Words: Joshua McGowan

Photography: Tony & Carmen Matthews

A promise made many years ago by the owner, ensure that before he was 50 years old, he would own a Ford Model T hot rod.

We have something we have dreamed of. It could be meeting your idol, or getting the perfect job. Others such as Chris make small promises to themselves, and meeting these are just as good as any dream. In this case, it was owning a hot rod before he turned 50. Not too bad for him, he has since owned seven of the cars, until he came across the Ford Model T. At a young age, Chris was exposed to mechanics. His dad would strip cars and bikes down, tinkering with them to get results, and it rubbed off on Chris himself. Strangely enough, he would car the tradition on with his own sons as he grew older, creating a family tradition in the process.

The Promise: Vintage Ford Model T Hot Rod

Having been an avid hot rod fan all of his days, Chris was happy to find any similar styled vehicle that he could get his hands on. After finishing work one day, he chanced another look for a hot rod, this time taking to internet. After a simple search, the second page he found was a Ford Model T. Even better it was for sale near his location, so he rang to owner and arranged a meeting. A week later he would set out with a trailer to pick up his latest model.

After starting work on the car, taking his time and doing it bit by bit, Chris realised just how famous the model was. A man at a show who spotted the car would inform Chris just how famous it was throughout the 1970s. After this, he took to collecting magazines from the 1970s that featured the car in it. This would end up teaching him the story behind the car. It was built by Brian Bakes, a welder by trade who did all of the fabrication on the car. His father was a cabinet maker, and he would go on to do the woodwork for the entire car.

This original custom job done by Brian and his father inspired Christ to restore it back to its full glory, in respect to the man. The work began by stripping the car. The chrome had to be redone, and the brass had to be clean due to a build-up over the years _ they looked like they had brown paint on them. Despite running quite well, the engine was still mouldy and in need of some work done. Chris stripped the entire engine and rebuilt it himself; following this a lot of polishing was needed.

While the back wheels were slot mags, the front were wire, so he managed to get slot mags to replaces these. Due to the age of the car, new wood was needed, as was a new hood, he would also need to strip the entire back axle. Chris would do the entirety of this work at the weekends and during the evening. The paint job remains completely untouched too. Now his hard work and dedication as all paid off, as
the Model T is now regularly shown off at car shows.

One of his favourite aspects of owning the car and taking it to shows is hearing the stories from back in the day that come to mind when seeing this fine vehicle – one man remembered the car winning ‘Car of the Show’ at Alexander Palace. Chris even has a tattoo of his pride and joy. After achieving his dream of owning a hot rod, he has absolutely no intentions of selling his car –and who can blame him.

Specifications Car: Ford Model T

Engine: Fully rebuilt engine with alot of polished parts

Chassis: 15-inch Slot mag racing wheels with General Grabber tyres, stripped rear axle.

Bodywork: Original paint scheme, all custom parts in brass and chrome, new hood, brass calorimeter, Ford footplates, custom brass headlights, custom wooden sills.

Interior: Custom wood/brass steering wheel, chrome steering column, new brown carpet, re-trimmed seat in brown leather, original dials.