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> Australian man brings SoCal hot-rodding to Oz
post Mar 20 2011, 11:30 AM
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Australia's obsession with automobiles is as strong as the passion of those in the states feel for them. Bandit Films recently brought us a clip showing one man's love for his Ford Falcon Squire. Now it's produced a new film showing one man's ode to the dry lakes racers from a bygone era in California's automotive history.

Dubbed the Rancho Deluxe Roadster by its owner Ben Thomas, this 1932 Ford Model B is powered by a flathead V8 and just drips with classic hot rod cool. Thomas parks the car at his shop, Rancho Deluxe, which specializes in working on American cars from World War II through the sixties. It's also a place for folks to hang out, have cake and coffee, then talk about cars. Watch the video below to see Ben Thomas talk about his roadster and his passion for cars.

Rancho Delux by Bandit Films as seen on viemo http://vimeo.com/20772378

"The year is 1947, an ex-serviceman returns home to Southern California. His old '32 Ford Roadster is removed from the shed, and the guts of a wrecked '39 Mercury sedan are transplanted in, giving more power, braking and top speed, essential for the dry lakes racing career he will embark on. He outfits the motor with products from the growing speed equipment industries catalogues, and races his car against fellow car club members and the clock. The car also serves as daily transport for him in the mild So Cal climate, the loud twin exhausts upsetting the locals still not used to the returned soldiers need for peacetime thrills. The era immediately following WW2 in Southern California was the time frame and inspiration for me to build an accurate recreation of a stripped down, dry lakes racing, late forties street roadster. Something of a time machine, so that a drive down the street or across the state could become a journey back sixty years.

Rancho Deluxe is my full time business, building traditional hotrod classics and components, and assembling period correct cars. The Rancho Deluxe roadster is my expression of a true Hot-Rod, a time machine back to when innovation was hand built, and the true test of man and machine was flat out across the Lakes"

The above article taken from:
Fuel Magazine Australia Issue No.4 fuelmagazine.bigcartel.com/​product/​fuel-magazine-issue-04

-Ben Thomas
Owner of Rancho Deluxe
Melbourne/ Australia

The Rancho Deluxe cafť is open every Saturday, 9am till 2pm For coffee, cakes and hotrod chat, you are invited to come down and check out the current projects in the shop.

34 Budd St Collingwood Vic 3066
Ben Thomas: 0403 315 535
Email: ben@ranchodeluxe.com.au

Check out another article on Ben Thomas:


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post Mar 21 2011, 12:13 AM
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It's a different world he lives in to the one we do. A slower world I would think and one that maybe would should consider for our selves. We will put a copy of the video in "Video Corner" for safe keeping. Nice find.

This is the other article you metioned from MrBlanc.com....

Ben Thomas of ĎRancho Deluxeí

I started this side project, MrBlanc, with the sole intention of documenting and understanding how different artisans relate to their space. Some artists argue the space is inconsequential. I disagree. The style, quality and depth of creation coming out of Ben Thomasís Collingwood workshop named Rancho Deluxe is testament to my opinion. Everything in this workshop informs Benís final build. His cars sound like a song, they look like art and they even smell like a quality product.

In particular, Benís own labour of love , his 1930ís Ford makes me salivate. The depth of the ebony paintwork dripping off those panels is liquid like. And the scent of the leather inside is a beautiful contrast to the oily smell of a flathead V8. Pop down to Rancho Deluxe on a Saturday for a coffee and peruse Benís world. Itís truly intoxicating.

Given Nicknames: Many given, none taken. Iíll put up with Benny if youíre a girl . In Laymanís terms explain what Rancho Deluxe is: A workshop specialising in 1930s Ford Hotrods,building cars with love and vintage parts, and a passable cafť, on Saturdays. On a daily basis what inspires you?My roadster just sitting there,waiting. The stuff I surround myself with becomes my muse. Do you ever wake up and feel like you are living out a childhood fantasy in your very own workshop? I donít think this was a childhood fantasy..but about ten years back I spent some time working out what my future would look like,and it pretty much came true. Coffee of choice? Genovese. Good wog coffee, no fair trade marketing guff here. Some very quick word association: First word that comes to mind when I say , Mod: Grind Fuel injection: fidget Holden: apologetic Croissant: je ne sais pas Motorcycle: commit V8: torque Pinot Noir: sour grapes Cigarette: boat 1990ís car design: regret . Do you have any pets? MAX , the only ginger I ever liked. He hates the workshop though, so he leaves this world each day and comes back when the grinding stops. What was your very first car? Mini moke. Of course I lowered it and put twin carbs and straight out exhaust on it. Bright yellow.The eighties. Ughh Is there a bygone era you wish you had been part of? Sure. I really wish I was born in 1900. And was dying about now. Who taught you the craft? My Dad, all my childhood BMXís, my apprentice master Jim Young, the rest I read on the internets. Record that gets most action on the Rancho Deluxe Turntable? Motown-the first 25 year Worst habit you canít kick? Solitary tendencies. Leaded or unleaded? I build engines to use unleaded these days, I donít trust those additives. On a Saturday at 10am where might we find you? At the shop, tidied up ,ready to serve coffee and muffins to the locals,and the hotrod curious alike. Who are the Kardinals ? My car club.a bunch of friends who love the same stuff I do, My Hot rod brothers. Dream build for dream client would be? Im actually kinda doing it right now! Itís an old California hotrod that was built in the fifties, Im refurbishing it and making it safe, but keeping everything as it was..a time machine in a way. Dream client? One who trusts my judgement and understands the time and thought that goes into this job. How do you feel about Top Gear Australia? I donít have a television, so I cant really comment, the English one is awesome, but my guess is the local version would suck. Whatís more important, how it looks or how it goes? How it looks. Fast is fun, but fast can be ugly. Dream date? Warm night, great food, roadster, whimsical destination, appreciative company. Did you play with matchbox cars? Yeah that and lego. I remember all these big drawers of lego, with matchbox cars in amongst it. That was all I needed to be happy. If you could give one word of advice to aspiring builders of fine automobiles what would it be? Research history. Learn from it. Itís all there. Every mistake, every beautiful car, every reason for the proportions. Let all that stuff become intrinsic to your work. Summer or winter? Usually Iíd say winter, but damn that last one was tough in an unheated workshop. Current book of choice? ďthe ford V-8 cars and trucksĒ Victor W. Page 1937 edition. Because Knowledge is lost in time. As I am.

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