Mat Egan’s chopped 1954 Ford Customline

With a flick of the wrist, Mat Egan takes one low-key custom Cusso from mild to wild

Photographers: Mitzi Valenzuela

This article on Mat Egan’s Tudor sedan was originally published in issue 11 of Street Machine’s Hot Rod magazine, 2013

AUSSIE paint guru Mat Egan’s been at it again, whipping out the masking tape and House of Kolor candies to turn a nice but pretty mild custom Customline – no, I’m not stuttering – into a head-turning, panel-painted masterpiece. Mat spends a fair portion of his year working in the US, and he recently sold his bitchin’ Melbourne-based single spinner to fund the purchase of a car to cruise in Stateside.

Originally built by California native Matt Noble of Noble Fabrication around five years ago, Mat got it as a blank canvas.

“A few years back [SM Hot Rod Annual ’09] I did a how-to on how to do a metalflake roof,” Mat says. “That black car was Matt Noble’s and he built this one, too. I saw it for the first time at Santa Maria just laid out and thought it would be perfect for a wild paintjob. That was about five years ago and the owner never really drove it, so I just kept hounding him to sell it. Eventually Matt rang me up and said the guy wanted to sell.”

The ’54 Cusso had already copped the full treatment, with a really nice chop, a Camaro front clip, a warm 302 Windsor and a black and white tuck and roll interior. With a suede pearl white finish, it probably stood out against the darker colours that most customisers prefer, but there was no way Mat was going to leave it that way. “I just masked it all up and did the panel paint on top, so it’s just clear coated over the artwork and the rest is still flat,” he explains. Well, that’s the short version anyway.

Mat’s not one to stuff around when it comes to getting shit done, either. He didn’t want to be driving around too long in a plain white car, but it was the cruising season, and there were places to go and people to see. “I bought the car late last year, then went back to the States at the start of this year just a week before the Grand National Roadster Show. I drove it there in plain white, then took it straight to a warehouse and did the panel paint.”

It’s impossible to get your stock-bodied Cusso this low. The rocker panels have been removed and the body channelled over the chassis. Doing this means you can lay the whole body on the ground

Mat started with a basic idea of what he wanted to do, then went with the flow with the fine-line tape. “I just laid it all out then started the panelling,” he says. “I hit it in Pagan Gold Kandy and then laid out all the separate panels; so it’s got flames down the middle panel, it’s got some fan work in there as well, then root beer blends around that and then Tangerine Kandy over that as well. In the flames it’s got Wild Cherry Kandy highlights. It’s also got some spiderweb lace on the roof, boot and bonnet.

“I had all these nice harsh graphics and I wanted to do some lace, but I didn’t want it to look gay, so I went and had a look in the lace store. Lace can look really cool, but there’s a time and a place for it. You shouldn’t just do it for the hell of it, or because it’s the fashionable thing to do at the moment.” If you think the spiderweb lace sounds cool, look in the Halloween section.

For the fan work, Mat used to use a stencil, but he discovered a much better way to do it. “I just use tape, maybe inch and a half or two-inch tape. Say you’ve got a square; I’ll start it in one corner and then put a piece straight up and then a piece to the other corner and so on.

Frenched headlights, ’55 Mercury front bumper, rounded hood corners; the Cusso has all the classic custom touches. Underneath the bonnet is pretty tidy as well

“Eventually it creates a fan and you can peel one piece off, spray the fade, peel the next one off and keep going like. Using a loose stencil, the paint build-up gets too much and it gets too wet as you’re moving it. You also get perfect scaling with the tape.”

Just two weeks later, Mat was driving the car to the Sacramento Autorama. He then came back to Australia for a month before returning to the US and driving to Viva Las Vegas, and then to Austin, Texas for the Lonestar Round Up with a few mates that he’s gotten to know in America.

“There was me, Alex Gambino, Coop [the artist], Piero de Luca from Mad Fabricator’s Society, Lucky from Lucky’s Speed Shop and a few others (for Des Russell’s take on this Lonestar Round Up cruise, turn to page 24). It was a pretty cool road trip. Since then I’ve driven it to Santa Maria [for the 2013 Cruisin’ Nationals] and got the Gene Winfield Pick for it; that was cool, that was really cool. I’ve driven it all over the place every day. I’m driving the crap out of it.”

The interior is finished off in black tuck and roll. The wheel is from a ’58-’60 Thunderbird, and a set of Moon gauges and Auto Meter tach keep a watch on the vitals

Mat will be back home soon. He can’t handle all the good weather, beaches, hot chicks and cool cars over there and can’t wait to rug up in front of a nice warm fire.


Paint: Matte pearl white with HOK panels

Type: 302 Windsor
Inlet: Edelbrock Performer
Carb: Holley 750DP
Heads: Edelbrock aluminium
Cam: RV
Exhaust: Extractors and twin system
Ignition: MSD

Box: C4
Diff: Mustang 8in

Front end: Camaro front-clip
Shocks: Airbags

Rims: Black steelies with spider caps
Rubber: Wide whitewalls