The bucket seats in Michael's...
The bucket seats in Michael's modified were the first ones made (but not used) in the California Special Steve Moal built back in 1997. Tom Sewell in Cambria, CA, did the upholstery, which included adding the pleated leather to the seats and the black leather to the door panels.
Though many have been able to pass the hot rod torch onto their children, it is quite rare when the torch has been passed through four generations. But such is the case with Michael Moal, son of Steve, grandson of George, great-grandson of William.
It was William Moal, a wheelwright who got things going back in 1911 building coachbuilt cars. Through the '20s and '30s William created custom bodies for customers in the San Francisco Bay Area. George followed in his footsteps and became a bodyman, when he wasn't out racing wooden race boats or whittling something fantastic out of wood.
When George's son, Steve, was old enough the pair became partners in an Oakland-based bodyshop, which is where Steve's sons, Michael and David, learned the craft from the earliest age.
Steve Moal's name should be well known to hot rodders as he has created some memorable vehicles, both for himself as well as others (including Gary Meadors and TV/movie star Tim Allen).
Starting out at the shop by sweeping up after school, Michael learned over the years from the best people Steve could hire, including the very talented Jimmy Kilroy.
The dash is custom, and is...
The dash is custom, and is filled with Moal Bomber series gauges. The four-spoke steering wheel is a Schroeder 14-incher and bolts to a LimeWorks column.
Once old enough to drive, Michael's interest in cars was wide-based, and he liked everything from Autocross racing to vintage Shelby Mustangs. In the late '90s, as his father slowly got out of body and fender work to concentrate solely on building hot rods for customers and creating a line of chassis and suspension pieces, Michael's interest in that particular type of car piqued.
By the beginning of this decade, Michael began designing a car in his head-something with a racing flavor but with a traditional feel. Influenced by the Hilborn-Warth streamliner, Phil Remington's dry lakes racer, Barney Navarro's iconic track-nosed Model T roadster, and after talking it over with his dad, Michael finally figured out what he really wanted: a traditional-looking 1929 Ford Modified.
It sits right because it's...
It sits right because it's on a Moal chassis. The PPG white paintjob was done in-house at Moal's by Mike Faccini and Al Aguyao, and Faccini then added the black scallops off the nose. One-name Rory followed with a subtle pinstripe to finish off the paintjob.
By the end of 2003, Michael had a Brookville Roadster pickup body in the shop, but it would take a few years for it to finally become a full-fledged project worthy of spending all hours and any extra money on it. But as an added benefit, through the years Michael was absorbing what was happening in the shop and figuring out how to apply it to his ride. When most people mention "table scraps," they think of what's left on the dinner plate that goes to the family dog. But when you're a Moal, it's whatever parts and pieces that were left over from different projects that are taking up space at the shop when they really could be used in a project. So Michael began gathering parts, and soon it was time to put everything together.
By February 2006, a chassis began to go together in the shop's chassis jig using 2x6 boxed 'rails and a custom suspension system. Steve Moal has not only made a name for himself with the high quality of workmanship that comes from his shop, but the cars also work really well, too, and their unique suspension is why.
Michael's ride uses a torsion bar setup, with the front suspension using an I-beam axle and a pair of chromoly arms that run between a mount on the batwings to a pair of torsion bars mounted lengthwise between the framerails. The rest of the suspension looks like a "regular" hot rod with hairpins and covered shocks (though these are Strange-built double-adjustable units with Moal covers).
Wilwood four-piston calipers work to clinch 12-inch rotors up front, while another pair of 12-inchers work a similar setup out back. Another set of torsion bars are found in the rear, too, but mount transversely and forward of the Halibrand V-8 quick-change rearend, which has one-off mounts welded to the axle tubes for the triangulated four-link suspension bars.