After witnessing the joy friends were experiencing owning an old car, dance floor jive bunnies Graham and Tania Lineker decided to join in on the action and buy their own set of classic wheels.
“A couple of girlfriends and I were taking rock ‘n roll dance lessons and Graham decided to join in on the fun,” Tania explains. “We both made some really good friends and some of them were hot rodders in the Marsh Rodders club.”
“It was Tania that found the Customline on Ebay,” Graham adds about their 1953 Ford. “It was only about four hours away, so we took a drive to check it out. It had no motor or box but the body was good. We figured that you only live once, so we bit the bullet and bought it.”
Tony and Clinton Horne at Horny Performance took hold of the Cusso, installing a 351, C10 and 9” before handing it back to Graham who did the rest. The cool cruiser was good enough for 13s over the quarter and plenty of fun in between. Their two sons discovered that the two big bench seats made comfortable beds at rod runs while mum and dad slept in an adjacent caravan.
“It was our toy up until now,” Graham continues, “hot rods are another step up. Whenever we parked our ’53 next to a hot rod at a run, everyone took notice of the hot rod. Our Cusso just sat there looking lonely.”
Once the dancing duo decided that they wanted to join the pre ‘49 fraternity, they started hunting for a finished vehicle that would fill the bill. After months of searching for a tudor that ticked all the right boxes, the excited couple located a near perfect example in America. Unfortunately the thrill of acquiring their new old wheels was short lived when Australia’s import laws regarding modified vehicles came to light. After ascertaining that the risk outweighed the reward, Graham looked at our local aftermarket industry to supply a fix for his new found craving.
Whytie at Rod City Repros was given the details of the driveline and built a frame around a fresh pair of ‘32 rails, stepping it two inches at the rear. Wanting a healthy motor without heavy steering woes, Graham requested the engine be mounted 50mm further back to aid in weight distribution. Deuce Customs stepped up with one of their chopped tudor bodies, repositioning the firewall to satisfy both engine room and interior requirements.
Keeping it off the ground is a Superbell dropped and drilled forged alloy I beam, stainless hairpins and an old timey buggy spring. At the rear, a stainless four bar and coilovers got the nod. It’s all fundamental underpinnings for the seasoned rodder, but to this enthusiastic couple of gear heads it’s all excitingly fresh.
A classy component of the reproduction shell is the adaptation of a push out windscreen. After purchasing a suitable windscreen frame, Graham scoured the internet for a pair of original hinges to complete the package. Front and rear side glass is all automated for occupants ease. Enhancing the traditional appearance of the body style, Graham chose to include all the lumpy bits like exposed hinges and handles. “A lot of people go for the smooth look, but that just didn’t do it for us,” he said.
With a clear direction, Graham and Tania rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into piecing together their first ever hot rod. Heart and soul of the tudor is the healthy Boss-style power plant. Graham was adamant about his FoMoCo engine choice and its builder, Paul Attard of Southside Cylinder Heads. Attard is not only a competent engine builder, but also a club member who impressed Graham with his skilled ability to deliver a strong small block Ford in the Lineker’s ’53 Customline.
When Paul asked Graham how much power he wanted the engine to make, he didn’t know what to answer. Graham suggested 500 horsepower.
“I can make that with stock heads… what about 600?” Paul replied.
But when the new four bolt main block arrived there was a problem. It was the wrong block. Cursing his bad luck, Graham calmed down long enough for Paul to tell him that he’d actually scored some extra cubes.
“Instead of a 4 inch bore it measured 4.125, Paul asked how do I feel about having a 427. I said I feel pretty good!”
The fresh bottom end features Paul’s own designed 4V Cleveland alloy heads with wedge port machining, matched to an open plenum hi-rise intake manifold cast to his own specifications. With a 900 Holley DP on top, Graham has around 650 horses and 590ft-lb of torque on tap!
Horny Performance prepped a C10 auto to handle the punishment, whilst Chris’s Differential Services were tapped for one of their 31 spline Ford Trutrac nine inch diffs, this one with a nodular centre and 3.5 gears. Graham attacked the electrical system using an EZ Wiring harness.
Helping Tania maintain her licence, a quartet of disc brakes are employed to hobble the feisty thoroughbred. Polished finned faux brake drums filled with Wilwood binders from So-Cal Speed Shop continue the traditional theme up front, while Ford EF Falcon rear ensembles complete the package. “All the experienced guys at the Marsh Rodders helped immensely with their advice along the way. It was Mick Speranza who advised us to screw the car completely together and drive it before we painted it. We took his advice and I think it paid off!”
With the initial construction complete, engineer Michael Petrovski was called in for a final evaluation. “Michael was with us throughout the entire build,” Graham explains. “Once he signed off on the final inspection and was satisfied with its drivability, we put about 600km on the clock before we blew it apart.”
In just two days, the Deuce was in a thousand pieces and ready for the biggest hurdle… paint. Fortunately, Mick Speranza once again stepped in and guided them to C.A.D Customs, Elite Body & Paint where paint specialist Carmine De Maria totes a pretty mean spray gun.
“The first time we met Carmine was when he came over to our place to look at the car. He was happy that it was complete and driven. He was such a nice guy to deal with and he even showed us ways to save money by doing things ourselves.”
“Tiger Mica was the colour that I picked, but Carmine showed me a one inch sample of HOK’s new Shimrin 2 Gamma Gold and I knew that it was the one.”
With the deal laid out on the table, Carmine took control of the entire paint process from start to finish. It was never intended to become show quality as Graham just wanted a neat driver, but thanks to Carmine’s exemplary execution of the body and chassis, the complete package began to snowball.
“The exhaust was constructed by Trevor at True Flow Exhausts in Burnside. Using mandrel bends, 2” primaries feed a 4 into 1 collector and 3” stainless all the way to the tailpipes. Trevor said you can polish it if you like! I thought no, as it’s not a show car. Then I purchased cut outs for it and noticed that they were going a bit rusty. A friend had their exhaust ceramic coated, so I called Competition Coatings in Coburg for a quote. We did the whole thing and when we fitted it to the chassis, it made the aluminium fuel line look dull… so I polished it. Then the brake lines needed to be done and it just kept going from there. I love the look now and we have no regrets,” he concludes.
Out of the blue I got a call from Carmine who explained that he had Owen Webb in the shop looking at my car… I said who’s Owen Webb?”
Impressed with the assembled chassis, Owen was keen to unveil the tudor at Melbourne’s first ever Meguiars MotorEx. With the car in a thousand pieces, Carmine introduced the Linekers to The Trim Shop owner, Emmanuel, who came on board to create the interior.
“It was a mad rush and we made it… almost. Both Carmine and Emmanuel made the huge commitment to get it done but when Emmanuel conceded that he wouldn’t get it finished, we were gutted. We went from the highest of highs to rock bottom. It was Owen’s idea to still go ahead with the unveil after we blacked out the windows. Looking back it was still an unbelievable experience.”
“I was so overwhelmed and nervous, when interviewed I said that it was the best day of my life, but my face was just deadpan! We had our parents, friends and club members in attendance and it was just awesome. Because of the unveil, we weren’t allowed to show anyone progress pictures or let them know that it was going to be in the show. That was really hard,” they concur.
After the show, the tudor went straight back to The Trim Shop where Emmanuel crafted the classy interior from leather, suede and Wilton carpet. The heated front and rear seating was covered in a muted hue called Savannah, sourced from the Andrew Murhead collection. Bailey’s coloured suede floats overhead, while copper toned carpet continues textual variances to the tasteful interior that more than tips its hat to traditional inspiration. Subtle vertical pleats, silver piping and 1932 reproduction hardware all reinforce Graham and Tania’s vision for the entire vehicle. A Limeworks ‘40 Ford steering wheel directs the HQ box through a Flaming River collapsible column attached by more of Graham’s handwork.
“When we finally got it done, we took our boys Joshua and Taylor for a drive to Williamstown for ice cream. The evening was cool and it ran great. We were all waiting for that day and it was perfect,” they both conclude with beaming smiles.
Miss B Haven was completely finished in time for the 50th anniversary of the Victorian Hot Rod Show where it took pride of place in the centre of the historic Royal Exhibition building and earned a well-respected third in tudor class.
“I never thought that I would build a car worthy of being entered into a major hot rod show. Just to be able to be a part of the show is an achievement, but to be positioned under the dome was icing on the cake.”
Graham continues to explain that the car was only meant to be a driver and that he didn’t know the first thing about building a hot rod in the beginning. By listening to advice and being introduced to the right people, he has overcome all obstacles.
“There were times when I was completely overwhelmed,” he admits. “Looking back, the only obstacle was not having confidence in my own ability. Thanks to good friends, club members and great tradespeople, Miss B Haven is a reality. I have to specially thank my wife Tania, she’s awesome.”
Equally as amazing as the end result is the journey. Along the way Graham has built solid relationships that will last forever. He has also gained new skills and valuable self-assurance, strengthened family bonds and created an awesome hot rod. In my book that beats the hell out of any store bought trophy.
BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS BY MILLBROOK STUDIO, FULL FEATURE CRUZIN #173