Being mainstream … usual … typical … normal – that’s pretty easy. On the other hand, it takes some gumption to think outside the box and do something a bit different, especially in the car scene. Fortunately, there are plenty of enthusiasts out there willing to push the boundaries, get away from the mainstream and truly build a unique ride that is not only true to their vision, but also a real attention-getter for all the right reasons. John Zick of Sussex, Wisconsin is one such man!
A car guy from a young age, Zick got his start in the automotive scene thanks to many influences. As the son of a hot rodder, Zick got the car blood from the start. As a kid, he read Cartoons Magazine but hadn’t quite narrowed down his favorite car models until the movie American Graffiti came out and he fell in love with Milner’s 1932 coupe. From there, his automotive passion blossomed. But a custom build of his own didn’t come into the picture until later in his life.
Having inherited the 1930 Model A (in much less custom form, of course) you see before you when his father passed away, Zick started the build on his custom in 2013 with the talented guys at Streetworks Hot Rods in Waukesha, Wisconsin entrusted with the job.
The build would go through countless brainstorming sessions, hundreds of hours of custom work, and three years of blood, sweat and tears before it was finished in July of 2016. Since then, it has won a number of awards, including a first place in class recognition at both the Detroit and the Milwaukee Autorama, as well as a Chairman award in Detroit.
Now let’s get to the details of the car itself!
Wanting to give the car a bit of a Rat Fink look, customization was at the forefront of the build concept right out of the gate. To start things off, the ’32 Ford frame used as the base of the build was immediately Z’d and the roof of the car was chopped 2 ½-inches. Giving it even more of that hot rod look, the fenders, running boards and bumpers were shaved from the exterior, and most of the brightwork and all of the emblems were removed, giving Streetworks a clean slate for even more custom work.
From there, other significant body modifications were carried out on Zick’s ’30, including flush-mounted doors, a custom bare aluminum roof insert and trunk lid with dozens of hand-punched louvers in each, and a louvered bare aluminum taillight panel.
“Every weekend I would brainstorm with the guys at Streetworks and one of the first things was what to do about the roof,” Zick told us. “First we were going to go with a leather top, then plexiglass, and ended up with aluminum and louvers to help keep it cool inside.”
The body is topped off with a unique House of Kolor Organic Candy Green paint scheme (which carries over not only to the interior but also to the frame, rearend and suspension components) highlighted with custom lace and fade airbrushed details across the top of the cowl and around the back window, custom silver body line accents, and custom pinstriping. Other aesthetic details include a shamrock painted at the bottom of the cowl on either side of the car and the number 77 painted atop the back window – a reference to Zick’s semi-truck number and the career that paid for the build, he told us.
Inside, the Ford is just as custom, with hand-formed seats featuring woven bottoms that support plush cushions; a customized So-Cal Speed Shop dash with a bare metal insert and Stewart Warner gauges; and custom bare metal door inserts. The steering column in the street rod is out of a 1969 GTO while the steering wheel atop it is from a 1940 Ford. Of course, we can’t forget the green windows all the way around.
If you’re looking for a stereo system, air conditioning or power accessories, this is not the car for you! But if you’re in for a nostalgic feel, wind in your hair and the sweet song of a blown V8 cruising down the road, you’re definitely in the right place!
Speaking of a blown V8, powering the street rod is blown 1970 Chevy 350 4-bolt main powerplant bored .030 over and equipped with some of the finest components from COMP Cams, Eagle Rods, and MSD Performance. Built by NVR Racing, the engine also features Dart Iron Eagle cylinder heads, two Holley 600cfm Double Pumpers, SRP inverted dome top pistons, a steel crank, Cloyes timing set, and custom headers that dump into a custom exhaust system. With all these industry-leading components in use, the engine makes a substantial 627hp.
Keeping the engine cool is a custom dual radiator system, with the main radiator custom-mounted in the trunk of the car with dual fans, and a secondary radiator up front that holds extra coolant.
“In my eyes, I was planning on a Mooneyes tank between the frame rails and then going with an electric fan behind the radiator,” Zick explained to us, “[But] the fan took away from the ‘racey’ look and didn’t look right. Streetworks had a radiator from a ’72 Volvo that fit between the frame rails in the back, so we hid the radiator in the trunk with two electric fans. The front radiator is only used for extra coolant storage.”
He continued, “It’s fun at the shows to see how many people don’t notice a fan on the radiator in the front, and then guys walking up and asking how it’s kept cool!”
Backing the uniquely cooled blown V8 is a 700R4 automatic transmission built by Automatic Transmission Design, with gears selection done using a classic Lokar shifter topped with a custom green and white marble shift knob. Out back, the Ford is equipped with a Ford 9-inch rearend.
Under the car, tied to the Z’d ’32 Ford frame you’ll find a drilled, spring-over 4-inch drop front end with hair pins and a 4-link rear suspension system. Planting the 2,400lb car to the pavement are Radir spindle-mount 18×3-inch 12-spoke wheels wrapped in 18×4-inch Firestone rubber up front, and Halibrand 15×8-inch wheels wrapped in 15×9-inch Radir cheater slicks in the back. Providing braking power for the car are Wilwood discs on all four corners, controlled by separate master cylinders in the front and rear.
One fine custom, Zick’s Model A is one of a kind and we can certainly get behind that! Zick would like to extend a personal Thank You out to Matt, Josh, Erik and Wayne of Streetworks and to his mother, “for giving me the car.” We’d like to thank Zick for letting us crawl all around his car on multiple occasions to capture all of its unique details, and for taking the time to talk to us about his impressive ride!