It’s often said in the car enthusiast world that “you are what you drive” which can be interpreted 100 different ways.
What can certainly be taken from that is what you drive is, in a way, an expression of yourself; after all, cars and vehicles of all types still have a human element of design and art put into them.
Maybe you like the curves, or the boxy shape, or the way those exhausts curl up or twist sideways. Doesn’t matter how many ways you cut it, gearheads are a mixed and colourful bag of varying tastes, styles and expression.
Ken Knight is what you’d call a pure classic car guy. Throughout his life, he’s owned close to 75 cars, all from different makes and models. Older cars in particular fit his savvy, as he feels he can work on them easier, and just generally loves the classic look.
“From 1934 back are the ones I prefer, because they are really simple cars. You got a fender and not anything else,” said Knight, who builds custom cars just for fun.
His favourite however, is the sweetheart of today’s Hot Car, this one-of-a-kind 1930s Ford Model A rat rod. And regardless of whether you like cars, it’s undoubtably hard to miss.
The car sits low, like a prowling panther, an effect Knight has managed to pull off without actually having to cut the roof off, a method of coolifying the low-stance, low-brow look common among rodded up Model A’s. Knight’s Model A however, is also a marvel to look at, and even learn a few things about cars in general.
For one, you can see just about everything; from the drum brakes, to the suspension components, steering shaft assembly, and of course, the piece de resistance, a good old-fashioned 239-cubic-inch Ford flathead V8 from 1950s. The engine has been restored.
The car even has its own hood mascot: a garden ornament of a hummingbird, which Knight hand-painted a little mouth and eyes on to give it a bit more personality.
And don’t let the “rust” paint scheme put you off, in fact, it’s all new and beautifully-polished; the chrome is of a fine and silky nature, reflective enough to be worthy of a mirror. If anything, Knight’s car brings together the unlikely worlds of American Graffiti and Mad Max all into one car.
It’s not crude on the interior either, with the bright red velure seats, white steering wheel and hand-grenade shifter add that extra bit of detail and colour. It even has a modern heater core installed, along with every gauge a driver needs, so one could go on a limb and say that it is fairly practical.
“Got my wiper working, so what more do I need?” Knight chuckled.
It ain’t just all show and no go either, after all, aside from Knight and an engine, it’s not carrying much weight. To make it go forward in accelerative fashion, he’s installed a five-speed manual transmission from an S10 pickup truck, so it’s quick enough.
In the end, it’s about expression. Knight’s ’rodded-up Model A isn’t only a cool car, it’s a personal ballad about the pure love for cars.
“Very old school, that’s me,” Knight said.