Roy Fjastad is no stranger to hot rods. Having been involved with them throughout his working life, first at The Deuce Factory with his dad, brother Carl, and sister Lisa, in the '70s, and now on his own at his West Coast Street Rods shop in Huntington Beach, California. Though he's probably built around 35 complete '32 Fords over the years, he'd always wanted a '28-29 on Deuce 'rails.
While he certainly knows his way around a '32 chassis, this one is modified so much it's nothing like any he's previously put together. As he tells it, "I took a lot of measurements and built a frame jig specifically for this project. I wanted to channel the body 2 inches without cutting into the sheetmetal, so I pulled in the 'rails where needed to clear the body, then fully boxed them before kicking them up 4 inches in the rear." Actually this isn't strictly true, as Roy cut off the rear of the chassis and made new rear framerail sections that look as though they're stamped stockers, but are raised 4 inches. "I wanted the back low but with suspension that worked properly. I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted the car to look, which was as low as I could get it without having problems getting in and sitting comfortably." Roy admits getting the car low enough without Z'ing the rear or opting for a suicide frontend was one of the most challenging parts of the build. "I wanted it traditional looking without sacrificing safety. I want my frontend to stay on at 80 ... er, 65 mph!"
Though Roy found a really beat-up, rusted-out '29 to start the project, this soon made way for a really nice body that was sourced through a friend. Seems the owner already had a neat hot rod and figured enough was enough, so he offered this one for sale. "It was in real good shape," Roy says. "I cut out all the spot welds and disassembled every panel and then stripped them. Erik Hansson at Scandinavian Street Rods made new fenderwell panels to my pattern, then I fabricated the returns and hammer-welded them in place. The floor is now 14-gauge steel and 0.100-inch 4130 chromoly plate that my dad had laying around for a race car project that never materialized. The idea was to eliminate any support bars under the floor, allowing a little extra legroom in such a small car."
With all this work in the floor and lower sections of the body, it almost seems an afterthought to mention it's chopped 2 1/2 inches in the front and 2 inches in the rear. The '32 grille shell and insert were shortened a few inches to line up with the '29 cowl, Roy taking the opportunity to modify the bottom of the shell a little. "I tried to combine the '32 Ford and the '29 sedan with several parts from each, which explains the A29BA32 license plate," he says.
Owning a rod shop has its advantages too, as after "rod"-storing a '48 Mercury woodie, Roy found himself with the steering column, column shifter, front spindles, and backing plates that were now surplus to requirements. They didn't take long to find a new home on the '29. Likewise the headlights, which came off a customer's '32 sedan during its rebuild. Roy thinks they're originally '36 items, but isn't sure. It's not all 1-800-number rodding at Roy's shop either. "I found the 9-inch rearend in some guy's front yard. Seventy-five dollars got me a perfect width rearend, axles, and a third member core." The Father's Day swap meet brought forth Buick drums, while those are '49 F-1 pickup gauges in the dash, which is now a combination of the front of the stock '29 gas tank and a '32 recessed oval section minus the insert.
Roy's a firm believer in driving his hot rods, and while he builds them to look right they have to be safe on the road. The day he fired the sedan delivery for the first time he drove straight to the Goodguys show at Del Mar, then Santa Maria for the West Coast Kustoms event, followed by the Primer Nationals, and everywhere else in between. "This is probably the most fun car I've built for myself. It looks bitchin', and runs hard and safe. If I did anything over I'd add more horsepower, but having had one of those rear Firestones blow out at 70 mph on the freeway, maybe the 290-horse crate 350 is just fine! If only I could buy tires that look exactly like the Firestones but handle like radial!"
Huntington Beach, California
1929 Model A Sedan Delivery
A new 290hp crate 350 sits between the framerails, fed by a 600-cfm Holley on an Edelbrock manifold, and flanked by high-temp-coated mild steel headers fabbed by Roy's own fair hand, feeding a stainless system, also by Roy. An MSD distributor and 8mm black wires light the fire, while a brass Walker radiator keeps the engine temperature down. Roy listed the engine dress-up as "rattlecans", but we know he ground the block smooth, and painted it semigloss black, as well as making his own air cleaner top and modifying those finned valve covers to read "del rock". A good ol' TH350, rebuilt by Tim Deal Transmissions, delivers the power to the 9-inch rearend.
Starting with a pair of American Stamping 'rails, Roy pinched them just enough for the body to drop over them by 2 inches, re-made the rear section to kick up by 4 inches, boxed the 'rails, added a tube crossmember from his brother, Carl, at The Deuce Frame Company, and notched the underside of the 'rails up front for leaf-spring clearance. A Magnum dropped I-beam was located on Deuce Frame Company hairpins, with an antiroll bar from the same source. The '48 Merc spindles and brakes, with Buick drums, operate courtesy of a Corvette-style 1-inch bore master cylinder and Deuce Frame Company pedal assembly. The 9-inch rearend was hung on Pete & Jakes ladder bars and Aldan coilovers, with a Panhard bar and antiroll bar from The Deuce Frame Company.
Wheels & Tires
There are 16x4 Ford steelies sitting at each corner, painted semigloss black to match the body and chassis. Matching Firestone "Gum Dip" bias-plies from Coker provide contact with the blacktop, 500-16s at the pointy end and 750-16s at the blunt end.
Body & Paint
After disassembling every panel, stripping and reassembling the body, Roy channeled it 2 inches, wedge-chopped it 2 1/2 to 2 inches front to rear, added custom wheelwells, a '32 cowl vent, and chopped the grille and insert. The gas tank was cut away and its front panel modified with a section from the center of a '32 dash. The rear side windows were then paneled in to create a pseudo-delivery minus the rear door. All new wood was installed and a stock-type roof covering added by Costa Mesa Auto Upholstery. As well as prepping the body, Roy also shot the PPG semigloss black, then had Phil Whetstone of Miracle Design add his company name to the side panels. A fabricated rear bumper incorporating '37 Ford taillights brings up the rear.
A '48 Mercury steering column and integral shifter were shortened to fit the confines of the '29, while '49 F-1 pickup gauges were modified to fit in the '32 recessed oval in the dash. There are no interior panels, thus showing off the new wood framework. Black carpet covers the footwells, while the bucket seats were procured from Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's son Charlie, and wear the same vinyl upholstery that they came with, originally from some long-forgotten coupe owned by the Roth family. A '32 cowl vent takes care of A/C, an American Autowire harness was installed by Jeffrey Huntoon, and Juliano's seatbelts keep Roy secured while surviving high-speed rear tire blowouts!