The All Aluminum 1929 Ford Phaeton
Boyd Coddington Aluma-Tub
The “aluminum tri-power” that Boyd and his crew began work on in the early ’90s “broke” new ground in automotive design. First, there was the Aluma-Coupe, followed 10 years later by the Aluma-Truck. Now, merely two years after the Aluma-Truck, we have the Aluma-Tub. Since success breeds success, Boyd counted on many of the same team members from the Aluma-Truck to work on the AlumaTub. Under roof at Boyd Coddington’s Garage (BCG) were the likes of Boyd Coddington Jr., Dwayne Mayer, Charlie Hutton, and Roy Schmidt, along with many others– all of whom did their “thing” to bring an idea on paper to ignition in just 16 weeks.
This “family” affair also required the efforts of others outside the La Habra, California-based shop. Outside, yes, but still part of the BCG extended family are Marcel’s Custom Metal and Gabe’s Street Rod & Custom Interiors. Aluminum magicians Marcel De Ley and his sons Marc and Luc have worked on a number of past Boyd projects, but this one brought with it “special” pressure. The De Ley family built this one-of-a-kind Aluma-Tub based loosely on a ’29 Ford Model A two-door highboy phaeton out of raw aluminum sheets in just 21 days to comply with the script demands of a cable-television program. Now that’s metalworking. (At the time the shop celebrated 25 years as an award-winning builders and at the function we presented Marcel with an impressive Lifetime Achievement award for his efforts on behalf of Boyd and his cars.) Another family affair: Gabe Lopez and Gabe, Jr., along with the rest of their staff, at Gabe’s Street Rod & Custom Interiors of Bloomington, California. This team’s been involved with the Aluma-Truck, the Aluma-Tub, and a number of other Boyd projects. Another key individual to the Aluma-Tub’s success was Eric Brockmeyer who, along with Boyd, helped to design and then draw the artwork that was used to bring the tub to fruition.
The Aluma-Tub rests on a custom frame made from 3/16 wall, 5052 aluminum rectangular tubing stretched to a 106-inch wheelbase (3 inches over a stock Model A). The front suspension is based on an old-time look but with modern characteristics. The Pete & Jake’s Hot Rod Parts new oval-hole drilled-aluminum I-beam serves as the foundation in front and is held in position with billet bat wings and stylized-wishbones. From here the torsion bar system is coupled to a Borgeson-Mullins Vega aluminum box, The Deuce Factory stainless steel spindles, and a BCG 10 3/4-inch rotor disc brake package. Even the calipers are aluminum pressed into service via a BCG pedal assembly and a Corvette master cylinder sans proportioning valve.
At the corners you will find a Boyd Jr. five-spoke custom one off wheel design that’s significantly modern in its appearance. The fronts are spindle mount 15×6-inch (1 1/2-inch backspacing), the rear knock-offs measure 17×8-inch (2 3/4-inch backspacing), and everything’s wrapped with Goodyear RS-A radials. The fronts are 195R55/15, while the rears are 255R55/17.
The venerable and potent 350-inch all-aluminum Chevy small-block is decked out with Barry Grant’s Triple D Induction Six Shooter manifold and then topped with three Demon Six Shooter two-barrel carburetors. (See SRM June ’04.) All this is sandwiched between a pair of aluminum heads topped with BCG billet valve covers and air cleaner. Igniting the fuel is a Mallory ignition, while the burned gases exit through a pair of BCG headers and pipes to a pair of Magnaflow mufflers. Cooling is handled by a PRC aluminum radiator resting within the aluminum Model A grille shell. It’s equipped with a SPAL electric fan, and a Meziere remote water pump moves the coolant.
Shifting all the power from the engine to the rear end is the work of a TH350 operated by the latest BCG electronic shifter via an aluminum driveshaft from Powertrain Industries. The interior is both aluminum and aluminum appearing. There’s a great deal of real aluminum used in the dash, insert, and panels, and the seating was stitched by Gabe over a bench seat in silver Naugahyde (like the Aluma-Truck) to yield a metal appearance yet be more ergonomically pleasing to one’s backside. Other interior appointments include Classic Instruments, and a Borgeson-Mullins roadster-style steering column topped with a Pete & Jake’s silver Naugahyde-wrapped four-spoke wheel. The Mooneyes electronic shifter is mounted on top of the tranny hump while the pedals were whittled out of 6061 aluminum from BCG.