Show & Go 1929 Ford Roadster is 2019 AMBR Contender

There’s a simple self-administered test one can take to determine if they’re going to be a street rodder for life. A fellow has to ask himself if he remembers what year it was when he saw his first hot rod, and where he saw it. For Jim Grant of Boise, Idaho, the year was 1955, and it was in his hometown of Riverside, California. Jim’s folks owned Grant’s Dutch Boy paint store on Magnolia in Riverside, and it was there Jim spotted a ’40 Ford two-door sedan and a ’32 Ford two-door sedan. A little older than Jim, the owners were Freddie Edsel with the ’32 and Jim DeLorenzo with ’40. The three became lifelong friends.

It was 1958 when Jim bought the 1929 Model A roadster gracing this feature. A genuine barn find, the car was covered in broken hay bales and had chickens walking around it. Jim paid the Rubidoux, California, farmer $200 and hauled the roadster home. For power, Jim dropped in a 287-inch ’55 Pontiac V-8 with a B&M hydro and Olds rearend. Jim custom painted the ’29 himself and cruised the streets of Riverside in a potent little stoplight brawler.

In 1963, Jim along with his friend John McMannus cofounded the Riverside Roadsters car club. Around the same year Jim built a ’23 T-bucket Tom McMullen and Tex Smith used on a regular basis in magazine tech articles. Not to be excluded, Jim’s ’29 roadster won its share of custom car shows and was found featured on the pages of numerous custom car magazines as well.

In 1973, Jim under the advice of his son’s doctor, moved the family out of the cloud of steel mill smog to the clean air of Boise, Idaho. Jim changed his career pattern slightly and moved from real estate to property management. It was a thanks to the property management company Jim was able to move his home shop into one of the company’s storage sheds. From hot rods, Jim shifted to dragsters and then back to hot rods when he realized he was getting a little old to be running down the quarter-mile at 200 mph.

In 1999, Jim was in Riverside and got a lead on buying back the ’29 Ford he’d sold in the mid ’60s. Jim left the area, but amazingly the next three owners of the ’29 all lived within blocks of where Jim had once lived in Riverside’s Wood Streets. Jim paid $8,500 to get his roadster back and hauled it to Idaho. Always a fanatic for detail and lots of chrome, Jim undertook a build, along with friend Bud Branson lending a helping hand that would take 15 years to complete. The bodywork from bare metal into PPG Black Cherry paint consumed 600 hours, and Northwest Chrome of New Plymouth, Idaho, invested countless hours producing show quality chrome for the car.

The ’29’s stance is set at a “hot rod rake.” The powdercoated frame is a Total Cost Involved Pro Street chassis with a stock Model A 103.5 inch wheelbase. Jim contacted Total Cost Involved and asked for a referral to a local shop to do custom work on the chassis. Total Cost referred Jim to Kenny’s Rod Shop a recent transplant from Turlock, California to Boise. The boxed main rails are constructed using 2×4 American made steel and feature independent front suspension (IFS) and live rear axle.

Kenny’s Rod Shop installed the front and rear suspension as its first job in Boise. Viewing from the front the IFS suspension with rear steering and rear-mounted front sway bar is void of clutter. The upper and lower tubular control arms are chrome-plated and united with Granada spindles, 11-inch Wilwood disc brakes, and QA1 coilover shocks. Kenny’s Rod Shop plumbed hard lines in stainless steel, and braided stainless steel hydraulic lines were routed where flexibility is required.

Differential setup by Jim’s Drivetrain Specialties the fully chromed rear suspension sports a Chassisworks FAB9 housing with a 3.5-geared Strange 9-inch with positraction. Matching the front Wilwood 11-inch disc brakes and QA1 coilover shocks are at rear. The big-and-little meats are Hoosier 24×7.50-R15 tires on ET Spoker wheels in front and super-wide Hoosier 31×16.5×15 tires on ET Fuelers in the rear.

Machined and assembled by Mike Hering of Valley Crankshaft & Performance Dyno in Boise, the engine is a 355-inch 1996 Corvette LT1 with a stock stroke Scat crankshaft, and 10.5:1 pistons under a pair of fully polished aluminum heads with Moon valve covers. Unavailable for a ’96 Vette LT1, the heads were sent to Kinsler to fabricate a custom intake manifold to support Kinsler eight stack fuel injection. The ignition is a ’96 Corvette Opti-spark, and a Comp Cams roller cam and roller rockers handle operating the valvetrain. The gas pedal is Lokar.

The cooling system starts with custom chrome-plated Tuff Stuff water pump delivering Prestone to a Walker radiator with a chrome-plated tank fitted by Mac’s Radiator. Wired by Kenny’s Rod Shop, the electrical system is charged via a chromed Powermaster alternator supplying current through an American Autowire harness into an Optima battery. The fasteners on the ’29 are a mix of ARP bolts and Stainless Specialties button heads special ordered to size. ARP bolts are used to Affix Sanderson headers to a fully polished stainless steel exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers fabricated by Kenny’s Rod Shop.

To hear Jim’s ’29 described one might not think the stock styling cues right down to a crank hanging out of the Model A grille shell could look this right, but Jim pulled it off. It’s a great homage to a mid ’60s style. Behind the stock grille shell with a Motometer is a Rootlieb ’28-’29 Model A steel hood. All of the bodylines were meticulously gapped by TIG welding the edges and filing to fit. Jim’s friend Bud Branson worked alongside him, adding a helping hand during the duration of building the ’29.