Hawaiian Rat Rod 4
The life of the 8-Ball Rat Rod
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Hawaii Last march in an email, Don Pierce recapped the
build-up process of his `30 Ford coupe titled, "The Life of the
8-Ball Rat Rod." And even though most of it can already be found
throughout our rat rod series, we thought it would be just as
interesting to share it with you again in part 4 of the Hawaiian Rat
by Tim Jordan
Photo: Friday night cruisin - Don sitting in his 8-Ball
coupe under the banyan tree in Waikiki located off Kalakaua Ave.
Origin of purchase
In early 2005 Don stumbled across a 1930 Ford Model A coupe rusting
in the weeds of an overgrown yard on 16th Avenue. After a short
search turned up Alan Leong as the owner, Don made a deal and
purchased it on February 7th of that year.
When he initially laid eyes on the
coupe, some of his first thoughts were that it should have been used
for scrap or just thrown away period. "Nothin useable" said Don. But
he went ahead and bought it anyway.
Pieces of the coupe that looked salvageable were then striped clean
in a tank of phosphoric acid leaving little to actually work with.
Yet at the same time, Don found himself fascinated at how
time passed while working from dusk to dawn as he made something out
of practically nothing. Many of those all-nighters he said, sleep
and food were often forgotten.
Army photographer, Tim Jordan from Canada snapped these
great shots of Don Pierce's 8-Ball coupe in Waikiki
while on leave from Afghanistan in October.
Whatever it was that really powered his relentless motivation, Don
said the driving force might have been the excitement he felt
fabricating and assembling parts from several different cars that he
knew in the end, were sure to trigger life into his newly acquired
heap of vintage tin.
Nine months and seventeen days later his
unyielding work paid off and Don had a running street rod well,
sort of. He needed an isolated spot where he could test-run the
coupe without attracting too much attention. At this point it wasn't
completely DOT approved, (legal) so he towed it to the top of
Maunalani Heights where he'd give it a jump-start.
All it took was "just a 20ft roll" said
Don, when he popped the clutch and the 8-Ball fired up! First an
enormous backfire exited the exhaust followed by a couple of pops
signaling its timing was off a degree or two. Then, "It was a quick
trip down the hill and back to the top for carburetor and timing
I'll have a hamburger, fries and a coke with that coupe.
After a couple of those runs, 8-Ball was put back on the tow-bar and
off they went to celebrate at a near by McDonald's. There's some real
personal melancholy behind why Don choose that location.
"The 8-Ball Rat Rod has often been a time machine for me. I find
myself lost in memories of my 1960's high school days in another
black primered 30 A coupe."
Back then, on rainy days he'd cut class and stop at a McDonald's
for that very same hamburger, fries and coke. Then, park at some
scenic spot while listing to the rain and music. Memories of that
simpler time are so easily recaptured with the 8-Ball said Don.
"To wit; let those who only drive their
cars weather permitting know that the 8-Ball is driven daily
regardless of weather
." Don Pierce
Beach at Night
Home of the Hawaiian Rat Rod
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