Robert Paparella’s Traditional-Styled 1930 Ford Model A Roadster
Traditional-styled hot rods such as Robert Paparella’s ’30 Ford Model A roadster are crucial to our hobby. They represent how hot rodding originated and showcase many of the parts and modifications that were first tested while racing on the salt or sand. Granted Robert’s roadster has been refined and taken to the top level, but how it got there is just as it was done “back in the day” – home-built by Robert with help from his friends in his garage.
Robert’s roadster started with a Boling Brothers frame that was kicked up 4-inches in the front and 10-inches in the rear. It’s fitted with a Pete & Jakes axle and SoCal shocks up front, with a John’s Industries 9-inch rearend housing out back suspended by a four-link setup with QA1 shocks. Steering comes from a Flaming River Vega box while Lincoln brakes with chrome vented backing plates are tucked behind 15-inch Wheel Vintiques wheels. Coker 5.50-15 whitewalls ride up front with 8.20-15 cheater slicks mounted on the rear.
The body came from Brookville and was channeled 4 inches which with the help of Robert’s friend “JoMac,” John McLaughlin. JoMac also assisted in more fab work such as fitting the ’32 Ford dash, chopping a ’32 Ford grille shell, and laying the windshield back 2-inches. Inside that chopped ’32 shell is a custom stainless Dan Fink insert. Guide headlights flank the grille, with a Walker radiator tucked behind. When the metal work was done, another friend, Chuck Jugan, laid down the PPG Ceramic Gray paint.
More early-style parts are seen inside the roadster, such as a ’49 Ford-style gauge cluster by Classic Instruments and a ’40 Ford steering wheel. The Glide Engineering seats – plus the side and trunk panels – were wrapped in Bordeaux leather by Patrick Goodwin with Stitch Envy. All the plated and polished parts and pieces were handled by either Metro Plating in Arizona or Meclec in California.
Small-block Chevy power is saddled between the frame rails. The 350c.i. engine is topped with an Edelbrock carb covered by an OTB Gear spun aluminum cover. Cal Custom valve covers top the heads, while MSD ignites the fire through vintage-style spark plug wires. Coated lakes-style headers deliver a smooth rumble, with the power being sent rearward through a TH350 transmission managed by a Lokar shifter.
Robert takes pride in having handled the suspension setup and install, fitting and plumbing the Lincoln brakes, installing and plumbing the drivetrain, and wiring the car. But without the help from good friends such as John McLaughlin, Chuck Jugan, and Patrick Goodwin, he knows this car wouldn’t be what it is today. It takes a team to build a hot rod. It’s even better when that team consists of good friends.
Photos by John Jackson