Growing up in Indianapolis near the world's most famous racetrack gave Denny Jamison an early appreciation for the tough and handsome craftsmanship of Indy cars. As a kid he remembers Tom Carnegie, the voice of the Indianapolis 500, calling the race, "And he is on it!" Those formative experiences led Denny to pursue a career in automotive repair, specializing in metal forming and restoration. He also learned the enduring lesson that good looks and reliable performance are always a winning combination. But sometimes it can be a long wait to get across the finish line. Denny's '29 Ford Model A tub is a great example of style, skill, appreciation for heritage, and, most of all, patience.
Denny's tub came into his life about 20 years ago as a complete '29 Model A Tudor purchased for $500 from a buddy who had brought it back from North Dakota. The low price reflected the shape of a large tree, which had crushed the roof but left the metal below the beltline reasonably intact. Though he is a master with the hammer and dolly, the only hope he saw for this car was to lop off the top and disassemble the remaining pieces. His initial thought was to slap it back together with a small-block, primer the body, and make it a just-for-fun driver. With projects coming through the door, the responsibility of running his business and taking care of his kids, the tub body got shunted off to one corner of the shop, and then another. His shop at one time might contain a couple classic roadster-era Indy cars, European sports cars, dealership-referred Rolls-Royces, a '34 five-window coupe hot rod project, a Whizzer bike, and a rare early model Ferrari that Enzo himself laid hands to-all waiting on Denny's expert touch.
Years passed with fits and spurts of progress on his tub. Denny could never seem to get the triangulation of shop space, time, and money to come together. But the tub project always remained in his thoughts; a personal work of art coming together on a mental canvas in the back of his mind. Moreover, he wanted to build something with shiny paint and exquisite trim that would show proper respect to the spirit of Henry Ford and to the car itself.
Fast forward to 2009. Denny's shop, Automotive Hammer Art, had expanded to two units and business was going well. That year he and his wife, Susie, were walking around the Street Rod Nationals when she made a comment about how much she liked pinstriped louvers. That flipped the switch for Denny and he committed himself to getting his tub completed by the 2010 Nats, even if it meant some customers' cars would have to wait.
His original conception was to do the car in black with apple green wheels. A customer came in with a two-tone blue scheme for his car and the palette was changed. The final color choice came about by chance during the frame assembly. The wheel bearings came in a bright orange box. When Denny happened to lay the box on the already-painted framerails he immediately changed his mind about the final color scheme. It turned out to be the perfect choice. The tan and orange pinstriping on the louvers tie the interior color together with the rest of the car.
The tub body has several subtle modifications executed flawlessly by Denny. The grille shell has been sectioned 1/2 inch to give it a slight rake and adorned with a nose badge from a Fiero Indy pace car. The hood latches are stainless steel one-offs. The very tidy windshield frame is made from streamline tubing, the same used to make control arms for Indy cars. The doors are narrowed from the sedan style to the more slender roadster thickness to flow better from the cowl to the B-pillar. The rear bustle is all hand-formed with the seams removed. The quarter-panels have been shortened 4 inches to pull the cab back and make a longer-than-stock 33-inch hood. The rear of the cab hides a hand-formed aluminum gas tank and a battery under the tonneau cover.