So you've got this pile of old Model A parts lying around the shop. You know, the standard stuff we all have piling up in the corners of our man caves. Among the clutter are two rusty ol' rear quarter-panels leaning against the wall, a pair of equally rusting doors, and don't forget the banged-up cowl section stacked on top. What do you do with this man-size pile of stuff? If you've been reading Street Rodder magazine all these years, you know exactly what to do-you build a hot rod from that pile of ferrous castaways.
About 15 years ago that was the situation that Ron Beard, owner of Beard's Auto Works in Eugene, Oregon, found himself. Ron describes his business as a one-man shop, but a better description might be a "one-man army," because Ron did most of the work on this car himself. His friend Gary Wilson built the engine and AC Auto Upholstery trimmed the interior and trunk (both are also headquartered in Eugene). Also, the late Eric Sanders fabricated the custom gas tank, front hairpins, and helped set up the chassis. "He was a really, really neat guy," Ron says. "He was especially good with traditional cars."
A cool stance gives this Model...
A cool stance gives this Model A curbside appeal. The windshield posts were slanted back ever so slightly.
Otherwise, Ron did the remainder of the work to this full-fendered rod. "This was actually an ongoing project," Ron says about how the car went together. Speaking of which, that small pile of parts eventually grew to be a big pile of parts, and the manifest included the remnants of a coupe body. "I cut off the top," Ron says, "then chopped the windshield 4 inches and tilted it back 3 inches at the top." Thus was born his version of a custom Cabriolet. Removing the top necessitated fabricating new edges around the open cab-no easy task-and by the time Ron had the metalwork completed his wife suggested that it was time to get the car on the road.
The bucket seats-pirated from...
The bucket seats-pirated from a late-model Buick-were trimmed in leather for a rich, inviting look.
Armed with new orders, our one-man army marched into the shop, finished the chassis that was based on a Chassis Engineering frame, slipped the rebuilt small-block into place, and made sure the Posies front spring and Pete & Jakes rear suspension were shored up and ready to go. And positioned just ahead of the P&J rear unit is a pair of air shocks that formerly supported the seat in an International Harvester tractor-trailer cab. "There's an air compressor inside that, when you press the button, automatically sets air pressure at 10 pounds," Ron says.
The body was finished in primer for the car's maiden run, but through the course of time he eventually added roll up side windows and a top. Paint followed, as did the custom-made nerf bars, the full-leather interior, and a trick air filter atop the Holley carburetor that he crafted from a pair of Chevy valve covers. Finally Mike Mayer, horsehair brush in hand, laid down the stripes.
A banjo steering wheel and...
A banjo steering wheel and classy Stewart-Warner instruments maintain the car's classic theme.
Ron and the missus drove their car to rod runs throughout the Pacific Northwest, and soon a matching trailer that he built followed-literally. The cargo trailer shared a similar styling treatment, right down to the PPG black paint and Vintique wheels.
But the star of the combo remained the car itself, and that little A gathered all sorts of awards at Goodguys runs and indoor car shows, the likes of which include the fabled Portland Roadster Show and the Grand National Roadster Show when it was still a Bay Area fixture. Ron says, "The car won about 45-plus awards." He's not bragging, either, just fact, and what makes the list of gold even more impressive is that he drove the car to just about every one of those events. That the Model A towed its own trailer packed full of the Beards' personal items elevates this car to "trailer king" status.
Elements normally associated...
Elements normally associated with a traditional hot rod meld nicely with the oh-so elegant convertible top.
The old saying "live by the sword, die by the sword" followed the black driver to an event in Longmont, Colorado. That's where the car's current owner, Gary Laskowski, spotted it. Gary, who owned a '32 full-fendered roadster at the time, was impressed with the car's looks and road manners. He says, "I saw it at the Goodguys show in Longmont, and I liked it from the beginning. The car appealed to me. It fit me to a T." Naturally, Gary did what any red-blooded American hot rod psycho would do-he offered to buy the Model A from Ron. "Ron said, 'no way, my wife would kill me if I sold this car,' " and that was the end of that. Until ...
Gary Wilson gathered the parts...
Gary Wilson gathered the parts for the Chevy 350 engine, and then assembled the small-block to be a runner.
A few months later Ron convinced Mrs. Beard that what they really needed was this cool '33 Ford that Ron had in mind, as there was this pile of parts in the corner collecting dust, dirt, and metal shavings, so why not build another car from it? Whether it was Ron's convincing tone, or the project that he had in the shop, he got the green light from his bookkeeper/wife to sell the Model A to finance the '33. Speed dial now to Gary's cell phone when he punches "receive" to be greeted by Ron's voice indicating that the hot rod was officially for sale.
Somewhere along the way Ron landed a buyer for the Deuce, and Gary could be found driving his new acquisition to rod runs and cruise nights throughout the Front Range near his home in Denver.
Gary has his choice of driving the Model A or a pristine '57 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible to car events, and practically without fail he opts for the A-bone. "The A is my car of choice to drive between the two," adding, "This car [the Model A] rides great. It tows its matching trailer just fine." Not bad for something that began life as just a pile of old parts, huh?