I think my young nephew Braxton summed up Nick Hansen’s unique pick up best – he reckoned it was a life-size hot wheels car. When I quizzed him some more, he remarked about the flames over the purple paint and the massive wheels – he didn’t believe it was even real. That reaction seems the commonplace for Nick too. “People are drawn to the car instantly, it is an attention getter, that’s for sure – it is part of the reason I bought it,” Nick explained.
Nick’s taste in cars is eclectic, to say the least. He and his son Jonathon have a passion for anything with four wheels. Jono conveniently runs Trident Motorsport, so he takes care of most of the mechanical stuff. Half of the business is selling tyres and trailers, and the other half is for the family racing and car adventures.
Between the Hansen boys, they have over 20 cars – with models ranging from 1928, right up to brand new machines from 2018. In the workshop is another hot rod, a few drag cars in the build and two Japanese track cars – Nick runs riot with a brutally-quick NissanR35 GTR and Jono drives and equally impressive Mitsubishi EVO. These blokes love cars – plain and simple. This pick up though is anything but plain and simple.
With the car located in Queensland at the point of purchase, Nick took a chance and had the car sent to Perth. Once collected, he didn’t hesitate to go and see the experts at Armadale Auto Parts (AAP) to get the car sorted for licensing in WA. He knew that they would steer him in the right direction.
“The car arrived to us with a Commodore V6 engine and matching auto, a Mitsubishi L300 front end and Jag rear. We took the car for a quick spin, and it was far from flash – the L300 set up had been modified very poorly and couldn’t be aligned right. The car drove all over the road and was just flat out dangerous. The Jag rear was making noises and required rebuilding. We couldn’t leave Nick with a car like that, we had to do something,” explained Alan Smart from AAP.
Rather than spending a whole heap of time worrying about the front end issues and trying to make something out of the dirty old V6, the guys decided to start again, beginning at the front. “Nick sourced a 302 Windsor and gave that a freshen-up at his workshop, along with a C4 transmission, and we ordered a TCI IFS front end with Wilwood brakes to replace the Mitsubishi disaster. We cleaned the chassis up, removing several un-used brackets and then fitted a new So-Cal four-bar rear end with Aldan coil overs on a narrowed EF Falcon diff. All new brake lines and fuel lines were run, a new booster and master cylinder were also included,” said Alan.
One totally unexpected thing – was just how low the roof chop was on the car. “Nick didn’t fit in the cabin, he had no chance. We had to add 2-inches to the removable roof to make the car useable. It was a sacrifice we had to make, but we did sadly lose some coolness about the body,” explained Alan.
The body is a 1928 Ford roadster pickup with a ‘34 Ford grille and custom bonnet sides. The wild paint colour, with the modern flames licks, just adds to the uniqueness of the build. Adding even more impact to the car are the Ridler wheels – 18x7s on the front and massive 20x9s on the rear. The oversized rears help add to the ‘Hot Wheels’ look. The guys at AAP fabricated the custom cycle fenders for road use.
Inside the cabin, the seat trim and door cards were still in good condition, so they were retained but new carpet fitted. A new 12-inch Gennie shifter was also installed along with a matching handbrake. The ’32-styled dash is equipped with Mooneyes gauges.
“The car has been put together with a reasonable budget so we could resurrect it from an average hot rod to a very cool ‘Real Life Hot Wheels’ car for Nick. It now drives like it should and looks better than ever, all in time for summer.”