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Old 06-07-2010, 10:40 PM   #1
Tommy R
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Default Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Hey y'all,

I've been a hot rod fan since I was a little kid growing up in the mid-late '70s. Before I even knew what the word "vintage" meant, I knew those were the kinds of cars I liked. However, I grew up in a family in which no one knew how to work on cars. Kinda sucked. After college I began road racing and occasional drag racing, which required that I learn how to wrench on cars. Over the last 15 years I've been on a crash course learning things I should've learned years before. Better late than never!

I raced/modified cars for years and have built/offroaded 4x4s, too. Why not a hot rod? Well, it wasn't 'til about 10 years ago I realized people actually built vintage style cars. Sad, huh? I wanted to build one right then, but I lacked the experience and the money so the build never materialized. But I continued to attend the Round Up each year (since '04, the same year I joined the HAMB) but it was always bitter sweet to walk the grounds among those cars. I loved it, but it was painful to look at the cars knowing I couldn't build mine.

Fastforward to now... I've got some good wrencing/fabrication experience. I've got a small garage that's fairly well outfitted with tools. And the money.....well, it's a bit better, but let's just say this will definitely be a budget build. The point is I think I am in a position to finally build my dream car. Fortunately, my "dream car" is rather humble compared to most. I just want a hot rod Model A coupe. It doesn't need a Hemi or flattie. It doesn't need to be 100% period correct. It doesn't need to be a show winner. I don't even care if it turns heads. I'll finally have my hot rod and that's all that matters.

A few months ago I started searching high and low for a body to get started. I finally found the right candidate on ebay. It's a 1930 A coupe body with fenders/running boards and it includes a set of Speedway Deuce rails. I won the auction and that weekend I took a roadtrip from Austin to Kansas and brought it home. I nearly made the entire round trip in one day 'cause I was so pumped with adrenaline! Fortunately, my buddy Jason (modernbeat) made the trip with me and we talked about my plans the whole way there and back.

So the plan? In a nutshell, I guess my goal is to have a traditional style hot rod that is reliable for road trips, has 400-450 hp, and while it won't be "era correct", it will certainly look like a traditional hot rod at a glance. Modern concessions will be a SBC motor, possibly backed with an O/D trans, and it may run radials. A lot of this is undecided and will be influenced by the kinds of deals I come across. It'll get paint, but like everything else with this car, I plan to do it myself so don't expect much. Some cars that are my main influences are Rolf's, Bass', Ford's, and Tindal's coupes. Mine will not be anywhere near as nice as any of them, but hopefully it'll cast a similar shadow...

I finally now have enough "stuff" in the garage to justify starting a build thread. So grab a beer and follow along as this very average joe takes on the biggest challenge of his life. And if you have any suggestions or criticisms along the way, let me know. That's the main reason I'm posting this build thread here!

Here's a few pics...
















In this thread I learned that the car apparently had a layer of roofing tar applied to the top at some point. I'm sure that'll be fun to remove. But other than some subfloor, fender liner, and rear quarter rot, it's very solid.
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Last edited by Tommy R; 06-08-2010 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:55 PM   #2
117harv
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Great intro and you definently have CLEAN raw material to start with.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:59 PM   #3
Tommy R
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

The car came with very nice fenders and running boards and a hood, but I'll sell all of that stuff to fund the rest of the build.


So my first course of action is to get the chassis rolling. I picked up a pair of spreader bars for the Deuce rails so it could be put together. Then some friends came over so I could do a very preliminary mockup. No, it won't be running little trailer tires in front or 35" mudders in the back!


Yes, I had to sit in it and make engine noises. I'll spare y'all those pics, though!


Some of the fancy bondo work that was done on the right quarter.




I plan on running split bones, a 4" drop axle, and drums all around. So I scored this '40 Ford front end from a local hot rod guru here in Austin. I'll start tearing things down to check everything, but it looks pretty good. Very recently this axle was under a running car with only 40k miles on it before it went under the knife for the street rod treatment. I'll put it to good use! I plan on using the wishbone (split), the spindles, hubs, and brakes....and whatever else I can re-use!








Now I'm on the hunt for a 4" drop axle, spring perches, and a front cross member. I'm not sure if it matters if I get a Deuce or A front member. Seems people use them interchangeably. Of course, before I tack the cross member into place I need to make sure I leave enough firewall-to-grill clearance so I don't have to hack up the firewall TOO much for distributor access... So that means more mock ups.
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

I was wondering when you'd start this thread.

Does anyone know if Tommy can use the frame measurements in the Bishop book for the flathead mounts in a Deuce frame to stick a SBC with a Hurst front mount into the car without having to hack the firewall for the distributor?
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by 117harv View Post
Great intro and you definently have CLEAN raw material to start with.
Thanks! Definitely looking forward to the build....


Quote:
Originally Posted by modernbeat View Post
I was wondering when you'd start this thread.

Does anyone know if Tommy can use the frame measurements in the Bishop book for the flathead mounts in a Deuce frame to stick a SBC with a Hurst front mount into the car without having to hack the firewall for the distributor?
Thanks, Jason! Yeah, that'd be very helpful info. for sure.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:37 AM   #6
Tommy R
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

And here's a couple items for motivation. I picked up a '30 TX plate which I'll use and I figured after being a member here for 6 years I should finally become an Alliance Member. The parts discounts don't hurt none, either!
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Love your plan for this one Tommy.I think we're on the same wavelength!I.E. low budget,use what you've got,trad style.
Looking forward to see this one take shape.Good luck with the build.
Mark.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by modernbeat View Post
I was wondering when you'd start this thread.

Does anyone know if Tommy can use the frame measurements in the Bishop book for the flathead mounts in a Deuce frame to stick a SBC with a Hurst front mount into the car without having to hack the firewall for the distributor?
Seems like a lot left to chance there. I think I would just wait until I had all of the parts and mock it up.

Good to see you around.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:18 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Looking forward to seeing this take shape!
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Looks like your well on your way.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Most of the aftermarket front crossmembers today are of the model"A" type. The difference, and what led to the thought of interchangeability, was that they fit the same spaces. The Model "A" has about one inch less drop than the thirty two style, and actually drops the car by about one inch. Oldest trick in our playbook! So now you know... By the way, I'm with Kevin Lee - don't even think of engine placement and mounts until everything is where it should be. I would personally put the front crossmember in the stock thirty two location, moved forward has a tendency to make a Model "A" bodied car look nose heavy. Also, the extra three inches of wheelbase in the thirty two frame should be enough for a small block chevy to fit nicely. Chip Quinn
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

It's hard to beat a chopt A coupe on deuce rails!!! Nice start!!!
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

cant wait to see more progress!!!
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Lee View Post
Seems like a lot left to chance there. I think I would just wait until I had all of the parts and mock it up.

Good to see you around.
I've always been around. I've just been busy building racecars and restoring a house. Catch me at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb from June 20-27 this year.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

I must be the only weirdo that likes the mud tires lol
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

love your plans and enjoy! Are you stuck on a SBC? I have a Flatie in mine and couldn't be happier. I'm certainly not making the HP numbers you wanted, but it's just a cool power plant. Everybody wants to talk about it. It has a unique sound. And contrary to what some think it's very reliable and it runs cool (170 on 90+ degree days over 3 hours runs at 65mph). Just saying if you don't already have a SBC it's something to consider. Are you going to chop the top any?
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Tommy, I am building a Model A Coupe on 32 rails. I am using a Hurst mount & sbc. I did not have to modify the firewall at all & have pleanty of room. I would be happy to send you picts & some measurements if it would help. Byron
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Quote:
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I must be the only weirdo that likes the mud tires lol
A '30 coupe mud buggy?! That would be unique!
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

Great start. Looking forward to watching your progress.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:36 PM   #20
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Default Re: Tommy R Attempts to Build a Hot Rod Model A

looks like you have got a solid piece to start with have fun
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