Vintage Tin – Tim Hughes’ 1931 Ford Victoria
Editors Note – The West Coast Nationals has always attracted the country’s top street rods and new creations from influential builders. Goodguys celebrates their presence by making this event the home for the Goodguys/BASF America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod award. This honor recognizes beauty, style, and refinement in 1948-and-earlier street rod construction. Five finalists are selected, and then a committee evaluates and ranks the finalist on beauty and design, in addition to quality-of-construction elements like fit, finish, and attention to detail. George Poteet’s gorgeous “Three Penny” ’36 Ford Roadster was named the 2019 winner, but each of the finalists warrants a closer look such as Tim Hughes’ 1931 Ford Victoria shown here.
There are many reasons that might explain why it took 30 years for Tim Hughes of Concord, CA, to finish his 1931 Ford Victoria, but when you consider he did the almost all the work himself in a home workshop you have to be impressed with the results.
The full-fendered Model A includes an impressive collection of aftermarket parts and many pieces hand-fabricated in Tim’s shop. Other than paint and interior, what you see is Tim’s handiwork.
Starting with a steel body, Tim replaced all of the body’s internal wood structure with steel tubing. All body welting was removed and a new steel floor was installed. Tim also eliminated the windshield frame and fit a ’32 grille shell between the front fenders. Deep black Axalta Chromabase k paint covers the sheet metal.
The stock Model A chassis was replaced with a TCI unit featuring power rack-and-pinion steering and a polished stainless-steel independent suspension. The rear suspension is a Ford 9-inch and coil-over springs. Wilwood 12-inch disc brakes and polished calipers handle front and rear stopping duties. Budnik 16×7-inch wheels with 205/50/16 tires anchor the front end while matching 17×8-inch wheels and 235/65/17 tires keep the back end on the road.
Power comes from a Chevy ZZ4 350 that features Chevy fast-burn heads covered by chrome valve covers. A Holley 750cfm four-barrel carburetor tops a chrome intake. An MSD Pro billet distributor handles the ignition chores while a serpentine belt system spins the water pump, A/C, alternator and power steering. S&S headers and a polished stainless-steel exhaust system manage the waste gases. A Richmond five-speed manual transmission controls the power to the rear wheels.
The subtle-but-stylish interior features black leather installed by Sid Chavers, who also provided the seats. To construct the dash, Tim used a Brookville Roadster-supplied bottom with a hand-made top rail. The result holds Dakota Digital gauges and three air-conditioning outlets. A Billet Specialties wheel tops the steering column while a Hurst shifter sits between the seats.
In a world of vibrantly colored hot rods, Tim’s black-on-black Ford Victoria stands out. No doubt.
Photos by John Jackson