The Devil Loves A Flatty – 1930 Ford Five Window Coupe

While walking around at the 46th Annual Street Rod Nationals Plus in Kentucky, we ran across this gem of a hot rod, owned by Jim Landsparger of Denver, Colorado, a 1930 Ford Model A five window coupe. These ’30 Ford coupes are pretty popular among the street rod crowd and when they look this good, it is easy to understand why. Unlike some, Jim did not immediately act on his dreams. He took the road less taken and made his way back to the car of his dreams after fulfilling some other priorities, such as getting an education, raising a family, starting a successful business, and solidifying his nest egg. It all paid off because here it is, Jim’s childhood dream in the flesh.

1930 Ford Model A

The deep burning desire for such a hot rod traces back to Jim’s early life in this world, when as a kid priorities were different, such as building a 1/8-scale Monogram Big T model car in a suburban neighborhood in 1950s Detroit, Michigan. Jim recalls that, “A neighbor named Don was building a ’30 Model A hot rod. It was black, flathead-powered and had no fenders. Man, oh man it really lit my fuse!” At the time, Jim felt that Don’s car would look awesome in red paint with a white interior with big whitewall slicked tires wrapped around red steel wheels. Young Jim had been bitten by the hot rod bug and vowed to someday own one identical to his 1/8-scale model, which would come many years later.

1930 Ford Model A

Just as this hot rod caught our eye, once upon a time it did the same thing to Jim during a North Platte, Nebraska, three-day rod run. “I spotted a red highboy coupe in a motel parking lot,” Jim said.” It was a Model A five-window coupe powered by a 1953 Merc flathead and a manual transmission which is something I’ve always wanted. The next day I tracked down the owner, Dave Posson, and asked him if he would be willing to sell his car to me.”

As luck would have it, Dave was in the middle of completing a 1949 Mercury and cash from the sale of the Model A would provide enough capital to finish up his project. Dead solid perfect! A deal was hashed out and now the Model A sits in a garage next to Jim’s 1933 Ford coupe. Cool story, but what about all of the details that make this bitchin’ hot rod what it is today? Let’s rewind to the beginning when it was nothing more than frame rails sitting on milk cartons in Dave Posson’s garage.

1930 Ford Model A

In the beginning, Dave had a vision for his ride as a chopped top hot rod based on a boxed-in 1932 Ford frame. From that solid foundation, Dave moved forward by fabricating tubular crossmembers that were fitted to the chassis, front and rear. Dave mounted up a split wishbone suspension from a 1946 Ford pickup and buttoned everything up with a Speedway Motors simulated quick-change rear end with 3.78 gearing. Finishing off the rear chassis, Dave installed Model A cart springs, Gabriel shocks, and flanked it with a 1946 drum braking system.

On the front end, the chassis assembly consists of a 4-inch dropped I-beam and Pete & Jake’s hairpin radius rods.

Model A five-window coupe powered by a 1953 Merc flathead and a manual transmission is something I’ve always wanted. -Jim Landsparger

Dave used parts from a 1946 Ford to set up a brake system that also includes drums from an early model Buick. Juicing the brake system, Dave used a pedal assembly from a Ford fruit jar master cylinder application. Dave had Ultimate Machine in Phyllisburg, Kansas, modify the 1951 Mercury 268ci flathead to accept a set of Egge Machine pistons.

Other modifications to the Merc flathead include an Isky Jr. cam, Edelbrock heads, an Edmunds twin manifold fed by dual Stromberg 81 carbs, and a Mallory dual-point ignition system. Dave topped off the power plant by fabricating a set of custom 1¾-inch Lake-styled headers and adding a custom fabbed fuel tank that feeds juice to the beast.

Dave kept everything traditional, but decided to go a different route when it came to the transmission. Dave found an 80s five-speed manual transmission from a Chevrolet S-10 pickup and mated it to the Merc flathead. The majority of the transmission setup is of the GM bloodline, except for the CarQuest driveshaft and Ford clutch.

With all of the undercarriage and engine work completed, Dave mounted up the all-steel 1930 Ford Model A body and decided it was a bit too tall for his particular taste. The top was chopped and the body was channeled 2½-inches, and a Juliano’s soft roof insert was added, which really gives this car that “oh-so-right” hot rod look. Continuing with the body mods, Dave smoothed and welded the visor into the roof line and sectioned the grille shell and insert to blend it with the Model A’s profile. Next, Dave tapped Jarret Lawson at New Look Body Shop in Norton, Kansas, to assure everything fit as it should and to finish up some minor body work, as well as pave the way for Brad Harding to lay down the PPG Real Red paint job.

Komarek’s Upholstery in Great Bend, Kansas, was tasked with the interior stitch work which consists of tuck-n-rolled white vinyl with red-piping stretched over a Glide Engineering reclining bench seat, fitted with red Juliano’s seat belts, and the flooring was covered with red nylon plush cut carpet. The door panels, trunk area, and headliner all received the same tuck-n-roll white vinyl and red carpeting treatment. The in-cab electronics were setup with Affordable Street Rods wiring tucked behind a 1932 Ford dash with Stewart Warner Wings instrumentation. A 1939 Ford steering column topped off with a 1939 Ford banjo steering wheel, fitted with the iconic Von Dutch flying eyeball assist knob (painted by Pat Landsparger), and a devil “Brain” custom shifter knob, also painted by Pat, completes the interior.

1930 Ford Model A

This flashy red hot rod rolls on a set of red powdercoated 15×5-inch and 15×7-inch Wheel Vintique Gennies with 1935 Ford V8 polished aluminum center caps, wrapped in Coker 5.60/15 and 15/10 M/T grooved slicks wide white tires, respectively. To give the rear some more detail, Dave used a hospital bed rail to fabricate a thin chrome bumper and added 1950 Pontiac taillights. One of the coolest mods to the tail is also one of the most unassuming, a license tag light fabbed from an old school Coca-Cola bottle opener. Trimmed headlight stands with KD Lamp sealed-beam conversion lights were installed along with a Bert’s Model A side mirror. Mike Shartel laid down some pinstriping and Jim’s wife, Pat, added the custom “Flatty” devil text artwork to the front side panels. Quality Plating of Yuma, Colorado, refreshed all of the chrome making sure it was nice and bright.

Jim is indeed a well-rounded car enthusiast, having owned a 1966 tri-power GTO as a teen, and a 1933 Ford Coupe later in life, each an icon from its respective automotive era. However, the devil is in the details when it comes to Jim’s automotive hobby and the acquisition of this 1930 Ford Model A five window coupe, named “Flatty,” is the dream that started it all.

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About the author

J.R. Janicek

A resident of Nashville, J.R. Janice's passion for cars was fueled by weekends shared with his uncles at figure-8 races in Louisville. By the late 80s, he was immersed in the mini-truck genre, and attending shows and hangout spots. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Marines and spent one year in Japan where he became familiar with the automotive culture. In 1999, he started photographing automotive events and eventually established a freelance photography company serving the custom automotive niche. He brings a unique perspective as a freelance writer to Power Automedia.
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