Many people have dreamed of making a cross country trip in their street rod. Bob Kovaly of Palm Coast, FL, has done it.
“As a teenager growing up in New Jersey I was part of the drag racing scene,” he says. “ It’s always been a dream of the east coast kid to go to the west coast with his street rod. Now that I’m retired and could do it, it was the perfect present to myself.”
So, during the second week of March 2012, Bob left Florida in his 1930 Ford Model A 5-window coupe and headed to California where he met up with his wife, who had flown out, and daughter, a California resident.
Bob’s first major stop was the San Diego area for the Goodguys Del Mar Nationals. There he received the long distance award and turned a lot of heads with the COMP Cams Thumpr™ cam under the hood of his bright yellow Ford.
“I’ve been thrilled with the cam, the engine sounded great and ran great the whole trip,” he notes. “People everywhere say that they have never heard a Big Block Ford sound so good.”
While in the Golden State Bob visited a number of other shows and clubs around southern California including Cruisin’ Grand Escondido, the early morning get together known as the “Donut Derelicts” in Huntington Beach and the NHRA Twilight Cruise in Pomona. He also traveled through Las Vegas, along parts of Route 66, and into Sedona and Phoenix, AZ, among hundreds of other towns and cities on his trip. A lifelong mechanic who has worked in a variety of facets of the automotive industry, Bob was able to reconnect with a number of old friends and see places he had only read about or seen in pictures.
In all he put 6000 miles on the Model A in six weeks, running the whole time on 87-octane pump gas. He encountered no problems on the trip, save for a broken windshield wiper and some dirt in the carburetor.
“It’s a car to be used and driven. When little kids stand on the running boards or want to sit in it I don’t get upset,” he explains.
Bob has owned the car for eight years, but has no idea exactly how long it has been a street rod. He began to prepare for his cross-country journey four years ago, and worked with COMP Performance Group™ techs early on in the build for a special grind Thumpr™ cam, as well as a TCI StreetFighter™ transmission and torque converter. A rarity in the street rod world, the car is all steel with the exception of fiberglass rear fenders. The chassis is a 1930 Ford boxed, while the rear end is a 9-inch Ford with 2.73 gears and twin leaf springs. The front end is a true Mustang II cut out and welded into the car, a swap that Bob believes to have occurred sometime in the late 70s. He plans to replace the front end over the winter with a traditional I-beam and split wishbone front end.
“I usually ride all summer, doing little things here and there, and then set up big projects for the winter months right after the Daytona Turkey Run,” he says.
Under the hood is a 460 Ford bored 0.020″ over featuring a Thumpr™ cam with COMP valve springs, timing gears and timing chain. 2.19″ aluminum heads create 9.7: 1 compression in an engine that also features 1.72 roller rockers, Keith Black pistons, Boss 429 rods and an Eagle crank, plus a lot of machine work. Custom Sanderson headers with a Flowmaster exhaust round out the robust power plant, which also has utilized COMP Cams 10W-30 Engine Break-In Oil and currently runs the COMP 10W-30 Muscle Car & Street Rod Engine Oil.
“I couldn’t be more delighted, I’ve used COMP products and tech support for years,” Bob says. “Since this car is a driver, dependability is the biggest thing for me. All of the COMP components have met and exceeded all my expectations of what I thought I would get out of them.”