Kevin Meyer and his wife, Pattie, are used to getting comments on their '50s traditional '29 roadster, but they weren't ready for the man who stopped them at a car show and said, "My dad's been looking for this car for 30 years." The fellow returned a few minutes later with an older man and a photo of the roadster taken more than three decades earlier.
The older man was Ray Noble, who was a teenager in 1956 when he saw a newspaper ad for the roadster and talked his dad out of $395 to buy it. By that time, the '29 body had already been channeled over the '32 rails, the frame Z'd in the rear, and the sheetmetal rolled underneath the rocker panel to look like a bellypan.
Ray continued to modify the roadster. He wanted a sports car look and got a local metalman to weld an inverted Buick turtle deck below the Ford deck. Chevy small-blocks were starting to show up in junkyards, so Ray replaced the flathead with a Corvette 265, adding three 97 carbs and an aluminum adapter plate for the '39 Top Loader transmission. Ray sold the roadster in 1960 and it disappeared.
In 1994, Kevin Meyer convinced his co-worker Dave Mayo to sell him the old Model A hot rod that had been in his garage, untouched and undriven, for 34 years. The car was a perfectly preserved example of a '50s hot rod, so Kevin decided not to change it a bit. He did, however, restore it to the way it had first been built. It didn't take long for Ray Noble to get the word that the old roadster had resurfaced. His recollections and photos confirmed that Kevin's renovation was spot on.
We met Kevin and Pattie at the NSRA Nats in Louisville last summer. Kevin put us in contact with Ray, who provided us with the roadster's history and a few vintage photos from its early days. We're printing one along with these recent photos to show how well Kevin restored this long-lost hot rod.
St. Louis, Missouri
'29 Ford Roadster
The '56 Chevy 265 motor was in great shape after 34 years of non-use. Kevin freshened it up, adding an Offenhauser manifold with the progressive-linkage Stromberg 97s that Ray built in the '50s, plus Hellings helmet-style air cleaners and the original Corvette valve covers. The cast manifold runs exhaust to Smithys mufflers. Kevin rebuilt the engine and transmission in his one-car garage.
Andy Clem in St. Louis straightened and rebuilt the boxed, bobbed, and pinched Deuce rails, and replaced the floor panels. The dropped and filled front axle and hairpins were added when Ray Noble owned the rod. The '32 rearend has 3.78:1 gears. Juice brakes stop all four wheels. After a lot of thinking, Kevin added an antisway bar to improve handling.
WHEELS & TIRES:
Wide whitewall bias-plies from Firestone (8.20-15s in back, 6.70-15s in front) are mounted on black 15-inch steelies with chrome center caps.
BODY & PAINT:
Ray Noble had photos from before and after the roadster was modified with an inverted Buick deck and Pontiac taillights. The chopped '29 windshield, chopped Deuce grille and shell, and early Dietz headlights are original body mods. Rod collector Kirk McCormick introduced Kevin to Dave Conrad, who did the bodywork, including hiding the decklid hinges. Kevin blasted off the old paint, and Dave shot black DuPont primer for a fresh finish.
Ray Noble added the '47 Merc dash and the homebuilt stainless steel shroud almost 50 years ago. Kevin says most of the Stewart-Warner bubble glass gauges--installed when the were new--still work. The steering wheel is an old Crosley wheel. Mutert's Detaling and Upholstery in Wentzville, Missouri, recovered the seats and interior panels in gold Naugahyde.