Tag: hot rod

Metro Detroit hot-rod shop obsesses over Ford’s first V-8 – Chris Stark @Hagerty

Metro Detroit hot-rod shop obsesses over Ford’s first V-8 – Chris Stark @Hagerty

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Metro Detroit hot-rod shop obsesses over Ford’s first V-8© Provided by Hagerty Media

If the matte black Cadillac hearse hadn’t been parked outside the row of beige concrete and brick buildings, it would have been easy to miss Brothers Custom Automotive, a mecca of hot rods, customs, and Ford flathead V-8s in an industrial park in suburban Detroit.

Rosie the shop cat, who presides over the front office, demanded belly rubs from us before we continued into the 8000-square-foot shop. A sweeping glance took in a shark-mouthed land speed racer, a slammed two-tone Lincoln Premiere, modified Fords from the ’20s through the ’50s in various states of repair, a royal blue Mercedes 190SL, a flared Alfa Romeo GTV, and a primer-coated 1965 Bentley S3.

The cars and parts were interspersed with machining equipment, some as old as the cars being serviced, like a Bridgeport mill and a Sun engine tester straight out of the Truman era. The shop’s playlist was as eclectic as the cars, ranging from Sinatra’s “My Way” to the Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.”

Over by the trio of two-post lifts, owner Bill Jagenow was under the dashboard of a cream-colored 1952 Ford Vicky sedan, attempting to diagnose faulty turn-signal wiring using an original factory service manual. Middle-aged, with short, blond hair styled somewhere between rockabilly and military, he was wearing a button-up shirt emblazoned with the Brothers logo. Eventually, he found the electrical short in the Ford, and the Vicky was back to blinking.

Across the garage, Autumn Riggle, Jagenow’s partner and the shop’s manager, meticulously wet-sanded Alfa body panels fresh from the paint booth. Her jet-black Bettie Page bangs complemented her Dickies work shirt. Two other full-timers were hard at work, one welding up a set of seat rails for the Alfa and the other adjusting the carburetors on a ’35 Ford.

Shop manager Autumn Riggle removes tiny imperfections in the panel’s painted surface with high-grit sandpaper lubricated with soapy water, a process known as wet-sanding that allows for a deep, mirror-like finish. Andrew Trahan© Provided by Hagerty Media

Riggle met Jagenow in Detroit through the local car and music scene. She was working in the fashion industry, but as their relationship progressed, she became more involved in the shop’s operation. “I went from selling shoes and coats at Gucci to ordering spare parts on my lunch break,” she recalled. She eventually joined full time to run the business side of the operation

Jagenow and Riggle are fixtures on the Detroit car scene, from concours to cars and coffee. Due to its community presence and reputation for winning shows, Brothers doesn’t have to advertise for business. Patrons include C-suite execs from the Detroit automakers, professional sports figures, celebrities like Eminem, and average Joes. The reach of Jagenow’s reputation is not limited to Motown, though. At one point during our visit, he had to excuse himself to take a call from a German collector regarding a potential job.

Jagenow had a circuitous journey from being a kid on the east side of Detroit to his current role as an automotive magician for the Motor City elite. He discovered his natural mechanical skills while keeping his first car, a 1972 Cadillac, running in high school. Then he joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, where he got caught up in the hot-rod scene. “I was drawn to the way the people in Southern California changed how the car sits,” Jagenow said.

He made friends with hot-rod legend Gene Winfield and other devotees to the discipline. After the Navy and a stint at the California outpost of Mercedes tuner Brabus, he drove his 1949 Ford back to Detroit to work for an automotive supplier.

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Ultra-Traditional 1928 Ford Model A Roadster with a Cragar OHV Makes a Statement at the Grand National Roadster Show – Drew Hardin @HotRod

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This article from 2017 features a period correct Cragar OHV conversion

Terry fashioned the headers. The choice to wrap them was partially aesthetic. “The color looked good with the engine block,” David says—but also functional. It keeps exhaust heat away from the carbs and protects the header’s finish. “No one ceramic coated headers back then. We didn’t want the paint to pop and peel when we fired the motor.”

Bill Grant graduated from Pomona High School in 1952, so he experienced the postwar hot rodding boom firsthand. He had his first car, a Model T, when he was 12 and a ’36 three-window coupe when he was 14. He remembers, “My mom kept hiding the keys because I was sneaking around, driving her crazy.” In high school, he had a ’40 coupe “that was pretty quick. Chick Wilson built the engine. It was all glitzed up.”

He’d go up to the dry lakes with his buddy Tom Morris. Tom’s V8-powered ’29 roadster is still around, its timing tags testament to 110 mph or better on the lakes and at Bonneville. Bill also remembers going out to the drags on Rivergrade Road, which is now the 605 Freeway, and cruising the Townhouse Drive-In and Stan’s Drive-In in nearby El Monte.

“We didn’t just talk about it, we did it,” he says proudly.

About five years ago, before Tom passed away, the two friends had a conversation about hot rods while they thumbed through a book about Harry Miller’s race cars. “Tom virtually built a car from memory,” Bill says. “‘I’d do this with the body, that with the frame.’ Tom and I went through a whole litany of things.”

That conversation, a collection of parts, and the desire to keep alive the memory of early hot rodding resulted in this ’28 Model A, which Bill dubbed the Muroc Roadster.

Though there are reproduction parts on the car, “we made a point to use as much original stuff as possible, cool mechanical stuff that just doesn’t exist anymore,” David says. Their goal was to build a prewar lakes car, using only the kinds of parts that could be found in 1937 or earlier.

The roadster looks a little nicer, a little bit better turned out, than your typical prewar hot rod build. That’s because during the translation from idea to reality, Bill and the father-and-son team of Terry and David Stoker at Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory decided to enter it in the Grand National Roadster Show and compete for the show’s top honor, the 9-foot-tall America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy.

“I knew we wouldn’t win,” Bill says. “But that wasn’t the point. It wasn’t about spending money. It was about making a statement and reaching people. We figured people would either get it, or not. And you can’t believe the number of conversations I had at the show and since. People got it, and they’re passing it on. Passing the torch. That’s what hot rods used to look like. If you went to the lakes in 1936, you would have seen this car. Maybe it wouldn’t have been this nice—it might have been in primer and not had painted rails—but it would have been this kind of car.

“We did make a statement, for what it’s worth. We made a dent.” And while he may not have his name engraved on the big AMBR trophy, he and the Stokers did bring home a trophy for the Best Detail among the AMBR contenders.

The starting point for the build was a low-mileage Model A phaeton that Bill bought some 30 years ago. Back then, Terry Stoker took the body off and used the shell to build a hot rod on a TCI frame. “Terry built that bathtub with an Iron Duke engine. God, it was fun,” Bill says.

The gennie Model A frame, transmission, and running gear went into a Fontana barn. “It’s just one of those things,” Bill admits. “I don’t get rid of much.”

The level of finish on the frame, axle, and suspension components speaks to the quality required for AMBR contention. That frame is stock, but it was ground smooth and then painted by Albert De Alba, who also painted the other chassis components and the Brookville body in single-stage Centari. Plating, done by AB Polishing, is nickel, not chrome, in keeping with the period.

One exception was a ’29 pickup powered by a banger with a Cragar OHV conversion that he sold about five years ago, a decision he’s been “agonizing about” ever since. So when he heard from a friend that the friend’s uncle “had a Cragar or a Miller or something in his garage in Redding, California, and it was for sale, I told him, ‘Go up there and buy it. ‘”

Good move on Bill’s part. The engine turned out to be a Model B four-cylinder that had been hopped up in 1954—Cragar OHV, insert bearings, C crank—but never fired. Soon after getting the engine, Bill and the Stokers realized that putting it in the long-dormant Model A chassis would be the perfect foundation for a very traditional prewar hot rod. Then came the conversation about entering the GNRS, something Bill and the Stokers did in 2014 with a gorgeous, pale blue, full-fendered Deuce roadster. When Bill had his epiphany about making a statement at this year’s Roadster Show to keep the flame of ultra-traditional rodding alive, the Stokers got their marching orders.

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This 1932 Ford Roadster Hot Rod Has Dings Here and There, but They Build Character – Codrin Spiridon @autoevolution

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This 1932 Pete Henderson roadster-inspired hot rod barely has 11 hours to go until it will be sold off at a Bring a Trailer auction. At the time of writing, there are 17 bids, with the last one going for $33,000. It features a steel bodywork finished in matte black, but just as important, it’s running on a 296ci (4.8-liter) Mercury flathead V8. It was originally bought in 2011 and is now up for grabs in Georgia.

It comes equipped with a three-speed manual transmission, 16″ wire wheels painted with typical but mesmerizing white on the sides, it has a rumble seat, a louvered hood to get that pesky Georgia heat out, hydraulic drum brakes, Lincoln-Zephyr carburetors, a Wieand hi-rise intake manifold, a dual-coil distributor, and a swan floor shifter.

Furthermore, it has bucket headlights, a polished windshield frame, and of course, era-appropriate taillights. One important note any potential buyer should know before pulling the trigger on this gem is that the owner replaced the lower body panels in the past. Another and arguably more important detail is that when you look hard enough at the exterior you’ll notice some drilled holes, dings, and dents.

Circling back to its 16″ wheels for a second, supposedly, they have been sourced from a 1935 Ford. Furthermore, the drum brakes also belonged to a 1940s Ford, according to the auction’s description. The tires, however, are Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewalls. The seats come in brown vinyl, and the wheel is a banjo-style DeLuxe.

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Single Seat Race Car Build Part 2: Traditional But Trick, We Dig This Little Race Car Project – Chad Reynolds @Bangshift

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We’ve been following this project to see where it would go and it’s pretty trick. We are going to share all the videos with you as the deadline for the build to be completed and raced looms near. Check it out!

Bennett’s Customs is an Australian is a traditional builder that does some pretty cool car and motorcycle projects, and they have embarked on a new project that must be done by September in order to go racing at the Perkolilli Red Dust Revival. This is a single seat race car build, like one that you would have seen in the 1940s and they are building it from a mix of scratch made parts, stuff that has been sitting around collecting dust, and some more traditional parts they will no doubt be wheeling and dealing for. If you are into traditional rides, like those we feature from Iron Trap Garage, then you are going to dig what they are doing here. I’m intrigued, and inspired, by projects like this because we all tend to make projects that are so complicated and big that they take forever. If instead we worked on some smaller projects, maybe we could get more of them done.

This project here is no lightweight with regards to the work required, since they are doing this all from scratch, but it sure looks like it is going to be a fun one and we can’t wait to watch it come together. Here are the first two episodes and we’ll bring you more shortly!

Hotrod Of The Dirt Track – Christopher Fussner @Wobcars 

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An older post from a while back, but it’s just a cool car so…

During twenty years of production (1908-1928) the Ford Motor Company produced a lump of 16.6 million Model T motor cars. A staggering number that still affords the Model T a place on the listings for most produced automobiles of all time. Ford built them quickly and cheaply to get Americans out on the road. Fast forward another twenty years, and you will find the popularity of the Model T is still lofty. Although America had long-since gained her license to drive and laid the pavement to do so, the soldiers returning home from the second world war discovered a reinvigorated passion for automobile modification and the Model T was the perfect starting point. With a surplus of spending money and spare parts from the mass-produced Model T inexpensive, ideas for enhancements to the platform took root and formed the foundation of hotrodding

Today on our auction block is a starling showcase of how early hotrodding and racing merged. The 1922 Ford Model T we have was initially built together and completed in 1948 by Tommy Garland of Buellton, California. Transformed from a coupe into a roadster the Model T was shaved of weight and heavily modified for dirt track racing, which it heavily competed in during the six years after its birth. Driving at tracks such as Old Ascot, Thunderbowl, Bakersfield, Porterville, and Lompoc, the Model T saw success. Still sporting its authentic 1950s blue livery complete with hand-painted numbers, sponsors, and the driver tag Chuck Hulse, who piloted this craft a decade before his years racing in the USAC Championship Car series this fast Ford is a time capsule.

Unfortunately, by the mid-1950s the roadster was ready for retirement. Placed into storage for thirty years the roadster was eventually put into a museum collection until 2016. RM Sotheby’s sold the car to the current seller who immediately turned it over to renown hotrod restoration expert Jimmy Shine. One hundred hours were put into the repairs and rehabilitation work that reinvigorated the mechanical components and discreetly added some engineering improvements. Under Shines watchful eye the brakes were restored, and the shock absorbers were also rebuilt. A few significant welds were refinished then aged to match the current state of patina. However, there are still several small areas of rust. Included with the sale are the original red painted wheels with dirt track tires from the 1950s plus the current gold painted mesh wire wheels that have new dirt track tires installed

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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.

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“Little Eve” | A 1932 Ford Hot Rod Build – @FourSpeedFilms

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Another great film from Ben Kahan

I had a lot of fun shooting and editing this one! I wanted to creatively challenge myself by making a short documentary on Simon’s 1932 Ford FIve Window coupe. Let me know if you enjoyed the video!

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/benkahan/

Follow Simon on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luckyglucky/

Special thanks to Aaron Kahan for helping out with the rollers!

How I’m weighing period perfection against period plausibility in the fuel system of my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

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If this is the first time you’re hearing about my 1921 Ford Model T gow-job project (“gow job” being 1930s slang for what we’d now call a hot rod), I encourage you to go back and read the first and second installments for the background, where I’ve explained my motivation to update my century-old touring car to circa 1934 technology.

Me in a T, back in 2012. The seating position in my car is going to be the same as this 1915 in the Piquette museum. You don’t really sit in a T—more like on it. Photo by Tony Jesuale.

The short explanation being: I’ve always wanted to own a ’30s-style hot rod, I’ve always wanted to own a Model T touring car, and I feel like this will make my T and a lot of others like it more likely to see the road than collect dust in a garage

.This month, I wanted to cover the last of the major chassis modifications—that is, things that make the car drive differently rather than things that make it look different. The remaining topics are the fuel system and the electrical system.

However, I found myself going a bit long attempting to address both systems in one entry. I’ll therefore be saving my electrical plans for next month.

The fuel system consists of everything from the fuel tank to the carburetors, including the tank itself, the sediment bulb and fuel filter, the fuel pump, the carburetors, and the intake manifold. Each area presents its own challenges in hewing as close as possible to my 1934ish time frame without compromising function

From 1909 to 1925, Ford put the fuel tank of a Model T under the front seat. E.B. White quipped that refueling was “a social function,” because everyone was required to get out so the cushion could be removed for access.

Most gow jobbers of the early 1930s would have relocated the fuel tank out back and chopped the seat riser, so as to sit down more inside the body.

If I were a shorter fellow, that might tempt me, but I’ll at least be starting out with the stock tank in the stock location.

One problem I do share with many of those early speed demons is that of a fuel pump. Ford didn’t incorporate a mechanical fuel pump in its cars until 1932. A Model T or A in stock configuration feeds via gravity, but if you move the tank out back (as Ford did in 1932 and many gow jobbers around the same time) or, as I plan to, switch to downdraft carburetion, you have to provide a means of moving the fuel.

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How I plan to upgrade the engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline on my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

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I’ve been nattering about this project for a few years now, as the plans have morphed based on my resources. Last month, I unveiled the first installment in a series of articles discussing, in depth, the recipe I’ve worked out with my friend Clayton Paddison to turn a well-preserved 1921 Ford Model T touring car into something capable of running on modern roads without hanging an orange triangle on the back

The blueprint we’ve laid out uses 1920s and ’30s technology to expand the capabilities of the Model T’s 1900s design in much the same way a driver in that era might have done so. The previous installment dealt with the chassis and brakes. This month, I want to explain our plans for the powertrain: engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline.

The engine on a hot rod should never be an afterthought, yet on my car it’s getting only mild attention. That’s because it’s an original, 99-year-old (June 1921) engine that still runs well.

I know that if I were to start hotting it up, it would quickly collapse under the strain. On a pre-1927 Model T engine (engines stayed in production through December August 1941), the biggest weakness is the “bent-paperclip” crankshaft.Eventually, when the reservoir of fun tickets has refilled, I will build the “big” engine—starting with a 1926-’27 block and EE-series crank and capped off with a pair of Stromberg 81s on an Evans intake.

Beyond that, who knows? Maybe by then I’ll have acquired the Rajo Model A head I’ve always wanted. Alternately, I’ve also got a ’28 Chevrolet head bumping around here that I can’t bear to part with.

Until then, a set of aluminum pistons and a few mild bolt-ons will suffice. The original intake manifold and Kingston L4 will be set aside and replaced with a “straight-through” Holley NH and an aftermarket high-volume intake manifold. The straight-through NH was a short-lived version of the common Model T carburetor that flows slightly better than the norm and the high-volume intake is a necessity to take advantage of its potential.

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