Bill Farmer started Rodding earlier than most - his first car was a chopped and channelled '32 Ford four door sedan that was built in 1961, so it had all the period modifications. The flatty powered sedan had the distinctive feature of a welded up back window, and was black with flames. Many years passed, and Bill felt the urge to build another '32 sedan, but one that kept up with the times, and had features that were in keeping with this period - features such as air-bag suspension, fuel injection and air conditioning.

To that end, Bill and his brother Pete began work in 1999, and tracked down a set of original deuce rails which his mate Peter Cummes boxed. Lilow Auto Tech supplied the front end, which was originally built as a coil-over style, but when Bill switched to an air-bag design, Ian from Lilow couldn't have been more helpful. The front end uses stainless steel control arms, '74 Holden discs, P76 rotors and hub that pulled the front wheels in 16mm each side, and a custom made sway bar.

We whipped the body off to show the detail that has gone into the chassis. Note the mirror finished exhaust, the stainless steel fuel tank, and the panhard bar that locates the 9" rear.

Bill's Tudor, one warm Sunday morning, at the Manly boat harbour. This isn't a staged photo, Bill lives just up the road, so he and Sanchia are regulars at the cafes and other eateries along the picturesque shore.

This is staged however - we even arranged for the America's Cup fleet to be racing in the background.

The air-bags can be operated when the car is stationary, so it is sitting lower than normal ride height here.

Uncluttered by bumpers front or rear, the clean look is enhanced by the distinctive yellow colour.

A TPI motor provides plenty of scope for polished parts, and this one starts first time every time. While putting out more power than most carburetted motors, the EMS configured 350 is always smooth and well behaved.

This interior is different from most others - the American White Oak is used on the doors and quarters to good effect.

Lilow provided the front end, and the Airbag Man bags provide a smooth ride, even in the rough stuff.

A narrowed Commodore rack & pinion steering unit connects the front wheels to the driver via an owner built billet alloy steering column that contains a '74 Holden shaft. Land Cruiser indicators are up under the Billet Specialties 'Impala' steering wheel.

The aluminium radiator, hand made by Backyard Motorsport, is cooled by a two speed electric fan that came from a BMW, and the combination cools the very high tech 350 LT1 1997 Corvette motor, which came in a crate from Albury Speed & Performance Centre. The 350 hp SBC had it's Tuned Port Injection manifold polished by Paul Bushell, and the EMS engine management system is the heart and soul of this setup. Bill is able to sit in the passenger seat and tune the car - altering such settings as cold start parameters, then forget about it having to do that chore again.

The transmission is a high tech model too - a computer controlled T700 with lockup converter, which is cooled through a chassis mounted billet trans fluid cooler. There is only one pedal therefore. and the brake pedal is suspended from the inner-firewall hoop and the Falcon master cylinder + Datsun 200B booster combo is operated by a bell crank.

A shortened Statesman tailshaft connects the GM bits to the Ford 9" rear end, which has been narrowed, and fitted with a Commodore rear disc set up, which includes the hand brake arrangement - the hand brake lever came from a Corolla. The rear air-bag setup is part of the entire package supplied by The Airbag Man at Brendale, which package includes the compressor, lines, tanks etc. Gonzo, of Gonzo Racing pipes, fabricated the 2½" stainless exhaust system.

The 9" is held in place by a Peter Cummes built 4 bar set up. The gas tank is a 65 litre stainless steel unit that is hidden by the 'glass '32 tank cover, and a Camira fuel pump is mounted outside the tank, and still manages to supply fuel to the frugal fuellie motor. One of the last chassis components to go in was an Odyssey 1000 amp battery that is mounted under the drivers side floor.

The body is a Deuce Customs replica of a 1932 Ford Tudor sedan, and the body in this case includes the guards. The bonnet is an after-market unit with removable sides, and the car is often seen on the streets with the engine exposed. A pair of repro '32 headlamps are mounted on a dropped headlight bar. Fat Cat supplied the windscreen frame, and a BMC cable drive operates the wipers. The wiper motor could have come out of a Vanden Plas that had been used by Prince Charles after he sought asylum in Australia during the sixties, but then again, it might not.

The air conditioner is quite an engineering feat, in that the bits came from all over - Sanden pump, Mitsubishi evaporator, Walker condensor and Suzuki fan that has been adapted to a Gemini snorkel all combine to blow cool air into the car through a polished American White Oak dash. The White Oak panelling was continued to both doors, and rear quarters, all of it being made by Eric Corns. The dash also contains a full complement of Autometer guages, of the 'Classic' style.

The front seats are from a Nissan Pulsar, and the rear is a narrowed Mazda 626 frame. The '32's upholstery was all provided by Wilf Skerman, who also did John Kean's Model A coupe. Tinted glass offsets the bright yellow 2-pack paint, a Hyundai Yellow, that Bill's brother Pete applied in the family garage. In fact, the car was almost entirely built in the garage, apart from the wiring, which was done by Logan Priest, and the trim.

Model A tail lamps, with blue dots, bring up the rear, and the car rolls on American Racing's Torq-Thrust II wheels, and Kumho tyres. It took Bill and Pete 3 years to finish the car, and when they did, it was the first Hot Rod registered in Queensland with air-bag suspension. Far from a cheque book car, this high tech sedan is a long way removed from the harsh and doughy flathead powered '32 that Bill remembers, and while it is as reliable and comfortable as most late model hacks, it is definitely a Hot Rod.

Bill hisself, here demonstrating how easy it would be to programme his EMS computer, if he ever had to.

The deuce at speed, well, 50 kph in suburban Manly.

Accreditation: The Editor
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