First off we have to address two things; Smurf is the owner of this unique ‘32 Ford tudor and ‘BALLS’ is its name. Let me digress; Smurf is Scott’s Navy nickname, and ‘BALLS’ is the initials of his family. Scott’s camping equipped troop carrier wears BALLS proudly on its licence plate, and this Deuce is destined to be second in line. “You can get away with that sort of thing up here!” Scott says, referring to Darwin, the place that he has called home for the past eight years.
Well before his northern exposure, Scott was a Sydney boy through and through. The Bankstown born native was brought up in the family business of cheese making, where he began working at the tender age of just 13. As a 16 year old teenager, Scott retrieved a 1964 VW body from the local tip and began to build his very first modified vehicle.
“I didn’t know a lot about cars so I traded work for educated assistance,” he explains. “My father was the landlord for Rudi Mentser, who became known as the Volkswagen king. I worked for him every weekend for 18 months, just to get him to work on mine for a few hours on Sundays. When it was done she was the wildest Veedub back in the day. She was kitted with a 2.2 litre motor and would lift the front wheels about three inches off the deck. It beat everything except a HG GTS Monaro that really gave me trouble,” he recalls fondly.
From those organic beginnings, Scott was introduced to hot rods by his brother who bought a pretty neat ’28 tourer from Manuel and Joey Attard. Keen to acquire further knowledge in his new found hobby, he surrounded himself with likeminded petrol heads. “I used to sweep garage floors to hang out with guys like Joe and Ben Gatt, just to watch what these guys did with cars. From then on I always wanted a hot rod.”
At age 30, Scott still retained the dream but it was pushed way back into the far cavities of his memory. Dealing with a midlife crisis and a divorce, he ran away and joined the Navy. As school education was never a real strong suit during his adolescence, Scott was ready to learn.
“I was interested in all things mechanical and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also got to play with some of the best toys while earning my degree as a marine engineer… and I got paid while doing it,” he says with respect.
It was this tour of duty that earned him his nickname. “Back in 2000 when I enlisted, I was one of the eldest of the intake and I got the name because I helped out the younger guys that were fresh from their mother’s pouch… so to speak. Eventually everyone gets a nickname in the defence force, mine was Papa Smurf!”
After seven years at sea (almost literally), Scott was ready to plant his feet back onto dry land. During his time serving our country, Scott’s dad had passed away; thoughtfully Scott spent time back in Sydney with his mother before discovering that his old home town was not what it used to be.
“When I returned to Sydney after my seven year absence, it wasn’t the same… and I guess neither was I. While in the Navy I had met a girl who lived in Darwin, so I picked up my things and said goodbye. I left Sydney at 8pm Friday night and got to Darwin on Monday morning. By Wednesday I was working for a firm by the name of Paspaley Pearls.”
If you are unfamiliar with this company they are one of the biggest cultured pearl companies in the world, and game changers in the industry. They also happen to have a huge fleet of ships to maintain. “The head of engineering was also an ex-naval guy and I was encouraged by my former boss to look him up if I ever got to the top end,” Scott adds. “I stayed with them until 2014. I helped maintain the fleet and helped educate their Phillipino staff. The Kimberleys was my office for seven years.”
During that time Scott’s personal life also panned gold and he married his lady interest, Bianca. Together they have a son Angus, and daughter Lauren, who Scott refers to as his Lady Lauren (stepdaughter). That’s B… A… LL… and then add S for Smurf to the end group of first initials. Yeah, you get it.
Cut free from the rigors of marine life once again, Scott is keen to chase down a few new ventures in Darwin and capitalise on what the stunning location attracts; tourists!
“To keep Bianca from getting bored I came up with the plan to build the tudor as tourist transport, where they could hire the car and driver. Me being a cunning bastard, I thought that I could kill two birds with one stone and finally get myself a hot rod in the process. The first couple of months I got away with the plan but she soon got wind of what I was up to,” he laughs.
“We are aiming at a very ‘select’ clientele that will have respect towards the vehicle and a few more dollars in their kit. I reckon it’s the kind of car that my mother and father would have grown up with, and for tourists of their age coming to Darwin, would appreciate being chauffeured around in. Being picked up and shown around this beautiful town and escorted to lunch in a classic hot rod by a local girl, may even a tick a box off their bucket list.”
With a firm plan in mind, cunning as it was, Scott’s next dilemma was to contract a capable workshop that could not only construct a vehicle that would fulfill his aspiration, but also be knowledgeable enough to educate him on the best direction to proceed with.
“I found Superformance through the magazines, and they had also supplied engine parts to my brother in the past,” he explains. “I called Grant up and I liked his groove, he got what I wanted to do and I knew that I was going to be happy spending my money with him. We never met face to face until the car was almost finished, and those boys deciphered everything that dribbled out of my head. They have given me everything that I wanted on that car, 90 percent of what I asked for they delivered in one shape or form, and the other 10 percent really wasn’t going to happen!”
Scott’s brief was simple; build a car in which I could tour my clients in comfort and style with easy access, be reliable and cool to drive! You may think that an early Ford tudor might not be the first body style to fit the bill, but Scott wasn’t keen to have a sedan like many others and he wanted it in a short time frame. As Superformance stock everything available to recreate a 1932 Ford, it was an easy sell for Grant to enlighten his client of the positives in choosing a Deuce Customs, reproduction Tudor.
The Superformance name has been involved in the automotive industry for decades as a virtual honey hole for V8 engines, diffs, performance parts and Chevy pickup components. In September 2005, Grant Malseed bought the business and continued to provide car guys with their parts fix whilst ever increasing their hot rod aftermarket inventory. For the past five years, Grant and his son, Todd have worked tirelessly to develop their all-inclusive hot rod shop in house, which is now a major element of the business. “We now have a skilled team of eight full time tradespeople and one sub-contractor who can complete all aspects of the build, except upholstery,” Grant explains.
“Scott wanted us to build a hire car but had limited knowledge of what was available. The tudor is the largest body style available on the aftermarket to date, and fell into the required brief. The hot rod scene is quite small in Darwin, let alone one for hire, so this will be quite unique. It will also be a promotional vehicle for his business. Scott chose the trim colour, paint and engine manufacture. We know what works and applied it to his project. Fortunately we stock everything known to build a ’32. We scheduled 18 months to 2 years for the build as it requires skillsets from all of our employees at different times.”
Over the years Superformance has developed a great repour with Deuce Customs which continues with current owner, Rick Chandler. “Way back when Deuce Customs produced their ’34 coupe, about 32 years ago, I was one of their first customers. I still own that car today. Back then, I had to make most of the components to complete the car,” Grant recalls.
Other than Scott’s alterations along the way, Grant describes the tudor build as pretty straight forward and he is proud of the team’s accomplishment and the finished result.
“Originally it was going to be a stock standard hot rod… but I got a bit carried away. I was kinda shocked that Grant put it on display at the Queensland Hot Rod Show,” Scott adds.
“It had taken a little longer than I had hoped but I did change my mind once or ten times. I would think of something at 3am and call him (Grant) not long after and all he would say was, ‘leave it with me and I’ll get back to you’. Then he would make it happen. Seriously, he has the patience of a saint.”
After its show debut, Scott was unrelenting on taking the keys to his tudor and making true on a promise to a mate. “I had hoped that the car would be finished so I could pay a visit to a good mate that was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had been given only a short time to live. A long time ago, David gave me the Klaxon horn off his own F100. All I wanted to do was bolt that horn to the car and drive it out to his place in Warwick within that time frame. Although the boys (Superformance) worked tirelessly and completed the entire build within 15 months I missed my preferred opportunity which pissed me off, so I amended my date to the Monday after the show. I said I don’t care what you do, I’m taking that car to see my mate. The tudor still wasn’t 100 percent done but Grant made it to rego and I made the trip to see Davo. He was the main influence that lifted me out of my doldrums and into the Navy… that changed my life. I rolled up into his drive way and he smiled and said; “I just knew that was you Scooter!” He always called me Scooter. I drove him around Warwick for four days and had a blast. A time I will never forget and thankfully now, not regret. I drove it back to Grant covered in dirt, bugs and stone chips, said thank you and I’ll be back in two weeks to pick it up. To his credit I know how much he wanted to wring my neck but he was cool calm and collected.”
“As far as the drive, I loved it. I took it easy as it’s a new car, but to pardon the French, when I did give it squirt it Fu**#d off. I wasn’t prepared for the ‘I beam’ incurred body roll, but the arm out the window visual sure made up for that. I kept checking out how cool I looked in shop windows. Now I can’t wait to get it home and let Bianca enjoy it as well. This not a garage queen!”