Black & Strong
For a bloke who’s owned a string of classic American pickups, a roadster may seem like a weird diversion, but for Ray Rust, it’s been a perfect fit.
In Ray’s garage, a ’48 model Chev C3100 (that’s currently for sale) sits alongside the hot rod featured, but before that, Ray has had a ’69 Chev C10, ’65 Chev longbed, ’52 Chev, ’51 Chev and ’57 GMC pickup in the fleet, as well as a ‘’66 HR Holden ute. So, given that history, why purchase the car featured?
“The Model A was all about owning an old-school hot rod,” Ray explained, adding that the car not only had to look good, but needed to be easy to drive and cruise in, too.
Last year, Ray started scouting for a suitable vehicle, and was initially looking to source something from the US. But, in putting his ’57 GMC on the market, he came across the car featured, which was located in Inverleigh in rural Victoria.
The bloke interested in Ray’s pickup had a hot rod for sale – a 1930 Model A roadster. With a ‘glass body and steel cowl, ‘Bigs n Littles’ wheel combo, whitewalls and a bunch of other cool touches, the rod looked the goods.
“The rod has been built and engineered in Ballarat in 1993 and the first owner was from Stawell,” Ray explained.
Despite its age, the triple-black treatment on the body, removable hood and interior still looked pretty fresh and was offset with a green-painted grille and wheel centres.
“It was exactly what I was looking for.”
The car really needed nothing to jump in and enjoy, which increased its appeal, so the two agreed to a swap, with the Ford coming in Ray’s possession last November.
In the 2-door roadster body style, the 1930 Model A had all the classic hot rod touches, like the classic ’32 Ford grille, low mount headlights and ’39-style teardrop tail lights. But, in a somewhat unusual touch for a hot rod, it also had a tow bar.
Inside, there’s vinyl bucket seats, Jaguar gauges and a steering wheel liberated from one of Ray’s pickups he brought out from the US.
A history file provided with the car detailed all the engineering work done, which had been proven with a trouble-free run from Victoria to the Sandgroper Nats in WA and back.
A very reliable and comfortable cruiser, the rod is equipped with a 307 Chevy V8 and 350 auto, with a new exhaust system being the only mechanical change made to the car before a minor bingle put it off the road at the start of 2016.
Ray entrusted the repair work to Johnny Z’s in Cheltenham, Victoria, who have plenty of restos, rods and custom builds under their belt, including the awesome ‘Scarlet’ 1932 Ford roadster that debuted at last year’s MotorEx.
Repair work included a new grille surround and bars, lights, new front spreader bar and nerf bars, suspension and axle repairs, plus some other minor front-end fix ups.
In a finishing touch that was very much appreciated by Ray, the Johnny Z’s crew tracked down the pinstriper who had originally done the line work on the car back in the 90s and got him to restripe the grille shell and add the personalized ‘Rusty’ script on the door. Nice!
This time around, the grille bars were left in stainless and the wheels repainted black. These mods aside, the rod looks pretty much as it did when Ray picked it up.
With business and other commitments, Ray hasn’t had the chance to take the rod out since February, so is itching for some time behind the wheel!
While it’ll definitely be racking up some miles in the future, this rod also definitely won’t be sold off: “This roadster’s a keeper,” Ray laughed.
Alongside the Model A and Chev C3100, the American theme continues in the Rust household with an ’88 Chevy Corvette.
This is Ray’s wife’s car, and it’s a ride she loves just as much as Ray loves his hot rod!