Sunday, June 23, 2024


Tony Fondacaro loves red, so when we asked him about the colour options he might have toyed with when selecting the final hue of his ’34 tudor, their was no hesitation in his response. “I always wanted red, I love red. My A Model was Ferrari red.”

The A Model that Tony is referring to is a 1929 closed cab pickup which he built from an unfinished project over 10 years ago. A member of the West Coast Street Rod Club in Perth, Tony would cruise and show the little red truck whenever time allowed, but with his wife, Anna and young daughter, Melissa on board, things did get a little squeezy. “I thought I’d build a tudor so we could all be more comfortable. I figured it would take just a couple of years, it took nine.”

Tony commissioned Left Nut Hot Rods at Malaga to construct a ’34 Ford chassis, brothers Ray and Steve had helped him out with the ’29 so it made sense to call upon them again. They jigged up a ’34 frame, 100mm narrower at the rear in preparation for the bigger rubber. They also installed one of their own independent front ends and handed it back along with a narrowed nine inch supported with a triangulated four bar.

With an annual holiday to Melbourne and Tony’s 40th birthday coinciding, wife Anna suggested that they buy the body and wheels as a birthday present. First stop was Showwheels to order a custom set of Intro billet rims, the next stop was Deuce Customs where he laid down a deposit on a new ’34 tudor body, complete with 3” chop, hidden hinges and filled roof. In line with Deuce Custom’s policy, the chassis was shipped over to Melbourne to have the body fitted, then shipped home to Perth as a complete unit.

Wanting the car to sit as low as possible without compromising ride or clearance, Tony needed to get the ten inch rims tucked well inside the rear fenders. “I tried to keep it low without airbags, but with enough travel so it wouldn’t bottom out,” he reasons.” He tubbed the body to match the frame, pointing out that the rears have a nice deep dish thanks to the 3.5” backspace.

The tubs would represent Tony’s introduction to fibreglassing. “I watched Ray at Left Nut Hot Rods whenever I was there, and then attempted to do it myself,” he confesses. Tony also applied his new found skill in recessing the number plate, ’39 tail lights and adding the VL Commodore fuel door beneath the back window.

“I didn’t want too much hanging off the back of the car,” says Tony from a styling standpoint, “I wanted to keep it as smooth as possible.”

Once all the bodywork was completed, Dion Civello laid down the Aztec Red, a Holden colour.

Superchargers weren’t allowed (nor 10” wheels for that matter) when Tony started the project, but he knew the rules were changing so he forged ahead with a blown motor for the tudor. “I bought a whole Jag and pulled the Chevy driveline out of it, it was a ‘90s model injected 350 with Vortec heads. It had it reconditioned by Bob Campbell, he did the motor in my Model A, he’s an ex-drag racer so he knows what he’s doing.” Tony’s instructions were to set the motor up for the blower but not go crazy, so he’s got a good reliable package with plenty of power on tap.

Tony invested a fair bit of time getting the driver’s compartment set up, in particular the dash and centre console. An extra 50mm was added to the bottom edge of the dashboard to fully conceal the air conditioning and brake booster, enhanced with a chrome strip. The centre console is inspired by a classic Corvette. “I soda blasted a ’59 Corvette for a customer, I saw how the console blended into the dash like that. I made mine at home, using florist oasis and MDF to get the shape, then fibreglassing it.”

For leatherwork Tony called upon the boys at Alltrans Trimming, both parties contributing to the design process. “I didn’t want ultra modern or old skool, I wanted something in between. I wanted tan but not too light, and double stitching throughout,” he says. The end result is all class.

Tony’s goal for now is to simply drive the car and enjoy it, maybe polish it up for the occasional show. “It’s been on the road for two years now and done close to 8,000kms. What we’ve done, I’m happy with it.”

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