Street & Strip: Steve Borg's 1930 Model A Ford Drag Racing Hot Rod
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Steve Borg, I am a metal fabricator by trade but now working in supply chain.
Tell us about your first love for cars.. right back when you were young. What inspired you?
I grew up in the ‘70s when there were lots of cool factory cars getting around. I remember my dad asking me what car I wanted when I grew up as we were parked at a servo. I said that one with the black thing on the bonnet. I was pointing at a XY GT that was rumbling up the driveway. I guess it was the way it sounded. That V8 noise had me hooked.
What was your first car?
My first car was a 1971 XY Falcon. It went from a stock 302 Windsor to a healthy 351 Cleveland, respray and original Centerlines. I made a lot of mistakes when building it and learnt a lot from those mistakes.
How many cars have you had? List a few.
I have had a few in my time. My favourites were an XY Falcon, XT Falcon, XW Fairmont, MK1 Cortina coupe and an XP Ute. I also went halves with a mate of mine in a 351 Windsor powered RX4 coupe.
Why hot rods and American cars specifically? Are you into other genres?
Hot rods for me was a natural progression, my cars were getting older as I was getting older. And as far American cars go there is something about them. Look at early model Camaros, they have something about them that’s hard to describe. I’m into most things automotive whether it is a clean resto to tough street and strip cars. My favourite drag cars would have to be fuel altereds from the ‘60s
What are we looking at here?
It’s a 1930 Ford Model A Coupe. It was a four year project. The first half of the build was done in my mum and dad’s garage and my brother’s garage. Working on the car in my dad’s garage was cool as we got to spend quality time together. Towards the end of the project my dad’s health started to decrease. This gave me the determination to get it done as quickly as possible so my dad can enjoy the fruits of our labour. As soon as it was done we took dad to a car show. He passed away a month later. This build is dedicated to my dad, Frank Borg.
When and how did you come to own the car?
I bought it in 2006 out of the States. I had been looking on the net for a few years for a suitable project car. I placed a bid on another Model A Coupe but missed out. I contacted the seller and said that if the deal falls through to let me know. He called me a few days later and told me that he had another two coupes that he was going to list and gave me first option before he put them up on eBay.
In what condition was it when you bought it?
It was a complete stock standard rolling car straight out of a barn. Some panels were really straight and solid. Others not so good. The passenger door was totally rust free. The driver’s door only had a spot of rust the size of a match head. All the guards needed a lot of work.
What were your intentions back then? What was your vision?
The plan was always to hot rod it and drag race it. I had a clear plan from start to finish. The only part of the plan that changed was the paint. It was always going to be matt black. Two days before my brother in law Elvio painted it he convinced me to go gloss.
Now list all the modifications that have been done to the following, including any interesting facts and/or stories to go with them:
Body + Paint
All steel except for the boot lid. 4 inch chop top. PPG Black 2-pack. PPG clear gloss.
Morris Minor bucket seats retrimmed in black vinyl with purple piping. Hurst Quarter stick shifter. Autometer five inch Monster tacho. Autometer fuel level and Autometer temperature gauges. MSD timing control, all new glass, carpet, Dynamat style sound proofing, retractable seat belts. XM Falcon steering column and XK Falcon steering wheel. The steering column drop came out of a blown 426 Hemi.
351 Cleveland, flat top pistons, 2V heads, ported & polished, Crane F256 Solid cam, Roller rockers, screw in studs, Parker Racing single plane manifold, 750 CFM HP Series Holley, MSD distributor, MSD Blaster II coil, MSD 6AL ignition amplifier, high volume JP oil pump, High Energy baffled sump. Holley Blue & Holley Red fuel pumps. K&N 5 inch air cleaner. 140 amp Bosch alternator. Gear reduction starter motor. Alloy water pump. Braided fuel line and fittings used on all fluid transfers. Gilmer belt drive. 2 inch lake pipes. Cowl mounted Autometer fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges.
C10 Auto converted to full manual operation. 4800 custom TCE convertor. B&M alloy pan.
Original Centerlines. Front 15 x 3, Rear 15 x 7. Front tyres 560 x 15. Rear tyres L78 x 15.
HK Holden front end. TCI coil over rear shocks. Four bar rear end. 9 inch diff with 4.33 gears.
Powershot 125hp nitrous kit.
Boxed original chassis. 3 inch kick up at the rear. VK steering rack. My brother Joe and myself built the chassis at his place. All the major fabrication was done there. I had the body at my dad’s place and we mated the body and chassis after the chassis was done. I did the roof chop at dad’s and then brought the car back home to complete the build. Everything was done in house except for the diff and tailshaft shortening.
So it’s street legal but set up to drag race too?
Yep. I drive to the track, uncork the lake pipes, swap out my street tyres for my race slicks, hook up the nitrous and have some fun. When racing is over it takes about half an hour to swap it all back and drive home.
How often do you race the car?
As often as I can. During summer probably once a month.
Where do you take it and what’s the experience like?
I normally race at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria and have raced it at Heathcote Park Raceway a few times. When I race at Heathcote I trailer the car there just in case something breaks. It’s crazy when you think about it. It takes two hours to get there. I will have three passes. It’s an 11 sec car so total track time is 33 secs. Load up the car and drive the two hours to get home.
What do you love so much about drag racing?
It’s hard to just pinpoint one thing. The noise, the adrenaline rush. When you are travelling at over 200 kays an hour it kind of feels like being on a scary theme park ride.
I have bought a dedicated drag car from the states. It’s a 1992 LX Mustang. A good mate of mine Brian Symes and myself have formed Straightline Racing and have a two car drag race team.
I will still race the rod during hot rod fun day events but will concentrate on competition racing with the Mustang.