Y’know that one hot rod that stops you in your tracks? The one that you just can’t get out of your head no matter how many Deuce Coupes, Roadsters and Shoeboxes you see? Well, this amazing Model A is just that!
Built by the talented folks of CAL Automotive Creations, this 1930 Model A dubbed “Afterthought” is one in a long line of impeccable customs built by Andy Leach, Erik Hansen and Luke Ward in their Bennington, Nebraska shop over the past few years.
New-ish to the building game, CAL Auto has taken the bull by the horns so to speak in the industry in the last eight years since its inception, and proven time and time again what their talent and work ethic can create. When we came across this gorgeous Model A with the CAL Automotive stamp on it, we knew we had to do some more digging to see what it was all about.
As it turns out, this particular Model A build wasn’t originally meant to be one of CAL Automotive’s big builds. What started out as a project fulfilling some odds and ends needed on the ’30 for owners Ted and Colleen Hubbard, it eventually turned into a full-fledged custom build destined for one of the grandest competitions in the automotive world – the Detroit Autorama and competition for the coveted Ridler Award. Impressively, from the time it was decided to take the car on for a full makeover to the time it hit the show floor in Detroit, was a mere six months!
True to CAL Automotive’s build style of being a“unique, modern twist on [a] vintage classic,” (per the company’s Facebook page), the Model A features a completely custom design, from the framework all the way through the interior. Built atop a custom CAL Auto-crafted chassis, the car features nostalgic friction shocks and springs, and Kinmont-style brakes, alongside one-off finned rear end bells and a custom integrated crossmember, featuring adjustable ride height capabilities in the rear.
Giving the custom chassis plenty of power to perform under is a gorgeous blown 1949 8BA Flathead engine originally built by H&H Flatheads‘ Mike Herman and bolstered with such goodies as Stromberg 97s, a custom Tattersfield air cleaner, Ardun heads, and above all, one-off machined and fabricated cast-looking headers. Backing the unique powerplant is a Bowler C4 automatic transmission.
As if the mechanical components on this Model A weren’t enough, CAL Automotive upped the ante on the build even more by fully customizing the look and feel of the Model A. Meant to have a somewhat “cartoonish” appearance, the Model A features a fully handmade body that has been reverse wedge sectioned and accentuated with a reshaped ’32 roof chopped 6-inches, flush-fit doors, and a functioning rumble seat. Other custom features of note include Atomic Machine headlights, Bowler taillights, a beautiful CAL Automotive-crafted grille and one-off Halibrand-style wheels crafted by EVOD with a bronze powder-coat finish. Topping off the build is a sleek coat of Paleozoic Blue paint custom mixed and sprayed by Charley Hutton himself.
Inside, the interior of the Model A is just as custom with countless one-off machined pieces, from the transmission tunnel and steering column, to the floor and panels. Up front, a custom dash incorporates a 1957 Oldsmobile gauge cluster and custom Classic Instruments speedo, flanked by a one-off steering wheel crafted just for this build. Both door panels, seats (including the rumble) and side panels were done in distressed leather and hand-stitched by Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors. Even the floor of the hot rod is custom beyond expectation, featuring a one-off stamped rubber overlay.
To say this car is incredibly custom would be an understatement. But unlike many “fully custom” rods we come across, there’s nothing overdone or obnoxiously out of place on this Model A, which is probably why it made it so far in Detroit in 2017. Competing against the best builds of the year at its debut show, Afterthought climbed the ranks to be part of the 2017 Detroit Autorama Great 8 – a designation just one notch below the Ridler Award winner. And while another street rod – the Steve’s Auto Restoration-built “Renaissance Roadster” – ultimately took home the top award, Afterthought has continued to make its mark in the industry, being one of the most highly talked about hot rods for the last year. We can see why!
Joining the ranks of builds such as the 1940 Ford known as Checkered Past, which took home the Ridler Award in 2013, and the acclaimed ’62 Impala Bubbletop that competed with the best of the best in the search for Goodguys‘ 2015 Street Machine of the Year, it’s no surprise this fine CAL Auto-built, 2017 Great 8 Model A has seen a lot of spotlight in the automotive industry over the last 14 months. That being said, we hope we get to see the car again in the future, as the build certainly warrants a second and even third look. It’s definitely worth pouring over if you ever get the chance.