Dennis Kilpatrick 1929 Ford Model A Coupe

Ardun Headed, Supercharged Model-A is an AMB Finalist

Compelling hot rods tend to be built around a theme. Sometimes it’s an era. Sometimes it’s a central design element. And in the case of Dennis Kilpatrick’s 1929 Ford Model A coupe, it’s a person – the legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov.

Duntov, of course, is the man who conceived the famous Ardun hemispherical overhead-valve head conversion for Ford Flatheads and later played a key role in leveraging the potential of the Chevrolet small-block V8 and influencing the performance development of the Corvette. Hot rodders everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude.

Dennis is a longtime Duntov fan who worked with builder Nate Tanquary to sprinkle some of the legend’s influence throughout the build of this bitchin’ little Model A. You can see it in the custom independent rear suspension built around a Winters quick-change center section, or the four-wheel Kinmont Safety Stop disc brakes from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop. The Deuce frame has a sneaky independent front suspension to complement the rear – an EVO Axle developed and machined by Nate’s Hot Rod Garage. Real Rodders 16- and 18-inch wheels and Coker rubber help with the vintage vibe.

Of course, this hot rod’s focal point is that beautiful Flathead V8 topped with Ardun heads, a vintage Italmeccanica supercharger, and dual Autotrend two carb-style EFI units. It’s a great-looking engine that sounds awesome breathing through one-off headers built by Ryan Linder and a trick custom exhaust that runs through the frame rails, exiting ahead of the rear tires.

The 1929 Ford coupe body has plenty of tricks, too, with a chopped top (4-inches in front, 3-inches in back), modified drip rails, smoothed visor, body character lines extended into the doors, a Deuce grille shell with a Pines-style insert, and a frenched rear license housing. Guide headlights and one-off ’48 Ford-style taillights (with backup lights) help complete the look, as does the gorgeous custom-mixed PPG Roselle Red finish.

Things are just as compelling inside, where a modified ’38 Ford dash and custom Classic Instruments gauges lead the way, along with a custom column and steering wheel connected to a cowl-mounted steering box. Armando’s Custom Upholstery stitched the two-tone Relicate leather upholstery, and Leading Edge Machine whittled the custom pedals. A Lokar shifter directs the C4 automatic transmission.

The coupe was unveiled at the 2023 Grand National Roadster Show and had quite a year, competing for the Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title in Columbus, joining the fun at the Gathering at the Roc, earning a Builder’s Choice Top 10 in Scottsdale, and making the Goodguys Top Five for America’s Most Beautiful. It’s a seriously impressive hot rod, and we can’t help but think that Duntov would approve.

Photos by John Jackson and Damon Lee

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.