Take a good look at this car and you might find it familiar. If you feel like you’ve seen this antique before, then we’d say you probably have. Tony Wilson and his 1932 Ford Tudor B, otherwise known as ‘CH00DA’, are the Bonnie and Clyde duo of classic auto shows. This car can wield second glances and long studying looks from passersby, and it’s not hard to see why. Like many classic enthusiasts, Tony’s hot-rodding isn’t just a passing fancy. It took him years and rounds of modifications and refurbishments to arrive at the Ford Tudor you see here today.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ford was in crisis as business suffered and sales took a low blow. The industrial world had been affected by the Wall Street crash of 1929. Their then champion, the Model T, had been overtaken by its contemporaries after a 19-year run and 15 million units produced. The next blow came when Chevrolet toppled Ford for the top of the poll, while other competitors succeeded in producing automobiles that were more advanced and modern, prompting the bothered Henry Ford to say something’s gotta give.
His solution: The Model A. Though considered a success, the Model A was costly to produce, and its hefty price tag wasn’t something consumers of the time had the wallet for. Over four million units were built, and in 1932, production ceased altogether. It wasn’t the game-changer Henry Ford had hoped for, but he had something else up his sleeve that was only disclosed to a select few.
“We’re going from a 4 to an 8 because Chevrolet is going to a 6.”
These words would revolutionise the course of the auto industry for the years to come, and it would be the 1932 Ford Model B to kick it off. At the time, it was unheard of to have a V8 engine car that’s affordable and accessible to the general public. The V8’s debut wasn’t groundbreaking either as many manufacturers found it complex, costly, and had little impact on the masses. This was Ford’s opportunity to perfect a flawed design that would enable an 8-cylinder, V-type engine to be built in large quantities and sold at a reasonable price.
The ‘32 Model B stirred a sensation in the press. It was new, had an elegant exterior with a high-performance engine, and available to all – giving people a taste of luxury without breaking the bank. Its interior was just as revolutionary; the key and ignition switch were combined into a single anti-theft unit at the steering column bracket. With the ignition ‘off’ and the key removed, the steering gear would lock the front wheels for parking – a sensible move by Ford that is still being applied today.
Tony’s Model B is a fine reminder of Ford’s table-turning masterplan. Purchased in 2005, he’s always had an eye for hot rods and vintage vehicles, and the 2-door sedan Model B was just his cup of tea. We don’t exactly know its condition when it was first brought home, but from the pictures we see, we’re sure that it took Tony long hours and hard work to restore and enhance his CH00DA to the stunning show-worthy candidate it is today.
Of course, what better way of making it truly yours than by adding your personalised touch to it? Tony had the engine block deburred, smooth and painted, rocker covers were bolted on, and velocity stacks added for that extra power. The exhaust was replaced with fully polished stainless steel and the transmission was rebuilt, smoothed, and painted. For a splash of the 21st century, the electronics are centralised and controlled via Bluetooth from the steering wheel. The interior was refabricated entirely in leather, and the seats were built in by hand. The list goes on that even Tony admits every inch of CH00DA has had work done.
We’ve had the privilege of getting up close and personal with this vintage masterpiece at the 2019 Victorian Hot Rod Show in Melbourne. While they’ve driven through the doors of many car shows together, it isn’t something that Tony takes for granted as he believes his best memories of CH00DA are built when sharing his pride and joy with other motor enthusiasts. After our face-to-face encounter, we understand why Tony would travel cross-country to show-off the elegant and charismatic CH00DA.