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Kristine Barbosa gets an A—her way

By Rotten Rodney Bauman


Immersed in the hot rod hobby from age seven, Atascadero, California’s Kristine Barbosa is no stranger to the garage. More recently as the wife of a busy builder, Kristine has witnessed the ground-up approach, so she fully understands the commitment required to see a build through. With a willingness to work, Kristine set her sights on her ideal personal hot rod, which absolutely had to be a ’30-31-style Model A hiboy coupe.


Sometimes practicality can justify a shortcut, especially when the object of desire is as plentiful as ’30-31 Model A coupes. This time rather than hunting for rusty parts, she and husband, Eddie entertained the notion of purchasing a fairly priced, complete and running car to serve as the starting point. With plenty to choose from, the search was narrowed to one particular ’31 coupe—a ‘70s-style resto rod.


Being familiar with the coupe of choice, they already knew it was in sound mechanical condition and it just so happened to be close to home. Once a horse trade rendered the raw materials, Team Barbosa took on the task of making that car Kristine’s own. The coupe came down to bare ‘rails for boxing and a stepped rear cross-member, thus marking the beginnings of an effective 18-month attitude adjustment—a facelift if you will.


If “less is more,” here’s a classic example. Beginning with a complete, full-fendered car, Kristine’s version now includes everything she always wanted: no bumpers, no fenders, no aprons, no hood—all that, and more. During the personalization process, unwanted body parts and deleted doo-dads were swapped away where needed, which eased the acquisition of ‘50s-flavor hot rod goodies like a Lincoln/Ford drum brake combo, 16-inch “Gennies” from Wheel Vintiques and actual-size Coker/Firestone bias rags just for starters.

With a fair amount of modesty, Kristine and Eddie don’t quite consider this transformation a build. As a rebuild, however, it was major enough to require things like chassis fabrication, complicated bodywork and complete rewiring to showcase a period-proper Delco generator, which now looks right at home in the breeze.

Making good use of her husband’s abilities, Kristine insisted on a heavy 4 ½-inch chop. Making good use of her own abilities, she handled the coupe’s refinishing, creating her own brand of real-simulated-patina in the process.

It’s been said that “couples who play together stay together.” Backing up a bit, this gearhead couple tied the knot in Monterey, California—at Laguna Seca Raceway in fact. Since that time they’ve logged a whole lot of playtime together in the garage, including long holiday weekends and their own anniversary—all by Kristine’s request.

Just knowing the couple behind the coupe presents potential for a breezy storyteller like yours truly. With miles between us, however, the photo appointment required some scheduling. So finally, here we are with an un-prognosticated windstorm threatening to spoil our long-awaited shoot. Having traveled to fetch this feature, we’ll not be thwarted by ol’ Mother Nature. With the benefit of newfangled ‘lectric lighting, we’ll conclude this session indoors. Don’t worry, we’ll pull it off, and we might even sneak a peek behind the corrugated tin curtain.

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