Sunday, June 23, 2024


We have all heard or lived the story; young guy builds his dream coupe or roadster only to fall in love with the female kind. Before you know it, the spare room is transformed into a nursery and the car is up for sale. Years of saving spare cash for swap meets and searching for parts to complete your perfect vision of an early hot rod becomes obsolete in a two seater. And that’s if you get to live the dream for a brief moment. Worst-case scenario many projects don’t even get to the happy stage and are sold uncompleted. But for our young couple here this story has a happy ending, because of its very beginning.

Steven Alldrick should need no introduction to readers of this magazine; a second-generation hot rodder born into the scene by parent’s Ray and Barbara Alldrick of True Colour Restorations (TCR). His larger than life father has just about done it all in this hobby and is credited as the godfather of Narrandera Rod Run, which he started 30 years ago. 

Following his dad’s desire for early iron, Steven has started carving his own slice of hot rod history by producing award winning vehicles out of his own business, Deluxe Rod Shop. 

During the Narrandera Rod Run of 2012, Steven mustered the courage to pop the big question to girlfriend of 11 years, Kathleen in front of all of the entrants at presentation time. Fortunately she said yes. With their future set in stone until death do they part, Steven was on a mission to build a hot rod for his wedding and future wife. Armed with over two decades of his own rodding experience (and a little prompting by dad), he chose wisely and settled on a project vehicle that offered cool looks and catered for more than two occupants.   

“A lot of people sell their two seater hot rod once family comes along, or their car goes on the back burner. We wanted a cool hot rod to start a family with,” Steven explains. 

For the Alldrick’s a tudor sedan made perfect sense. Stock deuce tudors are few and far between in Australia regardless of what decade you are born, but Steven lucked out in locating one that was imported by Dean Bassett from Detroit, Michigan. 

“I bought a pair of ’32 rails at the Bendigo swap meet and the seller mentioned that he had a ‘32 tudor at home if I was interested. It was just a chance thing,” he confesses.

Although the $5K asking price would sound more than fair to most Aussie enthusiasts, it was no barn find beauty. The gennie steel shell was missing its lower three inches and had no sills or floor. On the plus side it did come with a good donor floor with attached wheel arches. Steven combined the best of both components and wheeled up a pair of new door skins to add to the jigsaw puzzle.  He also remade the right hand side of the stock cowl and got stuck into the huge task of stitching it all together. A combination of oxy acetylene and TIG welding was hammer finished throughout the entire shell at the hands of its young co-owner.

During the lengthy welding process the rear floor was raised to achieve a more aggressive stance while appearing factory spec, and to add authenticity to the body resurrection Steven went to great lengths to reinstate all original rivets, spotwelds, ripples and joins created by Henry Ford. “I didn’t want a repro look, I wanted it unmistakably steel,” he declares, which is also why the roof retains its original height.  

In between duty on the body rebuild Steven scoured numerous swap meets in search of appropriate parts at an affordable price to offset some of the big ticket items needed to elevate the finished vehicle to the high standard he pursues. Together they saved their pennies and sold off unnecessary parts to help achieve their goal within budget, while coordinating their wedding plans at the same time.  

Like an ace in the hand, Steven already had the Jim Weimer Garage (JW) stamped ‘32 rails, which became the platform for the traditional style chassis. Keeping the build simple and adhering to tried and true engineering Steven spent the best part of three weeks after hours, piecing together the frame into a cohesive blend of new and used parts. Front and rear suspension are split Ford ‘36/‘37 (respectively) radius rods with buggy springs at either end. Up front ’37 stubs are attached to a drilled So-Cal Speed Shop dropped axel who also supplied the ‘cool as’ finned disc brake assembly and all four bell style shocks. Under the Bob Drake repro fuel tank lies a narrowed Mustang 8” diff with 3.5 gears and new Ford ‘Police Special’ 11” drum brakes. Separating the owner boxed rails Steven hand made the centre x-member and gearbox mount mimicking factory swages to support the shift kitted Ford C10 auto and driveshaft. All brackets and mounts were cleverly hand made and finished in chip resistant LIC black which covers the entire undercarriage keeping costs down and maintenance to a minimum.  

One major cost saver was the motor choice, which was sourced for just a few hundred bucks. The Windsor was treated to a full rebuild with Edelbrock alloy heads by Ken Chalcraft of Wolf Engines. It doesn’t hurt that Ken is Kathleen’s dad!  Setting the FoMoCo mill apart from all others is a clever mix of cool parts like the three carb Edelbrock intake and 94’s, OTB air cleaners, Joe Hunt magneto, flathead ignition lead holders and modified PowerGen alternator. The money shot though has to be the ingenious Y block valve covers grafted onto the Windsor heads by a CNC machined adaptor… neat! As with the rest of the car the entire engine bay is meticulously detailed with time, patience and an artistic eye…. not money. The restored Thunderbird covers are flanked by owner built headers that have been cloth wrapped for safety and sweep under the rails into a full stainless 2 ½” exhaust system with mandrel bends and an equaliser pipe just before the mufflers. Capping off the underside of the motor is a Cal Custom finned alloy sump that has been hydroblasted along with all exterior aluminium parts for continuity in appearance by Mal Church of Shepparton.  

Adding to the uniqueness of this tudor sedan, a very rare pair of ’32 Ford B400 seats greet occupants and perfectly allow easy access to the hand made rear seat. With the original trim removed the front seat wood frames were repaired and trimmed before being reunited with their individual folding steel structure. Steven created doors cards from Alucobond panel and entrusted the complete ensemble to Mark Grant at Dynamic Trimming who expertly covered them in dark green hide. In contrast, green suede was attached to the new wood roof insert from Mac’s and beautiful German box weave carpet amplifies the classy and timeless interior. 

Keeping the original dash uncluttered, a trio of So-Cal gauges informs Kathleen when speeding, out of oil or in need of h2o. Added info of fuel and volts are hidden from main view but a sharp eye will detect the trio of art deco knobs within fingertip reach of the driver. Pride of place atop the Limeworks column is their rendition of the classic ‘40 Ford steering wheel that directs a 929 Mazda box with ease and minimal turns. Note the RHD column mounted shifter. The old school interior is fitted with Ipod connectivity to keep intending kids entertained while a concealed roll bar behind the rear seat with integrated baby seat anchorage points will prolong their future. Also tucked behind the seat are the wiper motor, battery, amplifier and speakers all connected via a Highway wiring kit installed by Deluxe Rod Shop employee, Scott Green. Among its many duties the loom feeds juice to ’32 pickup headlights and a pair of ’37 Ford taillights attached to the exposed frame by ‘32 stalks. 

Due to its popularity amongst rodders the world over, standing out in a crowd with a ’32 Ford can be quite the challenge for many builders but Kathleen’s will never go unnoticed. Once again Steven drew on years of observation and cleverness choosing a bold colour this sits well with the age of the car. Why? This striking hue of Debeer’s Apple Green was an original colour option for the Model A back in the day. Combined with the clear over base black chassis, running gear and Ford ’40 steel wheels, it just works. As much as Steven likes the traditional appearance of the finished tudor, he ordered a set of Coker Classic Radials in place of conventional rags as a nod towards safety with his wife at the wheel. For road use a full set of cycle fenders have been carved from time honoured ’36 Ford spare wheel covers and attach by fabricated and drilled brackets to keep mud and the law at bay.  

With less than two years between acquisition, conception and completion before walking down the aisle, a huge push by friends and family near the end got the Tudor to the church on time. Kathleen and Steven shared their special day with 120 guests and over 40 hot rods, their deuce included. 

Amongst the special people who helped to fulfil her dream Kathleen would like to thank Barbara and Ray Alldrick, dad Ken, Dain and Kelly Souter, Ryan Papras, Andrew Hird, Stephen Cousrphon, Dennis Maloney, Garry Wright, Scott Green and especially Steven for wearing himself out.

It's only fair to share…