I'm glad to see some people agree that certain cars just shouldn't be made into hot rods. Every time I see an historic vehicle hot rodded I cringe! A model A or T? Most are still easy to come by, and there's at least one in every old car museum across the country, and just about in the world! An early brass era T that's pretty much all there? That's a tough one! Probably something that should be left to a restorer. A late model T? Go for it! The Sunbeam I'm not so sure of -- you're only doing what the factory did at a later date anyway. But they are rather hard to come by now. When was the last time anyone saw a Sunbeam??
I cringed when I saw a very well done 1930s Packard sedan rodded. VERY nice rod, but this one was a recognized Classic!! Well, turns out it was a basket case that needed everything, mainly a body shell and badly rusted frame when found. Restoring would have cost almost as much as the value as a Classic (in the multi 100's or thousands range) instead of just under $100K the owner had in it, and the frame had to be built from scratch (but with a GM front clip). The body needed extensive work also. Okay, I can see the logic there!
Then there's the guy in Rod and Custom a few months ago that bought a near perfect 1939 Lincoln Zephyr from a guy who'd restored it. All it needed was a little detail work due to being restored 5-10 years earlier and shown a bit. Had taken several awards when first restored, just needed touching up here and there to bring it back up to a near 100 point car. Since I mentioned R&C, you know what happened. Full custom/rod treatment -- out came the V-12 (at least that was sold to a restorer!), in went an SBC/TH-350/9" drivetrain. Chopped, shaved, full custom interior. Then the fellow had the nerve to drive the car over to show the previous owner! Didn't seem to understand why the guy came out, saw the car, then turned and walked back in without saying a word, just shut the door! I don't blame the guy one bit.
I know it's a lot better to start with as rust free a body as possible when building a rod, but the Zephyr deal is going to the extreme! When is it to much? Just because you can, doesn't mean you should! I'm a rodder at heart, and like to DRIVE my cars, so I don't do 100% restorations. When I was looking for a replacement for my 63 Rambler wagon when it was T-boned, I passed on cars that were restored or very well cared for originals, even if they needed an engine overhaul and a bit of cosmetic work. I kept at it until I found one that was solid but needed the full treatment (interior, drivetrain, and paint shot). Rambler wagons aren't worth a whole lot, but it just doesn't seem right to take something that could be restored relatively easy and rod it.