Today’s car is the 1929 Ford Model A “Scat” Roadster owned by Tom Lieb. I saw this car at the 2023 Grand National Roadster Show held at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Tom bought the car in 1959 when he was 17-years-old for $250.00. He sold the engine a year later for $300.00 to pay for his tuition. Tom brought the car to Pete Champours at SO-CAL Speed Shop In 2007 for its first build, under Jimmy Shine’s watchful eye. In 2016 the car was reworked at Shines Speed Shop in order to compete for the “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” honors. The AMBR is the most coveted award that is given out at the Grand National Roadster Show. Many accolades and awards have been garnered for this amazing car that came together under the creative minds of Tom, Pete and Jimmy, better known as the dream team.
The car is finished in Washington blue, a correct factory 1932 Ford color, but enhanced with black paint added until they achieved the deeper and richer color that you see on the car. The warm chestnut brown leather interior is a perfect match. It is powered by 286 cu in, 1948 Ford Flathead V8, with a Winfield cam, Edelbrock heads and intake, with a pair of Stromberg 97 carburetors, mated to a David Kee aluminum case toploader 4-speed and Halibrand quick change rear end with 3.78:1 gears. Tom collected wonderful historic automotive pieces on his travels over the years and incorporated them into the build. The Lincoln air cleaners on custom intake ducting, plug wire looms from an early Cadillac, copper plated fuel lines and spark plugs, and a fuel block cast in red bronze. The exhaust manifolds are from a WWII landing craft found in New Zealand!
Slowing this beautiful roadster down are 1940 Ford hydraulic brakes with a dual master cylinder. The brake backing plates have cooling cutouts with stainless steel screens that were added as a classic look to keep the brake shoes cool. The front suspension includes the original solid axle that came with the car and Tom had brought to Bell Auto Parts to be modified to “drop” the front in around 1961. Cost back then ~ $15.00!!! The rear suspension incorporates a 1936 Ford transverse semi-elliptical leaf spring and wishbones, 1952 “Skyride” tube shocks and and Bronco II anti-roll bar keep the rear solidly on the road..
A lot of thought went into every aspect of this car and it has so many cool features I don’t know where to start. Tom wanted period looking period Kelsey wheels, but there was no space between the hub and the rim. Tom cut the rims off of a set of Kelsey hubs. Coker rolled him a set of 17-inch rims and he had Wheel Smith put them together with straight spokes. While the center caps look like they are from 1935 to 1937 Ford truck, they are machined from billet and have a custom wrench to remove them. A 1932 Auburn gauge cluster adorns the dash. The headlights and taillights are from an early 1920s Wills Sainte Claire. Tom felt the headlights were from the right era and uses the lower driving as turn signals. The taillights are turned horizontally to match the shape of the headlights and the QC rear end. The bottom light is the driving and stoplight while the upper light functions as a back up light. The gas tank started out as an oxygen tank from a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The ends were cut off and they added the large center section to create an approximately 13 gallon gas tank.
Tom and the rest of the “Dream Team” created this award winning car that just speaks for itself. While talking to Tom, you sense the pride of ownership, but not any boasting. Bravo Tom and the rest of the team! Thanks for riding along. Frank
A special thanks goes out to Rick Feibusch for helping with his expert editing help. If you are on Facebook you should follow Rick under Motorhead 101. Ask to join to see some very unique vehicles in the automotive world.