The story below was written by my good friend Rik Hoving who runs the Custom Car Chronicle. Rik and I share a great appreciation for both custom cars and sport customs. Those of you interested in these kinds of cars should visit his website via the link below:
For me this story goes back to 2010 when I was well into my research into Sport Custom Cars in America. As I dug into this subject, I was surprised and impressed to see a wider variety of designs being built in the late 1940s and early 1950s than I had ever seen before. What I was witnessing during my readings was a consolidation of designs – agreements in styling methods and other types of convergence on “what” would be a “custom car” and “what” would be a “sports car.” Rudy Makella’s WOW Cadillac jumped out from the pages of magazines when I first saw it.
As you’ll learn in Rik’s story below, Rudy’s and his family owned a power hammer company – what we know call a metal shaping company. They were located in Indianapolis, Indiana and built custom ordered/modified ambulances, hearses, limousines and more. Rudy was a young man at the time working for his father’s company when he decided he wanted to create a custom car of his own design. Starting with an early 1940s Cadillac convertible, Rudy created an entirely new body for it – one in which the entire front clip rolled forward to reveal the engine when needed. A unique design and a unique car. Worthy of attention the first time I saw it in the magazines. Then I found the real deal.
In 2010, Stephen Lisak had posted photos of the car he had found nearly two decades before and saved from a junkyard. With a bit of research, I confirmed what the car was and shared it Stephen and his wife Mary – the nicest folks you’d ever hope to meet. Over the years we became fast friends and late in 2018 I bought the car.
Back in 2014, Rik Hoving worked with Stephen Lisak to create a story about Stephen’s car – the WOW Cadillac. Recently I asked Rik if we could share his story of this car with our readers here at Undiscovered Classics and today’s story is the result of Rik saying “yes.” Thanks Rik! So away we go.
If the title of this Readers’ Rides feature didn’t already give it away, the 1984 Ford Mustang you see here is not your average Fox Body Mustang. Owner Phillip Landry of Lafayette, Louisiana took his 1980s Mustang build in a very unique direction—the car was put together for land speed racing and is powered by a 1950 Mercury flathead V-8 engine that Phillip can switch between a roots-style supercharger and a turbo depending on the event.
“We race this car at Bonneville where we hold the XF/BFALT record at 142.822,” Phillip told us. He also races with the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) at Wilmington, Ohio, and Blytheville. With help from his friend Damon Braus and brother John Landry, the trio has the car dialed. So much so, Phillip said, “At Wilmington we would change over from a single four barrel to the supercharger setup while waiting in line.” He also added, “Of course I couldn’t do all this without my wonderful, supportive wife Mary.
Pick of the Day is a former presidential limousine
Harry Truman’s 1950 Lincoln Limo
The White House ordered up nine specially built 1950 Lincoln limousines and one of them, a 7-passenger Cosmopolitan with coachwork by Henney, is being offered for sale by a private owner on ClassicCars.com.
“Leased to the Government by Ford Motor Co., the 1950 Lincoln Presidential Limousines replaced the aging pre-World War II White House fleet Truman inherited when he ascended to the presidency after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1944,” the seller notes in the car’s advertisement.
“Truman chose Lincoln over Cadillac after GM had snubbed his requests for vehicles during his presidential campaign, which he had been expected to lose. The 1950 Lincolns remained in Presidential use well into the Eisenhower administration.”
Harry Truman’s 1950 Lincoln Limo
Related – THE LINCOLN CONTINENTAL 80TH ANNIVERSARY
1950 Chevrolet 6 Cylinder with Speed Equipment
1950 Chevrolet 6 Cylinder with Speed Equipment, alternative Hot Rod power?
Saw this engine for sale on Hemming’s and it occurred to me that this would make a really cost effective alternative to either a hopped up four banger or a Flathead V8.
If it’s to go into Model A or B, then any Ford v Chevy sensibilities would need to be put to one side.
Based on the engine number: HAM196465, this appears to be a 1950 216 ci. It has Offenhauser valve cover, Newhouse intake, 2 Rochester carbs with linkage, Fenton exhaust.
This engine was running in a 1954 Chevy when I bought it many years ago. I bought it to go in an early Chevy pickup, but never used it. I have not run it since I bought it. Does not include engine stand. Would be best if you pick up.
The listing is here
Related – Hot rod Stovebolts and other Chevrolet six-cylinder memories
The Chevrolet inline 6 engine was Chevrolet’s sole engine from 1929 (when it replaced their 171-cubic-inch (2.8 L) inline 4) through 1954, and was the company’s base engine starting in 1955 when they added the small block V8 to the lineup. It was completely phased out in North America by 1990; in Brazil, GM held on to their fuel-injected version through the 1998 model year. It was replaced by more recently developed V6 and four-cylinder engines. Many popular cars and trucks, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Suburban used the inline 6 as the base engine. Chevrolet did not offer another inline 6 until the 2002 General Motors Atlas engine‘s debut in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. (from Wikipedia)
Relive the Bonneville Speed Trials from back in the 50’s in this colour film from the King Rose Archives.
As those of you who are kind enough to reads this blog will know I’m an early Ford history buff, so of course this article from Daniel Strohl as Hemmings was right in my wheelhouse!
The punch bowl that formed the winning prize in the famous Detroit Driving Club hosted race won by Henry Ford in 1901 has been missing since around 1951 after the death of Clara Ford in 1950 when it sold for $70.
What was life on the Ford production line in Cork like? Here, John Brennan, who worked in the factory from 1948 to 1952, gives a vivid insight into his job.
Speaking of history, it looks as though the truck was originally created in the late ’50s at Dick’s Auto Body in Fort Collins, Colorado, featured in a magazine (not sure which one) in ’63, and ended up in a Denver junkyard (less its Buick V-8) in the end of the ’60s where Ed Barnes found it. The Stude had been modified originally by chopping the top 41/2 inches, the A-pillars slanted, the hood corners rounded. The rest of the body had been shaved and the fenders pulled in 21/2 inches in the front. A pair of ’61 Chrysler taillights were grafted to the bed, and the license plate was frenched. The grille was handmade, utilizing components donated by a ’58 Ford, ’61 Chrysler headlights added, and a Chevy Nomad cargo doorskin used on its tailgate.
Barnes made a few minor changes to it mechanically and added fresh paint (by Tom Turnquist of Denver in early 1971 as well as some pinstriping by “Rody” soon after) but left the custom bodywork as it was. Dave decided to pretty much do the same and has no interest in changing the body in any way keeping it as close to what it was in ’63 as possible. Dave did make some mechanical and safety upgrades since it has become a “driver” over the last few years.
Kudos to Dave for not using his customizing talents to make unneeded changes. He’s proud of this truck and says, “It’s truly one of a kind! There has been a few done up close to it but not quite the same.” Dave drives the Stude just about everywhere! It’s definitely not a trailer queen or a Sunday cruiser and in the 10 years he’s owned it he’s driven it to Utah, Kansas, Nevada, and all over Colorado-pretty much anywhere and everywhere there’s a show or cruise he wants to attend. Just what we like to see-a survivor that gets driven rather than babied.