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Show Rods


Aluma Tub



The Third and Final Piece of the "Aluminum Tri-Power" is in Place
From the February, 2009 issue of Street Rodder

Just about any builder will tell you it's extremely difficult to bring an idea to fruition that will withstand the test of time. This is especially true when comparing present to past efforts. In this respect, Boyd Coddington is no different than any other builder. It's the old adage about the sequel never living up to its expectations. And that brings us to Boyd's latest work: the Aluma-Tub, which has both the Aluma-Coupe and the Aluma-Truck in its rearview mirror.

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 Aluma-Tub. Under roof at Boyd Coddington's Garage (BCG) were the likes of Mike Curtis, Dwayne Mayer, Chad Geary, Charlie Hutton, Thomas Lodby, 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. (Boyd recently celebrated 25 years as an award-winning builder and at the function 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 Coddington five-spoke wheel design that's significantly modern in its appearance. The fronts are spindle mount 15x6-inch (1 1/2-inch backspacing), the rear knock-offs measure 17x8-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 rear suspension is visually stimulating with its Winters aluminum quick-change centersection (3.73 ring-and-pinion). From here the BCG billet axle housings are suspended by a combination of billet triangulated four-link and Carrera coilover shocks with 150-pound springs. The BCG brake package is similar to the front, again, based on the 10 3/4-inch rotors with aluminum hubs and calipers.

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 rearend is the work of a TH350 operated by the latest Mooneyes 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 come from BCG.

Well, there you have it, the third in the Coddington trilogy of aluminum street rods. That's what you call making the most out of this non-magnetic street rod.

Scotty Gray
Rockwall, Texas
1929 Ford Model A highboy phaeton
Frame / Manufacturer custom aluminum / Boyd Coddington Garage
Wheelbase 106"
Modifications 5052 aluminum 3/16" wall
Chassis plumbing 3/16" stainless steel line
Rearend / Ratio Winters centersection w/ aluminum tubes / 3.73
Rear suspension Carrera coilovers (150lb springs)
Rear brakes BCG aluminum calipers, hubs, and 10 3/4" steel rotors
Front suspension Super Bell oval-drilled I-beam w/ BCG torsion bar and stylized-aluminum wishbones
Spindles Deuce Factory (stainless steel)
Front brakes BCG aluminum calipers, hubs, and 10 3/4" steel rotors
Master cylinder Corvette
Steering box Mullins-Vega (aluminum)
Steering column Mullins roadster column
Front wheel make, size Coddington spindle mount, 15 x 6 (1 1/2" backspacing)
Rear wheel make, size Coddington knock-off, 17 x 8 (2 3/4" backspacing)
Front tire make, size Goodyear RS-A, 195R55/15
Rear tire make, size Goodyear RS-A, 255R55/17
Gas tank BCG (aluminum) / 12-gal.
Manufacturer Chevrolet Bow Tie block
Displacement 350cu
Camshaft Comp Cam hydraulic roller
Water pump Meziere (remote)
Cooling fan SPAL (electric)
Heads Chevrolet Vortec (aluminum)
Valve covers BCG (aluminum)
Manifold / Induction BG Triple D / (3) Demon Six-Shooter carbs
Ignition Mallory
Headers BCG
Mufflers Magnaflow
Other Engine Facts Doug Upton's Machining made the aluminum oil pan and timing cover
Year and make TH-350
Shifter Mooneyes electronic
Driveshaft Powertrain Industries (aluminum)
Body style / Material 1929 Ford 'A' highboy phaeton / aluminum
Body manufacturer Marcel's Custom Metal
Body mods handmade one-of-a-kind
Hood three-piece Marcel's Custom Metal (aluminum)
Radiator PRC (aluminum)
Grille Marcel's Custom Metal Model A (aluminum)
Bodywork Charlie Hutton (BCG)
Color Bare aluminum
Headlights / Taillights BCG 7" diameter / car trailer lights
Other body items removable one-piece aluminum roof
Dashboard BCG (aluminum)
Insert / Gauges BCG (aluminum) / Classic Instruments
Wiring Dwayne Mayer (BCG) / Enos panel
Steering wheel Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts
Seat bench by Gabe's Street Rod & Custom Interiors
Upholsterer Gabe's Street Rod & Custom Interiors
Material / Color vinyl / silver
Carpet gray wool
Other Interior Items All interior panels are bare aluminum

An all aluminum Chevy Bow Tie block displacing 350 cubes is used. The air cleaner, valve covers, and headers are from BCG.

Barry Grant's aluminum Six Shooter Tri-Power (see SRM June '04) was used along with electric choke and progressive linkage to make this setup drivable. Mallory ignition places the "fire in the hole."

The craftsmanship of the aluminum chassis/suspension pieces is evident in this photo showing off the BCG aluminum disc brake kit.

A P&J drilled oval-hole aluminum axle is used (what else?). The Marcel team faithfully reproduced in aluminum the Model A grille wrapped around the PRC aluminum radiator. Front rubber is Goodyear 195R55/15 tires mounted to Coddington 15x6 spindle-mount wheels.

The Coddington billet five-spoke rear-knock-off wheel measures 17x8 inches with the Goodyear rubber coming in at 255R55/17.

The BCG dash and insert surround the Classic Instruments and serve as a mounting point for the Mullins roadster column and P&J steering wheel. A floor-mounted Mooneyes electronic push-button shifter can be seen as well as the billet pedals. Note the panels in "raw" aluminum.

The seat and stitching of the pleats sewn within the "full" roll perimeter was accomplished by Gabe's Interior in a silver Naugahyde and yields an aluminum look.

There's no mistaking the highboy phaeton from the rear with its removable top. (Clue: If you purchased your SRM at the newsstand your copy shows the highboy with the top on for the cover, while the subscriber copies show the highboy sans top.)

An aluminum Winters quick-change centersection was used along with BCG aluminum axle housings. An aluminum triangulated four-link along with Carrera coilover shocks are used for the rear suspension. (Photo by Eric Geisert)

The front suspension is a BCG torsion bar setup that utilizes these stylized all-aluminum wishbones. Note the nifty batwings, motor, and steering box mounts. (Photo by Eric Geisert)

It was December 3, 2003 when the skeleton and outer skins for the doors were complete. Have you noticed that the doors are "suicide" in their operation? (Photo by Eric Geisert)

Doug Upton's Machining gets credit for a majority of the work performed on both the aluminum oil pan and the timing cover. A Borgeson-Mullins Vega aluminum steering box is used along with a Meziere remote water pump. (Photo by Ron Ceridono)

It was November 19, 2003 when this photo was taken and a mere three weeks later the body, hood, and top were finished. (Photo by Eric Geisert)

It was November 21, 2003 when the cowl section, which served as the starting point, was finished. The remaining skeleton is beginning to take shape for the rest of the tub. (Photo by Eric Geisert)
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