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If you could create a unique and iconic car, how would you do it? What would you do? How about building a hot rod that can drift? Not necessarily the main aim when it comes to building a hot rod.
Matt Urch wanted to build something from scratch. He wanted to build a hot rod from the ground up and had always had a lot of ideas but this was his chance to out those ideas into reality.
It started with a 1953 Ford Anglia that Urch found in a junk yard about 100 yards down the road. The back end had been cut off to repair another car and so everything that was left was ready to be crushed.
The project took about 8 months in the end as Urch found himself obsessed with it. He was thinking about it all the time and working out the next bit of the project.
The back end of the hot rod has a four link setup which is fully adjustable but gave the car too much grip and was constantly trying to pull itself back. Urch has been researching how to get the most grip and how to make the most of it but the hot rod still has way too much grip. He’s decided to add antiroll bars and hopefully loosen the car up.
Urch started welding at 16 and each job he’s had since then has involved the skills he’s learned. He used to race motocross every weekend and never saw himself giving it up. He could see himself still doing it at 40, with his kids doing it too but after he broke his leg, it wasn’t quite the same. So instead, he started on the custom side of things.
The moment when things went wrong
He was at Castle Combe circuit and starting to feel like getting to grips with the car. The handling is a little twitchy and you really have to go at the corners to get it round them. Urch had come out of a corner and hit a runner strip when the car transitioned and it kept rotating. The hot rod crashed. Potentially caused by a cheap wheel, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever know for sure.
After the crash, the car held together really well but all the running gear was either bent, broken or had snapped. The most challenging part of the rebuild was putting it back together – mentally.
Urch’s view of the hotrodding lifestyle
There’s a lot of creativity in drifting, and a lot of people who build amazing hot rods. Hotrodding is more of a personal kind of thing. You build a lot of the personality into the car. There’s not much purpose to the hot rod other than to make it look good, so building a hot rod that can drift is something else.