Alysha Athans’s 1928 Ford Model A roadster

We caught up with Alysha and her Model A roadster at the Summernats 36 City Cruise

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

We spotted Alysha Athans’s stunning purple roadster as she lined up for the Street Machine Summernats 36 City Cruise. We jumped in the passenger seat for the epic cruise through Canberra’s city streets, and caught up after the ’Nats to learn about the hot rodder’s lifelong love for nostalgic steel.

First published in the April 2024 issue of Street Machine

Tell us about your hot rod.

It’s a 1928 Ford Model A roadster. It’s got a 302 Windsor, C4 gearbox and custom metallic purple paint. I bought it about eight years ago, when I was 18.

What sparked your interest at such a young age?

I was brought up in it. My family had hot rods, so it was always a dream of mine to own one, particularly a convertible. I still pinch myself that I was able to get one so young. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my dad, Dennis’s help.

He was into street machines originally and both of his parents had hot rods; over time he got a roadster and it evolved from there. I’ve been going to car meets since I was a baby.

You put the roadster together yourselves?

We bought it as a running car, but it needed a lot of work. So yeah, we pulled it apart, put new wheels on it and painted it.

What’s the story behind the paint?

Purple was my favourite colour at the time. I found a picture of purple pearls, and it was the exact colour I was looking for. I wanted a pearl look without the pearl-finish paint, so we mixed up the colour with some metallic and it was perfect first go.

What did the build process look like?

We did a front-end conversion from ’28 to ’32 and had side pieces custom-made to make it look more like a 1932 roadster. We did some touch-ups on the motor. My dad works for Rocket [Industries], so he helped me find parts so I could customise the style of the build and make it my own. We also had the trim redone; it looks nothing like when we bought it.

It sat pulled-apart for about eight months, then one day Dad said, ‘Let’s get it afinished,’ aad we ended up getting it done within two months. It was crazy! We finished it just in time to take it to the Valla Rod Run – literally five hours before we left for the event.

What was your inspiration?

I love the American style of old-school hot rod racing; that’s what led me to get the steelie wheels that are on it. It’s really finished off the look. We also re-did the exhaust, so it came out under the car and through the back to give it a more of a nostalgic racing look.

Do you drive it much?

I’ve been going to Summernats for the last five years, and I’ve driven it to every single one. I also just got back from the Valla Rod Run in Coffs Harbour, which was about a six-hour drive. It’s such a reliable car. I drive it as much as I can to make the most of the time I’ve got with it.

This Summernats was probably the best I’ve been to. I cruised the crap out of that car! It was the best fun. I went in the Supercruise and won the show ‘n’ shine Stand Out award. It made my whole weekend!

Is there anything else on your radar?

I want another car, but not a girly one. I’d love a blown 1969 Camaro – something with more seats so I can get more friends in it, or maybe a hot rod with a roof and windows so I can stay out of the rain.