hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

Ray Enos’ 1931 Ford Roadster by Hilton Hot Rods

Sacramento’s Ray Enos let Bobby Hilton and Tony Lombardi build him one of their popular “Angry A” cars to take a swing at (and learn the ropes of) the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Grand National Roadster Show – an event Bobby Hilton and the Hilton Hot Rods crew had never attended.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

To match the Eric Black rendering they added a 1½-inch strip along the bottom of the Brookville body, and radiused the wheel wells to follow the tires. A chopped windshield, Arrow accessory headlights, and ’48 Kaiser taillights were added after Travis Hess aka Tuki shot the Porsche Cockney Brown paint. The plating bill was kept low with lustrous gloss black paint on most of the suspension pieces.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

The ’32-style chassis was kicked up in the rear and uses Model A crossmembers for the reversed-eye springs. A Winter’s quick-change and a 5-inch dropped axle mount on spilt ’36 Ford wishbones with Lincoln-style brakes from Bass Customs. The Firestone-shod wheels are ’34 wires up front and widened ‘32s out back. Hilton Hot Rods added their popular F100 box-based cowl steering, designed to clear large engines.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year


hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

Speaking of which, the Ardun flathead was built by Tony Lombardi at Ross Racing Engines using a Don Ferguson block and heads, one-off billet pistons, and a custom cam. The displacement was bumped up to 294c.i. and cranks out a very respectable 322hp and 340lb ft of torque.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year, ardun heads
hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year, ardun heads

An eight-carb intake from a 331ci Chrysler was adapted and neatly converted to EFI, and the trick Scintilla airplane magneto has been changed to an HEI. A Tremec five-speed keeps the revs down and the exhaust system is as simple as the rest of the car: four-into-one open headers.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year, music city raceway
hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year, ardun heads

The talented Mike Lippencott of Mikey’s Seats trimmed the cockpit in brown leather. Classic Instruments gauges were mounted in the polished dash bezel from Hartman Machine Works and the shifter is from a ’36 Ford. The floor boards are just that: highly polished wood with rubber mats in stainless rings.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year
hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year


hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

The car stays true to the Hilton Hot Rods / Ross Racing Engines formula for attitude and stance and really shows that they are capable of building a world-class hot rod, right down to handling the traditional down-to-the-wire thrash of making the deadline.

hilton hot rods, ross racing engines, 1931 ford, 1931 ford model a, model a, ford roadster, hot rod, hot rod of the year

Photos by John Jackson & Steven Bunker

Brandon Flannery has a thirst for all things automotive, mechanical, and unique. He’s spent nearly two-decades in automotive journalism and ten years shooting and writing for the Goodguys Gazette. His early years learning about cars involved building hundreds of models as a kid and writing fan letters to his favorite car magazines, which they usually printed. Currently a Memphis resident, Brandon keeps it real with two VWs, a rail buggy, a 1946 Ford 2N tractor, and the legendary road-tripping Blue Goose, which has pulled a U-Haul trailer coast-to-coast twice.

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