Downtown Brown – ’30 Model A Tudor

Anne Grinney-Colomban Car feature, Pinup Tags: , , ,
Downtown Brown – ’30 Model A Tudor and Model

By @AdPix.Biz; Model: Lucy Purr

We at Koolhouse sometimes interview car owners with “Tell us about some features on your car that really stand out.” In Brian Basfield’s case, after a pause he answered “You’d have to list the whole car.”

And he’s right. There are great individual elements there, but shortly you realize that what makes this car so special is the whole package. In fact, you could say one of its best features is that it has no single overpowering feature. Some would say the sum is greater than its parts, but we don’t do cutesy clichés at Koolhouse.

Another part of what makes it all work so well is that Brian and his wife Kari are genuine vintage enthusiasts. Brunette Kari, with thick curly hair and big eyes, not only wears pin-up, she wears it daily.

One day Brian and Kari were walking though a car show, Kari looking gorgeous (but not Brian), and they’d decided that what they really wanted to build was something that supported the vintage style, the genuine thing. They wanted it to be as if a teenager in the 1950s had built it, as if his parents had purchased a replacement car and gave him their old beater, a 1930 Ford Model A, for example. And then he turned it into what you see here. Ignore the part about how this 1950’s teenager came up with the money and skill.

Even better for us, they wanted to “push the boundaries” and be a bit aggressive. They wanted something no one else was doing, but without being obvious.

“Sure, I could have built a ‘69 Camaro with wide slicks,” Brian says, “but so what? There’s tons of cars like that at shows.”

Another reason this came out so well is that Brian and Kari invested years of research and hard work into it themselves. Brian’s a pretty handy craftsman and had already built a custom bike, though this is his first car build. He worked on it himself for the first two years, then took it to Ricky Brown of Ricky Bobby’s Rod Shop in Manchester, Tennessee, for another year of concentrated work. Even then, the work continued as he and Kari scoured scrap yards to find the right take-off pieces, like ’52 Chevy dashboard that Ricky then narrowed to fit.

Brian also brought to Ricky the drivetrain: a Holley 750 carbed Chevy 454 putting about “around 500 horsepower” backed by a 700R4. Brian’s reasoning for the otherwise out of character 454 (if reasons are needed) is “clearly the awesome sound of the deep tone with a nice big cam sound. At idle it’s scary with the open short headers.” Our hypothetical 1950s teenager enthusiastically agreed. Ricky Bobby built one of his trademark frames featuring a “sloping-style” front end with holes.

Because of the prior poor work, pre-Brian, Ricky also had to completely fabricate about 80% of the rest of the car. Like so many of these projects, it ended up being a thorough project, and completely satisfying.

Brian tells us, rather modestly, “It turned out better than expected. I had no idea I’d end up with a car this nice.”

Most everything about the car was straightforward, thanks to the Basfields’ vision and thorough research. Two parts of the build surprised them, for degree of difficulty – the steering wheel and the gas cap.

“It took forever to decide how to do [the wheel],” Brian said. “There’s not much room there for a steering wheel. A lot of them I looked at were too large. I didn’t want something I could just buy off a shelf, but I kept looking and finally found one someone else was using.”

And as for the gas cap, well it just had to be right. This one was custom fabricated from sheetmetal by Crafty B Nostalgic Speed in Michigan, a friend of Ricky Bobby.

The best projects have a “chemistry” and that was also part of the magic here. Brian and Kari had a specific vision, but they didn’t drive Ricky from the rumble seat. The color, for example. They just told him, “We want brown. Not orange, not tan, not reddish or gold, just brown.” And look at this gorgeous Rich Java Pearl that resulted (thanks also to the paint-polishing work of Trey at Mantooth Auto Solutions).

Much of the interior was the same way. They described what they wanted generally and Ricky Bobby made it work. It’s a level of mutual trust and respect that produces masterpieces like this. It won Von Hot Rod’s award at the first show they entered.


Owners: Brian & Kari Basfield

Occupation: Elevator mechanic

Location: Hueytown, AL

Car Builder: Ricky Bobby’s Rod Shop

Vehicle: 1930 Ford Model A Tudor

Chop: 7”

Channel: 4”

Grille Shell: 1932 Ford

Paint: Volvo Rich Java Pearl

Engine: Chevy 454

Tranny: GM 700R4

Intake & Carb: Holley

Ignition: MSD

Exhaust: Lakes headers

Rear End: Ford 9”

Suspension: F- 4” dropped axle on transverse spring; R- Custom 4-link

Brakes: F- Wilwood disc; R- Ford drum

Wheels: F- 18×5 wire; R- 20×6 wire

Tires: F- 5.50-18 Coker/Firestone WWW; R- 7.00-20 Coker/Firestone WWW

Seats: Custom buckets

Upholstery: Black vinyl

Dashboard: 1952 Chevy

Steering Wheel: Slotted 3-spoke

Taillights: 1959 Cadillac