Donated by: Michael Armand Hammer
Photos by: Ted7
At the Petersen Museum, we are always surprised by the variety of cars that are donated. Many of the cars that make their way into our facilities are of great historical importance, while some cars exemplify a level of craftsmanship that exposes the artistry of coachbuilding and tuning. This Tudor sedan came to us from the collection of Michael Armand Hammer, and while from afar the car looks like a perfectly preserved piece of American hot rod culture, on closer inspection, this Tudor is a modern marvel of automotive customization.
The first hot rods were makeshift race cars built with parts from various different American cars. Modifications were initially intended to boost speed and handling, but given the renegade attitude of the owners, cosmetic modifications reflected the hot rod persona with wire spoke wheels, pinstriping, chopped bodies, and custom paint. Mr. Hammer handed off his 1929 Ford Tudor sedan to hot rod virtuosi Andy Lowry and Gary Wood to see what they could produce. The designers were interested in capturing the golden age of hot rods in the post WW2 era, so they looked to details in mid-century bombers for inspiration.
With his artistic vision and skill, Gary Wood maintained the aviation theme in the interior by hand shaping aluminum panels and applying over 2,500 rivets to recreate the appearance of a fighter cockpit. To complete the look, Gary fabricated and upholstered leather bomber seats and replaced the instrument panel with aircraft-style dials. The contact points in the car are a testament to the attention to detail because the handles and knobs were machined to fit the interior style. To ensure the car’s performance matched its appearance, Andy Lowry painstakingly revised the powertrain, suspension, and bodywork.
The result of the collaboration is one killer hot rod. The Tudor sports a late 30s 276-cubic inch Ford flathead engine with a Roadrunner Weiand supercharger. Another modern addition to the car is the air ride suspension with electronic controls. PPG’s “fleet blue” paint adorns the chopped and channeled body panels to give the car a classic look with a stout stance. Almost every piece of this Tudor has been customized, and it took 5 years and several hundred hours of labor to complete.