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Concept Corner: factory four

20 September 2017



Shaun Hodson has proven that he’s not only got the right taste when it comes to building tough cars but also the ability, so what if he turned his talents to a hot rod?

Owning a ’34 Tudor, Shaun Hodson has, not surprisingly, spent a few sleepless nights dreaming about what he’d love to do to it. While he can appreciate the nostalgic style of build that’s currently popular, it’s simply not him; instead, his dreams fall at the radical end of the scale.

Loving the Factory Five–style ’33 Ford coupes, which are essentially a race-ready, street-legal hot rod, Shaun would build his Tudor to the same theme. This would mean building a custom chassis for it, for which the body would be channelled over by four inches. Rather than the classic box-section frame-rail style, the construction would be more akin to the chassis used on Factory Five builds, with plenty of smaller-diameter triangulated bars and an integrated roll cage.

With the body sitting so low, the rear wheel arches would need to be reshaped to allow the 20×12-inch Boyd Coddington Magneato rims to tuck in under the car and not sit too wide. Of course, there’d be no fenders on this thing, or hood or hood sides — just an original chrome grille and a set of headlights up front. To get the handling as impressive as the car would look, a custom independent front end would be constructed and the rear end would consist of a nine-inch diff hung off a custom four-link.

Motivation for the project would come from a supercharged LS3 backed with a manual gearbox to make the most of the insane power-to-weight ratio the build would offer, as well as provide turn-key reliability. While Shaun says the car’d be built to be driven and not to be a show pony, we have no doubt that it’d still be finished to an extremely high standard, even if the paint were simply satin black. 

The more we look at it, the more we hope Shaun builds this machine, as not only would it be sure to turn heads wherever it went, but it’d also be amazing to drive. 

LVVTA’s view

Justin from the LVVTA says: “There are definite benefits in moving from the traditional boxed ’32–’34-style frame rails to a more modern space-frame chassis design. These are stronger, lighter, and can more readily incorporate modern suspension, steering, and braking systems, which are better suited to the ‘spirited’ driving expected of a vehicle pumping out upwards of 600hp. 

“As with any custom space-frame chassis — usually constructed using an arrangement of triangulated tubular sections — unless it’s a specific time-proven design, it’ll need Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) approval to make sure that it provides adequate torsional strength, as well as being strong enough to support the components that will attach to it. For example, the seat-belt anchorages; suspension, steering, and drivetrain components; and door attachments all need to be mounted in such a way that they’re strong and durable. 

“Having an integrated roll cage raises the issue of interior impact requirements, designed to lessen the chances of vehicle occupants being injured during a collision. The main danger with roll cages is head injuries caused by a head strike, and there are some specific requirements relating to areas where bars are not permitted (A-zone), and other areas that require proper energy-absorbing roll-cage padding to be used. 

“The custom independent suspension systems would also potentially require TAC approval, to ensure that the steering and suspension geometry and the general design of the suspension were suitable. This approval process can be combined with the chassis approval mentioned earlier, and the application forms can be downloaded from the Approvals: Design Approval section of our website, 

“Being fenderless would mean that a fender exemption is required for the vehicle to be legally operated on New Zealand roads. This exemption is made possible with the use of an LVV Authority Card, which needs to be obtained through the NZHRA and requires — among other things — at least 12 months’ membership of an affiliated NZHRA club. So, you should make sure you have this process under way well before completing the car and getting it ready for road use. For more details on the fender exemption process, see the Authority Card Process chapter of The New Zealand Car Construction Manual, which can be downloaded free from the Documents section of our website. 

“As with any new scratch-built vehicle, the car would need to be built in right-hand-drive format, and would need to have, among other things, an effective wash-and-wipe system and an effective exhaust system. You should get in touch with a 1D-category LVV certifier as early in the build as possible, and make sure you have access to the latest technical requirements by visiting the LVVTA website, where you’ll find LVV Standards; Information Sheets; newsletters; and, of course, The New Zealand Car Construction Manual. 

“This concept sounds like an excellent way to achieve that balance between old and new, and, like the NZV8 crew, we hope that Shaun makes this one happen!”

Although this month’s car is only a quick concept, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. So, have your say about whether it’s hot, not, impossible, or ridiculous by commenting on our Facebook page,


Your thoughts on last month’s Bonus Power concept

Andrew Fargher: “Looks cool to me”
Ron Capper Sr.: “Too low”