Model A’s…in Moderation?
Chances are you’ve probably heard that quote about everything in moderation, including moderation. It can be applied across the board, and it’s especially fitting in the world of hot rods and custom cars. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a pair of Model A’s that are variations on that age-old concept best known as “less is more.”
First and foremost, we have Art Wagner’s ’29. The Redondo Beach, California-based roadster is a traditional hot rod through and through, from its stock body/fender combination to its whitewall-wrapped steelies. And yes, there’s the powerplant. No flathead or Jimmy or Olds or Pontiac here—this little A-Bone is banger-powered all the way. Although it wasn’t setting any records out on the 1,320, the engine compartment was detailed to the hilt. Highlights include a Miller-Schoenfield overhead cam, dual carb manifold and a pair of Strombergs complete with frogmouth scoops. Neat!
Other than the removal of the hood and spare tire, the car is stock bodied. He brought down the nose with a dropped axle and upgraded to ’40 Ford juice brakes front and rear. It appears as if a banjo of similar vintage was put into service out back, too. Inside, the simple black Naugahyde nicely contrasts the white top. The charm of Mr. Wagner’s roadster lies in its originality. Is it a Resto Rod? Maybe so, but I’d prefer to call it a mild hot rod.
Over in Pacific Grove, Warren Freedlun, also built a ’29 Model A for the street. He too retained full fenders, bumpers and opted to keep the distinct Model A grille shell. Dropped axle? Check. Beefed up rear suspension? Check. Banger? Not by a long shot. You see, Warren was a student of the new school; he dropped a 283cid Chevy between the rails. The smallblock was equipped with an array of hi-po componentry, including a Clay Smith Cam, Corvette valves, a sextuplet of Strombergs and a Vertex Magneto.
With bright red paint and brand new American Le Mans mags, some may argue that Mr. Freedlun’s machine wasn’t mild at all. That’s your call. Either way, more than half a century after they first hit the street, these two ’29s make a splendid pair. And so the question is, which would you rather have for the weekend? I’m leaning towards the later, but maybe I’m a little new school as well.
Photos from Trend’s Custom Hot Rods, 1963