Barra-powered 1929 Model A coupe in the build

Mason Cahill is building this crazy Barra-powered Ford Model A coupe with Drag Challenge in his sights


BRISBANE lad Mason Cahill usually works alongside his dad Darren at Cahill Speed Shop, building affordable turn-key hot rods. But at the moment he’s doing some FIFO work in the mines to save up some extra bucks to finish off this crazy Barra-powered Model A coupe.

This article was first published in the December 2020 issue of Street Machine

This isn’t Mason’s first rodeo – his previous hot rod was a ’23 Model T roadster, powered by a Hemi six (SM, Dec ’16). He built the car to be P-plate legal, but it was also fast and nicely built, running 12.3s at the drags and collecting plenty of trophies at car shows.

As for the ’29, Mason is aiming for Drag Challenge duty: “I’d like it to be one of the quickest registered hot rods in the country,” he says. “I don’t want it to be too nice, but it would be cool to make the Top 60 at Summernats.

“The body is a ’29 brought in by Early Times,” he explains. “We’ve taken 21/4 inches out of the roof to give it a bit more aggression. The frame rails are aftermarket, and I made a K-frame for it. For suspension we’ve got a Rod-Tech front end, McDonald Brothers four-link and anti-roll bar, and Viking double adjustable shocks. Full Throttle Customs will do the ’cage for me, teched to 8.50. The rims are 30×12.5×15 Weld AlumaStars on the back and 26x6x17 Billet Specialties Street Lites on the front.”

Why a Barra? “I got a bit of flack for putting a six in the Model T, so I thought I’d do the same with the coupe!” Mason laughs. “And you can’t beat the Barra for affordable power.

“The engine is a built unit with Spool rods and JE pistons, and Kev at KPM Performance is going to do some custom cams and oiling mods for it. The turbo is a BorgWarner S300SX3. I’ll run it without an intercooler, but we’ll have E85 injectors in the charge pipe to keep it cool. The gearbox will be a transbraked ’Glide. It should be a wild ride on the short wheelbase!”Mason is hoping the coupe will encourage other youngsters to have a go at hot rodding. “Hot rodding is dying, in my view.

There aren’t a lot of young people in the hobby, at least not in Queensland,” he says. “I want to show that you can build a fast hot rod without spending heaps of money. My bucket cost around $20K and I had a heap of fun in that car. Dad and I are all about growing the sport – that’s why we started our shop.”

Don’t think that the boys only do six-pots, though. For the past few years, they’ve been racing an SBC-powered XK Falcon gasser dubbed the Executioner, built in six weeks. “It has been running flat 12s with just a stock small-block with heads, cam and intake,” says Mason. “We’ve just finished a 409ci SBC on E85; we’re hoping to get mid 10s out of that. We also bought a brand-new, 169-inch front-engine dragster chassis. We’re going to put a small-block in that, paint it, wire it up and go racing.”