Cool rockabilly rod built right. 354-inch HEMI V8, automatic, dropped axle, chopped, channeled, wide whites. If you were there, this is how they were and if you’re looking for something that isn’t a garden-variety plastic catalog rod, you’ll love the way this one drives!
From the satin paint to the chopped top to the ’32 Ford grille shell, this Model A has a decidedly vintage look. Workmanship is better than you’d expect at this price, with an invisible top chop that fits together beautifully and doors that latch with precision. Up close, you’ll find other trick details like the unique scallops around the taillights and fuel filler that are actually molded into the steel to add some contrast. The top is properly finished with long-grain vinyl the way Henry did it and even the Model A’s cowl-mounted gas cap is still in place, although obviously no longer connected to the gas tank. Traditional pinstripe work highlights the Model A’s beltline trim, as well as a number of other details throughout. This car looks like it just drove out of 1958!
Unlike many other rods designed to emulate the past, this one has a completely finished interior that looks great and provides better than average comfort for cruising. A low-slung bench seat provides decent head room even in the chopped body, although you’ll have a legs-forward driving position that’s more MG than Model A. Handsome two-tone vinyl upholstery keeps the chopped bodywork from making it feel too dark inside and contrasting tan carpets look great and are nicely finished. A 1962 Oldsmobile steering wheel looks almost futuristic and the dash has been completely reworked now that there’s no gas tank to worry about. There is no back seat, but it’s upholstered to match and nicely finished, with an access panel for the hidden battery (there’s also an external pigtail for your battery tender).
But the real reason this car is special is up front, where you’ll find a vintage 354 cubic inch HEMI V8, built to run and tuned for the street. Topped with rare (and valuable) polished Mickey Thompson Hemi aluminum valve covers and cool copper paint that contrasts nicely with the green bodywork. On top there is a pair of vintage Strombergs on an equally vintage intake manifold of unknown origin, but it sure looks cool. A modified GM distributor lights it up and a tiny modern alternator provides plenty of juice for the minimalist Tudor. Beautiful chrome headers from Sanderson have baffles inside, so it’s not painfully loud but it’s certainly aggressive; fortunately there are provisions for a full exhaust system built right in, so if it’s more than you can handle that’s an easy option. A massive aluminum radiator has no problems keeping the great-running HEMI nice and cool and thanks to expert tuning, it starts easily, idles nicely, and drives like you’d hope it would. Who says you need a Chevy crate motor to drive your rod? In a sea of garden-variety hot rods and rat rods, this beautifully sorted engine makes this car stand out in a big way!
For the transmission, the builders chose a Hot Head adapter system so they could use a bulletproof GM TH350 3-speed automatic, and that’s probably a smart choice behind the warmed-over HEMI. Service is easy, parts are plentiful, and its reliability is legendary so it’s good that it’s in there. The original Model A frame has been reinforced and upgraded with custom cross-members and gussets for the new transmission, so it feels sturdy going down the road, not flimsy like a lot of these rods. The front suspension is a familiar dropped I-beam with a transverse leaf spring with the GM 10-bolt rear end hanging on trailing arms and another transverse spring. Very cool Buick finned aluminum drums up front add to the vintage rod look (have you priced those lately?) and there’s a transmission cooler built into the frame, which is kind of clever. Modest 3.50 gears mean it’s a decent cruiser even at highway speeds, although obviously you’re not going to drive this thing coast-to-coast (or are you just that kind of madman?). Fresh Rocket Racing polished aluminum wheels have a definite old-school look and sit on ultra-traditional wide whites.
This is not your average hot rod. It wasn’t built with parts from a catalog and it isn’t for doughy old guys who need power steering and A/C to feel at home. No, this is a rod built the way they were done when the hobby was still young and full of guys who were just making it up as they went along. It’s also proof that there’s a lot of fun to be had in a car that doesn’t play by the rules, because it’s just a blast to drive. If all that sounds like your cup of tea, give us a call because this rockabilly little Ford is ready to go! Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com