Blown Hemi-powered Model A unveiled at Summernats 34

Sash Mielczarek’s Ford is a stunning tribute to Chic Henry

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Simon Davidson

Sash Mielczarek is no stranger to wowing the Street Machine Summernats crowd with his wild automotive stable, including an insane ’69 Firebird at ’Nats 33.

His latest project, this stunning Hemi-powered ’31 Model A, is a little more street-friendly, but no less cool.

We chatted with Sash in the Meguiar’s Pavilion at ’Nats 34, where he recounted the build’s origins. “When I bought it from Mississippi, it was a nice, going car,” he said. Though it wasn’t cheap at US$30,000 [AU$41,500], the Ford formed an excellent base for Sash’s plans. “I brought it home and used the cab, as it had all the mechanicals,” he said. “It was just easier, rather than mucking around with buying a shell, then a door, then a window mechanism and the rest.”

Sash pulled the cab and guards off the factory chassis, laying them on a jig before fabricating his own custom chassis. The new unit not only extends the car by 18 inches but also places the cab on an eight-degree tilt. “It made a lot of complications for the brake pedals and exhaust, but it paid off,” Sash said.

Despite the radical mods, the ’31 is still packed with original parts, including both head- and tail-lights. “Everybody for the past 25 or 30 years has only seen fibreglass cars that have been chopped, modified with frenched ’34 tail-lights and the rest,” Sash explained. “With this car, I wanted to make a statement, as if Henry Ford was asked to build a hot rod for Summernats.”

The philosophy extends to the cab, which remains unchopped. The tall roof makes for a more comfortable driving experience, while helping the lengthened car remain proportionate. “I didn’t want it to look like I drove it under a semi-trailer and stretched it!” Sash laughed. “I haven’t channelled it either; I’m six-foot-three, and if I channelled it, I wouldn’t be able to see out!”

Sash handled the vast majority of the build himself, though Joey Desisto took care of paint duties. He laid down the custom cherry black/candy red mix, which shifted from black to red under the hall’s lights.

A 1957-built 392 Hemi sits up front, topped by a Weiand blower. It’s matched to a Tremec TKO five-speed gearbox, offering Sash a tall final drive to eat up road miles. “Old-school muscle cars and hot rods were manuals with long gearsticks and all the cool stuff, and automatics were marketed for women!” he laughed. Out the back is an obligatory nine-inch diff with a Truetrac centre.

A clever touch is Sash’s use of the original fuel tank to free up boot space. The 12V-converted electrics are all hidden under the bench seat for easy access, too. “There’s no pulling up carpets or taking front wheels off,” he enthused, “and it’s all separated with plugs like a late-model car would be.”

Sash said the car had given him almost no trouble since its completion. “When I drove this car on the road for the first time, I came straight home and didn’t have to touch it, except for adjusting one shock for my weight.” He also told SM the only thing he would change if he had to build the car again would be tweaking the front suspension. “I’ve realised now that I have to re-boost the front end because of leverage points – now that the car is longer, it seems to have taken all the weight on the front spring.”

The covers were pulled off the gorgeous Ford during the Great Meguiar’s Uncover on the Friday night of Summernats 34, with Sash dedicating the car to ’Nats founder Chic Henry.

“I’ve called it the ‘Chic Henry Ford’,” he explained. “We were young kids when we started here, just having a good time. Chic made an event to go to, and Henry Ford created a car to get there!”

Sash also extended thanks to TJ from Camden County Customs, Steve Easter, Steve Maiolo, and Dominic and Joey Desisto for their work on the car.