Brian Paul’s wife, Ann, thought her husband had lost his mind when he traded their recently finished ’63 Chevy Bel Air custom for a 1929 Ford sedan that wasn’t! What Brian saw was huge potential in the tricked-out Ford that was running around in primer and had to make the trade. Switching horses midstream worked for Brian. He put his finishing touches on his ’29 and won his class at the 2011 Detroit Autorama and took home the STREET RODDER Driven Award, presented by Lokar Performance.

Brian was born into hot rodding, with his father a member of the Michigan Hot Rod Association. Brian’s Ford was originally started by Joe Lutz at Hot Rod Dynamics in Lenoir, North Carolina. Lutz had decided to build a street rod with a chassis, suspension, and body frame designed on Solidworks CAD software. Lutz was working as an R&D engineer for Roush Yates Racing engines while designing the street rod on his lunch hour, then searching for obsolete parts on the Internet at night. The chassis was designed for driveability, the front wheels are pushed out in front of everything. You could drive this car up a curb without touching the framehorns. The chassis is an underslung design to get the car low but still provide road clearance. The framehorns were cut and formed to match a stock Model A framehorn but flipped upside down and located under the drilled ’46 Ford axle. It’s an old Indy car–style pull rod and rocker arm suspension with Aldan Eagle adjustable inboard coilovers. The rear axle is a Chevy 12-bolt with a 3:55 gears and located with a pair of real 48-inch NASCAR truck arms that were used at Bristol and somehow wound up on this ’29 along with a Panhard bar, coil springs, and Monroe Gasmatic shocks.

The front and rear brakes are aluminum 12-inch Buick 45-fin drums with Wilson Welding backing plates. The rear brakes have custom 3/4-ton truck backing plates with their finned drums. A Wilwood triple master cylinder clutch and brake pedal assembly is tucked into the ’29 footwell.

The Vintage Schroeder sprint car steering box and column are must-have items, while Lutz fabricated the steering rod and drilled-out steering arm. The chassis rolls on four red powdercoated Vintage wheels measuring 16x4 Artillery wheels with 16x4.5 Firestone Deluxe Champion bias-ply front tires. In back, 16x8 rear wheels with 16x8.5 Firestone dragster cheater slicks are in use.

After searching the Internet, Lutz came across a ’56 330 DeSoto S-24 Hemi (rare factory 4 bbl) in Detroit. The owner of the engine explained that the old Hemi had been used in a Chris Craft wooden speed boat, but was pulled out to be freshened up many years ago. The engine was rebuilt and then put on a shelf to collect dust for years to come. When Lutz got the engine, he went over it, filled up with oil, primed the oil pump, lubed the cylinders, and fired it up. It ran fine, but sounded too stock. So he pulled the engine, pulled the cam, and sent it to Clay Smith Cams for a regrind. He didn’t recall the specifics, but Lutz told them what he was doing with it and that the requirements were it needed to rattle the windows and piss off the neighbors. The engine got new-style rear main seal and a double roller timing chain along with a new oil pump. The 3/8-inch laser cut header flanges were designed by Lutz. The 1-5/8-inch primary tubes are from a Schoenfeld header kit for a small-block Ford sprint car. The tubes were used on the opposite sides they were meant for and a few tubes needed to be modified. The stock iron manifold has been powdercoated, and there’s an Edelbrock ASV 650-cfm carb under the ’56 Cadillac air cleaner.

People said it would be impossible to get a five-speed trans in the small confines of a ’29 Ford. Through the use of a Hot Heads adapter that matched the T5 to the Hemi and implementing a Camaro shifter, the package fits neatly within the Model A. Lutz used a Carolina Clutch with a Tilton Hydraulic throw-out bearing.