioned, and it's a credit to all involved that it turned out as nice as it did, especially when, by his own admission, Jim set out to build a "rat rod". That's a rat rod that placed in the Top 12 in the Pro's Pick category at last year's NSRA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, by the way!
In addition to the numerous custom touches that abound on Jim's A-'65 Galaxy gauge cluster, '39 Chevy taillights, rear nerf bars, and the custom center console to name a few-we'll bet the motor that replaced that 302 Ford was one of the things that swayed those Pro's Pick judges. The beautifully detailed Flathead displaces 255 ci, and was pulled from a '53 Merc. It in no way resembles a stocker nowadays, thanks to original Eddie Meyer heads and a same-make, high-rise inlet manifold and air cleaner, all polished of course. If this is Jim's idea of a "rat rod" we'd sure like to see what he'd turn out if he set his mind to building a detailed hot rod!