A Hot Tub Indeed
First came the Aluma-Coupe, then the Aluma-Truck, and now comes….Aluma-Tub.
Legendary hot rod builder Boyd Coddington’s third in his series of custom aluminum hot rods, Aluma-Tub was the subject of a recent series of “American Hot Rod,” the Discovery Channel program that chronicles the weekly goings-on at Coddington’s La Habra, Calif., garage. Judging by the reaction to the show, Aluma-Tub—fashioned to resemble a 1929 Ford Model A two-door “highboy” phaeton—may be his most celebrated design yet, even earning the car cover-story status in a recent issue of the bible of the industry, Street Rodder magazine.
“Car creation is a process and we took this one just a bit further to where we actually built almost everything on the car out of aluminum,” says Coddington. “It’s got an aluminum frame, aluminum suspension, aluminum brakes, aluminum body, aluminum small block engine, and more. We wanted to build a car with today’s technology.”
In fact, Coddington farmed out the task of fabricating the body of the Aluma-Tub to Marcel De Ley, another legend in the hot rod industry, who operates Marcel’s Metal Works in Corona, Calif., with sons Luke and Marc.
Street Rodder’s editor Brian Brennan had the opportunity to watch De Ley and sons in action. “I remember sitting there watching Marcel and his sons, and in a matter of hours, they had taken a piece of flat stock and had the rear half of this car completed, along with shaping out the corners and the back portion of the Aluma-Tub,” Brennan says. “And I’m thinking, how in the heck did they even get to that point? They just look at metal, get their welder out and the next thing you know, they’ve got a body.”
Shop supervisor Duane Mayer agreed with Brennan’s assessment that the De Ley family works wonders with aluminum. “They had a drawing [a picture of the car from artist Erik Brockmeyer and Boyd] and they went by [it] to come up with the finished product. They started with a floor pan. Then they made the wheel wells. Then they made the basic foundation, just like building a house. And when they were all done, they made the top [a removable aluminum roof].”
Miller Electric supplied the De Leys a Millermatic with MIG pulsing capabilities for their part of the job, which due to the demands of filming “American Hot Rod” required completion of the finished aluminum shell in just 21 days. (All frames and visible welds, however, were TIG—not MIG—welded, to minimize distortion and produce a frame with better strength.)
The finished product is something anyone can appreciate—a striking bare-aluminum 1929 hot rod produced using 21st century technology.
Rounding out the high-end aluminum technologies used on Aluma-Tub are: