Thin is in, but fat’s where it’s at.
That’s the catch cry of Fred Farrell, owner/builder of this 1939 Ford before you. The fat fendered ford is not the first hot rod in Fred’s archives but it is one of the most comfortable.
Go back nine or so years and Fred was behind the wheel of a little deuce coupe. Cool but cramped, it only took some interest from a potential buyer for Fred to put the feelers out for a fat fender of ’35 to ’40 vintage, something in which he could stretch out a little more. It didn’t take long before fellow rodder Rod Dowley gave him a lead on an unfinished ’40 Ford coupe.
As it turned out the ’40 was actually a ’39 and was sitting on a ’48 Chevy frame. Rodz North manufactured the body, one of just two which were channelled (the other, Fred is told, went to Western Australia). The body was yet to be steeled out but came with steel fenders and a steel hood, only the latter of which was retained. “It was easier to get a matching set of ‘glass fenders from Rodz North than fiddle with the steel ones,” says Fred.
As far as the chassis goes, he was far from excited about the Chevy frame, so he and his sons Buddy and Jeff set about making an entire new chassis to suit. Having sons in the game helps a lot; Jeff is a fitter and welder whilst Buddy is a paint man, so between them they’ve got a lot of skills. And of course, they both dig cars, each with classics on the road and hot rods in the build.
The fact that the body was channelled was a real bonus, now the car sits nice and low whilst the L300 front end and Rod Tech rear four bar enjoy full suspension travel. It’s been totally smoothed as well; no bumpers, no exterior door handles, even the grille is painted to match the fenders. The only chrome you’ll find are the headlight and tail light surrounds, the steel smoothy wheels, and the Ford V8 emblem on the front of the hood which is a nice touch. The fuel filler has been moved to beneath the boot lid, easily accessed by popping the trunk and sealed from the cabin of course.
The use of the green hues is a bold choice. Fred had initially planned something similar in gold hues but then started to spot a few two tone gold cars coming onto the scene. “We came up with green and then (wife) Georgie suggested the pale green, the colour of an FJ Holden we used to own. Then Buddy added the metallic green to the fenders,” tells Fred. It may not have been in the original plan but Fred loves it now.
Fred was keen to keep the colour theme happening inside but surprisingly green leather isn’t readily available at your local trim supplies store. “My upholsterer ‘Windows’ sent paint chips to England to try and find something which would work. It took six weeks to get the material over here which I thought was pretty good. Well done Windows!”
There’s a small block Chevy under the hood, built by Straight Line performance in Hervey Bay. “Anyone with a tough car seems to end up at Ray’s,” says Fred. We’ve had engines built there in the past and he always gives you more horsepower than you ask for.” The Weiand 142 low blow supercharger was Fred’s idea, wanting to make sure he had enough power to haul their Thomson Glendale T line vintage caravan, coloured to match of course.
Whilst the car was mostly built in Hervey Bay by Fred and his boys, the coupe was sent down to Oz Rods in Brisbane for refinements prior to rego. “I’d like to thank Graeme and the boys at Oz Rods. They had a time frame of five weeks to add the finishing touches and get the car registered which they did, all before the 2012 Street Rod Nationals.”
“Thanks also to my two sons, Buddy and Jeff for all of their hard work, as well as Georgie for letting me build another car, the last she reckons,” adds Fred. So what about the ’59 Star Model Customline under the house? To be continued…