Monte Hale’s ’29 Ford Roadster
All She Could Say Was “ Take Me For A Ride, Daddy”
OverDrive Hot Rod News Feature Model, Katie Malone,
Shot on location at Bill Dennison’s Hanger, El Cajon, California.
Story & Photos by Ed Zimmerly CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW
In some respects there’s no special story to be told here. Monte Hale is just a regular car guy who loves hot rods. But in my way of thinking, he’s perfect for the kind of OverDrive Hot Rod News feature profile that I want to share. While researching this story it became clear to me there’s a reason this hot rod turned out so well. The simple truth that Monte had an idea of what he wanted to build and set out to build it isn’t enough. The catch is, he’s not an expert fabricator, just a guy with some basic skills. His Ace-In-The-Hole was the support, advice and help he needed to build this rod from a unique variety of fellow gearheads In other words, his friends. It’s a very old fashioned concept that your friends would jump in to help solve a problem when undertaking such a complicated project. Monte's friends were more than happy to help. It’s an idea that one doesn’t see too often these days.
Monte’s bought the original car from Bitchen’ Products founder, Ron Wheeler. That was about 25 years ago. It was a total rust bucket. (See inset photo)And like so many hot builds this project didn’t start out smoothly. Monte had built the rod at home. He then took it (unbeknownst to him) to one of those flim-flam paint & body shop guys who promises the moon then can’t deliver. When Monte dropped by to check on the progress he was shocked to see that the rod was a totally disassembled. Parts were laying all over the place…. It was mass confusion and no work had been done. Like I said, many of us have been there before. Discouraged and ready to quit, Monte picked up the pieces of his hot rod and hauled it home. That’s when Hale’s good buddy Lee Bright (Lee Bright Mufflers) came to the rescue. He told Monte to get back into the game and let’s get this hot rod on the road. The fire was relit and the rest is history. The car was resurrected in short order. For a few years it was what some would call “a Work In Progress” driver for a few years before it got to the level of perfection that it is today.
I can’t write this story without mentioning the fact that Monte is member of the Prowlers Car Club. He was first introduced to the club by one of his best friends, Larry Hunter. That was back in the sixties when the club had about thirty members rumbling around the streets of San Diego. After a long absence from the club, Monte rejoined the Prowlers in 2004. Club president, Jim Reid, says Monte is one of those members who helps hold the club together. Hale is also the club treasure. Some say he’ll probably keep that job until he gets all the chrome work finished on his current project an early thirties panel truck. I sure they're just kidding.
About The Car: It’s 1929 Ford Roadster with the rumble seat option. There are some subtle and no-so subtle modifications. The obvious changes start with replacing the stock grill shell with a Deuce grill. That also required the hood to be replaced with a longer one. There’s a very cool, custom drop down rear tail light panel. Monte also created the stylish, removable hard top. Monte replaced the stock frame with a TCI frame he acquired from Norm Francis Street Rods. He rebuilt a subsequently installed Chevy 350 engine with a Carter four-barrel carb and bolted it to a Turbo 400 transmission from Rapid Transmissions in La Mesa. He cruises down the road in comfort with a set of 3:50 gears in the Ford nine-inch rear end. Inside, the suicide doors one finds the rich, light brown cloth interior that was stitched by Armando of Armando’s Fine Auto Upholstery. The Auburn-style dash was covered to match the seat. The basic set of aftermarket gauges keep the drive abreast of this hot rods vitals and a leather wrapped tilt, banjo steering wheel complete the comfort zone. Dalton Paint & Auto Body was shot the exterior paint. Monte calls it “Lee Bright Green” which is juiced up with the addition of gold pearl. Local, Pin striper genius, Mark Lueck, recreated an old school stylization of some very tasteful body highlights. The final touch is expert choice of five spoke, American Mags, which Monte highlighted with a touch of gold.