June 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

Soup it up

'Miss Che-Vious' blazes path for hot rod builders

Model A Ford dragster boasts construction, design elements enthusiasts can build on

Tony Lombardi's 1930 Ford Model A-based hot rod won an awardfrom the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. (Goodguys Rod & Custom Association photos)

Tony Lombardi’s new 1930 Model A Ford hot rod is no trailer queen. Since its completion, it already has carried Lombardi and his 15-year-old daughter, Julia, from Ohio to Texas and back. A couple of weeks ago, it completed both a 100-mile reliability run and a blast down the drag strip.

Combining its road-worthiness and its impressive build quality, Lombardi’s “Little Miss Che-Vious” drove away with Hot Rod of the Year honors at the Goodguy’s Rod & Custom Association’s 2014 All American Nationals at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Lombardi nicknamed the car after his daughter, but don’t get the wrong idea; Julia is a straight-A honor student.

We feature Lombardi’s new hot rod for a couple of reasons. One is its newsworthiness at winning an important national award. Another is that its design and construction can be instrumental for others who are planning their own hot rod projects.

Lombardi lives in Niles, Ohio, between Warren and Youngstown, where he operates Ross Racing Engines, which specializes in building high-performance versions of the historic Oldsmobile Rocket 88 V8. Thus the supercharged Rocket 88 in Lombardi’s new hot rod.

The engine is a 371-cubic-inch V8 with a Dyer’s 4-71 supercharged on top of a Cragar intake with 94-series carburetors. The engine’s output reaches the rear wheels through a Tremec T-5 transmission and Winter’s quick-change rear end.

Such a powertrain is important because of the Goodguys’ 12 major annual national awards, the Tank’s Hot Rod of the Year trophy is the only one that requires nominees to complete both a 18-mile drag race and a 100-mile on-the-road reliability trial.

For those into numbers, Little Miss Che-Vious completed her eight-mile sprint in 9.316 seconds, third-fastest of the day.

Lombardi’s “A-Bone” was built by Hilton’s Hot Rods, a father/son shop near Richmond, Va. When not drag racing, Bob and Tyler Hilton specialize in building hot rods based on Ford’s Model A.

Though based on a 1930 Ford Model A coupe design, the steel body was chopped 4½ inches, sits on a 1932 Ford frame and has 1940 Ford hubcaps on its black steel wheels over finned drum brakes.

The car wears PPG Manderin Maroon paint.

In the cockpit, the dashboard was borrowed from a classic Pierce Arrow, though now houses modern Stewart Warner gauges. The driver holds a Schroeder steering wheel and changes gears via a Hurst shifter.

The seat and interior trim is black leather, stitched by Mike Sholly.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.

The cockpit was redone with parts from varying auto sources.