For most hot rodders there is a moment in your life that it hits you. Maybe someone took you to a cruise in or a rod run. Could it be when you were a kid and you heard the deep rumbling of a Flathead super charged motor whining as that cool old drag car comes rolling in your driveway? This was the way Mason Barnes started having it run through his veins.
He was 5 years old in 1971 and his dad brought home a 1937 Ford Coupe that had been a drag car. He then transformed it into a street rod. “I thought that car was the coolest car I’d ever seen and maybe it was”, Mason tells us. His dad painted it brown and had yellow pinstripe flames laid on it. “It had a Flathead with a McCullough supercharger and chrome Cragars, it was cool.”
In the late 70′s his dad joined the Southern Kentucky Street Rod club. His dad would take him and his brother to cruise ins and car shows all the time. This thing called hot rodding was definitely getting a hold of this young kid and he knew he wanted to have one of his own. His dad eventually sold that ’37 Ford only to buy another one just like it a few years later, which he kept until 2006.
When it came time for Mason to buy his first car he was only 14 years old. What he found was a “super solid” 1953 Studebaker Champion Coupe. After driving that old thing around for a while he decided it was time to step it up and what he ended up with was a 1948 Chevy Sedan.
Mason tells us, “One really fun trip in the ’48 was when a couple of buddies and me took it to Indianapolis to a Super Chevy event; I was 16 at the time. The 235 six cylinder blew so much oil out the side covers, we joked that we used more oil than gas on the trip.”
As life normally goes, we end up having to grow up (at least having the appearance of doing so anyway), get jobs and start a family. Mason was no exception to this. He was married in 1988 to a lovely bride and started his family. After his first child was born he decided it was time to hang up his keys, just like many others have done, in order to take care of his family.
During these 12 years of not having a hot rod he still made sure he spared the time to go to several rod runs and car shows. However, as all of us rodders start getting that itch, Mason tells, “Finally about 2003 I could not stand it anymore and had to have a hot rod, but one with room for our 14 year old daughter too”. What he got his hands on was not necessarily what he or his wife had in mind.
According to Mason this ‘ 34 Dodge had, “A great body but some crude work and weak running gear”. He goes on to say, “I’ll never forget right after getting the car we drove it to one of my daughter’s high school golf matches and I remarked, ‘This makes me feel like a kid again’. My wife then answered, ‘It makes me feel like the Beverly Hillbillies”. Mason said his wife has now become a hot rod honey.
Let’s fast forward a few cars to the cool classic hot rod he now drives. Mason says he never really forgot those chilhood memories of dad’s ’37 Ford Coupe and the way it looked with the flames painted on it.
One night while keeping to his routine of surfing the hot rod listings on Ebay, he came across of all things a 1937 Ford Coupe. The car was located in Lebanon, Maine and he had no way to drive up to look at it to see if it was worth buying or not. Mason said, “I contacted the owner, had more pictures sent, then finally made the decision to buy it sight unseen and obviously without driving it”.
July of 2009 the car was delivered from Kentucky to Maine. “The car looked good, sat good and the interior was really nice in my opinion”, said Mason. The car was only in primer and leaked out of every gasket, but he knew he could transform this car into what he wanted.
The first thing he did was take the red steel wheels off and shoot them yellow. All the old rods back then had red wheels with flat black primer and he wanted his to look a little different. Mason drove the car just like that, leaks and all for the 2009 and 2010 season. But by the end of the 2010 cruising season he couldn’t stand dealing with all those leaks.
After tearing just about everything out of the car, including the motor, he started the process of putting it back together the way he wanted it. The small block Chevy 350ci not only had every gasket replaced, it was also bored .030 over. He topped off the motor with an Edelbrock Endurashine Performer EPS intake and an Edelbrock carbuetor. The now cleaned up motor is bolted to a Turbo 350 transmission which is connected to a Ford 9″ rear end.
Up front he installed a Heidt’s Mustang II front end and all the way around he capped off it off with 15×6 Vintique Smoothies in the front and 15×8 in the rear. The tires are 205/70/15 front and 235/75/15 rear Diamond Backs.
Mason tells us flat black is one of his favorite colors. Using PPG Concept 2000 low gloss black acrylic urethane he shot his car. He said a lady at the paint store suggested the color fleet blue for the wheels. “I think she done good”, says Mason.
Wanting to have those cool flames like his dad’s, Mason also told us, “After reassembling the car, I went out to the garage one day to draw some flames on a project truck just to see how I could do. After about 10 minutes I came back in the house and my wife asked how they look. I replied, ‘like a 2 year old had drawn them’.
Mason contacted one of the legends in pinstriping and flaming custom cars, Bob Taylor from Louisville, Kentucky. As soon as he saw the car Bob said to Mason, “Well I know what color I’ll be outlining the flames in”. Bob knew the car would look unique and different with the flames outlined to match those fleet blue wheels.
After adding some creature comforts such as Vintage Air, Pioneer stereo, Ididit steering column and Lecarra steering wheel to the custom interior, we would have to say there is no doubt he has built a car he can be proud of. Mason drives the wheels off this car, taking it all over the mid-west as President of the Southern Kentucky Street Rods, the same club he grew up in going to shows with his dad.
“I have made many friends through this hobby and have had an absolute blast doing it. I would estimate I have been over 100,000 miles either riding as a kid or driving a hot rod and have been to events in at least a dozen different states. Hopefully I will have another 45 years to enjoy hot rodding”, says Mason.