Tough love; yep, another love story. You know how it goes; boy meets girl, boy gets girl pregnant and so on. We’ll not this one! This one is between man and machine. Man being a car enthusiast and the machine is a 32 three window coupe. This romance started back over in the west. The purchase of a fabricated chassis and fibreglass body with widened rear guards from Rods Bods combined with a garage full of parts and dreams and he was in his element. Unfortunately, love never runs true and the marital mat was yanked out from under the rod’s first builder seeing the unfinished vehicle ending up in the classifieds.
Along comes our next enthusiast and second owner of this love scorned rod as a new romance blossoms seeing further dreams brought to fruition through late nights and a consistent cash flow. Once again the hard luck of life steps in. Torn between his thirst for his dream and the realities of life, our luckless rod owner has no other option but to part with his mechanical love. By this time, the car had progressed to include the the driveline consisting of a 427 ci stroked Windsor utilising a Dart block, tricked up C4 trans and Winters quick change diff. The Blackberry Chrysler deep dark blue paint had been applied along with all the suspension and brakes. Polished Wildwood brakes all round had been added to take care of the stopping duties accompanied by those 15inch Rocket Ignitor alloy wheels and 185/255 tires front and rear. A Corvette style master cylinder has been neatly hidden under the dash. Taking care of steering and suspension duties up front is a polished independent Rodtech front end while the ride comfort down back is controlled by a four bar with coil overs. Walker Radiators got the nod for all cooling requirements.
Again the blue hue rod hit the classifieds in search of its next romance. This is where current owner and third partner, Tony comes into the picture. Tony’s a man with plenty of love to go around. First and foremost for his wife, Karen and their children and secondly for his automotive hobby. With a 350 Chev powered HQ Monaro he’s owned for thirty years and a recently completed 2dr 1956 Chev Belair in his garage, this big hearted man found he still had room in there for a another set of wheels. Tony didn’t want to start another build from scratch stating “after building the fifty six, we swore we’d never build another!” Scouring through the classifieds, he came across the 32 three window rod in its partially completed guise. It was what he was after with the selling point the fact that it was a Ford motor in a Ford rod and not the preferred 350/350 combo.
Tony headed out west and checked it over having already booked the carrier betting on the inevitable. Three days later, it was in his shed as the Clark family viewed the new addition to the stable. With the quality of the previous build up to Tony’s high standard, there was no reason to tear it down and start again. It was simply a matter of picking up where the last builder left off.
The Clark family prefer the serenity of country living calling the farming community of Yarram home. While they enjoy the peace and quiet of their location, it does have its challenges when it comes to building cars. Tony explains “because we live fairly remotely, it’s harder to build but once you’ve sourced who does the good work, it’s just a phone call. It doesn’t matter if you travel one hour or three hours, it’s worth it to get the job done right. We just load it on a tandem trailer, take it to where we gotta go, get it done and bring it home again.”
This was the case when it came to fit the interior. The Trim Shop in Thomastown, three hours drive from home, fitted out the cockpit and boot. With the choice of interior completely up to Tony, he opted for a contrasting red leather to cover the BA Falcon seats blending in with the red carpet and matching leather custom built door trims and arm rests. The small center console housing the electric window buttons is all the upholsterers’ idea as it meant not having to run unsightly wiring through the suicide doors. Centered Autometer gauges adorn the dash while Tony’s self-designed ignition panel with custom billet knobs blends in nicely with the custom tilt column. A Lokar shifter and handbrake complete the minimalism style of the interior.
Tony’s a bloke who doesn’t take shortcuts and had the engineers around from day dot. With a diff as cool looking as the Winters quickchange, it’d be criminal to keep it hidden behind the factory rear mounted fuel tank so he had it removed and added a custom aluminium tank in the boot nestling in behind the seats. For safety reasons, a separate firewall shielding the driver and co from any unwanted fuel and fumes had to be constructed. This involved mounting and sealing a 1.2 ml plate between the cab and boot. Completing the underside is the twin 2 1/2 inch exhaust exiting with aggression from under the diff instead of over due to limited space. These modifications and the rest of the construction passed its inspections with flying colours thanks to quality parts and workmanship.
Picking up 3rd place in the show class at the 49th Victorian Hot Rod show is testimony to the quality of the build but it’s not going to remain a show car. “I bought it to drive it, I didn’t buy it to show it, we’ll do a few more shows and then we’ll drive it. That’s what it’s all about” says Tony.
So why does Tony call the heart breaking rod, Tough Love? “The meaning behind it is that we’ve never had a Ford. This is the first Ford we’ve ever owned and we were getting a bit of shit hung on us. We’ve always been Holden/ Chev guys and friends give us a hard time. It pretty tough to love a Ford after all these years”. With a ride looking as tough as this, I’m sure that won’t be a problem!