The length of a stock Model A hood side is a little over 28 inches and, as any hot rodder who has owned a Model A knows, that doesn't leave a lot of space between the firewall and radiator to fit a small-block anything.

For years rodders have either notched a pocket into the firewall, or recessed the entire thing in order to clear an engine or some of its parts. A small-block Chevy is a common motor for these cars and, more often than not, it's that engine's distributor that literally gets in the way, requiring some sort of metalwork to fix the problem.

But there are other ways—older methods—that some old-time hot rodders know about that aren't that well known nowadays. One of these simple fixes is to turn the Model A's firewall around back-to-front. Once you drill out the rivets that hold it in place, it will come out just like a '32 firewall, and you'll notice the Model A firewall's shape bulges toward the engine. By flipping it around, you gain a good 4 inches, which should be enough to clear most small-block Chevy distributors.

That's what 30-year-old Evin Veazie did in this particular application with his '30 Ford coupe. For the past seven years he's worked as a fabricator at SO-CAL Speed Shop in Pomona, California, and has worked on many of the high-profile rides to come out of the shop, but he's also taken advantage of the mentoring offered by both SO-CAL's head honcho, Pete Chapouris, as well as shop foreman Jimmy Shine.

While looking for a Model A roadster, Veazie happened upon this coupe for a reasonable price, so he transferred the ideas he had for the roadster to the coupe. When it came to the firewall and the clearance needed for his swap meet–find distributor, he pondered his alternatives and took the sage advice from the shop's elders and flipped the firewall. He had to pay attention to the frame mounts, too (flipping those right to left), and he also reshaped the kick at the bottom edge of the firewall.

But perhaps the best trick was he cut out the centersection of the firewall (the area with the raised reveals) and flipped that back 'round so it looks the way they came from the factory. He also wanted to be able to access the rod's electronics, so he made the cowl top (originally the top of the Model A's gas tank) removable so he can easily get to anything he needs to. Future plans call for a 4-inch chop, too.

The other thing Veazie needed to figure out was the history on the odd-looking distributor he'd found. With a crab-style cap, screw-down cap clamps, external port to adjust the dwell, and internal aluminum cover for the dual points, it was kind of an enigma. Veazie gave the distributor to the folks at PerTronix Performance Parts, the ignition company based in San Dimas, California, who have been around for 50 years and offer a wide range of parts and upgrades for just about any type of application (from locomotives and tractors to V-12 Ferraris, plus most hot rod motors).

PerTronix was able to come up with an answer: it was a vintage ACCEL unit, and one not particularly common. Luckily, they had an in-stock conversion kit (PN AC 182A) to remove the condenser and dual-point setup in favor of a simple Ignitor that reads a signal transmitted from a magnetic sleeve mounted to the distributor shaft. A simple and quick upgrade to the ignition system, the distributor was then run on an in-house test machine to make sure everything is working correctly.

Follow along as we show how Veazie did the flip, and what PerTronix did to update his ignition system for easier starting and stronger spark.

1. Even pushed back a couple inches from its stock location, an unflipped firewall was not going to have enough clearance to fit a small-block Chevy's distributor.

2. The initial flip worked out, but now the reveals stamped into the centersection of the firewall faced inward toward the driver.

3. To fix that, the centersection was cut away and it was flipped back to its original orientation.

4. Once re-welded, the reveals now pointed back out toward the engine, just like with the stock firewall. (Note the '32 roadster dash reworked for the Model A.)

5. To make the new cowl top removable, Veazie welded up some drilled 'n' tapped tabs that will allow him to attach the top, but hide the screws under the hood welting.

6. Veazie added an electronics board on the right, and used an early-'60s Chevy truck pedal assembly, which also features the mount for the column drop.

7. The distributor that everyone was wondering about is this one: a vintage ACCEL unit with some unique extra features.

8. Under the cap is the aluminum point cover that is set in place with three countersunk Allen screws.

9. With the cover removed, you can see the layout of the condenser and dual-point setup.

10. The PerTronix AC-182A Ignitor Kit comes with everything to replace the condenser and points setup.

11. Plates, marked CCW and CW (for counterclockwise and clockwise), are both used in this application, but stacked differently depending on the engine's rotation (CCW is used for some marine applications).

12. With the old points and condenser stripped out of the distributor's body, you can note the location of the two small pins that will help locate the plates.

13. For this particular application, the plate marked CCW goes in first, with the stamp letters visible (they are marked only on one side).

14. The CW plate is then put in place and tightened down.

15. The Ignitor is attached to the CW plate, and the magnet sleeve, which is indexed to the shaft, is dropped in place.

16. With all the new parts in place, the point cover is refitted. (PerTronix says this cover helps separate the electronic "noise" and carbon buildup generated by the spark at the cap and rotor as well as being an upper bearing support for the distributor shaft.)

17. Once reassembled, PerTronix tech Marvin Grebow tests the distributor to make sure the advance is working as it should. Once satisfied, it gets shipped back to the owner.