This 1925 Ford Model A is a beach racer/hot rod that was built, raced, and owned by none other than Peter Stevens, the designer of the McLaren F1. Stevens raced the car at Pendine Sands over a period of six years against the best period-correct hot rods in Britain.
Aside from the exterior and interior of the McLaren F1, Stevens also designed the Jaguar XJR-15, Lotus Elan M100, Lotus Esprit X180, Subaru Impreza P1, and many others. This Model A is unusual in that it’s a car he built personally, and it’s now being offered for sale out of Suffolk in the United Kingdom.
Fast Facts – A 1925 Ford Model A Beach Racer
- This vehicle is a fascinating period-correct hot rod that was built specifically for beach racing, an increasingly popular form of vintage motorsport in Britain, Europe, the United States, and Australia.
- The vehicle has a narrowed 1929 Ford Model A frame onto which a modified 1925 Ford Model T “Turtle-Deck” roadster body has been fitted, and it’s powered by a 3.3 liter Ford Model B engine that sends power to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission.
- The car was built by Peter Stevens, the man who designed the body and interior of the McLaren F1 alongside Gordon Murray who developed the sophisticated engineering of what was the fastest vehicle in the world at the time, with a top speed of 240 mph (386 km/h).
- The flathead inline-four cylinder engine has been significantly modified, it now has an H&H camshaft, larger inlet valves, polished intake and exhaust ports, a Winfield head, a Thomas inlet manifold, a higher-flow V8 water pump, an adjustable fuel controller, and dual Stromberg carburetors.
Who Is Peter Stevens?
Peters Stevens is an acclaimed, award-winning automotive designer who was born in Britain in 1943. He started out in the world of motoring not in cars but in the field of motorcycle racing with his uncle, the well-known racer Denis Jenkinson.
In 1961, a year after he got his driver’s license, Stevens enrolled to study sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. In 1963 he enrolled to study Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and then in 1964 he set off on the adventure of a lifetime, circumnavigating the Mediterranean in a Jeep, covering the North African coast and making it as far as Baghdad.
In 1973 he became a Senior Designer at Ogle Design and a year later he would start his long teaching career as a part-time lecturer in Vehicle Design at RCA. In 1976 he started Peter Stevens Design, his own design agency, and in this capacity he was contracted by Alpine Renault, Cougar Marine, TWR, ERF Trucks, and Brabham F1.
In the mid-1980s Stevens would take on the role of Chief Designer at Lotus, in this capacity he would design the new Lotus Esprit as well as the Lotus Excel, the new Lotus Elan, the Isuzu 400, and he would work on a number of other projects for Cadillac, Saturn, Triumph, and Chrysler.
By the late 1980s he was working for Jaguar on the design of the Jaguar XJR15 supercar, which he followed up in 1990-1993 by working alongside Gordon Murray on the design of the body and interior of the McLaren F1 supercar as Murray developed the advanced engineering aspects of the vehicle. This car would become the fastest in the world with a top speed of 240 mph (386 km/h).
As the 1990s progressed and turned into the 2000s Stevens world work for a slew of major automotive companies including Audi, Lamborghini, Benetton F1, BMW motorsport, Prodrive, Panoz, Reynard, Rolls-Royce, Subaru, and countless others.
He’s now a Visiting Professor for the Vehicle Design course at RCA, as well as the Convenor of Goodwood’s educational lecture series, and he presents design masterclasses internationally on a regular basis.
The Ex-Peter Stevens 1925 Ford Model A Beach Racer
This Ford Hot Rod is road-legal and licensed as a 1925 Ford Model A. It was built by Peter Stevens specifically for beach racing duties at Pendine Sands – the legendary 7 mile (11 km) beach in Wales that’s been used for land speed racing since the turn of the previous century thanks to the fact that it’s long, wide (at low tide), and largely flat.
Stevens built the car starting with a narrowed 1929 Ford Model A frame. A modified 1925 Ford Model T “Turtle-Deck” roadster body was then fitted, and a 3.3 liter Ford Model B engine was bolted into the engine bay that sends power to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission.
No hot rod ever has a stock engine of course, and so this Model B inline-four cylinder flathead was rebuilt with an H&H camshaft, larger inlet valves, polished intake and exhaust ports, a Winfield head, a Thomas inlet manifold, a higher-flow V8 water pump, an adjustable fuel controller, and dual Stromberg carburetors.
It also has lowered buggy spring suspension, rod-actuated drum brakes, and it rides on grey 17 inch wire wheels shod with Excelsior tires. Inside the car you’ll find a lightweight bare shell driver’s seat with a cushion pad, an OMP fire extinguisher (in order to comply with VHRA race regulations), and a dashboard-mounted klaxon.
Stevens raced the car at Pendine Sands in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and then again in 2022. The gap in the middle was due to the event being canceled during the pandemic.
The car now belongs to a private owner in Suffolk in England who is offering it for sale on Collecting Cars and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars + Matt Woods Photography
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