Wednesday, June 19, 2024


I was asked to go to Chopped and find something interesting, something that stood out! If you’re not familiar with Chopped, it’s a weekend event that attracts all your wild crazy customs, bikes and rods with a period setting of pre 1965! Thanks for the challenge! As I perused the outspread camping grounds of tents and tow vehicles blending with custom rides and camp fires, I spotted the wild stance on Dave Andersen’s rough looking Model A and went to investigate further. No radiator, no front brakes, barely no front wheels, no tread and no bling and gee she looked wild! 

“I always loved drag rods and early gassers and I wanted to make one using the right stuff; manual gearbox, major engine set back, piecrust slicks, ladder bars, up in the front. It’s got everything to get it looking right, you know what I mean?” Sure do Dave!

This particular Model A has race heritage, albeit a little more contemporary. Al ‘Burgo’ Burgers campaigned the coupe under the guise ‘Nutt’n Fancy’ and it was a big hit at the nostalgia drags, running 8 second quarters before a massive rollover at Ballarat in May 2008. Burgo rebuilt the coupe and returned to Chopped with it a few years later. Dave and his mates got a hold of it and embarked on a mission to build a ten year vision in a timeline of just 10 week so he could have the car at this year’s Chopped.

“I never thought I would actually get to build it, I’ve had the engine and manifolds, Model A parts, so much stuff and ideas. It’s been in the plan for a long time, looking through plenty of vintage hot rod magazines and drawing and dreaming, remembering things I like.”

“The plan was to keep it all Model A – Model A front axle, Model A chassis, Model A grille. I didn’t want to add a ‘32 grille and dropped axle. It’s how it was done in the early 60s.”

The front spindle wheels were donated by a mate of Dave’s and set the whole project off. “Once I put them on, I could see it and said, right, lets do it. We were all in! The rear wheels were given to me years ago, they’re an early Ford stud pattern and the pie crust slicks came from Greg Ford in Victoria.”

The current motor isn’t the final power plant for the project with a blown, injected Lincoln waiting in the wings. This 428 big block Ford was ripped out of his Galaxie and shoehorned in for the Chopped weekend. Ten years of shopping on Ebay and trips to the USA saw Dave amass an impressive array of sixties speed parts including an NOS Mickey Thomson cross ram manifold, M/T pump extension, Mercury pressed steel rocker covers he found in a wrecking yard in Arizona, period correct Oberg oil filter and the cable driven tacho. “I tried to tick every box as far as period correct goes,” reasons Dave. 

The almost stock body is all steel as you’d expect. The roof was chopped by Burgo but needed straightening after the accident. Subtle mods such a slight tub of the rear wheel arches, louvres in the handmade boot, upper door hinges removed and taillights created from 1952 Pontiac reverse lights keep it clean and simple.

Peering through the yellow Perspex windows you’ll spot a bare bones cockpit. Morris Minor seating, an old Superior 500 tiller and a switch panel robbed from an Isky rev kit are cool additions. “I wanted the interior to look as sparse as it could, as race car as possible. It’s actually quite comfortable to drive, it’s a good seating position.”  

“Everything has been made at home by myself and with help from friends. Obviously I needed a lot of help because I couldn’t do it on my own in ten weeks. We also rebuilt the blown side valve engine in Smokin’ Joe’s gold Model A roadster, then on the second last night the Chevy tow vehicle did a head gasket, so we did a top end rebuild on the 350 in it. By the time I got to Chopped, all I wanted to do was sit on my arse and rest!” 

So how does it drive? “With the full spool nine inch, you have to go slow around corners, other than that it drives well. It drives straight, no twisting. There’s been a lot of measuring in the chassis to get it right and it’s paid off. Under power it goes dead straight. It doesn’t stop that quickly as it’s only got rear drums, so you’ve got to drive accordingly!”

Will you race it? “To race is another thing. It’ll need a lot of little things done for me to feel comfortable in it. The front tires are genuinely from the 1960s so I wouldn’t trust them on the track. The cage is to ANDRA specs though.”

And the story behind the name, Hi Jinx? “I thought it sounded cool because it means mischievous or fun. I was actually down at the pet shop and saw it on a cat toy years ago and decided that was always going to be its name.”

Dave would like to thank his number one supporter, his lovely wife Jessica, also Rick Cartisano for lots of help and parts, Johnny Formosa for paint and body work, Nick and Dave from Tahmoor Auto Parts, Marc, Reece, Ivan, Tigger and Toby, and especially Smokin’ Joe for dedicating himself, his years of experience plus all the bits and pieces along the way.

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