Travis Air Force Base, California
'30 Ford Model A roadster
Tyrell Pennington got into the hot rodding hobby through his dad, Don. Both are members of the Pasadena Roadster Club. "My dad, who was a teenager in the late '50s, would tell me stories about drag racing on Van Nuys Boulevard. He didn't have a lot of money, but he had a car. He built it himself and it was fast enough for him. Something about that made sense to me. Those guys were innovative and imaginative in creating ways to go faster. I'm trying to do the same thing they were doing. I'll run a part for a while and if I think I could do something better, I'll take it off and find something new to try to improve it somehow."
He started planning for this roadster when he was 14 and started building when he was 18. He was driving the car in patina'd finish when he met Matt Winter at the Pasadena Reliability Run several years ago. They discovered their mutual interest in World War II memorabilia and early hot rods, and Tyrell was soon a member of the Reelers. After blowing up the first motor, a '41 Merc, he rebuilt the whole car and painted it.
Tyrell runs the roadster without a windshield, emulating the look from the dry lakes when racers would've removed all extra street equipment, including fenders and running boards and headlights to eliminate weight. Tyrell keeps the BLC headlights in place; taillights came from a '47 Kaiser. The '32 grille shell is filled with an N.O.S. insert. The shiniest of the Reelers' cars was painted by Don and Tyrell, using PPG single-stage black paint.
The stock Model A 'rails were strengthened with the K-member from a '32. Period suspension parts include a '32 front axle, '40 spindles, split 'bones, and Model A springs with reversed eyes. Rear leafs were de-arched. Brakes come from a '40 Ford.
A set of 16x4 '40 Ford rims roll on bias-ply Firestone rubber. The rear tires measure 7.00x16 and the front dirt track tires are 5.00x5.50s.
The 24-stud Cyclone head Flathead is a '46 59L. Jim Grubbs in Valencia, California, did the machining. It's been bored and stroked, balanced, and blueprinted, and displaces 276 ci. Internals include a '49 Merc crank and rods with 11.0:1 Ross pistons. The cam is an original Howard M-12. The ignition is a Lincoln V-12 converted Harmon Collins with braided cloth covered wires. The dual Stromberg 48s with chrome scoops feed an original Evans intake. Tyrell built his own headers from 2-inch flex tubing and left off the mufflers. A '39 swan shifter shifts the gears in a '39 Ford, with an 11-inch Ford truck clutch. Torque is delivered through a shortened Model A driveshaft to a Halibrand Culver City quick-change with 3.62:1 gears.
The only roadster in the club without a bench seat, the '30 has buckets from a '29 New Standard barnstormer biplane, created from steam-formed wood, using bomber lap belts. Stewart-Warner curved glass instruments were added in the stock dash and in a lower panel. The steering wheel is from a '32.
Although the roadster is primarily owner-built, Tyrell gives credit to his dad, his brother Sean, and to Jerry Armstrong for their contributions to the car.