The reasons people get hooked on hot rodding are wide-ranging, but in many cases, it's that somebody saw an incredibly cool car and said, "I wanna build a hot rod like that!" Eight-year-old Bruce Bunker was in the right place (a house with an older brother who was into cars) at the right time (early '60s) when the bug bit him. He's been involved in the hobby for the 40 years since. In that time, he's owned a '57 Chevy, '40 Ford, '50 Chevy, '30 pickup, and a few other toys. Then, a few years ago, he began thinking about the rods he'd seen around his neighborhood as a kid--chopped and channeled, radical and retro--and decided he wanted to build a hot rod like that.
A good-condition all-steel '30 sedan body became the starting point for the project. A lot of the ideas for the design of the car were worked out with help from Bruce's nephew, Jeff Gilger. You probably remember Jeff from the January '03 R&C. His gold-and-orange-metalflake '61 Buick LeSabre (built with help from Bruce) earned him the Young Gun of the Month pick in that issue. Anyway, Bruce tells us that Jeff is the "concept guy" and he's the craftsman. Together (with help from Bruce's 86-year-old father, Willard Bunker, who assisted when needed and checked progress daily), they had the sedan done in about a year.
From spreader bar to club plaque, there isn't an inch of this car that isn't remarkable. The body was channeled with the Z'd custom rails completely underneath (as opposed to running through) the car. Even the small-block Chevy mill, with six Strombergs and custom stacks, competes with the rest of the car in the looks department.
Bruce finished the sedan early last year, just in time for northeastern Ohio's short cruising season, when he drove it daily. One of his rides was to the Goodguys Nats in Columbus, where R&C gave the A one of our Riz's Pick awards and took these photographs in hopes that people will look at this incredibly cool A sedan and say, "I wanna build a hot rod like that!"
'30 Ford Model A Sedan
The engine is not only as stunning-looking as the rest of the car, it was built for performance, as well. It's a 10.5:1-compression Chevy 350 small-block with Lunati cam and lifters and '62 Corvette fuelie cast-iron heads, shaved and decked with Edelbrock finned valve covers. The intake manifold is also from Edelbrock. A six-pack of Stromberg 97s, rebuilt by Vintage Speed, are topped with stacks built by James Maund. Two-inch Sanderson Lime Fire headers handle the exhaust. A stock Turbo 350 transmission and converter spin torque to a Ford 9-inch limited-slip diff via a handbuilt driveshaft.
The sedan sits over 3x4-inch custom Deuce rails, modified by Ron Shaffer in Akron. The handbuilt frame has been Z'd 9 inches in the front and rear. A 4-inch-drop I-beam front axle from Super Bell puts the car even closer to the pavement. Spindles are from a '40 Ford. Brakes are '61 Buick finned drums with '40 Ford backing plates, wheel cylinders, and shoes. Other front suspension components include the hairpins, Panhard bar and antisway bar, leaf springs, and chromed shocks. It's a handbuilt four-bar setup in the rear, along with buggy springs and drums.
Wheels & Tires:
Bunker's A rolls on Radir Tri Rib five-spokes, 15x4s and 15x8s, front and rear. Those wide-whitewall bias-ply tires are Coker Classic rubber: 5.60-15 skinnies in front and L78-15 fatties in the rear.
Body & Paint:
The body is a steel Model A, chopped 5 inches and channeled 9 1/2 inches over the frame. The white vinyl top looks cool and adds an illusion of greater lowness to the body, while the drilled visor accentuates the length. To keep the proportions right, Bruce sectioned 7 inches out of the Wescott '32 grille shell. Headlights are commercial '33 Ford lamps; taillights are '50 Pontiac blue dots. When the owner-applied House of Kolor Copper was dry, Gary "Gorgo" Gilger of Signature Studios in Warren added the she-devil graphics and pinstriping.
Immaculate work on the inside matches the rest of the car. Dale Boggs from Warren covered the interior (including the custom buckets) in cream-colored vinyl with copper-colored piping. The carpet is copper and the headliner is finished in cream. Kenny's Rod & Kustom in Newton Falls, Ohio, worked the '32 Ford dash, pinstriped and filled with VDO instruments. The Moon deep-dish steering wheel spins on a tilt column from ididit. The Lokar Nostalgia shifter is capped with a big ol' skull shifter knob that Jeff Gilger came up with. "He picks these up all over the place," Bruce says. "I just took it out of his hand and said, 'I'm using it.'"