Set up on a wheelbase of 105...
Set up on a wheelbase of 105 inches, the SO-CAL chassis was modified so the custom crossmembers and brackets looked like they came from the factory, rivets and all. The driveshaft came from J.E. Reel Drivelines. The front suspension uses a Mor-Drop axle, a Model A spring, and a set of rear '36 split wishbones turned around and modified to be used up front. The 17-inch wheels (4.5 and 5.5 inchers) are a combination of parts (Kelsey Hayes hubs, hoops from Coker) and assembled by the Wheel Smith. They're wrapped in Excelsior 5.50 and 7.50 rubber.
When we last saw Tom Lieb's Model A roadster, it was on the cover of the Oct. '09 issue of STREET RODDER. Dressed only in metal, the magazine asked the question: Is this the ultimate Model A? In that article, the old Ford was depicted with its fantastic metal fabrication by SO-CAL Speed Shop's Jimmy Shine, along with the rare vintage parts used on the build. With a unique "how'd-they-do-that?" point of view that only non-painted parts and pieces can provide, the story goes on to comment, "It would be a shame to paint it."
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Tom has finished his ride, and it is as nice of a top-of-the-line car as you could ask for. The SO-CAL team in Pomona, California, did an excellent job of coating all the components in their respective colors, paying special attention to what parts contrast which pieces. And in doing so the vehicle has become a whole 'nuther car: one deserving of praise and accolades in its own right. But one can't help the fact that the all-metal car that invited scrutiny because it was so exposed to the world, will never again be seen except as a collection of photographs.
The idea behind the car was to combine design elements associated with some of the great coachbuilt vehicles of the era while utilizing all of the best parts and pieces that would have been available in the '30s and '40s. The finished roadster debuted at the Grand National Roadster Show as part of the large display SO-CAL Speed Shop organizes every year, and Tom recently had the chance to drive his roadster car around town. Luckily, the finished car wound up being everything Tom and SO-CAL were shooting for and, after being originally bought by Tom in 1957, it is assured of at least another few decades with Tom as its owner. For those interested in seeing a few hundred extra photos of this car, both in its unfinished metal version as well as in finish paint, check out the Tom Lieb story at www.streetrodderweb.com.