Posted in 1921, David Conwill, Ford Model T, Hemmings

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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Posted in David Conwill, Ford Model T, Hemmings

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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Posted in 1960's, 1963, Hemmings, Hot Rod, rambler

A 1963 Rambler American would make a cool ’60s-style hot rod. Here’s how I’d build it. – David Conwill @Hemmings

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Does a $4,500 project get the gears turning in your head? This one is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, now, wearing Tennessee license plates, but the McDowell Motors dealership badge on this 1963 Rambler American 330 indicates it was sold new in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—and probably built at the American Motors factory in Brampton, Ontario. The years and the international travel have spoiled the Frost White paint, but according to the seller’s description, the 196.5-cu.in. OHV six-cylinder and Borg-Warner three-speed automatic are rebuilt and functional, and the Rambler comes with a new old stock blue interior.

It just so happens that I had a Rambler American 330 at one time, and I loved it. Mine was a ’64, however, which was bigger, riding a 106-inch wheelbase and using panels derived from the 1963 Rambler Classic and Ambassador. The ’63s were the last of the 100-inch models, which originated with the 1950 Nash Rambler. I’ve always liked them, particularly in the 1961-’63 “breadbox” years, which were when squared-up sheetmetal was used to obscure the early ’50s roots of the chassis

Now, the odds are that this example will become some kind of semi-beater. It’s a four-door economy car, after all, and for the most part people neither restore them nor hot rod them. It will certainly make a fun driver, as it sits. The Rambler OHV six from these years was derived from the old Nash flathead (which was itself still available—my ’64 had one) and it came in 125-hp one-barrel or 138-hp two-barrel form. The downside is a steadily dwindling parts supply for those engines.

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Posted in 1939, Autoevolution, Ford, Ford Flathead V8, Ford Flathead V8, Hot Rod, magazine

1939 Ford Rat Rod Makes Decrepit Look Stunning – Daniel Patrascu @autoevolution

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There is no carmaker out there with as much influence over the custom industry as Ford. The Blue Oval has been making cars pretty much since cars were invented, and that in itself isn’t spectacular. What is amazing is the fact that, unlike the products the competition had to offer back in the early days of the industry, its cars are much more present in certain segments.

Although not limited to Ford, the hot rod and rat rod builders of today do seem to have a soft spot for the Blue Oval machines of old. We talked about many such creations in January, as part of the Ford Month here at autoevolution, but there are so many other builds out there we’ll probably keep bringing them under the spotlight for a long time.

This February, we’re celebrating Truck Month, and there’s no shortage of hot or rat rods in this segment either. For today, we dug up something titled 1939 Ford F1 Rat Rod, presently sitting on the lot of cars being sold by Gateway Classic Cars.

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