Growing up in the home of Australian hot rodding, Castlemaine in central Victoria, Kelvin Waddington’s direction in life was inevitably skewed towards the modified car scene, in particular, the hot rodding scene. “I joined the local hot rod club when I was 12 here in Castlemaine and I’ve been messing around with cars since I was 10 years old. I did my spray painting apprenticeship at a local smash repair shop and then I started my own paint and panel business that I’ve now been involve in for 36 years! My two boys, Marc and Heath run the company now and have expanded into the full workshop and aftermarket parts business you see here” he explains.
Kelvin’s first rod was a 1934 Chev sedan which he acquired in 1979 and has preceeded a host of hot rods throughout the decades to his latest build, this gorgeous 1934 Ford Phaeton! This all steel open top tourer started life as a marketing tool in the United States for Castlemaine Rod Shop. Shipped over to the land of all things hot rodding, the bare metal shell was built as a left hand drive unit sitting on a Superbell Chassis and front suspension. An I beam front axle accompanies the single eliptic leaf spring and holds the classic 15X5 inch wire wheels and Firestone conventional tires in place while 15 X 9.5 inch wires running taller cross cut Firestone conventionals measuring 15 X 8.2 out back give the swoopy body that perfect rake. Wilwood discs on the front and drums on the rear pull the beautiful beast up without issue.
Brand new steel guards and running boards flow over the rolling stock while an original side lifting bonnet protects the detailed engine bay from dirt and grime. Kelvin’s been super impressed with the quality of the aftermarket parts they’ve used on the Phaeton as he explained to me with the bonnet. “It’s a brand new bonnet off a company in America and it’s one of the best reproduction products you can buy. There was a little bit of mucking around to get it to fit but within an hour or two, it’s in place.” Vintitque in America were responsible for many of the new parts acquired to build this traditional rod including the grill, bumpers, mirrors, lights and wind deflectors right down to the stainless dome head screws used to mount the various panels and accessories.
Sporting a tricked up 350 Chev crate motor putting out around 430HP and running through a 4L60 transmission to the obligatory 9 inch diff, this sleek tourer travels the highways with the greatest of ease as well as having the perfect motoring manners for a wedding car. “My daughter was getting married and she conned me into rebuilding it so we painted it green with the leather trim.”
This was the perfect opportunity for Kelvin to build the long four door the way he wanted it while showcasing the best of the family business. “We’ve gone with the traditional classic look with the wire wheels, bumpers front and rear, door handles, etc. I’d love to get a greyhound on the bonnet but they’re hard to get. I build 1980s traditional cars. In the 1980s, they built rods that were nearly stock standard on the outside such as keeping all the trim, accessories and chrome work on” states Kelvin.
The tan leather interior contrasts nicely with the HOK green hue on the outside which Kelvin applied himself as you would expect! A&H Trim in Bendigo rolled out the meters of material to cover the two bench seats in a traditional pleated finish before protecting it from the sun’s UV rays with a suave tan retractable soft top in Mercedes Benz canvas. An adjustable and polished Ididit steering column holds the 1940s Ford steering wheel in place while classic gauges helps Kelvin keep an eye on all the important aspects of the running gear. Their own in house electrician laid down the wiring before the whole custom built machine was ticked off by Bonneville Engineering allowing this sweet ride to hit the road in full street rod rego.
All that was required now was for Kelvin to add that indispensable protection of insurance and Ryno Insurance was his first port of call! “I use to use another insurance company and dealt with Peter there before he moved on to another insurance company so we moved with him. He eventually started up Ryno Insurance with another guy and we brought all our insurance over to Ryno because they do super deals and we’ve been with them ever since. Peter’s not there anymore but I now deal with another Ryno Insurance officer and actually met her at a car show one time. She’s a really nice person and while she works in sales, she is also out and about at the events. It’s really good to see them out of the office and talking directly to their customers. They really know what they’re talking about too! Any of our modified cars, hot rods and classics are all insured through Ryno Insurance. We get a great deal and they work with us when we’re looking to insure a newly modified vehicle.”
While this magnificent machine is up for sale, Kelvin’s not too fussed if it doesn’t sell as it’ll fit in nicely with his collection of eighties style traditional rods and be the perfect cruiser on those summer evenings around the capital of our hot rodding heritage!