To really appreciate the genesis and evolution of Peter Lansing's cool '30 Ford five-window, you need to understand the Mr. Potato Head concept, a design plan perfected by General Motors Corporation. Perhaps the shining example of what not to do when designing a car by committee is Pontiac's Aztek.
Had you or I been a fly on the wall when the GM committee was called in to develop the Aztek, we might have witnessed a scene that went something like this: J.B., head of Design, Marketing, and Federal Loan Acquisitions, summons his underlings to the conference room. "Gentlemen, the Pontiac division needs a new car. I want styling sketches in here before lunchtime today. Herkomer Schizmiester, you design the roofline and wheels. Clem," he turns to his faithful righthand man, "as always you'll be in charge of placing the headlights and turn signals in a totally unorthodox and meaningless place." And so it goes until each man has his allotted task. "OK," continues J.B., "I need this before lunch, so no decaf today. Better grab a cup of leaded joe and get to it."
Each "stylist" heads for his personal work cubicle, and true to form they emerge in time for the pre-lunch meeting. History tells us that the car was an abomination, but that's only half the story. Naming the critter proved its folly. Our fly on the wall reports as J.B. brings the meeting to its conclusion: "Now we need a name for the car," he tells his brood. Clem speaks for the design team. "Ah, J.B., we already have that covered." He pauses to tend to an invisible fleck of dust on his sleeve. "Since everyone in this room had a hand in the design-that's everyone from Andover to Zeilke," he says for J.B.'s benefit, "we decided on Az."
J.B.'s brow furrows. "We can't name it that. People might get the wrong idea when they say the word." Clem and company respond with perplexed looks as J.B. continues: "Think about it: Azzzzz." And they all nod in accordance, understanding J.B.'s inference.
"Ah," chimes a meek voice from the far corner, "Mr. J.B., what about giving it a high-tech name. Say, Aztech?"
J.B. thinks for a moment. "I like it! But make it cute. We spell it A-z-t-e-k." Nods of approval fill the room. Mission accomplished- time for lunch. "Great," J.B. says. "Now let's go to lunch."
It's not often that we see a rumble seat in a hot rod anymore but this one has a neatly up
Clem seizes the opportunity, "I feel like an Angus burger," he says for all to hear. J.B.'s booming voice echoes through the room: "I know a great Angus hole-in-the-wall downtown. Follow me, men." And thus was born the Aztek, perhaps the sorriest-looking car to roll out of Detroit.
Fortunately, Peter Lansing's Model A was designed by men with better credentials. The car emerged as a chopped hot rod from somewhere back east when Donnie Hoffman, a rodder in the Denver area, acquired it. The car was yellow and had a 350/350 combo drivetrain. Gary Williams eventually painted the coupe its current retro-metallic green color, and somewhere along the line it rolled into Masterpiece Rods & Customs in Denver for a makeover. Gary Vahling owned Masterpiece at the time, and anybody who knows Vahling also knows that he, indeed, has a master's touch when building a traditional-style hot rod.
In went the late-model Flattie V-8 coupled to a C4 auto trans. A dropped front axle replaced the oh-so-'80s IFS system, and Vahling and company tended to other bits and pieces to give the car its cool traditional rod stance. All that was left was to trim the interior, which is when Peter stepped into the picture. Peter has a nice collection of restored '50s cars, but he was in the market for a car with attitude. The chopped Model A was the answer, and he drove it home to his collection. There he commissioned Joe Haska to detail the car and chase down a retro interior, which he did with Mike Rich at Sew Fine Interiors.
The five-window is powered by a '53 Merc Flathead sporting 276 inches and topped off with
You gotta love those cutouts poking out from the splash aprons-very '50s.