Cabinetry at 80 Km/hr

Gillam Drive 2014 115

I was in two minds about photographing this Model A woodie – it was parked on a side lot at the Gillam Drive open day and I wasn’t sure if the owner had quite intended it to star in the show. Not that there was anything bad about it – far from that – but I thought it might be a work in progress and not ready for the feature.

Still undecided about that. I can recognise some of the styling decisions on this rod, but I can’t say whether there will be more detail.

To start with, the basic premise of the build – a heavily-engined woodie – means that it is also somewhat of a simple style. The headlights and front fenders spell stock, and it is only the absence of bumpers and the choice of bonnet covering that alert us to the modified rod. Of course that big engine is a give-away, as are the choice of wheels and tyres. Those hubs are perfect for the utilitarian/stylish nature of the car. And for the size and weight of the engine, for that matter.

Any woodie involves…well…wood. Some are complex pieces of furniture with compound curves like the Chrysler and Chevrolet models of the late 40’s, but some are as simple and straight-lined as this Model A. Home carpenters and cabinet makers get a clear shot at woodwork with these designs, and there is a definite style to the blend of the wood colours. Doors need to be straight at the hinge lines to work properly.


Gillam Drive 2014 116

Gillam Drive 2014 117

The interior shows some fine coach building and I see the owner has blended the statutory requirements for a steel roof support to the square lines of the interior with a steel arch. The arches and the strakes of the roof are a delight – they definitely do not need a head liner for charm.

Gillam Drive 2014 118

I was surprised to see that there were no side windows. I was left wondering if this was a deliberate decision or if something is being prepared. A wet day with side winds would be a real experience – also cold days. Oddly enough a hour later on the Roe Highway I saw another Model A woodie with side windows that were made of perspex. Big and bare with no frames – they looked a little out of place on its wooden body. Perhaps they are practical or perhaps they just have not got around to fitting more complex coverage. I would not imagine that this car will ever have wind-up windows, but they might fit side curtains in the same manner that cabin cruiser owners do – or for that matter, the sort of horizontally-split thing you used to see on Citroens and Renault 4’s.

In any case this car looks like fun, and if it changes at all I will be keenly tracking its appearance at WA events.


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