Rod & Custom Feature Car
1931 Ford Model A
Custom-built by Johnny Morris from 3x1 1/2-inch rectangular box section, the frame was stepped 3 inches in front and Z'd 10 inches in the rear, with a wheelbase of 106 inches; '32 framehorns were added to the front. Morris also fabricated the 12-gallon fuel tank in 16-gauge steel, hidden in the rear of the body. A dropped 'n' drilled Super Bell axle mounts '40 Ford spindles and Magnum disc brakes with custom-made covers. Jim mentioned that if there was anything he'd do differently, it'd be to use Buick drums on the front to match those on the '65 Mercury rearend. A '52 F-1 truck pedal assembly, early Mustang master cylinder, and chromed tubing complete the brake system. Polished aluminum friction shocks from Speedway Motors and a Pete & Jakes spring keep the hairpin-located I-beam from making contact with the chassis, with Pete & Jakes ladder bars and Panhard bar doing the same for the Aldan coilover-suspended rearend.
Automotive Machine Shop in Beaver Creek, OH, machined and assembled the '53 Merc Flathead, boring it 0.030-inch over for a 255ci displacement, and adding an Isky cam, along with the stock 4-inch stroke crankshaft and rods. A pair of Stromberg 97s sits high atop a polished Eddie Meyer intake, flanked by a pair of original Eddie Meyer heads. With a Joe Hunt Magneto and Sanderson Limefire headers containing Car Chemistry mufflers taking care of spark and exhaust, we've covered the complete four-stroke cycle! A three-speed trans from a '40 Ford truck backs the motor, selected for its open drive, enabling it to connect to the '65 Merc rearend through a regular driveshaft rather than the early Ford torque tube. The tranny was rebuilt to stock specs by Quality Machine in Dayton, OH, and connects to the back of the crank through a stock Merc clutch and flywheel.
Wheels & Tires
Jim went to Wheel Vintiques for a set of their solid steel wheels, in 16-inch diameter, 6 inches wide for the front and an inch wider in the rear, wrapping them in Coker whitewalls, which, despite their bias-ply appearance, are actually radials. They measure 550/16 and 750/16 front and rear respectively.
Body & Paint
Starting with an unfinished project Fordor sedan, Jim turned the body over to Scott Sullivan and Johnny Morris who between them added a '32 cowl vent, fabricated a new flat firewall, welded up the rear doors, and lengthened the fronts with suicide external hinges, added rocker panels, channeled the body 3 1/2 inches, and modified the upper edges of what was now a two-door tub. The windshield surround was chopped and a fiberglass top made to look like a folding convertible roof. A '32 grille was added before the body and chassis were sprayed in a custom-mixed gold pearl by Sullivan, who also tackled the pinstriping. S&H Chrome Plating and Powdercoating in Madison, TN, handled the extensive chroming on the frontend, engine, and numerous other parts.
The Model A's interior utilizes parts from numerous-year Ford models, creating a cohesive custom look. A '65 Galaxie dash dominates the view from same-year Mustang seats, with Classic Instruments gauges set in a one-off machine-turned insert by Malcolm B. The steering wheel is a LimeWorks '40 Ford item, along with a LimeWorks polished stainless column. The modified shifter is a '40 Ford truck item, reshaped and chromed. Rolled and pleated black and off-white vinyl covers the seats and door panels, with the headliner in matching off-white with black piping, all by Dennis and Shane Gambill of Dayton, OH. Johnny Morris used an American Autowire harness to hook everything up, including a Pioneer stereo.