John Kean owns this stunning looking 1929 Ford 5 window coupe. A Mechanical Engineer whose job also involves the pre-registration inspection of all forms of modified vehicles, John is one of the people you might see if you were registering a Hot Rod in Queensland. A lot of people who do such things for a living choose a hobby well away from their work interests, but John's hobby includes a long association with racing his own Holdens, and helping others in both sprint racing and drag racing. Clearly, the Model A reflects his professionalism - as does his black FX sprint racer, which puts out a staggering 320 HP, thanks in part to a rare Phil Irving 12 port head.

The interest in making old Holdens go fast has been around for a long time, and in that period he has collected some other rare heads, including a Waggot Twin Cam, a Dunstan Rotary Valve unit, and a Repco High Power. John was part of a large group of Brisbane based Holden enthusiasts who, in their later years, were gravitating to Hot Rods, and the social life that the involvement provides.

This coupe body became available, and John immediately set to work having the San Francisco Ford plant built body 'blasted, and prepared for its new life. The chassis was boxed by John, and includes a 3" (75mm) Z in the back to allow the back to sit lower, while retaining sufficient suspension travel. A 4-bar trailing link suspension tracks the LSD, 3.55 ratio narrowed 9" Ford diff, and Rod-Tech coil over shock absorbers provide the rear suspension. The front suspension has a 4" dropped forged steel I-beam, and the transverse leaf spring rides on swivel perches; a 4-bar set up keeps the axle in place.

The very low stance means this car handles very well. The 4" chop means it looks the part too.

This blown 302 has more trick bits than the average unit - check out the angle drive on the distributor.

John's Model A coupe is a striking example of a well thought out styling exercise.

Coming to an event near you, soon.

This little sucker rides as well as it handles too. Rod-Tech coil-over shocks are 250 lb rated.

The younger readers may not realise it, but the dash is also the fuel tank in a stock Model A - which is still the case here.

When John isn't racing his FX, he can cruise the streets of Brisbane in this coupe.

A 4" (100mm) dropped axle gets the front down in the weeds, literally. The tyres are nicely tucked into the fenders, something that some IFS installations miss. The roof is chopped 4" (100mm)

Interestingly, John used a Camira rack & pinion steering unit, and it connects to a Nissan column, which has a Grant wheel fitted. The brake setup is also intersting, not so much because it uses a Gemini booster and HQ master cylinder, but because it uses Gemini calipers on the rear which pucker up on rotors off an independent rear suspension equipped Commodore. The Commodore parking brake system was retained, and the rear brakes never lock up. We saw an example of a panic stop, and this little blue coupe pulls up brilliantly.

The engine that this former GM man chose for his Ford, is a 302 Ford, bored .030", fitted with forged pistons, and fully balanced. Crane roller rockers, porting & polishing of the heads, the fitting of stainless steel valves and seats, and Crane valve springs ensure the little sausage will breathe. As you probably already knew, dear reader, a 351 Windsor cam has a different firing order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8) to a 289/302 (1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8), but John went ahead and used the 351 cam anyway, with 2 degrees of initial advance. This little modification improves low end response, but don't try it at home.

For all other responses, a GMC 6-53 supercharger was fitted, and Patterson Performance cast up an adaptor for the 600 Holley carb, machined a blower drive snout, and the rest of the 20% overdriven Gilmer belted blower drive. These models didn't come with a suitable intake manifold, so an Edelbrock Torker was milled to suit the supercharger. The distributor then had to clear the blower, so a Bosch unit was adapted, and fitted with a Mallory crab style cap. A Mallory 6AL system ups the ante in the spark department, and provides the security of a rev limiter.

Here is John, racing his FX at the Leyburn sprint circuit.

There is also a milled T6 alloy combination alternator drive and idler\tensioner on the driver's side and the toothed wheel drives the alternator. HPC coated block hugger headers clean the spent gases up, sending them out the back through a 2½" system that John built. This stout little engine is in front of a Pat Laub modified C4 three speed auto, and the pair of 11" electric fans keep the coolant temperature at a constant 85° C.

Peter Farmer, brother of Bill, did the panel beating, including the 4" top chop and the filled roof. The entire car is file finished, and the result is a spectacularly straight body. John's old mate Greg Heilbronn took over then, and prepped the body for the Isuzu Marina Blue paint, which he then applied to the body and chassis.

The seat is from a Torana, and hidden away behind it is another fuel tank, a 45 litre Corolla unit that helps out on those long trips. Insulation covered the interior of the body before the upholstery was stitched up and installed by Wilf Skerman. Wilf also fitted the Mercedes fabric cover to the filled roof.

The wheels and tyres reflect John's passion for applied taste, he feels that this style of car should have 14" wheels up front and 15's at the back, and so it does. The American Racing Torq-Thrust D's suit the car impeccably.

John wishes to acknowledge the valued assistance provided him by the late Pat Mahoney, Brett McClarn from Powell's Body Works, Les Duncan for the electrics, Bruce Draheim for the sandblasting, and Brent Oldridge.

Accreditation: The Editor
Advertisements Bayside Toowoomba Lilow