There are certain cars that you see and for whatever reason your heart skips a little and you can do nothing more than just stare and admire. Such was the case when I found this incredible 1930 Model A roadster built by a guy named Alden Calkins who lived in the greater Detroit area back during the early 1950s. The car is completely unrestored, it runs and drives, and embodies everything that is cool and good about the age of hot rodding that took place before there were “rules” about how stuff was supposed to look and how it was supposed to be done.
The 1950s were a blossoming period for both hot rodders and sports car enthusiasts and this car, in my opinion, freezes that moment in time perfectly. The elements of sports car are readily apparent with the small motorcycle-style fenders on all four tires, the very low slung stance achieved by a four and a half inch channel job and the monster 14-inch frame drop in the back, the fold up convertible roof and the wire wheels complete the look. As much as it like a sports car of the era, it has a solid front axle, a really near Mercury flathead that still runs like a top and is equipped with such vintage coolness as a Harmon Collins dual coil ignition, Edmunds heads, and of course, Stromberg 97 carbs. The seller claims that he pulled the heads, peeked in the motor, buttoned it up and lit it off. The car is running and driving and the seller claims that it is fun to drive and that it rides really well.
The craziest parts on the car, with respect to rarity are the 17″ wire wheels. They are one off pieces that came from a Chrysler concept car. No one knows how Calkins got them in the early 1950s but he got them and mounted them on the car. They are the only ones of their kind on planet Earth. That to us is total greatness.
Other awesome stuff on the car includes the intricate and bitchin’ pin striping job that carries from the front, through the interior, and to the rear of the car. Yes, there are parts of the paint flaking off, but frankly that is right as rain in our book. This car needs to be sold to someone who will get out and drive it. It would be shameful for this to be “restored” and stuck into a collection somewhere.
Our ideas about what 1950s hot rodders actually built have been warped by rat rods, cartoonish kustoms, and modern builds that try to capture the essence of these pure ‘rods but just don’t have the feeling, soul, and genuine appeal of the real stuff. This car was built by a young man in his Detroit back yard some 60 years ago. It was his pure vision and skills that took a 1930 Model A and turned it into what you see before you. No skulls, no closet door hinges holding the doors on, no stop signs as floor panels, nothing of the sort.
Beauty is something we can all debate until we’re blue in the face, but my opinion, and my opinion only, this is one of the most beautiful hot rods I have ever seen. A truly wonderful car that embodies a moment in time we’ll never visit again.
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