Rod & Custom Feature Car
La Crescenta, California
1930 Ford Model A Coupe
Some people were born to make history...others to simply repeat it. Some, however, were brought upon this earth to save history.
In 2006, entrepreneurial Flathead engine builder Mike Herman began on his journey to preserve iconic hot rod history when he purchased the Navarro brand of speed equipment from the man who created and perfected it in the first place, Barney Navarro. A year later, he took on the "resurrecreation" of the famed McCulloch blower, designing and creating a scratchbuilt modern version of the cherished Flathead horsepower inducer. And just recently, Mike further added to the H&H lineup by acquiring Sharp Speed Equipment.
Promoting his business the old-fashioned way—advertising—gets the job done, though it's not quite the same as getting your product out there in people's faces. But while hauling a trailer around the country packed full of Flatheads and Flathead speed equipment works, there's nothing quite like getting that product the "exposure" it needs than when it's actually attached to the mode of transportation it's intended for: a hot rod...more precisely, a stunning period-influenced Model A coupe.
Mike's 1930 Ford began to take shape shortly after his second child was born. A good friend by the name of Bob Gleim not only located the coupe, but wound up building it as well, in Bakersfield, California. Overshooting his two-year deadline by a mere month, Gleim pulled off his end of the build deal while, in between parts hustling and engine machining/assembling, Mike somehow managed to throw together a mill quite indicative of his company's "deal".
Starting with a solid (and complete) California-native Model A, Gleim rid the Ford of everything beyond the body proper. In place of the chassis went, as you can see, a 1932 frame that Gleim equipped with a hairpin-located SO-CAL 4-inch dropped axle bookended with Buick-drummed F-250 brakes. For the rear, Mike had Hot Rod Works take a Rodsville quick-change–equipped '40 banjo and update it with modern 9-inch axles that Gleim installed with a split 1940 wishbone and Model T buggy spring. Early Ford-style Gennies from Wheel Vintiques sporting Firestone bias rubber from Coker help set the stance with 4.75-16s up front and larger 700s in the rear.
The Flathead Mike chose to power his coupe is of 1950 vintage and currently sports a 284ci displacement. Using a Scat 4 1/8 stroke crank, the 8BA block was bored 3.31 inches and stroked 4.125 inches, then fitted with 7.5:1 Ross pistons and custom-grind cam. Externally, it wears a Carter WCFB-equipped four-barrel intake and Navarro cylinder heads. The induction is further enhanced with an original V-57 McCulloch blower. Ignition is handled by an original Mallory dual-point, charging via a polished PowerGen. Bakersfield's Rick Davis assembled the Camaro T5 trans, which utilizes a McCleod Racing clutch/flywheel and is mated to the engine with a Wilcap adapter.
Speaking of mating, when it came to uniting body with frame, Gleim decided to replace the Model A's entire subrail and floor section with that of 1932 origin in order to make a seamless fit. In the process, the wheelwells were re-formed to match the new underlying frame section. Furthermore, which you're sure to have already eyeballed, Gleim brought the coupe's profile down a couple notches with a 2-inch top chop (leaving the factory insert intact). Final bodywork was followed by the application of PPG single-stage black, which, in turn, was followed by 'striping and cowl decorating by Poor Boy's Hot Rods (La Habra, California). Finishing touch external accoutrements include a pair of OTB Gear headlights and 1940 Chevy taillights.
Once back down closer to Mike's La Crescenta home base, the coupe's last stop took it to Gabe's Custom Interiors in San Bernardino for a complementary oxblood leather upholstery job. Also featured, a LimeWorks 1940-style wheel with matched column turned stainless 1932-style dash insert fitted with Stewart-Warner gauges, Lokar manual shift lever, trans-mount e-brake, and 1940-style Chassis Engineering pedal assembly.
Since both of Mike's kids ride along in the coupe (frequently, though not at the same time!), Gabe not only installed a pair of Juliano's seatbelts, but incorporated child seat mounts as well. And those clever saddlebag door panel inserts—don't think Mike doesn't have to constantly check for leftover, well, "kid's" stuff.