Mint Masterpiece – Nathan Powell’s ’32 Ford Captures Classic Instruments 2020 Street Rod of the Year Title
Nathan Powell is no stranger to award-winning hot rods and street machines. He’s had a string of cool examples over the past few decades. When he was deciding to commission his latest ride, Nathan said he wanted something roomy and fun enough to carry his grandkids and cruise around in style. The result is this slick, subtle, and sanitary ’32 Ford Tudor that was named the Goodguys Classic Instruments 2020 Street Rod of the Year this past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, at the 29th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals presented by BASF.
We first saw Nathan’s sedan at the 2019 SEMA Show, where it was debuted by Goolsby Customs and earned a Goodguys Gold Award among many other accolades. Unchopped and wearing only subtle body refinements, it seemed like a fresh take on the classic resto-rod aesthetic. It’s a fitting style for a project that started as a clean, barn-find Ford.
The goal for Nathan and the Goolsby Customs team was to achieve a traditional, timeless look, and a significant part of that equation was dialing in a low-slung and aggressive stance. The Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop chassis delivers, with a dropped front axle, JHRS wishbones, and RideTech shocks getting the nose down low. The wishbone-located 9-inch rear axle rides on RideTech coil-overs, while JHRS Kinmont-style disc brakes bring things down to speed. The 15×6- and 17×8-inch Wheelsmith artillery-style wheels are painted Cumberland Green to match the accent stripe on the body, and wear Michelin 145/15 and 245/65/17 tires.
Selecting a conventional small-block Chevy engine was consistent with the classic street rod approach, though this 383c.i. stroker is fed by contemporary FAST EFI and has a thoroughly smoothed and detailed block. It’s dressed in vintage style with aluminum Corvette valve covers, cloth-covered wires, a custom Corvette-inspired air cleaner, and polished Tru-Ram exhaust manifolds. A Bowler-built 4L60E automatic transmission makes for easy, low-rev freeway driving.
The Goolsby team showed a lot of restraint on the body, devoting their time to fine-tuning the fit and panel alignment rather than making substantial modifications. Keeping the car full-fendered adds to its classy appearance, while the BASF Celedon Mist paint with Cumberland Green accents and black fenders give it the distinction that Powell was seeking. Advanced Plating made sure the nickel plating on the bumpers and other brightwork shines brightly.
The Tudor’s interior is both elegant and distinctive. Speed & Design Hot Rod Interiors knocked it out of the park using vintage Lincoln fabric and Moore & Giles leather to cover the modified original seats and custom door and side panels. Custom wood accents were used throughout the cabin, including the headliner and the Lokar Goolsby Edition gauge insert, which houses Classic Instruments dials. A Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop wheel tops the IDIDIT column, Vintage Air keeps things cool, and Lokar pedals and shifter complete the details.
Classic style and time-tested elements combined with distinctive colors and modern detailing make Nathan Powell’s Deuce especially delectable. It was part of an incredible Top Five lineup of Classic Instruments 2020 Street Rod of the Year contenders that included Dave Gonzales’ ’35 Ford, Brandie Laird’s ’34 Ford roadster, Carl Moyer’s ’32 Chevrolet sedan, and Norman Bradley’s ’32 Ford coupe. Congratulations to Powell and the Goolsby Customs crew for coming away with the win and capturing the Goodguys 2020 Street Rod of the Year crown!
Photos by John Jackson & Damon Lee