Written By Scott Lachenaur, for Hot Rog Magazine
For your consideration. A 1929 Model A roadster…unlike any other you've seen. This project is a culmination of an idea that was hatched a few years back; to build a mahogany bodied roadster in the vein of the classic '32 deuce design; keeping with the traditional design cues, and using period correct vintage parts to bring it to life. This stunning hot rod starts out with a '29 frame which was taken down to bare metal, cleaned up and then Z'd 2” in the rear. Up front there is a 2” drop, along with a custom cross member. The frame was also boxed near the motor mounts for added durability. It was then coated in farm equipment paint for durability.
From here it's a traditional AV8 build. The '31 Banjo rear was restored and early 40's juice brakes were added for stopping power. A modern twist; an electronic line-lock was added out back for an emergency brake for added safety. Custom front and rear shock mounts came next to cradle the vintage chrome shocks. For “motor-vation”, this roadster is pushed by a '49 8BA flathead, sporting Offenhauser heads and dual carb intake. Dual “Super 7” carbs feed this beefy mill and they are covered in a totally custom wood air cleaner. The detail is apparent, with each rib custom cut from strips of mahogany and laid to look like “cast” wood. This hot rod is now running on a 12 volt system.
The roadster is shifted by a '39 Ford transmission which has been completely rebuilt. An electronic ignition lights the spark and S.S. exhaust headers and pipes give this hot rod a triumphant tone of a true traditional. A reissue '32 radiator keeps it all cool. The shell is a “faux” painted '32 shell. It's hard to tell unless you're up close as even the wood plugs and mahogany tone were matched to perfection. A '32 horn, original straight axle and '29 headlights finish off the look up front.
The interior was scratch made including the bench seat and door panels which are covered in soft vinyl. The top frame is custom made from white oak and covered in canvas. All upholstery work was hand stitched and done by the legendary Tim Paddock out of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. The banjo steering wheel is finished in ¼ sawn white oak joined by dovetail biscuit joints to match the top battens. Stewart Warner gauges are planted in the custom mahogany dash. F-1 foot pedals, custom drag link and '51 Chris Craft steering box finish out the interior. The engine is fed by a 15-gallon fuel cell out back. This car rides on 16” '34 wheels with custom '33 “faux” painted hubcaps. Rubber is re-pop Firestone Bias Plies; 450 fronts and 750 rears for a little rake.
Now to the body. It's hard to put into words the amount of time and effort it takes to make something like this happen. It doesn't happen overnight, or a week, month or even a year. It takes years of daily work from skilled hands. The builder has restored vintage wood boats over the last 25 years, and cut his teeth doing shop time along with Don Benjamin and Steve White through Wooden Boat Magazine and has won numerous awards for his boat restorations. From planning, supplying and execution it's a mammoth undertaking. And when the results are this good, well It makes it all worth the effort.
It started with measuring and detailing a '32 roadster body, drawing up plans around what can and can't be done in wood. After a layout was put together, then the proper materials are sought and bought. Only the choicest mahogany was brought in for the “hero” planking, the outer layer which would make this roadster look like no other. The builder also needed a good supply of choice white oak and popular to build the “frame” of the body and give this piece structure.
Going by design, the sub-structure was laid out to plan, setting the stage for the planking that would give this ride the wow factor. To start, the Mahogany planks were cut and sistered; that is each plank is cut in two, each retaining the same grain pattern. These are “bookmatched” and placed at the same point on corresponding sides of the roadster body. That is basically, the planks diverge from the centerline down the back of the roadster, each left and right plank bearing the same grain. This continues all the way down to the rockers, where, you guessed it, each grain pattern matches from left side to right side.
All planks are screwed and glued in place using the traditional techniques used in vintage wood boat construction, using modern stainless-steel fasteners and adhesives for durability. All screw holes are plugged and smoothed over. The body was then hand sanded to perfection. Then came 12 coats of satin Swedish Epiphanes marine varnish. After each coat the varnish was sanded to 400 grit with the final two coats getting 600 grit. The satin look is a classy proper finish on this traditional hot rod.
'31 Ford hardware was custom retrofitted into the wood doors. '50 Pontiac taillights add a hot rod touch to the rear. Another custom touch; classic barroom footrails form the rear bumper and front crossbar. To top it all off; a hand carved “Rhodester” emblem on the dash; a tribute to the builder's father.
Please Note: This is a Non conforming Vin.
- Engine Size
- Body Style
- Interior Color
- Center Console