It wasn’t long ago when “Made in America” and “handcrafted” actually meant something. At one time, the United States was the premier manufacturer in the world, and if it wasn’t for American workers during World War II, we could have lost the war. Decades later, things that are handcrafted and Made in America are the exception, not the norm.
That’s the story behind Brandon Metzger’s wild ’30 Model A rat rod. A metal worker and master fabricator by trade, and owner of Metzfab in Glendale, Arizona, Brandon is one of the few young gun enthusiasts who has adopted America’s work ethic from bygone years. He’s also partial to old-school hot rods. Having built quite a few project vehicles throughout the years, Brandon decided to build one from scratch after getting his hands on an original 1930 Model A body.
The custom trans tunnel also sports some cool pinstriping. Bell Auto also gets credit for the carpet, headliner and door panels.
First up was a custom frame crafted from 2×4 steel with clean gussets for strength. More steel work came in the form of a 4-inch roof chop and 4-inch body section. Brandon fabricated the grille at his shop using a 1932 grille shell and frenched in 1950 Caddy bullet-style taillights. The car rides on a custom nitrogen-operated air system out back with fully plumbed copper 3⁄8-inch hard lines and ball valves. Under the frame, a Ford 9-inch is suspended by a Metzfab custom 4-link, complete with panhard bar. Up front, rests an original Ford I-beam with Metzfab custom friction shocks.
Since simplicity is the name of the game on a rat rod, small-block Chevy and Turbo 350 automatic is the drivetrain of choice. It’s nothing fancy except an Offy intake with Holley 94s and some wild custom headers, complete with heat wrap. As is the case with most rat rods, the parts collection is eclectic: Corvair steering, Vega steering box and plenty of Metzfab custom goodies to make it all work. The car boasts a lot of original stuff too, such as the dash and gauges, fuel tank and cap and original 16-inch Model A wire wheels.
Seeing it all put together like this, we have to say it’s great to see the American work ethic is still alive and well, especially with the younger generation.
Text and Photos by Kevin Wilson
A version of this article first appeared in the August 2014 print issue of Drive Magazine.