By John Balson @JJBalson

A NITRO grandfather has spent three years building his own quirky vision of the dream car - after being spurred into action by a heart attack

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Graham Duffy's green 1929 Ford A model hot rod

Graham Duffy, 56, forked out a five-figure sum buying and converting a 1929 Ford A model into a one-of-a-kind green machine.

The hot rod, which carries a 5.7 litre, 230 horsepower engine, makes plenty of noise and catches attention whenever he takes it for a spin.

Graham forked out a five-figure sum buying and converting a 1929 Ford A model into a one-of-a-kind green machine

"People’s reaction has just been amazing. The public literally stop in their tracks and follow the car with their eyes as I go past," said Graham, a toolmaker and precision engineer.

"It's pretty much my dream car. I've always wanted to have something that was a one-off and this is definitely a one-off.

Powerful - the 230 horsepower engine makes plenty of noise

“I had always intended to build a hot rod but kept putting it off. Then near on three years ago I had a mild heart attack. It made me realise I couldn’t keep putting things off and I decided I had to make a start on this car."

To fund the ambitious project, Graham sold his two prized Corvettes, a 1972 and a 1975, that were collectors' items in their own right.

A work in progress: Graham spent three years converting the car

He then scoured the internet for a classic chassis and shell - eventually striking gold with an original 1929 Ford Model A body found on an hot-rod forum.

"I decided I wanted something radical that looked a little bit off-the-wall. But, at the same time, I also wanted it to be a family car that I could take my grandsons out in," added Graham.

The original 1929 Ford A Model that Graham used to make his custom hot rod

Once the Ford A Model was shipped to the UK he teamed up with Jerry Denning of Bristol Hotrods to fulfil his vision.

Jerry built the custom chassis and put the bulk of the vehicle together. Much of the work was outsourced through Jerry's contacts while Graham came up with the ideas, as well as building the one-off parts himself.

A model after it had been extended by Jerry Denning of Bristol Hotrods

The painting, powder-coating, chroming, electrics, interior and pin-striping were all outsourced under Graham's supervision.

He added: "The most interesting parts of the vehicle are the one-off parts. For instance, the chassis is extended 17 inches so it's got a suicide-front end and I'm quite proud of the fuel-lines where I bent them as three individual tubes, which needed to be quite precise."

"I also like the most valuable part of the vehicle which is the 1929 Ford Model A body – it’s genuine steel.

"The hardest part of the project was being patient and not getting frustrated when all you want to do is get it on the road."

The hot rod pictured by the coast near Plymouth, Devon where Graham lives

Graham, who lives in Plymouth with his wife Barbara, named the hot-rod 'Reggie and Joel's Taxi' after his twin grandsons Joel and Regan – and the pair enjoy nothing more than taking a ride in their safety seats.

The painting, powder-coating, chroming, electrics, interior and pin-striping were all outsourced under Graham's supervision

Often the hardest part is convincing the three-year-olds to leave the car when Graham gives them a lift to playschool in front of stunned parents.

The labour of love is perfectly finished with detailing on the paint

Graham said: "They were heavy in my decision to build it and I always wanted to make sure they had seats in the back. They absolutely love it.”

Graham named the hot-rod 'Reggie and Joel's Taxi' after his twin grandsons

Three years after his health scare, Graham finally has the car of his dreams and says he has no regrets. He even believes other motor enthusiasts should take similar risks.

Jerry Denning built the custom chassis and put the bulk of the vehicle together.

"I feel it has all been worthwhile," he added. 

"The Corvettes were nice but they were more of a standard vehicle. This is a truly individual car."

An aerial view of the hot rod's engine