12º of Separation


And what it separates, folks, is the regulars from the summer soldiers.

It was 12º last night in Perth. Dry, no wind, and very few volcanoes or tidal waves. A perfect night for car enthusiasts to motor on down south to the BP station at Baldivis for another in the impromptu Saturday Night Fever meets.

Less cars than in February, but that does not indicate that the hobby of hot rods, custom cars, and street machines is dying out in Western Australia – it indicates that  a lot of people have firesides and wood to burn and the good sense to do it. I, on the other hand have no good sense, but I do have a new Mag Mod light modifier for my speed light and a warm jacket.


Well, I can’t praise this Model A enough. It was just cruising in as I parked my little sedan and I waited until it had circled the lot and alighted in an empty bay. The beauty of the hard pan at the BP station in this cold weather is the fact that it is not likely to be crowded – you can get a free and clear shot at the cars if you get there early.


The A is full-fendered, as you can see, but look under the fenders for the really good bit – the traditional axle and shocks. It just makes the front look so much better than adapted clips from new sports cars. Ditto the rear shocks and diff. But then this A is all about tradition in many ways;

a. Note those side lights on the chrome frame. Lots of builders ditch them – but this chap saw how good they looked. And they are a defining feature on the A.



b. Trad headlamp placement on the transverse bracket. The hoods are interesting, and probably have some historic provenance too in the aftermarket or dealer’s accessories of the period.


c. The upholstery is cloth and piped. The dash is dead-set stock in looks down to the vertical panel. Then it becomes a more useful modern dash with instruments that actually tell you things that you want to know. The wheel is not stock, of course, but is muted enough to fit in well. There are no skulls, Betty Page decals, or fuzzy dice. Thank goodness. The interior gives a feel of the period.

d. The wheels, caps, and trim are perfect. The tyre selection as well – no-one seeing the size of the engine would wish the road contact to be the old stock Model A rubber ( ground contact area the size of four squirrel feet…) but by the same token this is a driving car – not a Big Daddy Roth Tee-shirt. There is a fine balance between stance and operation.

e. The colour combo is great. Subdued yet bursting out into the cream wheels. It is a plausible colour for a driving car and not just the loudest thing off the paint chart. There is a place for loud and garish colour on some rods but it’s a pleasure to see a car that doesn’t need it to turn heads. It also doesn’t need stripes, scallops, flames, or graphics – just the two-tone body, black fenders, and cream wheels.


f. Lastly, the ’32 grillwork has been blended well with the A. Some builders get it wrong – putting the shell too high to complete the cowling/bonnet/shell line. This one is fine. It would be an interesting car to see with bonnet and side panels in place.

It certainly made a good looking first model for the night’s shoot. And I’m happy to report that the family who drove up in it seemed to have a good time too – as they went whistling home in the 12º night air they probably were grateful that Dad chose to rod a two-door sedan rather than an open tourer!


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