In our line of business, we’re fortunate to see plenty of well built hot rods. Our internal Rolodex of wicked cars gets larger by the day, but certain build are more indlible than others.
Mark and Dennis Jr’s “Mariani Model A” is one of those vehicles. It’s card in our mental isn’t just folded over, it’s highlighted.
The name Mariani may ring a bell, even if you’re not into hot rods or motorsports. Mariani Farms and Mariani Nut Company are all under the umbrella of the Santa Clara Valley, California, Mariani family legacy, of which brothers Mark and Dennis Jr. are part of.
In bare metal form, it captivated us at the 2017 Detroit Autorama and made no less of an impact painted at the same show in 2018.
One-of-a-kind in every way, it’s a vehicle that draws you in from all angles. The side profile is especially captivating due to it’s phenomenal stance.
Plenty of hot rods carry a raked stance but the one on this car is somehow extremely aggressive, yet extremely elegant, all at the same time.
Attributing to the aggressive hot rod posture is a significantly chopped top and laid back A pillars. The top slopes forward almost as drastically as the frame kicks up in the front.
Out back, the rear end of the frame has also been kicked up, ten inches in total. Joining the front and rear of a frame together at opposing angles can make or break a profile, but the Rad Rides crew navigated this tricky transition gracefully.
The body and frame modifications, combined with one-off billet wheels, give this Ford a profile that every enthusiast can get on board with. Taking in the car from the front we were left scratching our heads two years in a row trying to place the grill.
As it turns out, we had reason to scratch our heads. Sitting in front of a custom firewall, custom windshield, and custom cowl, is a grill that incorporates multiple ’30s era Ford styling cues.
In all, the Rad Rides team estimates that at least 95% of the body is hand built, drawing from a combination of old and new styling cues and techniques.
Some of it was done using the English wheel, hammers, dollies, and sand bags, while other parts were machined in house. The blend of build techniques, combined with the utilization of design influences from outside the automotive community create the car’s unique look.
The front suspension on this Ford is itself a testament to Rad Rides creativity and ingenuity. It features torsion bars that have been integrated into the custom frame.
While the ride height is effectively static, it can be changed manually via adjusters that are hidden within the firewall.
What you see coming out of the side of the cowl is a complex steering arm set up unique to this vehicle. Trying to figure out exactly how it all worked to reduce bump steer made us wish we’d paid a little more attention during high school geometry class.
Suffice to say the bell crank based steering system works as well as it looks.
The rear suspension is a little more straight forward, utilizing modified Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop dog bone ladder bars and a custom pan-hard bar.
Another trick detail that Rad Rides By Troy worked into the rear end was the integration of a quick change diff cover. Under that cover are 3:50:1 gears and a limited slip differential. It’s all packed in a Halibrand pot that sits within a removable custom rear diffuser.
The words “Diffuser” and “hot rod” seldom appear in the same feature but, the Rad Rides Team found a way to combine the two in a single build without it looking forced.
Under the hood is a small-block Chevy, but blue oval fans don’t get too upset, this isn’t your average 305 lifted from a tired third generation Camaro.
Hidden under the air cleaner is a very clever fuel injection set up. Atop an Offenhauser 3×2 intake manifold is a trio of Autro Trend 48mm throttle bodies. These throttle bodies do a great job of convincing the average passer by that they are vintage carburetors.
Shaved, and sprayed in the same colors as the exterior we’re sure even the most devout of Ford fans will agree that this is the perfect motor for this car.
Inside, the interior is on par with an upscale residential study. Starting from the ground up, the carpet is plush square weave. The carpet’s piping matches the Italian leather used on the seats. Unlike many shops Rad Rides By Troy didn’t send out their upholstery work, they did it in house.
The dash is custom and conceals the brake and clutch master cylinders. Along with providing a place to house the Classic Instruments gauges the dash also hides a vintage air heating and cooling system.
As much as bare metal suited this car, it wouldn’t have hit the level of refinement Rad Rides By Troy was aiming, so, the car was coated in BASF base/clear paint.
The paint was shot by Troy’s team, of course, and the vehicle uses a combination of gloss and satin finishes to give the car extra levels of depth.
This hot rod might enter shows under the name of “Ford” but it’s really more bespoke custom creation than it is a blue oval. From one off grill shell, to painted quick change differential cover, it’s a testament to the abilities of the Rad Rides By Troy team.
As much as we absolutely love this car we can’t wait to see what Rad Rides comes out with next. They’ve set the bar so high with the Mariani Model A that the next car they build just might be untouchable.