Car Feature: Scott Hayden’s High School Sweethearts

High school is a tumultuous time for those of us obsessed with cars. We spend countless hours thumbing through our favorite car magazines, browsing online car and parts sites, and reading the latest articles – bench building that dream ride over and over again in our heads. Sometimes the obsession goes even further and we actually develop a plan, on paper of how we’d build that car, and what parts would go into it. At the same time, teenage years are filled with homework, a social life of some kind, hormones and chasing your first love.

Eventually girlfriends or boyfriends go their separate ways, and that car you dreamed of, even if you did get to buy it is often sold or traded for something more practical. Still though, that first taste of customizing that you might have had a chance to experience will stay with you forever.

One Man, Two Sweethearts

Scott Hayden has a bit of a different tale, and is in fact a very lucky man. He had found both the car, and the spouse he wanted by the time he had graduated high school. He and his wife Vicki have now been married for over forty years, which is certainly no small feat these days.

Scott also still has the car that he drove when he and Vicki dated, and what a car it is. He purchased the 1930 Model A Sedan you see before you from the original owner, all the way back in 1964. Back then he was still attending school at Oldham County High School.

The car was black, with spoke wheels, all original, and begging to be hot rodded. “I bought it for five hundred dollars from the original owner and brought it home with intentions of making it a hot rod,” Hayden tells us. However when Hayden’s father saw the car, he told his young son that there would be no modifying of this car, “He told me it was too nice for me to mess with and that I’d have to leave it stock and drive it that way.” So, now with his plans thwarted, he was saddled with a very  stock Model A instead of the hot rod he had been day dreaming about, Hayden had to drive the car the way it was every single day to school.

In 1966 Hayden parked the car to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. There Hayden would learn the trade of aviation mechanics, before eventually becoming a pilot himself. Today he’s a corporate pilot, which gives him both the flexibility and financial means to pursue his car hobbies, probably more so than he could have dreamed of when he was a teenager. 

He told me it was too nice for me to mess with and that I’d have to leave it stock and drive it that way.

The Model A sat until the mid 1970s when Hayden would have time to give it the attention it deserved. “While I was away at school no one was there to take care of it. My younger brother used it to drive back and forth from the house to the end of the driveway so he could catch the bus as it was a long walk. Someone left water in the radiator all winter and that was the end of the engine.” The car had deteriorated a great deal over the years, still Hayden was able to get it back on the road. For a time it had a small-block and automatic transmission combination, as well as a maroon paint job. In the late 1990s though, he decided to completely redo the car and make it a more modern street rod, which is pretty much how it’s remained. 

The Dream Realized

Long gone is the flimsy original frame, everything now rides on a Total Cost Involved Pro Street chassis. The front end uses a drop axle, and the rear suspension is a 4-link, with air springs to aide in height adjustment and comfort. “I tried coil overs, but on long trips, when we have to take a lot of things with us, the car sat low in the back and rode terrible. The air springs were one of the best things I ever did to this car,” Hayden shared. Rolling stock is from Weld Racing, with Pro-Star wheels setup in big and little fashion and disc brakes on each corner to handle the stopping duties. 

What really caught our eye, and drew us to Hayden’s car though is the engine and the hardware hanging from it. A 70’s Model Ford 460 now lives where the flathead four-banger once called home. Hanging off the driver’s side and in the wind as if to inform slower rods to get out of the way, is a Vortech Ysi centrifugal supercharger. You can hear the noise the Y-trim makes from almost an 1/8th mile away, you know this car is coming down the road – it makes sure of it.

The supercharger feeds a blow through carb and Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold. There’s also a nitrous system on board, although Hayden admits it has rarely been used. “I actually use that to help cold start the car, I activate the fuel solenoid since I don’t have a manual choke and that helps get the car running and warmed up,” he told us. 

Hayden prefers to row his own gears. Where we’ve gotten used to seeing a slush box and shifter is instead a big hurst pistol grip connected to a Richmond six-speed transmission. A 9-inch rear differential backs it all up.

Body modifications are timeless but true to form of most Model A’s. The top has been chopped about three inches and the canvas roof was replaced with metal. The exterior door handles and hinges remain however, which kind of give the car an old school feel. The side mirrors are mounted up high and the gas filler has been placed low near the running boards.

Inside the car’s interior is simple, but comfortable and built with purpose. Hayden removed the rear seat for a place to stow items like chairs, coolers and luggage on those long trips. Front seats are buckets covered in a tweed cloth and the headliner has flames stitched into it, a subtle touch you don’t notice unless you’re looking up. Steering is done via a billet wheel and dropped column, but probably the coolest interior feature is the dash. Hayden made a mold of a ’32 Ford dash and then built his own custom version outfitted with Stewart Warner gauges to monitor engine operations. 

Long Hauler

Scott and Vicki take the car out on a regular basis and it can be found at numerous shows as well as annually participating in the Power Tour. Those long drives are made possible by another cool trick that Hayden incorporated into the build of this car. Two 10-gallon tanks on board allow him to go a little further between fill ups. Hayden uses an electric pump to transfer fuel from the secondary storage tank to the primary, that pump is also part of the nitrous system. At an average of only ten miles per gallon on long trips, Hayden needs all the fuel capacity he can get. Still that’s not bad considering he’s driving a blown big-block. 

High school car, with pictures taken at the same high school Scott Hayden attended and drove the car to almost fifty years ago.

Normally with a car that has this kind of history between it and the owner we ask for pictures to show how the car might have progressed over the years. We’d love to see the young Scott and Vicki beside the car. However the Hayden’s suffered a devastating house fire in the early 1990s and all the photos of the car from their early years of ownership were lost. So as cool as it would be to bring that to you as part of this story, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hayden’s and we’re just glad everyone is ok and able to enjoy both the car and each other’s company to this very day. 

Not many of us can say that we truly are the second owner of our car, especially when our car has reached octogenarian status, and most of us would probably hope to still be happily married to our spouse after forty years. “Vicki wouldn’t let me sell this car, she says it has sentimental value, so we’ve held onto it for all these years.” Hayden’s son Mark inherited his dad’s love for modifying cars, so be sure to look out for a feature soon on his son’s LS powered ’54 Nash. Scott Hayden is presently working on a Fiero project, with an LS4 “I know that sounds crazy” he says, but to us it sounds like a whole lot of fun, and something we would actually expect to see from the Hayden family as they are all about fun and enjoying their cars as a family. 

About the author

Don Creason

Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
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