While we were down in Cornwall for our quickie weekend break, there was one other garage we particularly wanted to see, and that was Mark Higman’s place, situated on a windy hill top farm, just a stones throw from the Eden Project tourist attraction. (Speaking of which, its been a project a long time now, when will it be finished?)……
Anyway, we have a special interest in one of Mark’s cars, his ’31 Model A Coupe, as we bought it ourselves from Jason Pall at Bear Metal Kustoms in California, (see previous post), and imported it to the UK, only for Mark to step up and buy it, almost as soon as it came off the boat. The car was complete and original, but hadn’t run in a very long time, a genuine California barn find you might say. Mark knew exactly how he wanted it and having joined the VHRA, started collecting traditional parts with which to upgrade the old jalopy.
For economy long distance driving, and also insurance purposes, a 2.0 Pinto motor was to be the engine of choice, though Mark was careful not to cut or modify the original chassis in case he wanted to upgrade to a Flathead V8 at a later stage, as such, the engine mounting brackets were fabricated to use original style Flathead mounts that use the original chassis mounting points. Brakes were upgraded to ’40 Ford Hydraulic units, the rears mated to a Ford Pilot axle that Mark already had along with a new Model T rear spring. A Type 9 Ford gearbox with a shortened tail shaft was used, and Mark split the front bones himself and fabricated a K-member and pedal mounts. All the new running gear was cleaned and painted, but the body left ‘as is’, and as you can see, Mark also ditched the fenders in favour of the early jalopy look, which totally suits the car.
Sharing garage space with the Model A, is the car Mark is probably most widely know for, the Ford Pop gasser, also built by Mark in the same workshop, also featured 2.0 Pinto power which enabled Mark to drive it to plenty of rod runs in the South a few years back, and also attend both the Nostalgia Nats and the Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway, where he also put in some strip time. The Pop was halfway through an engine swap when the Model A Coupe came along and diverted Mark’s attention. It currently sits without an engine while Mark decides whether to resume the build in the future, or move it on.
Mark also likes motorcycles and has already a Triumph bobber to his name, and is currently working on this Evo Sportster that he bought locally. having been in storage for quite a while.
The Harley has been lowered front and rear and now wears a bigger front wheel and fatter rear tyre, the bars have been cleaned up and the switchgear moved, a re-wire is nearly complete and then it will be finished and painted. Should be a cool cruiser when finished, if Mark keeps it that is! Mark told us that having recently bought a house, it’s another project that may have to be turned into cash if he’s to progress with the next stage of the Model A Coupe.
Thanks for the tour Mark, unfortunately we didn’t stop for a mug of tea this time around, but I’m sure we’ll be back another time.