1929 Ford Model a Roadster
Alan Kahan is a longtime street rodder and a longtime friend of STREET RODDER. He recently cruised by the offices in his 1929 Ford Model A roadster. The offices are only a few minutes from Alan’s house, so this trip was a breeze compared to the cross-country treks that have been made over the past decade or more. Alan and his highboy have been through the mountains, the desert, and the prairie. The car has been coated with salt from the ocean air and from the Bonneville salt flats. It’s been parked at national events and at the local burger joint cruise night.
Alan has owned the Model A for 15 years, but the car’s story goes back further than that (so does Alan’s). The roadster made its magazine debut on the cover of Rod & Custom in the late ’70s. R&C put the highboy back on the cover in 2002, one year after Alan bought it.
The Model A had originally been hot-rodded in Connecticut. It rolled on boxed Deuce ‘rails with wire rims, and was loaded with a 307ci Chevy with a single Holley carb. Upholstery was tan tuck ‘n’ roll. The paint color was attention-getting red.
From Connecticut, the roadster went to an owner in Texas, who sent it back to New England to Gamache Rod & Custom Works in Massachusetts. Paul Gamache started preparing the car for the Oakland Roadster Show, but the Texan died before the car was finished. The roadster bounced around Texas and New Mexico for a while before Alan bought it and brought it to Southern California. Today, the car keeps its red hue, 1932 grille shell, and ‘boxed ‘rails. The old 307 was long ago replaced by a 350 with a quartet of Rochester 2-Jets, and steelies roll where wires once did.
The small-block is equipped with 327 fuelie heads. Jerry Lechich at Rodworks in Los Angeles (now retired) finished the engine in traditional style. The Rochesters sit atop an old direct-port-induction-style Man-A Fre manifold. Sanderson headers and 30-inch glasspack mufflers provide a well-tuned exhaust note. The radiator is an original Deuce part, finished in polished brass. The 350 is backed up by a TH350 automatic. The 1940 Ford rear features a Halibrand quick-change running 4.44:1 and 3.33:1 gears.
The original 1932 frame has been boxed and modified. The front four-link and the shocks were provided by Pete & Jake’s. The springs are reverse-eye 1932 leaf springs in the front and quarter-elliptics in the rear. Jeff Wasserman plated, painted, and pinstriped the Deuce I-beam axle, which is dropped 5 inches. Wilwood front disc brakes are backed up by 1956 F-100 rear drums.
Alan swapped the roadster’s wire rims for 15-inch Ford steelies from Eric Vaughn. The painted wheels are accented by chrome 1948 Ford center caps and rings. The big ‘n’ little look is accomplished with 255/70R15 and 165/80R15 radial rubber.
The body is original Ford steel, shaved and smoothed when the roadster was at Gamache Rod & Custom Works. The 1932 grille shell has been filled, nosed, and peaked, and the firewall has been smoothed and filled. The 2-inch chopped windshield came from Brookville. A rolled body pan and chrome nerf bar bumper clean up the rear. King Bee headlights and blue-dot 1939 Ford taillights provide timeless-looks along with illumination. That awesome red paint is 1990 Chrysler Graphic Red, shot at Dallas Metalsmith in Dallas. After 25 years, it still looks great.
Jeff Wasserman upholstered a Glide Engineering bench seat in black tuck ‘n’ roll vinyl with red piping, The door panels received matching map pockets and 1932 Ford roadster handles. Stewart-Warner Wings gauges fill a Haneline engine-turned stainless face on the 1932 Auburn dash panel. The tach and a classic four-spoke wheel are mounted on the custom stainless steering column.
Yes, there’s quite a story to Alan’s highboy roadster. Actually, there’s quite a story to all of Alan’s cars (go to to read about the 1924 Ford Model T coupe he’s owned for almost 60 years). A lot of old hot rods, like this long-lived Model A, have disappeared. A few of them have ended up in museums to be appreciated by the public. But if you believe that real hot rods belong on the streets and highways, you will be glad to know that’s where you’ll find Alan Kahan’s timeless Model A highboy.