Frog Follies – August 2014 – Feature Car

I had no idea when I headed out on this trip to Evansville, IN for the Frog Follies that I was even thinking about doing a feature car from the weekend. I hadn’t even been looking for a car to feature, but this one just caught my eye one day as we were hanging out and it drove by the area where we were sitting.


The car is a 1931 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan owned and built by Ben Smith of Evansville. He also owns Smiths Service Center in Evansville and is a 4th generation car guy, and is raising the 5th generation. How cool is that! Smiths Service Center started as a on pump gas station and has evolved into a 16 bay service center.


This isn’t the first hot rod that Ben has built. He has also built 1928 Buick Limo and a 1946 Chevy Truck. This sedan is his third and was a 2014 Street Rodder Top 100 winner.


The unique color is what caught my eye first. The combination of Rescue Green and Deltron Black really work with the style of this car. Rescue Green is a 2008 Jeep color and Ben had some extra gold added to it to make it pop. The paint is the only part of the build the Ben did not do himself. He had an old family friend that used to paint cars handle the job and old school look.


Up front is a deuce shell that has been widened one inch. Behind that is a 1949 flat head with a McCulloch Super Charger, Evans heads, and four inch Mercury crank. The engine also have a converted 327 Chevy harmonic balancer. To finish out the drivetrain, is a T5 4-speed transmission and Ford 9 inch rear end with 3.50 gears.


The car cruises at about 1600 RPM down the highway and gets 20-22 MPG. Not bad for a hot rod.


The suspension is made up of 1935 Ford front suspension with the spring mounted behind the axle and on the rear is a triangulated ladder bar suspension with traverse spring and it rolls on Rally America Jimmy 9s. To stop the sedan, Ben used Buick finned brake drums with Wilson Welding backing plates


The car was chopped 5 1/2 inches and the rear side windows were moved forward and have the same dimensions as a coupe window. The remaining area behind the new windows was filled to give the sedan a unique look. Ben said that when he had his 1928 Buick Limo, he had room for the whole family. After he sold it and built the Chevy truck, there was no longer room for them so he wanted to build a car that there was room for all of them for short trips. He wanted a sedan that didn’t look like one, and I think that he accomplished that. To wrap the exterior up, we move to the back of the car, where he has drenched a pair of 1952 Ford taillights.


The interior of the car is as unique as the outside. Starting with the 1951 Ford dash in which was narrowed to fit the car and the clock that was originally set in the middle of the dash was moved to the left of the steering wheel to house a new tachometer. The steering is done with a 1948 Ford steering wheel and column. Ben lets people know when he is making a turn by the original Yankee turn signal switch.


The upholstery was sewn with a combination of Baseball Glove and Arctic Black vinyl. The seats were donated by a 1967 MG Sprite.


The car will be on display at the 60th annual NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis, IN in the concourse. Ben has also been invited to display the car at Iron Invasion in Chicago, IL on October 4.