For a couple who originally tied the knot and were whisked away as husband and wife in their 1929 Model A roadster, what better way to celebrate 50 years of that blissful wedded unity than giving themselves a “new” 1929 Ford?! That’s precisely what Donald and Karen Greenlee did for their recent 50th, but instead of building it himself, which Donald has professed doing for the last five-plus decades, he figured this time around, why not let someone else handle the responsibilities for him.
The most important part for Donald, since he this would be the first time one of his projects was out of his hands—and as it would turn out, out of sight for the most part—was choosing the right shop to undertake this special build. And although now enjoying his retirement in Florida, his search led him to Macedonia, Ohio … to a shop by the name of Precision Hot Rods & Fabrication, co-owned by Danny Tessar, whom Donald has known since he was a teenager. This was less than two years before the big golden anniversary date—Tessar and crew had their work cut out for them.
Now, when we say “new, ” we mean not only in the sense that it would be a fresh additional to the Greenlee motor stable, but in construction as well. For starters, Precision built a longer-wheelbase (yet bobbed and pinched), Deuce-style chassis from scratch—utilizing modern independent suspension (Heidts) on both ends rather than your typical solid-axle setups. The idea from the get-go was “to have a professional create a very roadworthy, comfortable riding, safe car, ” as Donald explains it. That dictated the implantation of an ATK High-Performance Engines Ford 302 and GearStar Level 2 AOD for the roadworthy aspect; Viking adjustable coilovers for the comfort; and Wilwood disc brakes for the obvious safety.
Atop that foundation, Precision mounted a Brookville 1929 Model A roadster body, which, as you may have noticed, has been treated to a few modifications here and there: doors are now flush-fit, cowl has been reshaped, and the windshield laid back, among other things. The semi “smoothie” look was carried out with a Pete Hagan hood and filled 1929 radiator shell before the roadster received its PPG Tinting White paintjob, now complemented by a set of polished-lip/gunmetal-centered Billet Specialties 17- and 20-inch Bonnevilles as well as a few splashes of chrome and stainless.
Finally, before presenting the Greenlees with their soon-to-be anniversary gift, Tessar sent the roadster to nearby New London, Ohio, to John Miller at Sullivan’s Upholstery for a trim job. Miller lined the cockpit and covered the T’s bench seat with two-tone silver vinyl, while the floor received a marine-grade carpet. Also featured is a set of Classic Instruments gauges in a Lokar insert, Vintage Air (more comfort aspect!), a Billet Specialties steering wheel, and a Lokar shifter.
This past Thanksgiving, Donald and Karen not only gave each other their “golden gift, ” courtesy of Precision Hot Rods, they immediately jumped in and drove straight to the annual Turkey Run at the Daytona International Speedway. As Donald summed it up, “The trip gave us the opportunity to enjoy driving a great roadster, in perfect Florida weather. It was a wonderful experience to receive positive feedback from spectators about how much they like the car’s simple lines and clean look.”