SEPTEMBER 2015: HOT ROD LEGACY—A 1930 HI-BOY GOES FROM FATHER TO SON ON LONG TRIPS

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We were advised by several people to interview the owner of a 1930 Ford Hi-Boy at a recent show.
The stylish retro rod had a big back story because it had spent the past 48 years with one family.

 
Canadian Street Rodding Hall of Fame member Don Siewert bought the Ford roadster to “save it from hot-rodders” at the time.

 

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Don already was a well-known hot-rodder in ’67, but he also was interested in stock antique rides and had served as president of the Alberta Pioneer Auto Club. He owned a stock 1919 Model T and was content to keep it in its original form.

 
However, Don still had a hot rod heart and his son Mike’s ’28 Ford roadster project made him change his mind about his own 1930 Ford. The result was a stylish retro rod equipped with a 1954 Ford flattie and a 1932 grille in the finest tradition of the early hot-rodders from Don’s youth.

 

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Don also had found innovative ways to cut costs on his build, including his windshield frame that was forged from melted-down mag wheels after he balked at the cost for a custom-built windshield.

 

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Don had one simple rule for his rides: you build them-you drive them. He drove his Hi-boy to Bonneville Salt Flats in 1998 for the first of many yearly trips to the famous salt flat speed zone. Don was a pure hot-rodder in every sense of the concept.

 

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Unfortunately Don succumbed to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2012 after a 5-year battle during which he kept plugging away at his projects and continued to live his life as a car guy superstar. The man known as FOFIT (Fastest Old Fart in Town) left a big legacy behind him after his death.

 

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An important part of Don’s legacy was his Hi-boy and the car will remain in his family with his son Mike. Mike was cut out of the same cloth as his father and is a very capable hot rod builder, just like Don. Mike also believes a car is meant to be driven and has logged many miles behind the wheel of his rides over the years.

 

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He also married the right woman because his wife has ridden shotgun with him over thousands of miles. This summer they decided to take the Hi-boy on a cross-continental tour from their Alberta home to the Jalopy Jam-Up in Durham, Ontario.

 

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Their trip took them into the northern US through the Mid-West in the famous family roadster-the one with the FOFIT license plate on the back and Don’s ashes in the oil filter. Mike wanted to honor his father in the best possible way for a dyed-in-the-wool car guy so his plate choice and oil filter was a home run of an idea.

 

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Mike was confident his dad’s well-built roadster was up for the challenge and the hot rod performed flawlessly throughout the entire 3600 mile (6000 km.) trip. The only issue was the tires because the Hi-Boy also rides on traditional bias ply tires and Mike needed to give them an occasional cool-down breather on the road. He more than kept pace with traffic flow and ran the old school tires at around 70-75 mph (110-130 km/h) for much of the trip.

 

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The Hi-boy garnered plenty of attention during the long road trip and even more when it arrived at the Jalopy Jam-Up because Mike kept a daily journal on his trip via social media. They were treated like rock stars at the event and were very happy they chose to attend the show.

 

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The overall trip was fairly comfortable because Mike added a cloth top to the roadster to stave off the sun and they wore ear protection to stave off high speed wind noise because the car does not have side windows. The journey began on August 11th and they were back home by the 19th of August.

 

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The long road trip proves Mike shares a common belief with his father: hot rods are meant to be driven very long distances when possible-particularly this family legacy roadster.
Jim Sutherland

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