Tag: Daniel Beaudry

For prewar Ford four-banger speed enthusiasts, the Roof OHV conversion is tops – Daniel J Beaudry @Hemmings

For prewar Ford four-banger speed enthusiasts, the Roof OHV conversion is tops – Daniel J Beaudry @Hemmings

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Image from the Roof family collection, shared by Jim Roof and the Secrets of Speed Society.

It doesn’t happen every day, but sometimes you just fall into something really, really good. That’s how it was with me when I was researching an upcoming article on pre-muscle speed parts and my friend Kevin Carlson told me about the existence of an exceedingly scarce original Roof overhead-valve conversion for Ford Model A’s. And it’s what happened to Brandon Fish of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, when he answered a Worcester, Massachusetts, classified ad for a couple of Winfield SR carburetors, a homemade intake and what turned out to be that rare Roof OHV.

“I drove up, and it was a blizzard,” Brandon remembers. “It took me two and a half hours to go maybe 70 miles.”

And, truth be told, when Brandon saw the OHV conversion, he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at, but the price for the assortment of parts was too good to pass up. “I knew what the carburetors were worth, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong, and when I saw it [the OHV conversion], it was clean. It was a raced head, back in the day, because the water pump—the fan—was cut off, so it had external cooling. There was no scale. I’d say it was maybe used minimally. Minimally. It was mint.”

Brandon had been very close to missing out on the historic purchase because, like himself, a lot of other hot rodders had noticed the listing—planning, building and bench racing is what we do during the long winters up here in the frozen North. “They all had seen it,” Brandon says of some of his comrades, “and they laughed because they all tried to get it that same night. It was first-come, first-served.”

But, while Brandon had been considering an overhead-valve conversion for the engine in his Model A he was reworking for the 2014 Race of Gentlemen, a Roof hadn’t been on his radar. “We’ve done The Race of Gentlemen for two years now, and you don’t like to keep the same car … I had pretty much a stock B motor in my coupe. It was nothing flashy, but it was kind of a hopped-up B motor,” Brandon explains. “I was going to go overhead valve… I was leaning more toward a Riley.”

It took several months and some conversations with Charlie Yapp, of the banger-focused Secrets of Speed Society and Scalded Dog Speed Parts, before Brandon changed his plans to include the Roof. Charlie “…was the only person I knew who was knowledgeable,” says Brandon. After their chats, Brandon was hooked: “I thought, ‘Oh, I gotta build this, just to have this huge piece of history’

Image from the Roof family collection, shared by Jim Roof and the Secrets of Speed Society.

What, exactly makes the Roof head so special? Roof patented an OHV conversion for the Model T in 1919, and according to Charlie Yapp, while “Morton & Brett was the first speed parts company to advertise an overhead conversion for Model A Fords … Roof, of Anderson, Indiana, was the first to have actual product and 101-MPH race results for his promotions.”

With a four-cylinder L-head engine displacing 200.5 cubic inches and rated at 40 hp, a stock Ford Model A engine could turn between 60 and 70 MPH, given enough smooth surface to travel over, but Roof was claiming that his “Cyclone” OHV conversion could increase this figure by around 34 percent.

Image from the Roof family collection, shared by Jim Roof and the Secrets of Speed Society.

Charlie explains, however, that, while almost any OHV conversion would improve the airflow and increase the horsepower of a Model A engine, the original Roof castings would be considered rough by the standards of today, and the 101 MPH claim was likely possible only because of “having a longer run than the other guy.”

Nevertheless, along with the premium componentry—Winfield carburetion, Packard sparking, etc—that accompanied the Roof Cyclone, its F-head, two-port architecture utilizing 2-inch intake valves, resulted in a smoother, more powerful engine not unlike those then distinguishing themselves in professional racing automobiles.

But their enhancement to four-banger performance isn’t what makes them so desirable, especially when they are compared to the more powerful Riley, Cragar and Miller conversions that would soon become available. It’s that the Roofs were the first and that they are rare—”rarer than hen’s teeth” was a phrase I encountered a lot when talking with people about them.

Charlie doesn’t have any definitive production records, but “I’m pretty sure,” he asserts, “that only about 10 of these heads still exist, and only four or five are in a condition to run”—a fact that makes Brandon Fish’s find even more exceptional.

Read on

Prohibition mash: The makings of a prewar sleeper – Daniel Beaudry @Hemmings

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This is where it starts… the stock 1929 Ford Tudor on the day I took delivery. From here, there will be a series of subtle hop-ups to arrive at a powerful interwar sleeper. Sorry–I couldn’t resist a bit of fun with a sepia-toned filter. Photos by the author except where noted.

A few weekends ago, members of my club generously descended upon my garage for a big “thrash” to help me finish my 1931 Ford Model A/B bobtail speedster. When father-and-son Barnstormers VSC (“Vintage Speed Club”) members Brian and Matthew Cholerton arrived, they were towing my next project: a 1929 Ford Model A Tudor sedan. It came at just the right time, because it would prove a positive counterbalance to some unexpected setbacks with the speedster, validating the wisdom of having at least two vehicles to play with.

For almost as long as I had been working on the speedster, I had known that I also wanted a hot-rodded sedan, so when I discovered that Brian had one and that he was planning on selling, we quickly came to an agreement. He even very generously towed it the 200-plus miles from his home to mine. Though I wasn’t quite mentally or financially ready for it, there it was, exactly what I had been hoping for.

And what I had been hoping for was an affordable Model A Tudor in running condition with a serviceable body, but one that wasn’t rare or in such good condition that it would be a good candidate for restoration. As someone whose tendencies run toward preserving historical artifacts (rather than altering or even restoring them), I knew it would be a long time before I’d find one that fit the bill as well as this one did whenever I finally decided I was “ready” to buy one.

As far as this particular sedan goes, and 1929 Tudors in general, they are indeed special… because with 523,922 of them rolling out of Ford’s factories, they hold the record for the greatest number produced of any Model A in any body style for any year. So this means I don’t have to feel quite as bad about hot-rodding the A, at least from a rarity standpoint

In terms of condition, while it starts up, runs, and stops well, has a remarkably clean underside, and no significant dents or rust, it appears that the owner before Brian might have begun restoring the car but then lost interest and hastily put it back together for sale. So while a new correct “Cobra Long Grain” vinyl top had been installed, many other condition issues went partially or entirely unaddressed.

Most obvious of these: Its paint demonstrates a tendency to chip, its driver’s-side door is significantly out of alignment, and its interior is limited to only seat covers and door panels made from cardboard boxes upholstered in gray crushed velvet (crushed velvet?!). Behind those door panels, the metal window anti-rattlers–both bent, and for some reason at the same angle–had been loosely stashed and, along with one internal upright support with broken rivets, had been creating a significant racket when driving.

Read on

Gow To: Evaluating a Model B four-banger – David Conwill @Hemmings

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The Revelator needs a new engine. This is how it’s being done economically. Photo by Dan Beaudry, others by David Conwill and as credited

how-to (hou-tü) adj. giving practical instruction and advice (as on a craft)

gow (gou) n. automobile modified for speed and performance in the pre-WWII style

gow-to (gou-tü) adj. giving practical instruction and advice for modifying automobiles for speed and performance in the pre-WWII style

Read the rest of the article here

 

Armstrong’ steering assist – Daniel Beaudry @Hemmings

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Whether you call it a suicide ball, or a necker, granny, or Brodie knob, it’s all the same thing: a free-spinning knob affixed to a steering wheel designed to help drivers more quickly and easily muscle around a non-power-assisted steering wheel

Read the rest of Daniel’s article here

 

Prewar Power – J Daniel Beaudry @Hemmings

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IN THE EARLY DAYS OF HOT RODDING, FAST FORDS TOOK MANY SHAPES

Prewar Ford Profiles

“Hot rod”… “hop-up”… “gow-job”… People have been modifying cars for performance since they were horses (some sources believe the latter two terms derive from doping ponies). So, a special section dedicated to early Fords would be incomplete without touching upon hot rodding, as no automobile in history has been altered more frequently. It might be cliché to say, but literally open the dictionary to “hot rod,” and you’d not be surprised to see a picture of a Deuce roadster there.

Excellent article from a real expert in this area of the hobby, read on here

Esprit de hardcore: Pismo Race of Gentlemen 2016 – Daniel Beaudry Hemmings

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West Coast Race of Gentlemen

 

On October 15/16th this year the inaugural west coast version of the Race of Gentlemen took place at Pismo Beach.

Having been to Pismo a few years ago it’s an ideal spot, the beach is great and it’s a real “car hobby” area.

Unfortunately and ironically the weather wasn’t at all kind to the event, and it may be that it ends up being a one off?

Read more in Daniel Beaudry’s Hemmings article here

 

Legendary Navarro roadster to run at The Race of Gentlemen West – Daniel Beaudry Hemmings

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Legendary Navarro roadster to run at The Race of Gentlemen West

Article from Daniel Beaudry, Barney Navarro’s famous roadster which will be appearing at TROG West in Pismo this weekend. Read the article here

Visited Oceanside and Pismo a few years ago on holiday, great spot for TROG West IMHO!

Return of the Old Guard: At The Race of Gentlemen, an original Oiler dons the colors once again – Daniel Beaudry – Hemmings

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TROG Quint Meland

The Race of Gentlemen will be held this weekend in Wildwood New Jersey and for the first time in 55 years Oiler Quint Meland  will be on the beach. Read the article from Hemmings here

A Closer Look at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2015 (Hemmings Daily by Daniel Beaudry)

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An excellent article on the current state of the flats and it’s long history by from Hemming Daily published on September 29th 2015

Richard Thomas, a land speed racer from Salt Lake City, Utah, holds up a copy of the rashly headlined Wendover Times in front of the flooded BSF at Land’s End. Photo by the author. – See more at: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2015/09/29/a-closer-look-at-the-bonneville-salt-flats-in-2015/?refer=musweekly#sthash.LGkqpjXe.dpuf

Due to mining and various other reasons it would appear that the Bonneville Salt Flats are unlikely to return to former glories..