ALTER BOY BLUES

After saving for his special day that never happened, Daniel Kelly had time to kill and few spare coins to cash in.

“Following my relationship bust up, I had a lot more time to go over to my brother’s place and hang out. We usually ended up drinking beer and drooling over what we didn’t have on Ebay,” he laughs now.

“I had been watching this little ’28 roadster that was pretty much complete, less the motor and transmission,” he explains. “It had been for sale for a while and the price was reduced so I thought ‘stuff it’, called the owner and gave him my rock bottom offer. I told him that I had the cash and wouldn’t muck him around… he said yes.”

The seller was Greg Ford, who built the car from scratch using a fibreglass 1928 Model A body that’s been channelled over the chassis around four inches in the traditional way. What dramatically changes the highboy’s appearance is the double z’d frame. It also means that entry is over the door… Dukes of Hazzard style!

Up front, the original ’28 frame rail section is supported by a Superbell I beam, the four inch drop further enhancing the downward assault. So-Cal Speed Shop shocks and a transverse spring cushion the bounce while disc brakes provide ample stopping capabilities for the light weight rod. At the opposite end a tried and trusted Ford nine-inch diff occupies most of the boot space, located by a four link and coil springs all contained inside a fabricated rear chassis section. The fully boxed frame was treated to a fresh coat of old school show car white before the channelled and trimmed body was attached.

Luckily for Daniel, at the time of purchase the neat little roadster body was already sporting blue suede paint and white tuck and roll, advancing his new project well within reach of completion as soon as he laid his money down.

“When I bought it, I said to my friends that I would have it finished in four weeks… but that never really happened!”

The 350 Chevy small block powering the Model A is somewhat of a father and son project. “A while back, dad and I passed a HK Monaro for sale,” Daniel recalls, “I really wanted it but I had just bought a house two days before and was tapped out. Dad gave him a lowball price and ended up buying it for about 10 grand. I eventually bought the motor out of that car for the roadster.”

Combined with a Turbo 350 transmission, an unforseen floor modification to accommodate the new auto (and different to the last) became a major setback to the four-week time frame. Fortunately the roadster’s floor area was crafted in sheet steel and was a snap to alter for Daniel, as he’s a boilermaker by trade.

Daniel used his skills to modify a pair of Patriot headers to nail the desired nostalgic look he envisaged as a Ebay dreamer. Backing up the cool over-the-rail pipes, he custom made a pair of twin wicks from two-inch stainless steel tube featuring Glasspack mufflers for their signature old school sound.

Behind the current owner-installed Moon tank, a mesh of stainless steel woven wire was manipulated into shape to fit the sectioned deuce grill shell. Further additions of headlight eyebrows continue the nostalgic style.

As Daniel refitted the wide white Coker hoops to the completed Model A, he revelled in the entire experience that involved both his brother Jason and dad, Wayne.

“It was a great little family project,” he enthuses. “My grandfather George owned a wrecking yard and dad is a coachbuilder, so we have always been into cars. When I was growing up, I watched ‘Running on Empty’ instead of the Wiggles,” he laughs.

“Dad still has the HK, Jason owns a HZ and my new girlfriend drives my ’56 Buick. Life’s pretty good at the moment!”

Someone once coined the phrase, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. For Daniel, he just found a new love that needed his undivided attention, and she turned out just fine!

FEATURED CRUZIN #176, WORDS BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS MILLBROOK STUDIO.

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