Nailhead Powered: 1930 Ford Hot Rod

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Some classics are so stunning they almost defy the written word. Such is the case with this 1930 Ford Hot Rod. The attention to detail is exceptional, and its bullet-proof drivetrain combination features a modern twist that should offer civilized power delivery. It needs nothing and would suit a meticulous enthusiast intent on recapturing the glory days of the Hot Rod era. The seller has listed the Ford here on Craigslist in Wenatchee, Washington. It could be yours for $29,500, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for locating this stunning blast from the past.

I’ve sat for a considerable period examining the listing photos for this Ford, and I have struggled to know where to start. It is worth noting that the seller has nearly one hundred images documenting every aspect of the build process and will include them in the sale. They started their quest for a vehicle that recaptures the glory days of Hot Rodding with a 1930 Ford chassis. To this, they attached an all-steel body featuring 1932 Ford sheetmetal. The package includes a genuine Ford grille, bumpers, and fenders. These were massaged to perfection, and the windshield was raked by approximately two inches. Completing the picture are custom bubbles installed into either side of the hood for exhaust manifold clearance. The panels received a coat of Buick Francis Cream paint, highlighted by hand-painted Red pinstripes that match the steel wheels. The car features a Burgundy top with new Landau bars, bows, and a removable glass back window. Some chrome pieces aren’t perfect, exhibiting a few swirls and marks. However, I believe they might respond well to work with a high-end polish. The steel wheels sport trim rings, sparkling hubcaps, and whitewalls, which are in keeping with the vehicle’s character.

Hot Rod builders often had to think outside the square with their creations. The mechanical components were often driven by what they had readily available or could afford on a limited budget. The result was vehicles wearing the badges of one marque but equipped with a drivetrain from another. Such is the case with this Ford. Its engine bay houses a Buick 401ci “Nailhead” V8. Shifting duties fall to a rebuilt three-speed TH400 automatic transmission that feeds the V8’s power to a Ford 9″ rear end with 3.25 gears. The dropped front axle features a UniSteer Cross-Steer Mini Rack and Pinion system and disc brakes, with the rear suspended on coilovers. The 401 Nailhead would have produced at least 265hp in its prime, but it would be fair to expect considerably more from this powerplant. It received a complete overhaul, including a cylinder head rebuild, a new camshaft, lifters, and other components. The modern twist was to ditch the carburetor in favor of an MSD electronic fuel injection system. This should improve reliability and engine response, making the Ford feel more civilized. The seller states that the Nailhead roars into life at the turn of the key and that the car is easy to drive. Classic motoring should be relaxing, which appears to be the case with this Hot Rod.

The Burgundy soft-top seemed to be at odds with the rest of this Ford’s appearance, but the interior trim combination ties it together perfectly. The door trims and banjo-style wheel feature leather in that shade, with matching carpet gracing the floors. The seats are upholstered in contrasting Beige, with the impact dramatic but classy. The interior backs its stunning looks with functionality. The machine-turned dash houses a selection of vintage-style Stewart Warner gauges, with the driver able to tailor their seating position courtesy of a 30″ tilt column. A Lokar shifter falls easily to hand and is topped by a Cream knob decorated with period-correct Red flames. The wheel leather shows some slight marks, and there is minor wear on the driver’s side carpet heel pad, but those are the only criticisms. Otherwise, this interior should garner many admiring glances and comments wherever this classic goes.

I genuinely like this 1930 Ford Hot Rod if you haven’t already worked it out. It was created as a fitting tribute to a scene that spawned the custom car industry and performs that role admirably. Its minor imperfections are acceptable for a high-end driver, and it would undoubtedly draw crowds for the right reasons. It isn’t cheap, but building an identical vehicle for the price would be virtually impossible. It has only been on the market for a day, but how quickly do you think it will find a new home? More importantly, are you tempted to make it yours?

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    It looks like they have enjoyed some miles on it, all the better for working out any build bugs and every build like this will have them. It looks the part, and the seller is not out to make a flipper’s profit.

    Like 9
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    Wow! how nice is that?

    Like 8
  3. CadmanlsMember

    Very nice, hope it’s legit. Almost too much car for the price, but everything is so nice….

    Like 5
  4. George Duran

    I’ve built a few hot rods,but none as close to perfect as this. One of the few that looks just as good with the top up as lowered.
    Pretty much flawless,unfortunately my age makes building another impossible.

    Like 4
  5. joe bru

    Only question I have is: Does the back window zip in or does it need to be sewn in?

    Like 0
  6. Lance

    Looks like this car would have been in one of those cheesy mid fifties teenager movies Top always down of course. Nice old rod.

    Like 3
  7. Rex

    I admire a really well-done hot rod, and I salute the builder of this one.

    Like 3
  8. Davey Boy

    Wouldn’t change a thing. To bad my situation right now won’t let me afford this beauty.

    Like 2
  9. Rw

    Where are comments about not having a Ford engine?

    Like 1
  10. Joe Haska

    Sorry I don’t like it! When you put together two cars that are the same marque but different years ,it can be a challenge. However in “the hot rod cult” model A’s and 32’s have been mixed and matched many times with some very favorable results. I don’t think this car is one of those.

    Like 0

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